A Catholic advocacy group has launched a $1 million ad campaign calling on the Biden administration to condemn pro-choice activists' violent attacks and vandalism of Catholic churches.
CatholicVote announced the launch of a $1 million ad campaign on Tuesday, saying in a statement that its ad will air in battleground states, including Arizona and Wisconsin, both of which feature competitive gubernatorial races and U.S. Senate contests.
Joshua Mercer, communications director for CatholicVote, said in the statement that the ad will also air in Washington, D.C., so that the Department of Justice and other political leaders will see it.
“The American people are disgusted by the inaction of our Justice Department,” he added. “This ad sends an important message, calling on our lawmakers to demand action against this vicious campaign of targeted violence against Catholics.”
The 30-second ad at the center of the campaign begins with archived footage of attacks on churches during the 1960s, and quotes John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic president of the U.S., condemning the attacks as “cowardly as well as outrageous” and vowing that “as soon as we are able to find out who did it, we will arrest them.”
The video then features headlines and pictures of vandalized churches and pro-life pregnancy centers this summer after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
The ad shows an empty podium, indicating the lack of an adequate response from “our second Catholic president,” It then shows footage of President Joe Biden urging people to “keep protesting.”
CatholicVote's ad campaign comes two months after the group signed a letter urging U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and U.S. Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Kristen Clarke to condemn the violence against churches and pro-life pregnancy centers and to “commit to vigorous efforts to prevent them, and to investigate and prosecute them; and to proactively engage with the affected faith communities to ensure their concerns and security needs are being met.”
Signed by 24 leaders of other conservative and religious organizations, the CatholicVote letter raised concerns that “the relative silence from the Administration endangers Americans even more.”
“In December of last year, the Department of Justice was asked how it was investigating the repeated attacks on churches in the United States,” the letter stated, referring to a December 2021 letter CatholicVote President Brian Burch sent to Garland and Clarke.
“The Attorney General was also asked to investigate those complaints and take appropriate action as is your duty. Since that request there has been public silence.”
While the June 2022 letter acknowledged that “the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been assisting at least one affected religious organization on this matter,” signatories maintained that “the severity of the situation calls for your leadership.”
They wrote that “this continued assault on religious and pro-life groups because of their beliefs is a manifest injustice that requires prompt, comprehensive, and public response.”
CatholicVote has compiled a list of violence against Catholic churches that have broken out since May 2020, when violence erupted nationwide after George Floyd died while being arrested for using counterfeit money.
Over 207 Catholic churches have been vandalized since 2020, according to the group, ranging from windows being shattered, and property being stolen and defaced with graffiti displaying pro-abortion messages.
The Christian Post has put together its own lists of attacks on churches and pro-life pregnancy centers following the May 2 leak of the Dobbs draft opinion.
The first list includes businesses targeted by pro-abortion activists before the Dobbs ruling. The second list contains churches and pro-life pregnancy centers that have found themselves subject to attacks since the Dobbs decision.
Shortly after the leak of the Dobbs decision, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security warned those involved in the abortion debate, including clergy, Supreme Court justices, healthcare providers and politicians that violent threats directed at them “are likely to persist and may increase leading up to and following the issuing [of] the Court’s official ruling” in Dobbs.
Government agencies indicated at the time that they were preparing for an upsurge in violence and would investigate threatening social media posts.
In early 2021, before the Supreme Court announced its intention to review the Mississippi law at the center of the Dobbs case, the DHS placed “abortion-related domestic violent extremists” on a list of groups that “pose an elevated threat to the homeland.” DHS defined “abortion-related domestic violent extremists” as “DVEs with ideological agendas in support of pro-life or pro-choice beliefs.”
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org