WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - "Catholics are under attack in America," a senator is warning.
Senator John Kennedy, R-La., penned a letter to U.S Attorney General William Barr Aug. 11, asking him to take action against those who attack Catholic churches and statues.
"That is a sentence I hope I would never have to write," he continued, "but it is the reality we are facing."
"The trend of desecrating Catholic spaces and property must stop," Sen. Kennedy stated. "I trust you are actively working to identify and prosecute those who have committed these destructive acts. I ask that you also focus your efforts on preventing such violence to both Catholic people and property."
The senator argued, "The Founding Fathers considered freedom of religion so integral to the fabric of the nation that they codified it in the First Amendment to the Constitution. We cannot let a handful of people destroy this fundamental right."
For example, in late May, rioters broke into the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis and caused minor damage. According to images that circulated on social media, they had set fire to a pew in the basilica.
Kennedy counted a total of 19 attacks in recent months "on Catholic churches, statues, businesses, cemeteries, parishioners and personnel."
Back in May, a church in Los Angeles for Lebanese Catholics was hit with graffiti. The church, Our Lady of Mt. Lebanon-St. Peter Cathedral, is a Maronite cathedral.
The Maronite Church is Eastern Catholic, based out of Lebanon, and in full communion with the Holy See.
The spray-painted messages included profanity-laced abbreviations like "ACAB" ("all cops are "b*****ds") and "FTP" ("f*** the police").
Senator Kennedy discussed this incident in his letter, saying, "A Catholic church, founded in 1923 by Middle Eastern immigrants, was spray-painted with anti-police messages. Middle Eastern Christians represent a minority community in America. Many are first-generation Americans who moved to the United States to escape persecution."
In Denver earlier this month, vandals beheaded a statue of St. Jude at Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine and destroyed dozens of candles.
Similarly, Denver's cathedral — the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception — was subject to multiple instances of vandalism in late May.
Last month, a man in Florida crashed a minivan into a Catholic church — while parishioners were present — and tried to set it on fire.
In Boston, unknown vandals last month targeted a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, spray-painting the word "IDOL" and burning the plastic flowers placed in the statue's hands.
Catholics gathered a few days later for a prayer vigil, praying and singing hymns in reparation.
At the same time, a different Mary statue — also in Boston — saw two acts of desecration. On two different occasions, someone dumped out the contents of a trash bin and placed the empty bin upside-down over the statue's head.
Rioters spray-painted Black Lives Matter slogans and various profanities onto St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City in late May. Two teenage protesters were arrested in connection with the vandalism.