Rubio Demands Biden Protect US Catholic Churches Amid Violence, Vandalism

Rubio Demands Biden Protect US Catholic Churches Amid Violence, Vandalism

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
March 7, 2024

The Catholic Church in America has been a victim of attacks and vandalism since May 2020. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) recently wrote a letter to President Biden demanding he step up efforts to protect churches and prosecute the perpetrators, saying he has " a responsibility to protect Americans from harm."

Sen. Rubio highlighted several of the most egregious acts of violence and vandalism inflicted on Catholic churches, including a July 2020 church burning in California. In May 2021, another incident had a statue of the infant Christ beheaded in Brooklyn. Three months later, in August 2021, a woman attempted to burn a statue of the Virgin Mary in the Bronx. More recently, a Boston man broke the arms off of a statue of Jesus in October.

Acts of violence mentioned by Sen. Rubio include the July 2020 case of Steven Shields, who deliberately crashed his car into the Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Ocala, and the July 2023 Louisiana attack of Father Stephen Ugwu, hospitalized after a man attacked him with a machete.

"These attacks are not random nor are they the result of a temporary lapse in judgment by perpetrators. They are motivated by a deep and abiding animosity towards religious institutions and people of faith," said Rubio in his letter.

Despite this, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has monitored Catholics for supposed "domestic extremism," while pro-life Catholics have been arrested for praying outside of abortion clinics. Rubio did not let this slip by, saying, "This imbalanced enforcement is despicable, and it undermines any notion that your U.S. Department of Justice enforces the law without bias or prejudice."

"You have a responsibility to protect Americans from harm. I demand you condemn the growing number of attacks on Catholic churches and make combating these incidents an urgent priority for your administration by prosecuting each and every offender to the fullest extent of the law," Rubio concluded.

In February, Rubio's colleague Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) demanded an investigation into the FBI's Catholic spying scandal, saying, "The FBI must provide an immediate explanation for its order to delete records related to this incident, which not only obstructs congressional oversight, but also means the FBI’s internal review itself did not have access to documents that may have provided critical information on the incident."

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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