Commentary

Non-Violent Rioters Punished More Than Violent Ones

By Bill Donohue | February 23, 2022 | 4:07pm EST
Leftist protesters tore down a statue of St. Serra in Los Angeles. (Photo credit: YouTube/ABC7)
Leftist protesters tore down a statue of St. Serra in Los Angeles. (Photo credit: YouTube/ABC7)

On Feb. 15, Edward McAlanis was sentenced to six months probation, 60 hours of community service, and $500 in restitution. He was previously fired from his high-salary job in financial services; he is now a pizza delivery driver. What did he do to merit these punishments? On Jan. 6, 2021, he joined a protest outside the U.S. Capitol, and entered the building without authorization. He posed for a picture in front of a statue of Abraham Lincoln. That was it.

By contrast, Antifa and Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters killed innocent persons, set buildings on fire, assaulted the police, looted department stores, and participated in illegal street demonstrations. Practically nothing has been done to any of them. Moreover, the attacks these thugs made on Catholics have largely been ignored by the media.

Antifa sports a revolutionary ideology, one that is diametrically opposed to Catholicism; to say it hates Catholicism is an understatement. One of the leaders of BLM, Shaun King, stated in 2020 that all images depicting Jesus as a "white European" should be torn down because they are a form of "white supremacy." He added that white people use Christianity as a "tool of oppression."

During the many riots in 2020 and 2021, Antifa and BLM, or those directly inspired by them, heeded King's statement by attacking Catholic institutions and iconic Catholic figures. Here is a sample of their work:

  • May 29, 2020 — Antifa and BLM rioters broke into the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis and poured flammable liquid under the pews, lighting a fire that did significant damage.

  • May 29, 2020 — Antifa and BLM rioters threw rocks shattering the rectory windows of the Cathedral of the Assumption in Louisville.

  • May 29, 2020 — Antifa and BLM rioters damaged the exterior of St. Jude Chapel in Dallas and threw rocks shattering its windows.

  • May 30, 2020 — Antifa and BLM rioters laced the exterior of Our Lady of Mt. Lebanon-St. Peter Cathedral in Los Angeles with the following graffiti: "prosecute killer cops," "ACAB" [All Cops Are Bastards], "Kill all cops," and "Make America pay for its crimes against Black lives." 

  • May 30, 2020 — Antifa and BLM rioters spray-painted St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City with various counter-cultural slogans.

  • May 31, 2020 — Antifa and BLM rioters threw rocks at the Daughters of St. Paul Book Store in Chicago, causing severe damages.

  • Jun. 1, 2020 — Antifa and BLM rioters caused serious damage to The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver following several nights of rioting

  • Jun. 10, 2020 — Antifa and BLM rioters pulled down a statue of Columbus in Richmond, Va.

  • Jun. 10, 2020 — Antifa and BLM rioters pulled down a statue of Columbus in St. Paul, Minn.

  • Jun. 10, 2020 — Antifa and BLM rioters tore down a statue of Ponce de Leon and spray-painted a statue of Columbus in Miami.

  • Jun. 19, 2020 — Antifa and BLM rioters tore down a statue of St. Serra in San Francisco.

  • Jun. 20, 2020 — Antifa and BLM rioters tore down a statue of St. Serra in Los Angeles.

  • Jun. 22, 2020 — Keveon Gomera, who was inspired by Antifa and BLM, defaced gravestones of Dominican priests by painting swastikas and anti-Catholic language on them at Providence College. 

  • July 4, 2020 — Antifa and BLM rioters tore down and set fire to a statue of St. Serra in Sacramento.

  • July 4, 2020 — Antifa and BLM rioters pulled down a statue of Columbus in Baltimore.

  • July 5/6, 2020 — An Antifa and BLM-inspired individual vandalized a crucifix outside of St. Bernadette Parish in Rockford, IL.

  • July 11, 2020 — Steven Anthony Shields, who was inspired by Antifa and BLM, drove a car into Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Ocala, Fla. while parishioners gathered inside for Mass. He proceeded to pour gasoline in the foyer and set the building on fire. When he was arrested, he told police that he was on a "mission" and that what he did was "awesome." 

  • Aug. 1, 2020 — Antifa protestors burned copies of the Bible and American flags in Portland.

  • Aug. 24, 2020 — Antifa and BLM rioters spray-painted anti-religious graffiti on St. James Church in Kenosha, Wisc.

  • Sept. 25, 2020 — Antifa and BLM activists laced St. Peter’s Chaldean Catholic Cathedral and Our Mother of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in El Cajon, Calif. with swastikas.

  • Oct. 11, 2020 — Antifa and BLM activists spray-painted and toppled a statue of St. Serra at St. Raphael, San Rafael, Calif.

  • Nov. 4, 2020 — Antifa and BLM rioters shattered the windows of St. Andre Bessettee in Portland.

  • Jan. 18, 2021 — Antifa and BLM activists attempted to burn down the Rosary Cathedral in Toledo, Ohio.

  • Oct. 10, 2021 — An Antifa and BLM-inspired activist spray-painted satanic and BLM messages on the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver.

The disparate treatment afforded those who participated in the non-violent Jan. 6 riot and those who participated in the violent Antifa and BLM riots, is a national disgrace. This has everything to do with politics, not justice.

Bill Donohue is president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of nine books and many articles.

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