Catholic group blames DOJ for lax investigations as church vandalism soars; crickets from AG Garland

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(Video Credit: Fox News)

CatholicVote, a Roman Catholic organization, condemned the Department of Justice for its lame approach to investigating soaring vandalism against church symbols after several statues were recently destroyed in Fairfax County, Virginia.

After the disturbing incident occurred, DOJ officials claimed that they launched a 15-day review, while noting recent hate crimes. They reportedly refused to be forthcoming concerning the specifics of the investigation.

“Last month we alerted Attorney General Merrick Garland to the disturbing rash of attacks on Catholic symbols, shrines, statues, and churches across the country and asked that the Department of Justice investigate,” Brian Burch, who is the president of the organization, said in a statement.

“Yet, as more and more incidents of vandalism targeting Catholics are reported, the Biden administration continues to turn a blind eye; choosing instead to devote resources to investigating parents who simply want a say in their children’s education,” he added.

The comment by Burch referred to a DOJ memo announcing an investigation into “violent threats against school board members” days after the National School Boards Association sent a letter that compared concerned parents to domestic terrorists. The letter was later rescinded by the NSBA and an apology was issued.

CatholicVote sent Garland a letter in December of 2021, urging the DOJ to investigate the trend of anti-Catholic vandalism. The organization cited at least 114 instances since May of 2020. That number has now risen to 120 in the last few weeks.

“Thank you for your letter of December 15, 2021. Two days after learning of this correspondence, the Attorney General ordered a 15-day review to ensure that all appropriate resources are being deployed to protect houses of worship,” Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said in a response on Jan. 28 that was provided to Fox News.

“We share your concern with and commitment to preventing and addressing acts of vandalism, property destruction, and other incidents that target religious symbols, shrines, statues, or churches. The Department is taking numerous steps to address such violence, consistent with our commitment to combat unlawful acts of hate in all their forms,” Gupta vaguely replied.

She went on to contend that the DOJ has “successfully pursued and prosecuted a number of religiously motivated hate crimes in recent years.” Gupta pointed out multiple instances where the DOJ pursued and prosecuted individuals who committed hate crimes against churches. She also put forth that the DOJ provides training and education to help protect houses of worship and faith communities.

Burch was not happy with the DOJ’s response and said it “raises serious concerns about the administration’s commitment to protecting the First Amendment rights of all people of faith.”

“We again call on the Department of Justice to investigate these hate-filled attacks which appear driven by animosity directed specifically at Catholics,” he stated.

Footage has also surfaced showing a man taking a hammer to an Our Lady of Fatima statue at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC.

(Video Credit: OfficialDCPolice)

“In the past year, we have witnessed — among other things — in California, statues of Father Junipero Serra toppled in protest of what activists have called the ‘enslavement’ of Native Americans,” Burch remarked to Fox News. “A monument for ‘babies whose lives are ended by abortion’ was knocked over at Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Bloomingburg, New York. The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver, Colorado, was recently marked with Satanic graffiti.”

“I am so saddened by this act of disrespect and destruction of property,” the Rev. Bob Cilinski wrote in an email to congregants concerning the vandalism to the Nativity Catholic Church in Burke, Virginia. “The statues damaged are images of the Blessed Mother and the children she appeared to at Fatima. The police were notified and came out to document the vandalism and begin their investigation. Unfortunately, the statues damaged are not repairable. The statues will be removed and we will work to replace them.”

“The vandalism of a statue of Our Blessed Mother at the Church of the Nativity is a tragic and senseless defacing of the sacred,” Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of the Arlington diocese declared in a statement given to Fox News. “Mary stands as a symbol of peace in a world that needs her now more than ever. I ask that others join me in prayer for the perpetrator, as any motive behind such an act reflects a troubled soul in need of Our Lord.”

Any violence leveled against Catholic churches and sacred objects is unacceptable, especially in a nation that was founded on religious freedom and built up by the charitable works of people of faith,” Grazie Poso Christie, who is a senior fellow at The Catholic Association, said in an interview with Fox News. “But the number of attacks targeting Catholic churches is highly alarming and the Biden administration ought to investigate.”


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