MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – An atheist in northern Minnesota says his truck was vandalized over the Easter weekend with messages telling him that if he “doesn’t like God” he should pack up and leave.
Jeff Carter woke up Saturday morning to find his pickup covered with raw egg, dashes of flour and graffitied statements such as “God is great” and “Jesus is life.” His atheist bumper stickers were torn off.
“Loving Christians?” Carter wrote that morning in a Facebook post containing several images of his defaced truck. By Monday, the post had been shared nearly 16,000 times.
The Crookston Police Department is investigating the incident, according to a Bemidji Pioneer report.
In a follow-up Facebook post on Easter Sunday, Carter said he did not feel persecuted by the Christians in his community for his open atheism. Instead, he said the vandalism was likely the work of “a handful of idiots.”
“I have received hundreds of messages from absolute strangers offering to pay for damage to my truck…and apologizing for what happened,” he wrote. “Nobody owes me an apology for this except the people that did it. It really is no big deal.”
Carter has lived in Crookston for six years, according to the Bemidji Pioneer report. He told the newspaper that “quite a few” people treat him like an outsider due to his lack of belief.
“I’ll get a middle finger every once in a while, or my girlfriend will get yelled at occasionally,” he said.
Still, he says that he gets on well with most of his religious neighbors.
“I’m not trying to offend people,” he said. “I just want to make it socially acceptable for someone to be open about their disbelief and religion.”
Carter says the paint and egg washed off his truck and that now it looks “brand new.” He plans to replace his atheist bumper stickers by the end of the week.