Catholic voters group calls on Biden to condemn ‘rising climate of anti-Catholicism’
A Catholic voters group called on presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden to condemn the “rising climate of anti-Catholicism” in the country in a Thursday press release.
CatholicVote, a conservative faith-based advocacy group, requested that Biden, who is a Catholic, “publicly condemn the disturbing rise in attacks on Catholic symbols, churches, statues, and beliefs.”
The advocacy group said there’s recently been an “alarming number [of] arson-related church fires, desecration of sacred symbols and statues by extremist mobs [and] hate-filled rhetoric of leading members of the Democratic Party.”
The Catholic group pointed to two fires being set at the entrance of a Massachusetts church over the weekend, which a Catholic leader called an “appalling act of arson against a house of worship,” the Boston Herald reported.
CatholicVote also cited a fire set inside the Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Ocala, Fla. last month and another blaze at the Mission’s San Gabriel Arcángel that damaged much of the 215-year-old building.
The organization also criticized that protesters had vandalized statues, including ones of St. Junipero Serra in California, and that a statue of the Virgin Mary was set on fire in Boston.
CatholicVote President Brian Burch accused Biden of saying “nothing [as] Catholic churches across America are literally burning.”
“Leading members of the Democratic Party have fueled a climate of hate against Catholics, and these attacks have now led to acts of vandalism and violence,” Burch said in a statement. “These attacks on the Church raise serious questions about the commitment of Joe Biden, a self-professed Catholic, to stand up to the rising climate of anti-Catholicism across the country.”
The Biden campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.
A Miami deacon, Edivaldo da Silva, said last month that the U.S. was seeing an increasing number of vandalism reports at Catholic churches. Da Silva’s comments came after the Miami Archdiocese called on police to investigate the beheading of a statue of Jesus as a hate crime.
The FBI’s most recent hate crime data from 2018 shows that 57.8 percent of hate crimes motivated by religious bias were anti-Jewish, 14.5 percent were anti-Islamic, 4.1 percent were anti-Sikh and 3.8 percent were anti-Catholic, followed by other religious groups.