Acts of Violence Against Churches, Pro-Life Centers Intensify

CatholicVote launches a campaign calling for government action to stop attacks on churches nationwide.

Three suspects are seen in a security camera photo during a Feb. 22 vandalism spree at Holy Family Catholic Church in Jacksonville, Florida.
Three suspects are seen in a security camera photo during a Feb. 22 vandalism spree at Holy Family Catholic Church in Jacksonville, Florida. (photo: Father David Keegan)

In the last two years, incidents of vandalism against pro-life organizations and Catholic churches have become commonplace. Especially since news of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling was leaked, the political and physical attacks by abortion advocates such as the domestic terrorist organization Jane’s Revenge have reached new levels: Since May 2022, there have been 64 incidents of vandalism against pro-life organizations and pregnancy resource centers. During the same period, 69 Catholic churches have been burned or vandalized.

And CatholicVote, the nonprofit political advocacy group, wants to know: What is our government doing to protect against these attacks? The Biden administration has thus far done nothing to protect Catholic churches and pro-life centers from these acts of domestic terrorism. “It’s a punch in the gut,” said CatholicVote president Brian Burch, “to see our nation’s second Catholic president, reportedly a ‘devout Catholic,’ refuse to do anything.” Burch noted that enforcement of the law against pro-abortion advocates would clearly be unpopular with the extreme progressives of the Democratic Party.

In December 2021, CatholicVote sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice (DOJ), calling on them to act, pointing to a federal statute that requires the Attorney General to investigate and prosecute such crimes. “The violence we are seeing today,” wrote Burch, “is quickly rising to levels that haven’t been seen since the late 1800s and early 1900s from organized groups such as the Know-Nothings and the Ku Klux Klan.”

Additionally, 124 House Republicans sent a letter to Garland on June 15 expressing their concern about the attacks on religious organizations and crisis pregnancy centers. They called on the Department of Justice to respond, reporting on how its National Security Division plans to investigate these acts of domestic terrorism.

It seemed, at first, that the government might respond and take action. CatholicVote received a response from Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, promising a “15-day review to ensure that all appropriate resources are being deployed to protect houses of worship.”

But nothing has happened. So on Aug. 17, CatholicVote launched the largest media campaign in the organization’s history — a seven-figure advertising campaign featuring a television spot titled “Churches Burning.” It will run on TV in Arizona and Wisconsin, which are hot spots for anti-abortion violence, as well as in Washington, D.C., where legislators from across the nation can watch. The ad can also be seen online.

CatholicVote’s ad contrasts President Biden with his predecessor, the first Catholic president, John F. Kennedy. Burch noted that while not everyone agreed with every aspect of Kennedy’s presidency and his personal life, he had no problem defending what should be sacrosanct in this country. The contrast between Joe Biden and JFK is clear, when it comes to protecting American citizens and churches from attack.


How Can Catholics Help?

Burch listed several ways that concerned Catholics might help to draw attention to pro-abortion violence, and might persuade their public officials to act. 

First, spread the story. Every American, and especially Catholics, should share the information regarding the number of attacks occurring. Most Americans have no idea of the size, scope and breadth of attacks on our churches nationwide. (CatholicVote has published convenient “tracker maps” on their website, showing attacks on churches as well as pregnancy centers and pro-life groups. The maps are updated regularly; and readers are encouraged to share this information.)

Second, contact your legislators, telling them that you want action. Contact information is available by state at the CatholicVote website, or concerned citizens can contact their local legislators directly.

The ‘Christ in Death’ statue after restoration is on display at the Cathedral of St. Mary in Fargo, North Dakota.

Grandmother and Her Grandchildren Work to Restore Fargo Cathedral Statue Destroyed by Vandal

Marilyn Loegering’s artistic talents have been put to work for years at the Cathedral of St. Mary in Fargo, North Dakota, keeping the statues and artwork in the sanctuary looking their best. So when Loegering was asked by church staff to try to restore the ‘Christ in Death’ statue, she knew it was the perfect opportunity to bring in some help — her grandchildren, a niece, and a friend.