Church Sign Promoting Vaccines Vandalized With 'Mark of the Beast' Bible Verse

A New Orleans church sign encouraging vaccinations against COVID-19 was defaced on Friday with a painted "mark of the beast" bible verse.

No details were available about who spray-painted the changeable letterboard sign that was set up in front of the First Grace United Methodist Church and read "Love thy neighbor. Get Vaccinated."

The Bible verse "Revelations 13:17" that was painted across the sign reads: "And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." Some biblical scholars acknowledge " beast" as a reference to the Antichrist and the mark mentioned in the verse is used to identify followers of the Antichrist, according to Fox8 Live.

Shawn Moses Anglim, the church's pastor, posted pictures of the vandalism on Facebook, including a picture that showed "faith over fear" painted on the pathway in front of the church.

"There is a lot of anger out there...we need to be praying for each other...," Anglim said on Facebook referring to the defaced signs. "Make today a day of prayer for those who experience and see the world differently from you...ask that God will help you empathize with them, and to turn the other cheek and keep walking in truth and faith and kindness... God loves you and there is nothing you can do about it."

Later on Friday, Anglim posted on Facebook that members of the congregation restored the signs and the pathway.

The vandalism at the First Grace United Methodist Church comes as COVID-19 cases continue to spread nationwide with some still strongly against getting the COVID vaccine. On Thursday, a Texas GOP official died of COVID-19 just days after sharing a meme on Facebook criticizing the use of vaccines.

H. Scott Apley, who was a Dickinson City councilman and member of the Republican Executive Committee in Texas, shared a screenshot of a tweet questioning the role and effectiveness of COVID vaccinations.

"In 6 months, we've gone from the vax ending the pandemic — to you can still get COVID even if vaxxed — to you can pass COVID onto others even if vaxxed — to you can still die of COVID even if vaxxed — to the unvaxxed are killing the vaxxed," the message read.

The Delta variant, first identified at the end of last year, has spread faster than any previous strain of COVID-19. It has driven up infection rates in every state of the U.S., prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to once again recommend universal mask-wearing.

However, some scientists have previously told Newsweek that a COVID-19 variant worse than Delta may be on the horizon. The Delta outbreak is going to get worse, according to Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist who leads the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

Anglim didn't immediately respond to Newsweek's request for comments about the vandalism at his church.

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COVID-19 cases surge as the Delta variant continues to spread nationwide Spencer Platt / Staff Getty Images