Pitt County deputies say they are investigating vandalism at a church overnight as a hate crime.
Vandals spray painted the front sign of the Wesleyan Pentecostal Church of Washington, which is located just inside Pitt County on Highway 264. They also stenciled "Stop Hatin" in spray paint with hearts on a side door of the church.
The changeable sign had posted a controversial message on homosexuality. The vandals used red spray paint to strike through the message, as well as writing "WTF?", an acronym that includes an expletive.
Pastor Daniel Woods, who spent the morning covering up the vandalism, defends his initial message. "We don't believe it's hateful to tell something that is biblical and truthful. And if it is hateful then God himself is hateful, and we don't believe that," Woods told WITN News.
The pastor admits their messages are sometimes controversial. He says in the past people have responded by rearranging or even stealing the sign's letters, but nothing to this extent.
So far there are no suspects in the vandalism.