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In the chaotic year of 2020, anti-religious activists have learned that the best place to hide is in a crowd. With news cycles crowded by COVID-19, nationwide protests and riots, a contentious election, and much more, such activists were given perfect cover to vandalize houses of worship across America while drawing little criticism from secular media or public officials. These tragic acts of vandalism matter, however, and the motives behind them deserve examination.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops recently reported at least 39 incidents of vandalism on Catholic Church property since June 22. This alarming number makes sense given the Catholic Church’s history of statuary and the frequent targeting of statues in this year’s riots.

In addition to incidents such as satanic graffiti on a church in Connecticut, and a Florida man driving his van into a church before lighting the vehicle on fire, numerous church statues of JesusMarysaints, and even a monument for children killed by abortion have been toppled, beheaded, and graffitied. That’s not all. The many incidents on church property detailed by the Conference of Catholic Bishops don’t account for the numerous statues of Catholic saints on public property that have been vandalized, too.

In St. Louis, large groups of sometimes-violent protesters graffitied the prominent public statue of St. Louis (King Louis IX), the city’s namesake, who frequently shared meals with beggars and ministered to other outcasts such as lepers, the blind, and even prostitutes.

The violence went further in California. Protesters destroyed a statue of St. Junipero Serra, a Spanish missionary who founded many historic churches (one of which was largely burned down

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in July) and evangelized thousands of Native Americans. Additionally, as Pope Francis noted when he canonized Serra in 2015, “Junipero sought to defend the dignity of the native community, to protect it from those who had mistreated and abused it.”

Certain elements of the race-related protests this year have surely been honest, well-intentioned efforts, but that cannot be said of this violence that has treated St. Junipero and St. Louis the same way it has treated Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Instead, a subgroup of radical secularists among the rioters has used the recent lawlessness as an opportunity to advance their own agenda — one that opposes Judeo-Christian religion in its entirety.

While Catholic statues have been a convenient target, these radicals haven’t chosen to destroy religious figures at random. Their animosity toward faith traditions is intended. As you might recall, rioters set fire to the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., this past May. In Kenosha, Wisconsin, rioters graffitied “Free Palestine” at a Jewish synagogue. Further examples abound.

Even more tragically, many people of faith have watched this vandalism while being prohibited from stepping inside their own houses of worship, sometimes due to anti-religious discrimination from government officials. One prime example is Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s COVID-19 order, currently being challenged in court, which allowed casinos to open at half capacity while limiting churches to just 50 people.

As Archbishop Charles Chaput and Alliance Defending Freedom CEO Michael Farris pointed out, some officials implementing discriminatory restrictions have also been slow to protect the church property from rioters. As our nation wrestles with challenging issues, officials such as Sisolak and anti-religious rioters are forgetting that successful social movements — including the civil rights movement for racial equality in the law — don’t attack religion. Rather, they are usually rooted in it.

The American Revolution and the French Revolution provide a relevant history lesson. These two movements shared some noble goals, both seeking freedom from national theocracy and monarchy — but those ends were pursued in two very different ways.

The French Revolution was outright hostile toward religion. Church property was vandalized. Priests were arrested just for conducting their normal ministry. Religious statues were removed from the public eye and sometimes demolished because religious devotion threatened the aims of the revolution.

Our Founding Fathers chose a better path. They cared deeply about religion and forged a new nation where people of various faiths could live peacefully without coercion from an all-powerful central government. The founders’ success in winning independence, reforming our governance, and improving American life was rooted in a commitment to free speech and Judeo-Christian principles that fostered a true tolerance.

Whether it be responding to COVID-19, police brutality, or political unrest, the solution to our nation’s present problems will not be found in throwing out those principles of liberty and civility. The answer lies in recommitting to them and working to live them out more fully, more consistently, and more devotedly than ever before.

Ryan Everson is a communication integrity specialist and writer for Alliance Defending Freedom (@Alliance Defends).



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Convicted fundraiser who tried to work his way into Biden’s inner circle sentenced to prison

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Amajor Democratic bundler, who raised large sums for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and consorted with Joe Biden, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for what prosecutors said was a “mercenary” political influence scheme.

Imaad Zuberi, a Californian businessman was sentenced Thursday for schemes to funnel foreign money into U.S. political campaigns, then take millions of dollars for himself.

The Los Angeles Times reported that U.S. Assistant Attorney Daniel J. O’Brien said Zuberi was “purely a mercenary, funneling money to whomever he believed would do his bidding.”

Among the many unsealed court records, Zuberi was seen photographed with Joe Biden and Barack Obama when they were Vice President and President. He was also pictured with former President Bill Clinton and former presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. He took pictures with former Republican Rep. Paul Ryan when he was speaker of the House as well as the late Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

Also included in the Times report was a hacked email chain released on WikiLeaks. Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook messaged colleagues saying, “I’m OK taking the money and dealing with any attacks.” Jennifer Palmieri responded saying, “Take the money!”

He also attended Hillary Clinton’s election night party in New York City in 2016 as well as serving as a co-chair of The Trump Presidential Inauguration Committee.

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Zuberi made more than $950,000 in unlawful donations to the political committees of Obama, Clinton, McCain and others. Zuberi’s activities extended as far as a recent attempt to work his way into the Biden circle, according to Politico.  

In addition to the money he made, Zuberi also raised $270,000 for Hillary Clinton and $1.3 million for President Obama.

Zuberi, 50, pleaded guilty to a “three-count information charging with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)” for making false statements on a FARA filing as well as tax evasion and illegal contributions to political campaigns. He also pleaded guilty in a separate case earlier in June 2020 to a count of obstruction of justice.

“Zuberi turned acting as an unregistered foreign agent into a business enterprise,” Assistant Attorney General for National Secretary John C. Demers said in a Department of Justice news release.

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Cruz responds to pictures of him on Mexico flight, with Texas struggling from deadly winter storm

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Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz confirmed Thursday that he flew earlier this week to Mexico with family members, following the emergence of pictures appearing to show him in an airplane cabin and at a check-in counter, as fellow residents to recover from a deadly winter storm.

Cruz said in a statement that he accompanied his daughters on a flight Wednesday night to Mexico because they had the week off with school canceled.

“Wanting to be a good dad,” said Cruz, who also stated he is returning to Texas on Thursday afternoon.

The storms has been connected to at least seven deaths in Texas and knocked out power to as many as 2.5 million residents. The number of residents without electricity as of Thursday morning was down to less than 1 million, officials said.  

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“My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas,” Cruz also said. “We want our power back, our water on, and our homes warm.”

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South Carolina House passes bill that would prohibit most abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected

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The South Carolina House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 79-35 to pass legislation that would prohibit most abortions. 

The bill must pass through a procedural vote in the House on Thursday prior to heading to GOP Gov. Henry McMaster who has indicated that he will sign it, according to the Associated Press. Two Republicans voted against the legislation while two Democrats voted for it. The state Senate passed the measure last month. 

The bill requires doctors to carry out an ultrasound to check for a fetal heartbeat and if a heartbeat is identified an abortion can only be performed in certain circumstances.

The legislation would not penalize a woman for obtaining an unlawful abortion, though the individual responsible for performing the abortion could face consequences.

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The outlet reported that other states have approved similar or even more stringent abortion prohibitions which could be implemented if the Supreme Court throws out the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. All of the other states’ abortion bans are currently entangled by court challenges and if the South Carolina bill is approved it will likely face litigation that prevents it from going into effect, according to the AP.

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