- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 8, 2022

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares sent a warning Sunday to pro-choice protesters planning to disrupt Catholic church services, promising legal consequences for those who engage in criminal activity.

“We’ve seen some far-left activists brag online they’re planning on specifically targeting Catholic churches in Virginia,” said Mr. Miyares on “Fox & Friends.”

In a Sunday statement, he said his office will monitor “protest activities directed at houses of worship” and refer alleged criminal violations to federal and local prosecutors.

“[T]his violates one of the most fundamental rights we recognize in this country, which is your ability to worship God according to the dictates of your conscience,” he said on the show. “It’s actually federal law that you’re not allowed to directly intimidate and interfere with somebody in a house of worship.”

The Republican prosecutor cited state laws on trespassing and obstructing church access, as well as federal laws that allow states to bring civil suits to protect religious freedom.

SEE ALSO: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand calls for nuking filibuster ahead of vote to codify Roe v. Wade

“If protest activities directed at houses of worship cross the line to illegal obstruction, intimidation, or interference, I will not hesitate to bring suit to protect the religious freedom of the citizens of this Commonwealth,” the statement READ.

The pro-choice group Ruth Sent Us has posted videos encouraging activists to show up Sunday at Catholic churches to protest the leaked Supreme Court draft showing that a majority of justices support overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalizes abortion.

One video shows protesters wearing costumes from Hulu’s dystopian drama “The Handmaid’s Tale” walking inside and disrupting services.

“We’re taking it very seriously in Virginia. It’s a totally different governor, different leadership,” Mr. Miyares said, referring to first-year Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin. “Religious freedom is one the pillars of a free society and something we’re going to defend always in Virginia.”

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

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