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Vandals paint Satanic symbol on historic northern Wisconsin church

Glen Moberg

Wisconsin Public Radio

An historic northern Wisconsin church has been vandalized and defaced with a Satanic symbol. 

The Estonian Evangelical Martin Luther Church was built in the Lincoln County community of Gleason in 1914. The church’s website describes it as the oldest Estonian church in North America.

The church is currently being restored.

Last Thursday, vandals painted a pentagram on a church wall, and threw the paint on a large jade cross.

Bill Rebane, who is leading the restoration effort, said vandals have struck the church six times this year. He said the most recent incident was the worst.

"One bucket of green oil paint was thrown against the back wall and covered the jade cross which was handcrafted and somewhat expensive," Rebane said. "The pentagram was painted with a brush on one side of the church walls, and that's really what makes it stand apart from the previous vandalism that took place there. The symbol is the mark of the devil, basically."

Rebane called it a hate crime.

"I can only think of the war on Christianity in America as a whole that seems to be going on. I'm very upset that it could happen in a small rural community and has reached northern Wisconsin," he said.

In previous incidents, vandals damaged headstones and two, 100-year-old church benches.

Lincoln County Sheriff's Department is asking anyone with information to contact them. 

Wisconsin Public Radio, © Copyright 2017, Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System and Wisconsin Educational Communications Board. More WPR news can be found on KUWS-FM 91.3 or wpr.org.

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