COLUMBIA FALLS, Mont. — Police are investigating after more than a dozen Christian billboards have been vandalized over the past two months in a park in Montana.
The “God’s Ten Commandments Park” was created on a 10-acre plot of land in Columbia Falls last summer and features numerous billboards proclaiming Christian messages for all to read.
“God’s Ten Commandments are like signposts, along the road of life, to guide us on the road so as to complete the course and finish the race,” the website for the park reads. Owner Phillip Klevmoen, a horse rancher, also creates signs for others to post out of their desire to be a witness for Christ.
“We want this to go forward throughout the nation. You can see what’s happening to the country,” he told reporters last year upon completion of the park. “Not only are we forgetting Him, we are kicking Him out of our society.”
Klevmoen acknowledged that he would likely face opposition for the signs, but over the past two months, 17 of his 21 billboards have been defaced by vandals. According to local television station KRTV, the latest attacks took sometime after midnight on Sunday. Klevmoen says that he arrived to find the billboards either disfigured with spray paint or slashed with a knife.
Flathead County Sherriff Chuck Curry told reporters that incidents of vandalism are rare in the area.
“Anything that is a potential hate crime or a crime against anyone’s freedom of expression, religion, are always taken seriously. Fortunately, they’re not common,” he stated.
Police are looking for information regarding the incident. Vandalism causing over $1,500 in damage can be charged as a felony.
Klemoen says that he plans on replacing the billboards, even thought it will be costly to do so.
“We called Billings the other day; they cost 1500 bucks. I don’t pay that much for them, but I want to get them replaced,”he told KRTV. “We’ll probably maybe do new ones, but we’ll probably get more lighting. So it’ll just discourage people to come out and vandalize God’s word, or the Ten Commandments, or the patriotic signs.”
As previously reported, last October, a man in Oklahoma smashed a controversial Ten Commandments monument and urinated on the display, stating that the Devil told him to do it.
Michael Reed, Jr., 30, allegedly drove his car into the monument, located near the state capitol building, and then walked into the federal building and began making threats to kill Barack Obama. He also advised officials that he had drove his car into the Ten Commandments display the night before.
He was taken to a mental facility where he underwent an evaluation and was placed in mental detention.