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Louisiana senator calls for Department of Justice to curb anti-Catholic violence in America


Serhii Ivashchuk/Shutterstock | SHAWN THEW/POOL/AFP

J-P Mauro - published on 03/04/22

Sen. John Kennedy (R) asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to identify and prosecute criminals responsible for acts of violence and vandalism.

Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana is renewing his calls for the government to take action against perpetrators of anti-Christian violence and vandalism in America. Kennedy has been championing this cause for years, but little has been done to address the alarming trend, even as occurrences have consistently increased since 2020. 

2020 Letter

Kennedy published his letter on his dedicated website, where he noted that he initially called on the Department of Justice to take action in 2020. In this letter, which the DOJ never responded to, he highlighted some of the most heinous crimes directed at Christians up until that point:

“For example, rioters attacked a bookstore run by nuns, vandals demolished reverent statues, and arsonists set churches on fire. In one case, criminals targeted a church while worshipers were still inside. I concluded by asking that the department, which you now head, act swiftly and carefully to bring an end to these heinous crimes,” Kennedy wrote in 2020.


The senator went on to cite data collected by the USCCB, which tracks anti-Christian violence in the United States. Kennedy said there have been around 80 additions to the bishops’ list since his 2020 letter. The USCCB list currently features 123 incidents of arson, vandalism, and destruction at Catholic churches. 

In the first two months of 2022, six more instances have been documented. These include smashed stained glass windows, money stolen from a poor box, statues beheaded, and in one case a statue was stolen outright

Religious freedom

Kennedy concluded by reiterating that freedom of religious practice is protected by the First Amendment. He wrote that the Department of Justice must address these hate crimes in order to ensure the protection of religious rights.

“… during the COVID-19 pandemic, people of faith experienced significant interference with the practice of their religion. If the government continues to let these crimes go unpunished, it will further inhibit the people’s practice and enjoyment of their fundamental, constitutional right. Thus, I again ask that the DOJ increase efforts to identify and prosecute criminals targeting Catholic people and property so that the tens of millions of Catholics in our country can continue to practice their faith safely,” Kennedy concluded.

According to the Washington Times, the Department of Justice has stated that countering hate crimes is a top priority. They have not, however responded to Kennedy’s renewed call to action. The senator has requested a response within 30 days of his March 2 letter.  

Read the full letter here.

Click here to read Senator Kennedy’s original 2020 call to action. 

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