After House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy shamed Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, for not standing up to the mobs who have been tearing down statues of St. Junipero Serra in California, Pelosi dismissed the critique of her silence.
“Given that today is the Feast Day of Saint Junipero Serra, her condemnation of mob violence would be especially timely,” McCarthy said. “Today should be a day for celebration. Instead, we’ve recently seen a violent left-wing mob tear down the statue of Father Serra in Speaker Pelosi’s district in San Francisco, California.”
Pelosi responded that the toppling of the statues was not a priority of hers, “I’m trying to save the world from coronavirus,” Pelosi told the Washington Examiner. “I have no interest in about (sic) McCarthy, who hasn’t had the faintest idea of our dynamic in our district.”
Almost two weeks ago, a mob of about 200 people vandalized and toppled a statue of Father Junípero Serra in Pelosi’s hometown of San Francisco in Golden Gate Park. A day later, in downtown Los Angeles, more protesters yanked a Saint Junipero Serra statue off its pedestal at a park near Olvera Street.
Pelosi’s indifference to a hero and saint to Hispanic-Americans and canonized by the first Latin American Pope, Pope Francis, is a sharp turn from 2015, when Pelosi and presidential candidate, Joe Biden, honored St. Junipero’s statue during Pope Francis’ historic visit to the US and canonization ceremony with Pope Francis inside the US Capitol.
— batzion (@batzion) June 20, 2020
From 1769 to 1782, Saint Junípero Serra founded nine Spanish missions in California. Father Serra served the Indians by evangelizing, educating, providing food and shelter, and even jobs. He was instrumental in teaching the Indians about agriculture, which allowed them to advance beyond a hunter-gatherer society.
Saint Junipero Serra, a Franciscan, was a defender of Native Americans against the violence and prejudice of Spanish government authorities, displayed as he vigorously upheld the rights of native tribes. When a friend and colleague of his was killed by an Indian, the Indian was executed. Serra was morally opposed to the execution and fervently argued against the death penalty, saying that he founded the missions to save lives not take them. Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles points out, that Serra’s argument was one of the first denouncements of capital punishment in Western culture. Pope Francis stated that Father Serra, “sought to defend the dignity of the Indigenous people he evangelized.”
The Hispanic Council, a think tank whose mission is to share and preserve Hispanic heritage of the United States, said in a fiery statement, “This new attack on his figure lacks historical rigor. It’s also an attack on the Hispanic legacy of the United States and California, which must be respected and cherished, as Junipero himself represented in his time of dedication and service to the native population.”
Once again, we witness with sadness the tearing down of the statue of another Hispanic figure from the USA, in this case the one of Father Junípero Serra.
— The Hispanic Council (@HispanicCouncil) June 20, 2020
Even the Spanish Embassy to the United States pleaded on Twitter with the United States to respect St. Serra’s legacy and the positive role he played in US history, “We deeply regret the destruction of the statue of Saint Junípero Serra in San Francisco today, and would like to offer a reminder of his great efforts in support of indigenous communities.” The Spanish Embassy appealed to American leaders to put an end to the disrespect writing, “We are also expressing our deep concern regarding these attacks to federal, state, and local authorities, asking that the memory of our rich shared history be protected, always with the utmost respect for the debates currently taking place.”
(1/4) We deeply regret the destruction of the statue of Saint Junípero Serra in San Francisco today, and would like to offer a reminder of his great efforts in support of indigenous communities.
Thread ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/qJOmsjorjS
— Embassy of Spain USA (@SpainInTheUSA) June 20, 2020
Instead of addressing the flagrant disrespect and diplomatic incident, San Fransisco Mayor London Breeds sided with protesters in a statement writing, “There is very real pain in this country rooted in our history of slavery and oppression, especially against African-Americans and Indigenous people. I know that pain all too well.”
Breeds went on to denounce the damage and to remind protesters that vandalism takes away tax dollars that could go to the African American community. She ended by urging the vandals to consult city authorities before taking down statues on their own. Pelosi agreed, saying, “I think we should all review the statues and make decisions. I do agree they should come down more carefully.”
Neither Pelosi or Breeds have responded to the diplomatic pleas of the Spanish Embassy, the tens of thousands of disrespected Hispanic-Americans, Pope Francis, or one billion Catholics world-wide.