Rep. Chuck Fleischmann Urges Justice Department to Investigate Attacks on Catholic Churches

Damage to the roof of the historic San Gabriel Mission is seen after it caught fire overnight. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

A Republican Congressman has urged the Department of Justice to investigate the recent spate of attacks on Catholic churches, a trend he believes amount to hate crimes.

In a letter sent to Attorney General William Barr on Aug. 5, Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., urged the federal agency to fight religious discrimination and protect religious freedom in the United States.

“Since June, there have been nearly a dozen reported attacks on Catholic churches around the nation. These disturbing attacks range from arson to the beheading of a statue of the Virgin Mary,” the letter read in part.

“I find these attacks to be a disturbing trend, happening in multiple areas across the nation, including within my own congressional district. In times of uncertainty we naturally turn to religion for comfort and peace, something many Americans are seeking as we combat COVID-19, but these attacks add another level of distress for many across our nation.”

Fleischmann elaborated in an interview with the Washington Examiner that those who damage any house of worship of any kind must know that it will not be tolerated and that he considers such actions a hate crime.

“I would like to have a recognition that this problem exists, it persists, and sadly, it is not isolated to one city or one state,” Fleischmann said. “I think it needs to be looked at very carefully and addressed for the danger that it is.”

At St. Stephen Parish in Chattanooga, which is in Fleischmann’s district, a statue of the Virgin Mary was beheaded in mid-July, an attack the congressman called “disturbing.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Brandon Showalter

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