A Tennessee politician is calling on the Department of Justice to launch an investigation on the “disturbing trend” of attacks against churches across the country.
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) sent a letter earlier this week to U.S. Attorney General William Barr, in which he wrote, “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.”
“I find these attacks to be a disturbing trend,” he continued, “happening in multiple areas across the nation, including within my own congressional district.”
Last month, a cluster of Catholic churches from coast-to-coast were damaged by arsons and vandalizations, though the incidents received scant media coverage.
The wreckage began on the heels of comments from radical provocateur Shaun King, who called for all images and statues depicting Jesus as “European” to be torn down because they represent “white supremacy” and “racist propaganda.”
In addition to the rash of attacks on churches, statues of the Virgin Mary have also been targeted for destruction. Memorials to Catholic saints have are being destroyed as well.
A San Francisco statue of Catholic missionary St. Junipero Serra, for example, was toppled by about 100 rioters who argued he discriminated against and persecuted Native Americans, despite evidence he defended their rights.
Additionally, Serra, a Franciscan friar, is known for bringing the Christian faith to this part of North America. From 1769 until 1782, he worked alongside the Spanish military to establish nine of the Franciscan missions still operating today in California.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has fueled the attacks on Catholic statues.
Late last month, the self-avowed Democratic socialist said a statue of a Catholic saint who sacrificed his life to help lepers in Hawaii should be removed from the statuary hall in the U.S. Capitol because the memorial is a symbol of “patriarchy and white supremacist culture.”
Father Damien, it should be noted, ultimately contracted leprosy, now known as Hansen’s disease, and died from the illness after ministering exclusively to lepers from 1873 until 1889, the year he passed away.
As for Fleischmann, who is Catholic, he argued the attacks on churches are coming amid “times of uncertainty” when “we naturally turn to religion for comfort and peace.”
“These attacks add another level of distress for many across our nation,” he wrote in his letter to Barr, whom he praised for “combating religious discrimination.”
“I look forward to our continued work together to uphold and protect religious freedom in the United States,” added the lawmaker.