Iconic Red Wagon Sculpture Vandalized with Christian Messages

In Spokane, Washington, there’s an iconic sculpture of the Radio Flyer red wagon that’s been around since 1989:

On Thursday night, it was vandalized with Christian messages:

Photo Credit: Mike Ellis

Photo Credit: Mike Ellis

Photo Credit: Mike Ellis

So far, no one’s taken credit for doing it and they have no leads on the culprits. I don’t think anyone should point fingers at Christians without more evidence, though I admit it would be really unusual graffiti for anyone else…

“It’s very rare that we see vandalism based on religion,” Craig Butz, Riverfront Park manager, said. He continued, “This year has been worse than average. It’s going to cost us extra money.”

He expects the wagon will be re-painted next spring and will cost more than $3,000.

“We’ve only re-painted it once as general maintenance. We weren’t prepared to do this,” Butz added.

They’ll need to hire a sign painter to help out with the ornate writing and logos.

Even with the extensive vandalism, the wagon will remain open to the public.

I’m not planning to do a fundraiser for this, but I think it’d be a wonderful gesture for a local church group to raise money to help pay for the cleanup. Every Christian group in the area should be of the mindset that vandalism is no way to get a message across.

Though I’m sure some crazy Christian somewhere will complain that, by cleaning up the graffiti, the city is trying to “remove God from the public square”…

(Thanks to Kaylynne for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

    “It’s very rare that we see vandalism based on religion,” Craig Butz, Riverfront Park manager, said. Unless you are an atheist billboard…

  • T-Rex

    And this is something I’d consider making a donation to to help clean it up. Too bad, cause I’ll never donate money to help clean up a house of superstition.

    • Trina

      Clarification, please?  If irony, I’ll laugh.  Personally, I don’t see a big red wagon as a house of superstition….

  • T-Rex

    And this is something I’d consider making a donation to to help clean it up. Too bad, cause I’ll never donate money to help clean up a house of superstition.

  • Anonymous

    This doesn’t surprise me at all. Christian mythology believers are terrible people.
    (people like to quote things so that ones for you)
    It’s true that not every one is a vandal/bully/bigot/anti-science fear monger. But they all believe that god is needed to “have morals” so since there’s no god it’s obvious they have no real morals.  

  • Anonymous

    This doesn’t surprise me at all. Christian mythology believers are terrible people.
    (people like to quote things so that ones for you)
    It’s true that not every one is a vandal/bully/bigot/anti-science fear monger. But they all believe that god is needed to “have morals” so since there’s no god it’s obvious they have no real morals.  

    • NorDog

      “But they all believe that god is needed to ‘have morals’…”

      I don’t believe that.  So not all of us do.

      • YAYAud

        I believe in God, but I do NOT believe only “Christians” are good people and are the only humans capable of living moral lives, whatever “moral” is supposed to mean… and by no means are all Christians – or ANY Christians for that matter, completely moral. In fact, some of the best, kindest, most moral and humanitarian people I know claim either not to believe in God at all, or are agnostic. I also believe mainstream “Christians” are going to be completely surprised when they reach the other side and find they are denied entry, and some “athiests” will be shocked to learn there is a heaven and they are welcome there. Where do I get such absurd notions? From my faith which comes from inside of me which tells me that love prevails over hate and good over evil.  So, my Athiest kindred, please do not put all believers into the same box any more than you wish to be so labeled. Vandalizing public property is just as immature and destructive whether you are a gang member or a Christian, which I’m afraid is the same difference in many cases. I was not a believer until I was able to see beyond the mess religion has made of faith.

        • Rich Wilson

          And we do appreciate it.  I (mostly privately) wonder if Deist would be a better label, but I respect your right to self identify as you wish.

  • http://www.laughinginpurgatory.com/ Andrew Hall

    A radical Christian may argue that it’s impossible to vandalize anything with a heavenly message since God owns everything.

  • http://www.laughinginpurgatory.com/ Andrew Hall

    A radical Christian may argue that it’s impossible to vandalize anything with a heavenly message since God owns everything.

  • http://www.laughinginpurgatory.com/ Andrew Hall

    A radical Christian may argue that it’s impossible to vandalize anything with a heavenly message since God owns everything.

  • Anonymous

    I found no news stories about this… disheartening.

    • Anonymous

      That’s because it wasn’t atheist graffiti.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Can someone explain to me what D+V+A+V+L means?

    • Anonymous

      I can’t help you there, but I did learn from Orgazmo what DVDA is. ;-)

    • Rich Wilson

      The initials of the ‘BF’s that did it.

  • http://rerational.com John

    To be fair, from looking at the photo gallery on the original source, there was extensive, and I do mean very extensive, existing grafitti all over the wagon.  Not to discount what happened here, but that wagon NEEDED repainting soon regardless. 

  • Rich Wilson

    And the True Scotsmen are out in force.

    • 59 Norris

      Where?

      • Rich Wilson

        In the comments on the linked article http://downtownspokane.kxly.com/news/crime/61908-vandals-deface-iconic-radio-flyer-riverfront-park

        ok, maybe ‘in force’ was a bit of an overstatement. There are a couple anyway. But then, the Army is a ‘force of one’, so I guess I’m safe :-)

        • 59 Norris

          Oh, over there.  I thought you meant here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.zamecki Joe Zamecki

    I see religious graffiti all the time, here in Austin. All kinds from all approaches too. 

    “God loves you.” “Gay for Satan.” “God is dead.” and a variety of different kinds of crosses and other religious looking cryptic runes. lol 

    I was considering making a video showing some of those religious tags, and now I think I will.  Gotta document the insanity, and then clean it up, quick.

    • Timothy

      That would be interesting to see.

  • Luc Leblanc

    Let’s see if the nearest church will pick-up the bill.

  • Luc Leblanc

    Let’s see if the nearest church will pick-up the bill.

  • Pinko

    Nooooooooooooo!  I live in Washington and I didn’t hear about this.  :/

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

      Yeah, you’d think this would have made the news…

  • Pinko

    Nooooooooooooo!  I live in Washington and I didn’t hear about this.  :/

  • Blake Smith

    That isn’t vandalism. It is eVANDgALISM.

  • Jon

    I really don’t believe this; I suspect the purpose of this graffiti wasn’t really Christian but a passive-aggressive attempt at slandering the Christian community in order to elicit a reaction.

    C’mon people, I can see right through this. Look at the number, the coverage, and the overall  obviousness here. This reminds of a news story a few years back of an African-American family that reported spray painted swastikas and hate messages on their house….turns out it was the family that did it.

    I love the automatic reactions here “Yeah! There were NO NEWS STORIES ABOUT THIS BECAUSE IT WAS CHRISTIAN VANDALISM!!!! THAT SHOWS HOW MUCH WE ARE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST!!!”

    C’mon people, stop it with the self-martyrdom.

    • Jon

      And you know, I’d say the same thing if it were obvious that a church spray painted satanic, atheist, whatever, etc messages/graffiti all over their landmarks and what not. But this is just so obviously fake to me that i’m surprised everyone is jumping on the bandwagon of pointing out how there was no news coverage or how the churches should take care of this.


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