Reported acts of aggression against Christian congregations this week

Jeff Turner, Staff

This is a list of this week’s reported attacks against Christian congregations and church property in North America. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list.  These are only those that have come to our attention through media reports.

MONDAY 11/29/2021

A database of attacks on church property is being maintained following an increase in the number of anti-Catholic arson and criminal vandalism. The B.C. Catholic reports the Church Attacks Database aims to keep, “a detailed, public record of all attacks on the Church in Canada.”

An arson investigator in the US says fire at Catholic Charities in East Tennessee has been ruled arson. WATE television reports someone forced their way into the building and set it ablaze. No motive has been determined for the crime.

TUESDAY 11/30/2021

The National Catholic Register reports a mob of feminist protesters “viciously and violently” beat a woman outside of the Cathedral of Santa Cruz de la Sierra in La Paz, Bolivia. The attack took place on Nov. 25, a date known as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women.

WEDNESDAY 12/1/2021

Investigators with the Saskatoon RCMP are investigating extensive vandalism to a rural church. CTV published photos of the damage discovered at Saron Lutheran Church in Hagen on Sunday. No motive for the attack is known.

A report released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops documents 95 attacks on congregations since May 2020. Christianity Daily reports some of the cases involve attempted murder, damage to church property and arson.

Police in Sulligent, Alabama have arrested a man accused of setting a church building on fire.  WCBI television reports Tyler McKay, 22, is charged with two counts of arson first-degree, burglary third degree, and criminal mischief first-degree for crimes committed against the Alpha and Omega Church on November 22.

THURSDAY 12/2/2021

Police in Deland Florida are asking for information about vandalism at three churches the week of Thanksgiving.  St. Peter Catholic Church, DeLand Wesleyan Church and Tacoma Christian received damage by the vandal or vandals according to a report from Fox 35 in Orlando.  The TV station reported there was no indication burglary was a motive and the churches are not affiliated.

FRIDAY 12/3/2021:

No report

Church News weekend report

Jeff Turner

Reports of vandalism and acts of aggression against the Church in North America have been light this week.

A project to rebuild a church building destroyed by arson in British Columbia may be complete as early as June.  The rebuild of Murray Church in Merritt has been slowed because of COVID-19 restrictions. The man accused of intentionally setting fire to the structure and two other houses of worship is awaiting trial. The court has issued a publication band on any specifics of the case.

Three statues at the Holy Rosary Church in Woodland, California were vandalized this week.  No property was taken, and the motive – if any -behind the vandalism is not known. The Holy Rosary Church has been part of the Woodland community for more than 150 years.

A vandal or vandals set fire to a shrine in Ludlow, Massachusetts on Friday.  A spokesperson for Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Ludlow said damage was limited to an arch over a statue of Mary.

A Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue has been restored at St. Patrick Cathedral in El Paso, TX after a year’s work to repair $25,000 in damage caused by vandal. The Police last year charged Isiah Cantrell, 31, with vandalism and drug possession shortly after the crime.

That’s a look at crimes against the church in North America this week

Crimes against the church this week

These are some of the crimes against the church reported this week in North America. This is not intended to be an exhaustive report. It is only a sample of crimes reported by news agencies in Canada and the US over the past seven days.

Two off-duty officers in Manitoba were able to subdue a man who used profanities and flashed a gun to threaten worshipers at the Westside Community Church of Morden this past weekend. Witnesses said the man lifted his sweater, displayed a gun.  The off-duty were attending the service. They took the man into custody without any injuries.  Officers determined the man’s weapon was a fake. Dustin Warkentin, 32, is accused of weapon, assault and disturbance charges.

Investigators with the Powell County, Kentucky sheriff’s office are investigating thousands of dollars in damage caused by criminals who ransacked a church building. A sheriff’s office spokesperson said someone overturned pews, smashed holes in the walls and caused extensive damage to the sanctuary of the South Fork Church of God.  The vandal or vandals’ motive is not known.

The Knights of Columbus spent last weekend removing satanic graffiti from outside the church of St. Joseph in Washington, D.C. A vandal, or vandals, left an image of a pentagram, the word Lucifer, and some indistinguishable writing. Patrick Abbot, an officer in the Knights of Columbus, said the vandalism was like Satan’s empty promises in that they were easily washed away.

A man accused of setting a Florida church on fire last year is facing a federal hate crime’s charge.  A federal grand jury indictment was handed up Wednesday against Steven Shields, 24, of Dunnellon, Florida. A press release from the U.S. Justice Department says the indictment alleges that he was motivated to set the fire due to the religious character of the church.

Boston police are looking for a man who’s wanted in connection with two incidents of vandalism at Catholic churches in Dorchester and South Boston. Around 6:30 a.m. Monday an unknown substance was found on several doors at St. Teresa of Calcutta Church and St. John Paul II Catholic Academy in Dorchester. Two hours later officers were called to St. Augustine Church in South Boston where a similar substance was found on doors and a statue was toppled.

Boston police seek man on video seen vandalizing Catholic churches

DAVID INGRAM

Boston police are looking for a man who’s wanted in connection with two incidents of vandalism at Catholic churches in Dorchester and South Boston.

Around 6:30 a.m. Monday an unknown substance was found on several doors at St. Teresa of Calcutta Church and St. John Paul II Catholic Academy in Dorchester. Two hours later officers were called to St. Augustine Church in South Boston where a similar substance was found on doors and a statue was toppled.

The Boston Police Department continues to review the facts and circumstances surrounding these incidents.

Texas Gospel Canada publishes reported acts of aggression against congregations in North America. An on-air weekly report is broadcast every Monday on our Southern Gospel stream.

Criminals trash Kentucky church building

DAVID INGRAM

Investigators with the Powell County, Kentucky sheriff’s office are investigating thousands of dollars in damage caused by criminals who ransacked a church building.

A sheriff’s office spokesperson said someone overturned pews, smashed holes in the walls and caused extensive damage to the South Fork Church of God building. The spokesperson described walking into the damaged sanctuary as, “devastating.” 

The vandal or vandals’ motive is not known.

Texas Gospel Canada publishes reported acts of aggression against congregations in North America. An on-air weekly report is broadcast every Monday on our Southern Gospel stream.

(Powell County Sheriff’s Office)