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Los Angeles Catholic School Vandalized

poop

Similar religious vandalism in Jerusalem.

Photo: Associated Press

Vandals broke into the St. Rose of Lima parish school in LA County, stabbed a painting of the Virgin Mary, wrote "666" on the walls, and defecated in the auditorium, reported the California Catholic Daily Wednesday. The school was found completely ransacked, with drawers thrown about and food destroyed. Local police are calling the vandalism "consistent with a 'hate crime.'"

There is no doubt that this sort of vandalism is unacceptable, and that the perpetrators should be brought to justice. But is this a "hate crime"? Hate crime legislation seeks additional punishment for crimes perpetrated based on the victim's membership (or perceived membership) in a social group, whether racial, ethnic, gender-based or sexual orientation-based. The thinking usually goes that this kind of violence threatens not only the victim, but also other members of that group, who must live in fear of future similar violence. Are members of the Catholic Church entitled to these extra protections? Is there a difference between groups in which membership is not chosen (such as race and, yes, sexuality) and groups in which membership is both chosen and political (say, Green Party members, animal rights activists or members of a religious group)?

Is this a hate crime, and deserving of additional punishment, or should it be treated as we would any other breaking, entering and vandalism case? I want your opinion.

Comments

  • Thomas 4 years ago

    I think this is a tough one but, mainly because I think the idea of hate crimes at all is a tough one. It seems to me that if you support the idea of defining certain crimes as hate crimes to begin with, this would certainly have to qualify. Looking up the definition online shows it's based on "color, creed, gender, or sexual orientation." So creed would definitely cover this. Just because the members of this group chose to be members, does not mean they are exempt from feeling the fear of being harmed by a group that is specifically targeting them.
    As far as for hate crime in general, at the bottom of the wikipedia page I'm sure we all looked at there is a great point about the fact that hate crime makes an individual's actions into "one group against another" which would further divide society, and possibly provoke counter attacks against innocent members of the other group.
    It's a tough issue though and personally I have a hard time deciding on it.

  • xexon 4 years ago

    Isn't his how "The Exorcist" began?

    Fact of the matter is, the Catholic religion is dying.

    Because it is a belief system rather than an actual spiritual path. As are all the Abrahamic based religions are. They're all dying. And for the same reason.

    A true spiritual path teaches one how to see. So that belief in no longer needed.

    You can't find truth in a book. Because it's a personal experience that cant be translated into words.

    It takes a living master who has already made that journey and returned to tell of it to point the way.

    Your books and the religions based on them, are treasure maps without the X.

    x

  • Sakina 4 years ago

    Wait...how do we know that they were Muslim vandals?

    It's unfortunate that the author left those details out the story (at least to me).

    Ann Arbor Islamic Issues Examiner

  • Ross 4 years ago

    I would call it a hate crime, since it seems to be inspired by a disrespect for that group's beliefs, rather than any grievance against the individuals themselves. We would say the same of a Jewish temple with swastikas painted on it. When I first read about this I was sad and sorely disappointed that non-believers (which one might assume the criminals were) would do such a thing. Our arguments against people of faith should be solely intellectual and emotional ones, not violent. I think the image of Mary desecrated by Muslims is a little misleading/confusing, btw, since the article is about a local event that Muslims probably weren't involved in.

  • Carrie Poppy 4 years ago

    Sakina and Ross: The caption of the photo was not meant to be misleading, but only to show similar vandalism. Unfortunately, no photos have been released that are public domain, so I could not publish any photos of this particular attack. The caption has been changed, thanks to your kind attention and comments.

    For clarity, there is no indication that the vandals in THIS case were of any particular religious group, nor was that the intended reading.

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