If you’ve been trapped in an airport, incarcerated abroad, or in some other way been forced to watch CNN over the past few years you may have heard that America is suffering from a surge of “hate crimes.”
A lot of these hate crimes are fake: Nooses that turn out to be garage pulls, bleach attacks that were staged, graffiti that turned out to have been left by the supposed “victim” herself. But there are real hate crimes that take place in America, and the best way to tell they’re real is that the press isn’t talking about them — or isn’t talking about them honestly. But while few may know it, over just the past six weeks America has seen a vicious spate of hate crimes targeting Catholics in the United States.
In the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn, a vandal hopped the fence surrounding St. Athanasius Church, toppled a beautiful wooden crucifix, shattering it, and then for some reason burned an American flag.
In the nearby Windsor Terrace neighborhood, in the peaceful garden of a church administrative building, a statue of the baby Jesus in his mother’s arms was beheaded.
A week before that, in San Diego, California, three of the century-old stained glass windows in Sacred Heart Catholic Church were shattered, but the vandal wasn’t done: A statue of a kneeling St. Juan Diego, the first indigenous American saint, was decapitated with a stolen fire extinguisher and a dozen other windows were smashed.
One day before that, back in Brooklyn, a statue of Fr. Jerzy Popiełuszko, a Polish martyr beaten to death in 1984 by Communist authorities for daring to stand for freedom, was spray-painted with anti-Polish messages and covered in trash. It wasn’t the first time it had been attacked: In 1990, a vandal spray-painted on the names of Stalin and Lenin, two butchers of the Christian faithful.
On the night of May 2, at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Waltham, Massachusetts, a statue of Christ was decapitated in its church garden.
The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts said when they first started tracking anti-Catholic attacks in the Bay State five years ago, there was about one a year. Since then, they have steadily increased. In the past year, there have been 15 attacks — just in Massachusetts.
In March, there were attacks in Boston, Fort Worth, Texas and Spokane, Washington. In February, in Youngstown, Ohio, Floyds Knobs, Indiana, Denver, Colorado and El Paso, Texas. In January, a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe — the patron of the Americas and a very important image particularly across Latin America — was shot six times at Houston’s Queen of Peace Catholic Church, there was a graffiti and arson attack on a cathedral in Toledo, Ohio and vulgar Marxist messages scrawled on St. Patrick’s in Manhattan. All told, in the past year there have been at least 67 anti-Catholic attacks nationwide.
The term “hate crime” gets used too often these days. More often enough than not, if you hear the term “hate crime” you can rightly assume it’s an attention-seeking fraud by the loudest “victim” in the room, be they a student at Harvard or an actor in Hollywood.
So why use the term at all? Because the above are crimes committed with the intention of instilling fear among Catholics: To let us know that the Church is not welcome here, to let us all know that Christianity — in its oldest and most visible institution — is not welcome here, and to let you know that God and beauty and morality and freedom and dignity and God’s faithful are a target in your community.
But it’s not just about vandalism and wanton desecration: There’s an even darker aura emanating from our nation’s halls of power. In 2017, when future Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett was first nominated to the Court of Appeals, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein complained that “the dogma lives loudly” within her.
In 2019, President Donald Trump nominated Brian Buescher for a federal court seat. Buescher was, and is, a member of the Catholic men’s organization the Knights of Columbus, and to Sen. Mazie Hirono and then-Sen. Kamala Harris, that made him an extremist, unwelcome in American life.
Harris peppered Buescher with questions about the group. Was he aware, she asked, that the Knights of Columbus are opposed to abortion? Was he aware, she asked, that the Knights of Columbus think marriage involves one biologically male-at-birth man being bound to one biologically female-at-birth woman? Was. He. Aware. That the Knights of Columbus believe in the teachings of the Catholic Church, unchanged for millennia?
According to Hirono, these teachings were “extreme positions” unworthy of a federal judge to hold. Presumably, that means that any sincere Catholic is unfit for any office. And in this new United States that the left is building, that is exactly the case.
It’s especially sinister that this is happening while supposed Catholics hold the nation’s highest offices. Last summer, an Antifa mob in San Francisco ripped down a statue of St. Junipero Serra. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who calls herself a Catholic, ignored the incident. “I’m trying to save the world from coronavirus,” she said when asked on the Feast of St. Serra about the attacks on the religion she pretends to believe and in the district she pretends to represent. Three days later, another mob in Sacramento, California toppled another statue of Serra.
Who was Junipero Serra? He was a missionary who, in the 18th century, traveled from California to Mexico City by foot to plead the case of the American Indians and to protest their mistreatment by Spanish soldiers. It was a perilous journey he took, there and back, to aide a suffering people he dedicated his life to helping.
Pelosi likely knows this. Rewind just a few years, and there’s a photo of then-Speaker of the House John Boehner, Rep. Steve Scalise, and Pope Francis reflecting in front of a Vatican statue to this great man. Who’s standing right next to them in deep reflection? Then-Vice President Joe Biden and then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
2015: Nancy Pelosi & Joe Biden view St. Junípero Serra statue with Pope Francis.
2020: St. Junípero Serra statue is torn down in Pelosi's hometown and they don't even care. pic.twitter.com/vmd9DSosf7
— Mark Bednar (@MarkBednar) June 23, 2020
But now, back in power, Pelosi is happy to indulge teenagers, man-children and violent, anti-Catholic bigots who are happy to commit targeted and hateful destruction while claiming it’s all for the benefit of distant indigenous peoples they claim to represent. Neither she nor now-President Biden are hapless bystanders — they’re among the most powerful people in the world.
Trump wasn’t Catholic and never much pretended to be a devout man, but when Catholics were attacked, and when the Christian church across the street from the White House was set ablaze, he spoke up loudly, he stood up to the hateful masked thugs, and he gave leave for enforcement to do the same.
Biden says he’s a Catholic but seems to care about attacks on Catholic symbols and Catholic officials as little as he cares about Catholic beliefs. Search online for then-candidate Biden’s harsh condemnation of the desecration of St. Serra’s statue, its toppling, and the threats to return to break into the church and scatter the saint’s remains into the Pacific Ocean. The only thing you’ll find if you search this is his picture looking solemn for the Vatican photo-op in 2015.
“The devil has changed his tactics,” Msgr. Charles Pope, a Capitol Hill priest and one of the archdiocese’ three exorcists, said in late 2020. “He’s no longer hiding in the shadows.”
It’s a frightening thought, but isn’t surprising. Since 2016, influential members of America’s elite in politics, media, entertainment and business have excused and even encouraged violence in America, and under this elite cover, anti-Christian attacks have multiplied and spread.
Satan isn’t afraid right now, and why would he be? Evil is taught so freely in our society it’s celebrated and those who stand up for innocent life, traditional marriage, the family, man and woman, and Christianity are hated. It makes sense that they’re hated, too: When you live in darkness so long your eyes get used to it, the light burns.
It’s sad, because when people are in need, when legal or illegal immigrants need help, when our communities are suffering from homeless and drugs and hungry, and when people are victimized by bigotry, Catholics are — and have long been — on the the front line.
When Catholic leaders have marched against violence and hate and hunger, politicians have been proud to walk with them. When the clergy gives communion during Mass, politicians have been eager to be seen in line. After all, they like the photos such opportunities provide. But when churches are desecrated, when believers are humiliated, when The Washington Post came after a local D.C. priest for tending his flock during lockdowns, those same politicians lick their fingers, put them in the air, and decide to keep quiet.