Preston Smith, a member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, erected an atheist-themed banner and giant Satanic pentagram yesterday in Sanborn Square Park in Boca Raton, Florida as a way to counter a Nativity scene on the same property.
Less than a day later, that banner and the display have been vandalized.
Here’s a version of the sign that went up in the park:
And here’s what that sign looks like now that it’s been covered with spray paint:
“This is a disgraceful expression of intolerance toward dissenting ideas,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “Our country needs to show respect for minority viewpoints, however unpopular.”
Vandalism of this nature is normally considered a misdemeanor in the first degree under Florida law, punishable by up to one year imprisonment or a fine of up to $1,000. However, because the vandalism was motivated by prejudice against atheists, under the state’s hate crime statute the crime may be reclassified as a felony of the third degree, punishable by up to five years imprisonment.
FFRF is offering a $2,000 reward to anyone with “information leading to the arrest and conviction” of the vandal(s).