A Republican Congressman has sent Attorney General William Barr a letter urging the Justice Department to continue protecting religious freedoms amid a “disturbing trend” of Catholic Churches being targeted across the country.
Republican Tennessee Rep. Chuck Fleischmann sent the letter Wednesday, addressing the multiple attacks on Catholic Churches that have been reported throughout the last two months, calling the incidents a “disturbing trend.”
Today, I sent a letter to AG Barr urging the DOJ to protect religious freedom & combat religious discrimination in the U.S.
— Chuck Fleischmann (@RepChuck) August 5, 2020
“Since June, there have been nearly a dozen reported attacks on Catholic Churches around the nation. These disturbing attacks range from arson to the beheading of a statue of the Virgin Mary,” the letter reads.
“I find these attacks to be a disturbing trend, happening in multiple areas across the nation, including within my own congressional district.”
The incidents include arson, vandalism, and attempted murder, and have spanned from June into August. In June, a man was arrested after spraypainting swastikas and anti-Catholic language on gravestones at a Catholic college in Rhode Island. A statue of Jesus Christ was vandalized in Miami in July, and a Virgin Mary statue was beheaded in Chattanooga around that same time, prompting Fleischmann to issue a statement in July condemning the incident as “among a series” of attacks on Catholic Churches. (RELATED: Republican Congressman Calls Out ‘Disturbing Attack’ On Catholic Statue)
Most recently, police and arson experts began investigating a fire set at a Catholic Church in Massachusetts between Sunday and Monday, suspecting it was caused by a Molotov cocktail. Less than a month prior, a statue of the Virgin Mary was set ablaze at a different church in the Archdiocese of Boston, which is being investigated as a hate crime.
Damage at this church in Weymouth after police believe someone tried to set it on fire.
The Catholic Action League says this is the 6th Catholic institution in our area to be a target of vandalism or arson.
— Litsa Pappas (@LitsaPappas) August 4, 2020
“There is definitely cause for concern about a rise of hostility towards religion given the apparent rise in vandalism happening in places of worship,” Fleischmann told the Daily Caller. “These acts of vandalism are happening across the nation, including in Chattanooga, that’s why I sent the letter to the DOJ. We must be vocal in condemning any act of vandalism to any house of worship, they are sacred, it should not be tolerated.”
President Donald Trump’s campaign condemned the onslaught of violence against houses of worship in an exclusive comment to the Daily Caller News Foundation in July, calling the “rise in violence” an “epidemic across the country led by radical leftists hell-bent on destroying the very moral fabrics of our nation.”