A lot of these hate crimes are false: Noises that turn out to be garage pulls, bleach attacks that were staged, graffiti that turned out to have been left by the assumed “victim” herself. Though there are real hate crimes that occur in America, and the best way to tell they’re genuine is that the press isn’t talking about them — or isn’t talking about them genuinely. Though few may understand it, over only the past six weeks America has undergone a vicious spate of hate crimes targeting Catholics in the United States.
In the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn, a vandal hopped the fence enclosing St. Athanasius Church, toppled a beautiful wooden crucifix, breaking it, and then for some reason burned an American flag.
In the nearby Windsor Terrace neighborhood, in the calm garden of a church administrative building, a sculpture of the baby Jesus in his mother’s arms was beheaded.
A week before that, in San Diego, California, three of the century-old stained glass windows in Sacred Heart Catholic Church were smashed, although the vandal wasn’t done: A sculpture of a kneeling St. Juan Diego, the first indigenous American saint, was killed with a stolen fire extinguisher and a dozen other windows were broken.
One day before that, back in Brooklyn, a statue of Fr. Jerzy Popiełuszko, a Polish martyr beaten to death in 1984 by Communist officials for attempting to stand for freedom, was spray-painted with anti-Polish messages and covered in garbage. It wasn’t the first time it had been hit: In 1990, a vandal spray-painted on the names of Stalin and Lenin, two butchers of the Christian faithful.
On the night of May 2, at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Waltham, Massachusetts, a sculpture of Christ was decapitated in its church garden.
The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts announced when they first began tracking anti-Catholic attacks in the Bay State five years ago, there was roughly one a year. Since then, they have steadily risen. In the past year, there have been 15 attacks — only in Massachusetts.
In March, there were attacks in Boston, Fort Worth, Texas and Spokane, Washington. In February, in Youngstown, Ohio, Floyds Knobs, Indiana, Denver, Colorado and El Paso, Texas. In January, a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe — the patron of the Americas and a very valuable image especially across Latin America — was shot six times at Houston’s Queen of Peace Catholic Church, there was a graffiti and arson attack on a cathedral in Toledo, Ohio and vulgar Marxist messages scrawled on St. Patrick’s in Manhattan. All told, in the past year there have been at least 67 anti-Catholic attacks nationwide.