A synagogue in the town of Carmel, IN, was vandalized with anti-semitic graffiti that included Nazi flags and iron crosses, according to the Indianapolis Star. Police are working with the congregation to investigate.
According to the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, the temple, Congregation Shaarey Tefilla, was vandalized either Friday night or Saturday morning; the vandalism was discovered on Saturday. It was spray-painted on a brick wall that surrounds the temple’s garbage bin. There was a burn mark on the ground in front of the graffiti, and one on the wall as well.
“We are deeply disappointed in the horrific vandalism that occurred at our congregation,” Shaarey Tefilla Rabbi Benjamin Sendrow said in a statement. “Intolerance, hatred, and violent acts against Jews are significant realities today. The response to this heinous act affirms that America is collectively outraged at these hateful acts in our neighborhoods.”
Local and national political figures including Vice President Mike Pence reacted to the story on Sunday.
Indiana is one of five states without a hate crime statute. That means the crime could not be prosecuted as a hate crime, which often brings harsher sentences. In 2009, Pence, then a congressman from Indiana, opposed a bill that would have created such a statute, on the grounds that it would discriminate against churches that disapprove of homosexuality.
Now, nine years later, the state still has no way to prosecute crimes like these, even when they’re directed at Pence’s supposed friends.