- The Washington Times - Friday, October 1, 2021

DENVER | A Catholic church in Boulder County was defaced this week by extensive vandalism, including pro-abortion graffiti such as “Jesus [loves] abortion,” as houses of worship in Colorado and nationwide continue to see a surge in attacks.

The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office is investigating damage done at about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday by vandals who smashed windows, threw eggs, trampled crosses, slashed tires and spray-painted abortion-related messages across the property of Sacred Heart of Mary Catholic Church.

Youth director Mark Evevard said the church has been targeted before, but “never to this extent.”

“We’ve had so many people come in and say, ‘This was wrong,’” Mr. Evevard told The Washington Times. “I had a woman who said, ‘I’m pro-choice, but this is not how you express your views.’”

The messages spray-painted in red, black and white on the building include the anarchist “A;” “No wire hangers ever;” “Bans off our bodies;” “Jesus [loves] abortion;” “Your church is dying LOL;” “My body, my choice;” and “No gods, no master.”

The sandstone sign in front the church founded in 1873 was defaced with the message, “Hands off my uterus,” while the white parish work truck was tagged with red graffiti and had its tires slashed.

Many of the thousands of small white crosses symbolizing abortions in the field next to the church were knocked down and broken, as shown on photos posted by Mr. Evevard on his Facebook page. He said authorities believe the late-night attack was carried out by a group of five to seven people, and that about a half-dozen figures were captured on the church surveillance cameras.

He added the damage could have been worse: The pastor, who lives next door, heard noises that night and turned on his light, which may have scared off the perpetrators.

The attack comes shortly after another Boulder County church, St. Louis Catholic Church in Louisville, was vandalized Sept. 5 with similar pro-abortion graffiti.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has chronicled at least 97 incidents of destruction in 29 states since May 2020, including “arson, statues beheaded, limbs cut, smashed, and painted, gravestones defaced with swastikas and anti-Catholic language.”

Mark Haas, spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Denver, said that parish properties have been hit by more than two dozen attacks in the last 18 months.

“Since Feb. 2020, the Archdiocese of Denver is aware of at least 25 parishes or ministry locations that have been the target of vandalism, property destruction or theft,” said Mr. Haas in a statement on Denver7 News. “This has included broken windows, damaged and defaced statues, graffiti, vehicle damage, break-ins, stolen religious items and someone who set trees on fire outside of a parish. Some of the incidents have been clearly targeted at the Catholic Church, but not all of them.”

Mr. Evevard agreed, saying “it could be an attack on the church, especially since it’s been happening to other churches.”

He asked supporters on Facebook to “put the perpetrators on the top of your prayer list & pray for their conversion!”

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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