US Church Attacks: US ‘Cultural Crisis’ Perplexes Religious Leaders | world | News

Washington: Man Damages Religious Statue in 2021

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) recorded 128 incidents since May 2020, covering 35 US states. Religious leaders from across the Atlantic, including Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila, have rated the series of attacks as a “cultural crisis” for the country, but they cannot be sure of the motives behind the incidents.

Some have involved smashing shop windows, theft of religious property, or even arson.

Millions of dollars in damage was the result of an attack on a Catholic school in the state of Ohio, and a 250-year-old church was burned down in California.

Among the victims of the baffling attacks was the national basilica in Washington DC, where an unidentified man hit a marble statue in the sanctuary.

He was caught on CCTV destroying the statue of Our Lady of Fatima in December 2021.

An unidentified man hit a marble statue in the National Basilica (Image: Fox 5 DC)

national basilica

The National Basilica in Washington DC was a target (Image: Getty)

Defacement of statues is an emerging theme in the attacks, according to USCCB religious liberty director Dan Balserak.

He told the Telegraph this is “ominous, but also mysterious because it’s not a message that can be intelligible or point to a particular motive.”

He added: “We don’t have an idea if there is a common motive or some sort of master plan in place.”

Balserak suggested that the attacks, looking for the obvious symbols of Catholicism, could be because American society does not understand the place of the church in public life.

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stained glass

The stained glass windows have been destroyed along with the statues. (Image: Getty)

Others have argued that it may be due to the increasingly contentious issue of abortion access in several US states.

Last week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a law banning abortions statewide after 15 weeks, which does not have an exception for pregnancies induced by rape or incest.

Just a few days earlier, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt introduced a bill that constitutes a near total ban on abortion in the state, backed by several religious leaders.

He said Tuesday: “As governor, I represent the 4 million people of Oklahoma and they overwhelmingly support the protection of life in the state of Oklahoma.

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a law banning abortions statewide after 15 weeks. (Image: Getty)

“We want Oklahoma to be the most pro-life state in the country.

“We want to ban abortion in the state of Oklahoma.”

He added: “I know this bill will be immediately challenged by liberal activists from the coast, who always seem to want to come in and dictate, order and challenge our way of life here in the state of Oklahoma.

“The most important thing is to take a stand and protect the unborn and protect life in the state of Oklahoma.”

abortion protest

Some have predicted that the Roe v. Wade, which gives a woman the right to have an abortion, will be revoked. (Image: Getty)

White House press secretary Jen Psaki called the move “one of the most extreme state laws enacted to date.”

With a conservative majority on the Supreme Court, some have predicted that the landmark Roe v. Wade, which gives a woman the right to have an abortion, will be annulled.

With the church’s statements, Mark Haas of the Archdiocese of Denver has said many incidents in Colorado have “anti-Catholic pro-abortion messages.”

He described: “The ones that have been targeted against us have been quite brazen and quite aggressive.”

He added: “Where they’re spray painting messages, it’s usually about abortion.

“Sometimes they make comments related to the church’s history with sexual abuse.”

Jen Psaki, highlighting the White House’s attention to growing attacks on Catholic symbols, said the Biden administration “opposes[s] any destruction or desecration of religious institutions of any kind…and certainly Catholic churches.”

Others have speculated that the cause may be due to the discovery of unmarked graves at sites previously used as residential schools for indigenous children, prompting investigations into possible abuses at these often religiously-led institutions.

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