Church Persecuted February 18, 2024

This is part 3 of a continuing series on the USCCB’s annual report on The State of Religious Liberty in The U.S. See the 1/28/24 and 2/4/24 columns for parts 1 and 2.

Chapter VI reports on National Trends in Politics, Culture, and Law. Some of these items have been previously reported in this column, but it would be good to take a glance and see what the USCCB considers to be important threats to our religious liberty.

(1)  Antisemitism and Anti-Muslim Sentiment which dramatically increased with the heinous attack by Hamas against Israel on October 7, 2023. In a Senate hearing, FBI Director Christopher Wray called antisemitism to be near “historic levels.” What is particularly troubling is that the protests on college campuses and major cities against our Jewish brethren have basically gone unchecked. Nowadays “a Jew may fear for his safety wearing a yarmulke in public or while attending services at his synagogue….”

(2)  Vandalism and attacks on churches and pro-life pregnancy centers have increased at an alarming rate. In an FBI report on hate crimes for 2022, “a higher proportion of anti-Catholic crimes were property crimes – nearly 755 – than for any other bias.” Prior to Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, “the bulk of the vandalism was against church and religious icons or images. After that decision, the offenses were also aimed at pregnancy help centers. “If abortion isn’t safe, then neither are you,” was a popular slogan spray-painted on the walls. Ohio saw an increase in vandalism prior to their vote on a right to abortion in their state constitution. With the exception of two instances, the governments at all levels failed “to apprehend and prosecute the perpetrators of such attacks, in contrast with the numerous charges brought against pro-life protestors outside abortion clinics.

To be continued next week. See https://www.usccb.org/committees/religious-liberty/2024-annual-report for the full report.

Section II. Special Column

Section III. Chronology of Attacks on Catholic Church Facilities and Statues

Section IV. Previous Church Persecuted Columns and Various Religious Liberty Articles