‘Virgin Mary’ Stain Defaced in Chicago

‘Virgin Mary’ stain defaced, covered in Chicago (Reuters)

A stain under a highway bridge that had drawn hundreds of faithful who thought it resembled the Virgin Mary was painted over by a road crew on Friday after a vandal defaced the image. Chicago police said they charged a 37-year-old man with damage to state property after he used black shoe polish to paint “big lie” on the yellow and white stain which had become the site of an impromptu shrine for the past three weeks. Some wept as a coat of brown paint was rolled over the stain on a wall next to a sidewalk where candles, flowers, pictures and other mementos had been placed.

Engineers had said the stain was most likely caused by a water leak from the road above, mixed with salt that had been used on the highway during the winter. Police did not say what the man’s motive might have been in defacing the image.

I don’t know what’s sadder, that hundreds of people in a developed country can be drawn to pay homage to a water stain or that someone would be so vindictive as to deny them the opportunity. Just pitiful.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. lt bell says:

    what is really sad is that a private person has to be arrested because of some religious nuts
    granting life to a stain the same way they grant
    life to a load of sperm.

    american christians pray at the church of the apostate –

  2. James Joyner says:

    It’s not his property to deface. One can’t go around writing things in shoe polish on public property, “Virgin Mary” stain or no.

  3. carpeicthus says:

    Sad all around. If he felt the need to vandalize, he could have been much more creative, such as by making it look even more explicitly like a vagina.

  4. Just Maybe says:

    The thing is…several people have defaced that property since the “discovery” of the stain. It’s covered in “graffiti.” No one was complaining when they were writing prayers on the wall. Why are they complaining now? It’s not fair to judge him for defacing public property when hundreds have been doing it for weeks. Maybe now people will stop having their children kiss a piss stained wall.

  5. Michael says:

    No fines for the people who put hundreds of burning candles and crap in the road though!!!

  6. Matt Sharkey says:

    Traffic moves again in Chicago!
    Goddammit, it is construction season in Chicago, and a bunch of third-world anamists have to express their bizarre form of idolatry under a bridge! It is already hard to get around in that fair city. Last year they were worshipping at a tree outside a True Value Hardware store in Chicago. I’m sure that the tree with the Immaculate Scar on it is still there. In the Americas, once again the Catholics have destroyed a bunch of native people’s religions and ended up with a bizzare coalescence. In Europe they got a soulstice holiday with bunnies and shit celebrating the death of their savior, while this time they are worshiping any idol that they see that looks like God. Whatever, the real crime is interfering with traffic.

  7. Toad says:

    To answer your question; It’s the people in a developed nation who flock to see a salt stain.