ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (KRQE) – Who would vandalize a place of worship?
That’s what members of the only Messianic Jewish congregation in Alamogordo want to know.
“A little bit of anger and a lot of questioning, you know, why?,” said congregation member Sally Blanscett.
Alamogordo police say sometime Monday night vandals spray painted five of the Asef Chavar Hebrew Community’s walls with sayings like God is love, namaste and the kingdom of heaven lies within.
“The one that got me the most was definitely locals only,” said Pastor Travis Pace.
Pace says the message, locals only, could mean a number of hateful things.
“Is this anitsematic? Is it a hate crime? Who is the locals and who doesn’t qualify as the locals only?” he said.
Since the congregation’s founding in 2013, it’s been hit by vandals three separate times.
Pace says last year someone burned an Israeli flag in their parking lot and in April someone destroyed a group of signs promoting one of its events.
“It was a little painful, like somebody was lashing out on us,” said Blanscett.
They say they just want the opportunity to worship freely just like everyone else in town.
“The bottom line is our faith is important and our freedom is important,” said Blanscett.
The pastor says it’s going to cost the center about $1,000 to paint over the graffiti.
Police don’t have any suspects at this time.