Conservative Catholics called Thursday on former Vice President Joseph R. Biden to break his “deafening silence” on the recent targeting of religious statues and churches, accusing the Catholic Democrat of ignoring the leftist vandalism and arson.
CatholicVote, a faith-based advocacy group, said Mr. Biden should “publicly condemn the disturbing rise in attacks on Catholic symbols, churches, statues and beliefs,” which include setting fires; beheading statues of Jesus and the Virgin Mary; pulling down statues of Father Serra, and painting Satanic symbols on churches.
“Catholic churches across America are literally burning, and Joe Biden has said nothing,” said CatholicVote president Brian Burch in a statement. “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.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat, referred last week to the statue of St. Damien of Molokai, Hawaii, in the U.S. Capitol, saying that “this is what patriarchy and white supremacist culture looks like.”
Mr. Burch said the “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.”
Last week, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the Sacred Heart Church in Weymouth, Massachusetts, the sixth attack on a Catholic church or institution this year in Massachusetts, according to Catholic Action League executive director C.J. Doyle.
Some of the worst damage came July 11 with a blaze that gutted the 249-year-old San Gabriel Mission in Los Angeles County—the cause has yet to be determined—and a fire at the Queen of Peace Church in Ocala, Florida, set by a man who crashed into the church and dumped gasoline on the floor.
Former Rep. Tim Huelskamp, CatholicVote senior political adviser, said that many of the statues and churches “were built centuries ago by faithful Catholics and remain powerful symbols for Catholics today.”
“All good and decent Catholics are offended by this growing anti-Catholic rampage. Joe Biden’s deafening silence during this hate-filled epidemic speaks loudly of his consent to this shocking assault on our religious freedoms,” Mr. Huelskamp said.
Mr. Biden faced questions about his Catholic faith last year when he came out in support of federal funding for abortion, reversing a long-held position in favor of the Hyde Amendment, prompting a South Carolina priest to deny him communion.
President Trump on Thursday targeted Mr. Biden’s beliefs, saying, “He’s against God, he’s against guns, he’s against energy, our kind of energy,” prompting the Biden campaign to swing back.
“Joe Biden’s faith is at the core of who he is,” Biden spokesperson Andrew Bates told USAToday. “He’s lived it with dignity his entire life, and it’s been a source of strength and comfort in times of extreme hardship.”
In February, the Biden campaign released a one-minute video in which the candidate discussed his faith, saying it “got me through difficult times in my life,” referring to the 1972 deaths of his wife and daughter in a car accident, and son Beau Biden’s 2015 death from brain cancer.
The attacks on churches and statues come on the heels of widespread Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
Progressive activist Shaun King tweeted June 22 that “the statues of the white European they claim is Jesus should also come down. They are a form of white supremacy. Always have been.”