White House official: Trump will prosecute ‘sacrilegious acts’ of vandalism against Catholic churches, statues
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WASHINGTON, D.C., July 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― President Donald Trump has promised to bring those caught vandalizing Catholic churches and statues to justice.
According to the Daily Caller, a White House official has stated that the “criminals” who have carried out the violent attacks will be prosecuted “to the fullest extent of the law.”
The unnamed official told the online conservative news magazine that President Trump has joined “the Catholic community in solidarity” during the wave of church-burnings and other desecrations.
“Rest assured, President Trump will always demand law and order in American communities, and ensure the criminals causing these sacrilegious acts will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he said.
Across the United States, Catholic churches, statues, and even gravestones have been defaced or destroyed since mob violence erupted across the U.S. in the wake of the May 25 death of Minneapolis bouncer George Floyd in police custody.
Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King called for the removal of statues, stained glass, and other artwork with depictions of Jesus Christ and His mother Mary as “white” on June 22.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York was vandalized by two teenage Black Lives Matter activists on May 30. Anaya Diaz, 18, and a 17-year-old who could not be named because of her age were charged with criminal mischief.
The St. Gabriel Mission church founded by St. Junipero Serra near what is now Los Angeles almost 250 years ago was badly damaged by fire on July 11, following the desecration of the saint’s statue in Los Angeles and in San Francisco on June 19. After Catholics prevented activists from destroying St. Junipero’s statue in Ventura, CA, the city council approved a decision to remove it to a private location.
Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Ocala, Florida was also damaged on July 11 when 24-year-old Steven Anthony Shield plowed his minivan into the building and allegedly set fire to the foyer with gasoline.
A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary outside Cathedral Prep School and Seminary in Queens, New York City was defaced by graffiti reading “IDOL” on July 10.
Another statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, this one outside St. Peter’s Church in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, was damaged on July 11 when an unknown vandal set fire to plastic flowers in its hands.
A Catholic cemetery in Providence, Rhode Island was attacked on July 15 by 26-year-old Keveon Gomera. The young man allegedly spraypainted swastikas and anti-Catholic graffiti on the headstones of several Domincian friars and a central cross as well as burning a number of American flags in the graveyard. He is also accused of having assaulted a Providence College security guard.
Other Christian churches have been vandalized or damaged by fire in recent weeks, notably St. John’s Episcopalian Church in Washington, D.C. on May 31 and June 22 and Harmony Baptist Church in Rogersville, Missouri on July 5.
On June 26, the American president signed an executive order demanding that jail terms be handed out to people who desecrate public monuments. According to White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, the Order directs the federal government to prosecute anyone who damages or defaces religious property and to withhold support from state and local governments that do not protect public or religious property from harm.
McEnany’s statement recognized that for five weeks there had been a “sustained assault” on the lives and property of Americans by “rioters, arsonists[,] and left-wing extremists” trying to force an anti-American ideology upon the wider public.
“President Trump will never allow violence to control our streets, rewrite our history, or harm the American way of life,” it stated.