Congressional Letter Says Christian Groups Under Attack
In her impassioned letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Congresswoman Lisa McClain (R-10-MI) declared that religious freedom is under attack in the United States and called on the Department of Justice to respond to a recent wave of anti-Catholic violence.
The letter, dated August 30, 2022, and co-signed by 19 other members of the House of Representatives, noted that since May 2020, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has counted at least 160 hate crimes against the Catholic Church across 37 states.
“Millions of Christians are under assault for merely exercising their constitutional right to freely practice their religion,” wrote McClain, who is Catholic. “Our nation was founded on the principle of religious freedom, but this basic tenet of our system is being debased as Catholic parishes are vandalized across the country.”
According to a Catholic News Agency report, there has been a spike in vandalism and intimidation of Catholic and pro-life organizations since the June 24 Supreme Court decision which overturned Roe v. Wade.
In her letter, the first-term congresswoman described how vandals desecrated the altar at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Brooklyn this spring. She also cited examples of anti-Catholic violence across the nation, including arson, destruction of church property, and the defacing of gravestones with swastikas and anti-Catholic slurs.
“As the elected U.S. Representative of many Christians, we are forced to wonder if your Department of Justice will ever address the over one hundred crimes against Christian holy sites in America?” the letter asked. “We are calling on you and your department to uphold your oaths to the Constitution and bring justice to the anti-Catholic criminals who are running rampant across America.”
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Additionally, McClain called out Garland for misguided priorities regarding religious freedom and criminal prosecution.
“Under your leadership, the Department of Justice (DOJ) persecuted Americans for speaking out at school board meetings and harassed peaceful protesters by investigating them for domestic terrorism,” she wrote.
“At the same time, the DOJ ignored blatant acts of violence committed by groups such as Antifa, who targeted and destroyed the property of small businesses and government facilities in Portland, Seattle, and beyond. Americans are watching in horror as your DOJ fails to respond to the violence threatening religious freedom across the country and wondering why certain criminals seem to always avoid your interest.”
In an interview with National Catholic Register following the 2020 election, McClain emphasized the importance of her Catholic faith.
“I prayed about the opportunity to run, and my faith has kept me going during the entire campaign,” McClain said. “As a Catholic, I plan to work with everyone who wants to better our country.”
McClain is calling on Garland to protect the religious freedom of Catholics in the United States. She concluded her appeal with the following two questions and demanded answers for signees and constituents by September 20:
- Will the DOJ act against anti-Catholic crimes and defend the constitutional rights of Catholic Americans?
- What, specifically, are your plans to defend Christians from targeted crime?