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Rash of attacks on Catholic churches prompts $1 million ad campaign from Catholic Vote

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Denver Newsroom, Aug 19, 2022 / 19:14 pm (CNA).

Catholic Vote has launched a $1 million dollar ad campaign against Catholic President Joe Biden in response to the Department of Justice’s inaction in the face of violent attacks against pro-life organizations and Catholic churches after the leaked draft of the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health.

“Ordinary Americans are living in fear, knowing the Biden administration has refused to prioritize or prosecute those targeting churches or pro-life resource centers,” said Brian Burch, president of the Catholic advocacy organization, regarding the campaign, which began on Aug. 18.

Catholic News Agency has confirmed at least 93 acts of violence and vandalism, including the firebombing of pregnancy centers and the burning of churches since the decision was leaked on May 2.

“Our ad campaign will begin airing in earnest over the weekend and will expand dramatically into next week,” said Burch. “Further, we have new ads in production, including ads targeting Latino voters that we will be adding to the campaign in the coming days.”

The campaign will feature ads online, as well as in television markets in Washington, D.C., Arizona, and Wisconsin. Arizona and Wisconsin both have hotly contested Senate races this November that could determine the balance of power in Washington, while both swing states also narrowly went for Biden in 2020 after Donald Trump secured their combined 21 electoral votes in 2016.

Footage of President John F. Kennedy, the nation’s first Catholic president, who condemned church burnings and vowed to hold criminals responsible for those acts, is contrasted with Biden’s silence on the same issues in the ad.

The ad ends with Biden’s comment to “keep protesting, keep making your point”—a comment Biden made to pro-abortion demonstrators outside the White House, according to Fox News.

“The ad has been very well received during the initial rollout, with a lot of activity on social media,” Burch told CNA. “Many viewers are shocked to learn that churches are actually being firebombed, and even more stunned by the number of attacks that have occurred this year.”

This ad is the latest attempt by Catholic Vote to bring awareness to the dramatic escalation of anti-Catholic and pro-abortion violence.

“This shameful pattern of injustice and failure to protect those who advocate for mothers and innocent unborn children exposes the utter corruption at the highest levels of government, including Biden’s Department of Justice,” said Burch.

The ad follows upon a letter sent to Attorney General Merrick Garland requesting protective action from the Department of Justice in June, signed by Burch and others who requested public condemnation of the attacks against churches and pro-life organizations as well as commitments to prevent and prosecute these attacks.

Signatories of the letter included Marjorie Dannenfelser of SBA Pro-Life America, Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America, and Greg Schleppenbach of the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, among other pro-life leaders.

The letter detailed the frequency and nature of the incidents, which “include arson, statues beheaded, limbs cut, smashed, and painted, gravestones defaced with swastikas and anti-Catholic language and American flags next to them burned, and other destruction and vandalism. A number of these incidents appeared to express hostility toward the Catholic Church because of its beliefs on the sanctity of life in the womb.”

In addition to the June letter, Burch raised “serious concerns about the administration’s commitment to protecting the first amendment rights of all people of faith,” in a Jan. 28 statement, after which Attorney General Garland ordered a 15-day review of allocation and deployment of resources to houses of worship. The Jan. 28 statement, well before the Supreme Court leak, was in response to an already worrying increase in Church vandalism incidents.

“It’s very clear the White House is paying attention to this issue, though they continue to refuse to acknowledge the specific pro-abortion attacks,” said Burch, who noted that the White House recently announced a summit combating “hate-fueled violence” scheduled for September 15.

“We are hopeful that victims of attacks on churches and pregnancy resource centers will be invited and acknowledged at this summit,” he said.

“Catholics have no choice but to continue to press for action and resources to respond to these attacks. We are citizens too, and deserve to be equally protected,” he concluded.


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