As pro-abortion rights protestors react to news Roe v. Wade might soon be overturned, Republican Texas Rep. Michael Cloud is calling on Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate the targeting of churches “with the utmost fervency.”
The Daily Wire first obtained Cloud’s letter, which calls such demonstrations a “diabolical attack on Americans’ sacred right to freely worship and assemble” and reminds Garland that he has an obligation to both enforce the law and investigate any violations.
“The rule of law, including the right of the People to freely worship, must be defended,” Cloud told The Daily Wire on Wednesday. “The recent attacks on Christian churches across our nation must be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
The letter points to the National Review’s reporting on protests outside Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York disrupting a pro-life rosary procession, referencing a protestor who was “dancing and spinning on the ground with baby dolls attached saying ‘God killed his kid, why can’t I kill mine’ and ‘help me abort my babies. My babies are all wet.'”
“On the same day in Los Angeles, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels’ holy mass was interrupted by protestors just prior to taking Communion,” the letter continued. “On May 5th, vandals spray-painted and smashed windows of Sacred Heart of Mary Church in Boulder, Colorado.”
The congressman reminded Garland that these types of attacks on Catholic institutions are not anomalies.
“In fact, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has identified that ‘at least 129 incidents have occurred across 35 states and the District of Columbia since May 2020. Incidents 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.”
The letter cites multiple pro-abortion rights groups that have praised or encouraged disruptions of Catholic masses through protests, such as Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights and Ruth Sent Us.
Ruth Sent Us “publicly stated its intentions to burn the Eucharist in protest,” Cloud noted, before pointing out that a “tabernacle containing the Eucharist was stolen from St. Bartholomew Catholic Church in Katy, Texas.”
Stuff your rosaries and your weaponized prayer.
We will remain outraged after this weekend, so keep praying.
We’ll be burning the Eucharist to show our disgust for the abuse Catholic Churches have condoned for centuries. pic.twitter.com/1UxAkyuXTg
— Ruth Sent Us 🪧 (@RuthSentUs) May 7, 2022
“Stolen Eucharists are often used to celebrate what are called ‘black masses’ and other satantic rituals,” he wrote. “To put this in perspective as to how offensive this is, Catholics believe, according to the Catechism fo the Catholic Church, that the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ is contained and present in the Eucharist and that the Eucharist is the ‘source and summit of the Christian life.'”
“Ruth Sent Us’ intent to burn the Eucharist poses a threat to Catholic Churches simply for their Christian faith,” he added.
Cloud cites the Department of Justice’s definition of a hate crime as “a crime motivated by bias against race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability,” noting that the DOJ definition puts “religious hate crimes squarely within your department’s purview.”
“While pro-abortion advocates have a Constitutional right to peacefully protest in public, the actions and rhetoric of these groups constitute hate crimes since they are targeting communities based on their religious beliefs,” Cloud said.
The congressman warned Garland that without any investigative DOJ action, attacks in the wake of the leaked draft Supreme Court opinion would “continue to result in religious hate crimes.”
“Americans are growing increasingly fearful of these attacks reaching their churches,” he added. “What steps are you currently taking in response to investigate the newly reported instances of hate crimes against Christian churches?”
The DOJ confirmed to The Daily Wire that it had received the letter but did not comment further.
The Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act prohibits “violent, threatening, damaging and obstructive conduct intended to injure, intimidate, or interfere with the right” to obtain abortions.
Garland cited the FACE Act in a September statement condemning Texas’s pro-life SB8, promising to “protect those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services pursuant to our criminal and civil enforcement of the FACE Act.”
“We will not tolerate violence against those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services, physical obstruction or property damage in violation of the FACE Act,” he added at the time.
In a Saturday interview with The Daily Wire, former Vice President Mike Pence called on President Joe Biden to “speak out forcefully” on demonstrations at the homes of the Supreme Court justices and at Catholic masses.
“President Biden should speak out forcefully, make it clear that those who support his view on abortion, on the Supreme Court, let their voice be heard, but heard peacefully and respect the law,” Pence said.
“The president of the United States is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States of America,” he continued. “And he ought to make it very, very clear that anyone who would engage in violence or threaten violence or disrupt religious services would be held to the strictest account.”
Biden, often described as a “devout Catholic” by his staff, has not specifically weighed in on the protesting at churches.
On Monday, the White House condemned acts of “violence, threats, or vandalism” after vandals set fire to a pro-life clinic in Wisconsin, scrawling on the clinic wall: “If abortions aren’t safe, then you aren’t either.”
“President Biden strongly condemns this attack and political violence of any stripe,” the statement said. “The President has made clear throughout his time in public life that Americans have the fundamental right to express themselves under the Constitution, whatever their point of view. But that expression must be peaceful and free of violence, vandalism, or attempts to intimidate.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki also tweeted that Biden “strongly believes in the Constitutional right to protest,” but emphasized that “should never include violence, threats, or vandalism.”