Graffiti at St. Pete church includes swastika

Photo courtesy Candace Shultis
Photo courtesy Candace Shultis

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – A St. Petersburg pastor was creased Monday morning with hateful graffiti.

King Of Peace Pastor Candace Shultis found the hateful images outside the church, which is located at 5th Avenue North.

The graffiti, scrawled in chalk, included a swastika, the emblem of the Nazi Party, and the letters MAGA, which stand for Make America Great Again. That was President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign slogan.

Photo courtesy Candace Shultis
Photo courtesy Candace Shultis

“It bothers me very much. I was angry at first that someone would think to do that, upset. I think there’s a certain amount of anxiety,” Shultis said.

She wonders if the person responsible may have targeted her church because most of the members belong to the LGBTQ community.

More graffiti sits a few steps from the spot. It includes the numbers 14-88, code for white supremacists, and another swastika.

Dr. John Fischer is the rabbi of Clearwater’s Ohr Chadash Synagogue. Fischer comes from a family who survived the holocaust.

“It the height of intolerance and ignorance,” he said.

Two-thirds of Europe’s Jewish population were murdered under the banner of the swastika, Fischer said. “Usage of this kind of symbol is, what should I say, disturbing, alarming, even disgusting. Because it completely ignores the history of this symbol,” he said.

Shultis washed the graffiti away. As for the swastika makers, she doesn’t hate them. “I’d love to be able to sit down and talk to them. And say, ‘Ya know, there’s another way of seeing the world,” Shultis said.

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