Vineland, NJ – Religious statues at two parishes, located two miles apart, were vandalized in the middle of the night. At Sacred Heart Church, the outstretched arms of baby Jesus were broken off, and a statue of St. Joseph was cut in half. A statue of the Sacred Heart was beheaded and a marble statue featuring the Virgin Mary surrounded by children was also damaged. At the nearby Divine Mercy Parish several more statues were vandalized. The faces of the Holy Family were smashed, St. Michael was knocked off a pedestal, St. Francis was beheaded, and the face of Jesus was also smashed.
Emmaus, PA – The head of a large outdoor statue of Jesus at St. Ann’s Church was engulfed in flames when the parish priest arrived for Sunday Mass. The fire appeared to have been set just before the Mass, and an empty bottle of lighter fluid was found nearby. The statue was destroyed and will have to be replaced at a cost of $2,000.
San Francisco, CA – Someone stole a nearly five-foot tall stained glass window from St. Boniface Church. Prior to the thief removing the window from its hinges and making off with the beautiful work of art, it had hung in the church’s sanctuary for 106 years.
North Hollywood, CA – An unidentified man broke into St. Patrick’s Church and damaged several statues, paintings and other items on the altar. After the man unsuccessfully tried to open the tabernacle, he went on to knock over a light, break vases, knock over four statues and tear down a painting.
Chicago, IL – A prayer display in Daley Plaza set up by the Thomas More Society was vandalized. The display consisted of a cross, a large picture of Jesus and several glass cases with prayers and other information inside. The perpetrator slashed holes in the image of Jesus and broke the glass cases. The display, which has been installed for each of the past nine years, was set to be in place from Good Friday through Divine Mercy Sunday.
Muncie, IN – A thief broke into St. Mary’s Church during Sunday Mass and stole several items including a reliquary containing a bone fragment of St. Rita. A priest at the parish walked in on the burglary and the thief threatened the priest with a hammer. The police arrested the suspect later the same day and were able to tie him to another nearby burglary. The relic was returned to the church undamaged.
Bellmore, NY – A vandal cut the head off a statue of the Virgin Mary and left it lying on the ground at a Knights of Columbus chapter meeting hall. The statue was knocked off its pedestal and the head was found a few feet away. It was clear that the head was deliberately removed and not the result of a fall. This was the third such incident in the area over the past year, including another statue that was vandalized at the same Knights of Columbus hall in July 2013.
June 13 – 15
Charleston, SC – Police arrested a 38-year-old man who admitted to using a sledgehammer to decapitate a statue of Jesus outside Sacred Heart Church. The man said he destroyed the statue because the Ten Commandments prohibit any image depicting those in heaven. Police were investigating whether or not the same man was connected to a similar act of vandalism that occurred 3 days earlier involving a different statue of Christ with a child.
August 9 – 21
Kansas City, MO – Thieves stole around 170 bronze vases from the Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery. The vases were used for flowers at grave sites. The vases were stolen on two different occasions and are estimated to be worth $100,000.
Staten Island, NY – A vandal spray painted anti-Semitic graffiti on the outside of the Blessed Sacrament School.
Columbus, IN – Graffiti was sprayed across St. Bartholomew’s Catholic Church and two other Christian churches. The graffiti read “Infidels!” and included references to the Koran. Some speculated that the vandalism was designed to deliver a message to Christians, but others pointed out that the verses from the Koran were incorrectly interpreted by the vandals.
Jerseyville, IL – A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was knocked over and broken in the St. Francis Xavier parish cemetery. The torso and head of the statue were stolen and discovered a few weeks later. The head had been removed from the torso and it had been defaced and vandalized. Local volunteers were able to make repairs and refurbish the statue so that it could be returned to the cemetery.
Oklahoma City, OK – A man was taken into custody after he used his car to knock over a Ten Commandments monument outside the Oklahoma State Capitol. The man also admitted to urinating on it, before running it over with his car. A local news station reported that the man said the devil told him to knock down the monument.
The monument was over 5 feet tall and was broken into several pieces. It cost $10,000 and was donated by a state legislator in 2012. Several activist groups have filed complaints and lawsuits about the placement of the Ten Commandments on public property. Governor Mary Fallin said the structure would be rebuilt.
New York, NY – Actress Lea DeLaria publicly clashed with a man preaching the Bible on a New York City subway. DeLaria told the man that “religious fanatics are the reason America is in trouble. The Tea Party, ultra-creepy Christians and conservatives, you are the reason America is in trouble.” Later in the encounter DeLaria tried to show that she knew more about Christianity than the man who was preaching. “Don’t come at me because I went to f*cking Catholic school for 12 years and I know every line” she said.
Anchorage, AK – Holy Family Cathedral, the seat of the Archdiocese of Anchorage, was vandalized while the church was open to the public during the day. Shortly before 5 p.m. a parishioner noticed that everything in the church had been turned over. According to a police spokesperson, “anything that was moveable, they flipped it.” The damaged items included pews, tables, chairs and vases. A statue of the Holy Family and the ambo were pulled down and the altar was moved. The Advent candles were thrown on the floor. Additionally, wiring was damaged when a microphone connected to the church’s sound system was ripped out.
Berwyn, IL – Vandals attacked a statue of the Holy Family outside a convent attached to St. Odilo’s church. The Blessed Mother and St. Joseph were beheaded and a statue of Jesus was knocked over. A nativity scene on the property was also damaged and egged. Police later arrested two juveniles for the crimes.
Haverhill, MA – A homeless woman was arrested after witnesses saw her writing “666” in black marker on a Baptist church. When police approached her she swung a large metal crucifix in an attempt to hit the officers. The crucifix had been stolen from a nativity scene at the nearby Sacred Heart Catholic Church. The same nativity scene had been vandalized on Christmas day when the baby Jesus was replaced with a severed pig’s head. Police charged the woman with the vandalism as well as the theft.