Why would somebody vandalize a Catholic church? There are any number of reasons, from the political to the highly personal. Be that as it may, for his Providence Journal article on an incident at Our Lady of the Rosary in Providence, Richard Salit has his answer scoped out, as summed up by whoever wrote the story’s lede: “Destruction in the heavily ethnic parish comes amid recent violence at other minority churches around the country.”
By ethnic, they mean Portuguese, which somehow leads Salit to make this part of a national mainstream media narrative about — what else? — racism:
The vandalism at the heavily ethnic congregation comes amid recent violence at other minority churches around the country, including the fatal shootings at the predominantly black Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and suspicious fires at other churches in the South since then.
It’s possible, of course, that some deluded racist cast his net of bigotry so wide as to catch ethnically European Catholics. The fact that things were stolen, including a golden Rosary, also raises the possibility of an angry and desperate person just taking advantage of unlocked doors to get some cash.
Or, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s declaration that marriage must be redefined in a way conflicting with Catholic beliefs and the Providence bishop’s public stance encouraging conscientious objectors, the attack could have been part of the blossoming movement that has attempted to close down an Indiana pizza parlor for speculating about a hypothetical situation and to ruin the lives of a small bakery’s mom and pop in Oregon, among other things.
The perpetrator might have mixed all three — taking the ethnicity and the Catholicism as excuses to target the church for a theft at the core of his or her motivation. Or perhaps there was something much more personal involved.
It will be interesting to see the path of the coverage as information comes in (if it does). If racism was involved, we’ll be looking at another front page story, or more. But what if the person who did this was a social justice warrior in the “civil rights struggle of our time” — namely, ensuring that nobody anywhere ever expresses doubts about the gay lifestyle?