A statue of Jesus Christ was vandalized Wednesday outside a Catholic Church in Miami, an incident church leaders say they expect to be investigated as a hate crime, WSVN reported.
— Christian De La Rosa (@delarosaWPLG) July 16, 2020
Father Edvaldo DaSilva told WSVN that it’s obvious the statue didn’t topple over on its own, and required significant force by hand. “Seeing what is happening in our country, I presume so, but we don’t have 100% assurance,” he said.
DaSilva, who has been the parochial-vicar of the church for three years, also recalled an incident in Ocala, Florida on Saturday, when Steven Anthony Shields was alleged to have driven his vehicle into a Catholic Church and then lit the foyer area on fire while parishioners were inside preparing for mass. Shields was charged with attempted second-degree murder, among other charges.
“The Archdiocese of Miami expects the police to investigate this desecration of the Jesus Christ statue as a hate crime. This crime reflects the increasing attacks on the Catholic church across the country,” an Archdiocese statement said according to WSVN.
Miami-Dade Police are investigating the incident. Following the desecration of the statue, a sign that reads “God wins over evil” was placed where the statue previously stood.
The vandalism in Miami follows a series of separate incidents, which include multiple statues of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ at Catholic Churches across the country that have been defaced and a fire at the San Gabriel Mission in California, which is being investigated.
Republican Tennessee Rep. Chuck Fleischmann addressed the beheading of a Virgin Mary statue in Chattanooga Recently as being “among a series” of attacks on Catholic Churches that have taken place across the country. (RELATED: Connecticut Catholic Church Vandalized With ‘Anarchist And Satanic Symbols,’ Archdiocese Says)