Vandalism is Not OK

Published June 15th, 2011 by Bobby Henderson


Last night, vandals spray-painted “Praise the FSM” and pirate-fish on two Christian churches in Bend, Oregon.

This is not ok.  This is counter to everything we stand for and acts like these only set back our cause.  I don’t know who did this, but I will try to find out.


From KTVZ in Bend:

"Praise the FSM": These are the words written, spray-painted and tagged across not one, but two churches on opposite sides of Bend Sunday night.

When Pastor John Bluebaugh of Christian Life Center got the news Monday morning, his first thought was, "Not again."

"Really, what went through my mind was, about six months we were tagged as well," said Bluebaugh. "It was the same kind of deal — different symbols, different sayings, but the exact same places."

There are markings left six months ago from vandals who drew Harry Potter-type slogans across the church.

Now, they’ve got a whole different mess to deal with. The graffiti apparently refers to The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, an online group of people who claim they do not believe in religion but rather in what they call Pastafarianism.

Let’s set an example and clean this up.

Hemant Mehta of Friendly Atheist has started a cleanup fund.  Please chip in if you can.

From Hemant:

I don’t know how much the cleanup will cost, but if more money is raised than they need, I’ll give the rest to Foundation Beyond Belief (an organization that encourages atheists to give to secular charities).

Just a note: I know there is a feeling by some that it’s not our place to raise money for Christian churches. But let’s be clear, this is only about making a bad situation right. It’s in our interest to send a message that we don’t approve of vandalism. Ideally it will be our response that people remember, not the vandalism by a few who don’t get what we’re about. So, let me just say thank you to everyone who has chipped in, and especially to Hemant for organizing the fund.

59 Responses to “Vandalism is Not OK”

  1. Atsap Revol says:

    @ Pastor John,

    You and I could be good friends even though we disagree on religion because we would have mutual respect.

    In keeping with your request to make donations to charity, I have just written a check for $50 payable to the Oregon Food Bank. I do this several times a year, and I have requested that family and friends donate to the OFB instead of giving me gifts on special days. My Father’s Day will net several hundred dollars to the OFB.

    The non-profit OFB provides six or seven dollars worth of food to hungry people for each dollar contributed. With high unemployment and the sad economy in Oregon, many are in need. One-third of the hungry are children.

    For Oregonians or others who want to contribute to the OFB, here’s the address:

    Oregon Food Bank
    PO Box 55370
    Portland OR 97238-5370

    Atsap Revol

  2. ophu says:

    And as with all movements of size and influence, the rot starts to creep in. Be they religious or political or whatever, the decay always manifests.

    • Brian Fritzen says:

      But like most rot, it is usually found around the fringes.

  3. Saintsalive says:

    Pastor John, even though I don’t agree with you on religion, I completely respect you. Many people would use something like this as an opportunity to spread more hate, and I’m glad that this isn’t happening in this situation.

    As for the kids (adults?) who did this, it’s seriously sad. Honestly, I am at the point in my life where I’m supposed to be immature and rebellious, and I would never even think of doing something like this. As fun as it is to talk to people about the FSM and put things up about the FSM, this is just wrong. Vandalism is not okay. If you want to spread the word, put up posters or hand out fliers, but nothing like this. If someone doesn’t want a poster there, it’s as simple as tearing it down. If someone doesn’t want graffiti there (which I’m pretty sure nobody does unless for some reason you thought it looked cool), then it gets expensive and annoying to get rid of it. Especially in cases like this, where you’re not only getting yourself into hot water, but also a ton of people who don’t mean serious harm and will now be assumed to all be crazy vandal church-haters. Please, lay off the spray paint.

  4. Tyler Rios says:

    There’s this book, and it’s a Gospel. You can get it at Barnes and Nobles. And in that book there’s a stencil, a stencil of the pirate fish.

    I agree, vandalism, pointless vandalism, is wrong. But you have to understand that it’s paint. Paint that disappeared in less than 24 hours. We’ve never pointlessly graffiti’d. We wheat paste Waldo’s (Where’s Waldo) around the city, and quote bible verses (poster paint guys, poster paint) in hopes of enlightenment.

    Me and the two others went to remove it (on our own time) while we were removing some profane tags from around the city and it had already been erased.

    I’d feel remorse if this wasn’t played up (the Church isn’t even using ANY of the money), but it was. We weren’t arrested for this tag, we were arrested for using water soluble poster paint to write bible verses. We weren’t spreading a message of hate, and if the media showed the rest of the (EASILY removable) tags people would of seen that.

    I’m especially disappointed in Bobby Henderson. Like I said before, in the Gospel there’s a fish pirate stencil and instructions. The fact that he advocates this, and then condemns it in such a un-serious situation, is disheartening. I hope the reality of the situation can finally be realized when our interview airs tonight, but this is small town media and our video will probably be spliced and edited for effect.

    Since when do people take media as truth? Think about the facts, form your own opinion. It is what it is.

    • stylusmobilus says:

      That’s right, it certainly is. A criminal act on private property.

      And the same applies to you and your mates. If you Waldoed any of my property without my permission I would report it too. Nice to hear you went to get rid of it, but really, is what you do any different? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have issues with graffiti art but I do have issues with trespassing, vandalism and defacing of public or private property.

      I seriously doubt Bobby Henderson endorses these act regardless of what materials are available in the Gospel. That fish is there for our own private use. Saying that is like saying Obama is responsible for shooting crimes because the US Constitution provides for its’ citizens to own a gun.

    • Brian Fritzen says:

      Thank you for owning up for what you did and owning the act. I tend not to buy into media, but I thought, and believed it was done with paint that could not be cleaned off so I put in money to have the problem rectified. See my post above about whether they are “victims” or not.

    • Jo Freddie says:

      Muellers I a letter to the Macaronians
      45 Our Heavenly Glob instilled in them the same sense of right and wrong that He gave to others,
      46 and these people willfully chose to ignore it.

  5. Ubi Dubium says:

    Yes, thank you for owning up, now please don’t do this again. Graffiti just makes us all look bad. Even though it turned out to be washable, the first reaction people have to paint on the side of a building is not “what a good joke”, or “they have a point” it’s “what a bunch of jerks!”

    I encourgage inventive pranksterism, just make sure it does not include property damage. A big banner saying the same thing might have made your same point, or a chalk drawing on the pavement, or an unexpected sign at an anti-gay event. Take all that youthful energy, please, and turn it toward coming up with a more creative way to catch people’s attention, get them to think about something in a new way, to see more clearly. But to quote Richard Wade, “If you want to help someone see more clearly, don’t start by poking them in the eye.”

    (I’ve used the stencil myself, for a Halloween pumpkin. It’s to noodlify your own property, not anybody else’s)

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