Editor's Note: This is part 1 of a two-part article. For part 2, click here.
The Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Ocala, Florida, sustained major damage when a man "plowed his vehicle into the Catholic church and then set the building on fire as parishioners were inside preparing for Mass, according to officials," according to Fox News.
After his apparent attempt to destroy the church, Steven Anthony Shields, 24, faces multiple charges, including attempted second-degree murder, arson, burglary and attempting to elude. He is being held in the Marion County Jail.
But this not an isolated event. Over the past few weeks, churches in Florida, California, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., have sustained damage and destruction after other vicious attacks including burning, looting and vandalizing. Fox News also reports that a 249-year old church in San Gabriel, outside of Los Angeles, "went up in flames around 4 a.m." on July 11, burning the church's roof and interior.
Captain Antonio Negrete of the San Gabriel Fire Department said that "the recent destruction of monuments to Junipero Serra, founder of the California mission system—whom Indigenous activists view as a symbol of oppression—will be a factor in the investigation," per Fox News.
And in yet another heinous crime, a Miami, Florida crime left a statue of Jesus Christ at Good Shepherd Catholic Church decapitated and knocked off its pedestal.
American Incitement and Agitation
All this comes on the back of statements made in tweets by Black Lives Matter leader Shaun King. One tweet he posted reads as follows: "I think the statues of the white European they claim is Jesus should come down. They are a form of white supremacy. Always have been. ... Tear them down."
Yes, I think the statues of the white European they claim is Jesus should also come down.— Shaun King (@shaunking) June 22, 2020
They are a form of white supremacy.
Always have been.
In the Bible, when the family of Jesus wanted to hide, and blend in, guess where they went?
Tear them down.
In another tweet, King says: "All murals and stained glass windows of white Jesus, and his European mother, and their white friends should also come down. They are a form of gross white supremacy. Created as tools of oppression. Racist propaganda. They should all come down."
Yes.— Shaun King (@shaunking) June 22, 2020
All murals and stained glass windows of white Jesus, and his European mother, and their white friends should also come down.
They are a gross form white supremacy.
Created as tools of oppression.
They should all come down.
The weaker the enemy, the more outrageous the threats. The world has seen and dealt with this before.
Every attack by Black Lives Matter and antifa should be seen and understood for what it is. The problem has nothing to do with social justice or racism.
Every police incident or event used to justify attacks on the very move of the Holy Spirit in the lives, thoughts and deeds of man in the covenant founding and defense of America represents an attack on the Christian principles and foundation of the United States itself.
In a recent Newsweek article Ryan P. Williams, president of the Clairmont Institute, eloquently defends the truth that "America was not conceived in racism."
The vision for the birth of America was given in the move of the Holy Spirit in the churches in England in the years prior to the Pilgrims moving to Amsterdam. They established the model of the new government under the lordship of Jesus Christ in the Begijnhof Church that would become the model for New England before they sailed to the New World in 1620 on the Mayflower from Delfshaven, Netherlands and Plymouth, England.
Think of an offense? Call for destruction. The public call for destruction of U.S. churches in any form is the same modus operandi used by terrorist groups around the world.
Last weekend in France, the famed Gothic Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul was set on fire, and the authorities are treating it as a criminal act.
The total number of churches set on fire or destroyed in France and across Europe in 2019 set a record, with 3,000 cases including vandalism, burning, looting, desecration and property defacement.
Protection Umbrella Across the Arc
After the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Towers, I personally worked with Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), Department of State, to draw up plans to spread the umbrella of protection to churches and faith-based organizations in major cities and elsewhere, from Cape Town across the Middle-East arc to Singapore and down to Jakarta. Churches were soft targets.
Terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was the former founder and leader of ISIS, the most ruthless and violent terror organization in the world. Where did Baghdadi go when he died? Everywhere. He blew himself up in an underground dead-end tunnel, seeking to avoid a US Navy SEAL team and service dog named Conan.
Baghdadi was like other terrorist leaders and organizations across the Middle East and Africa who inspired his followers, using oppression as a motivator to destroy Christian churches. Their tools included murdering, burning, looting, raping, smashing statues and anyone and anything associated with these holy places, even going so far as to break apart the rocks they were constructed of.
You Shall Know Them by Their Fruits
The Black Lives Matter leadership and the Mr. Kings of this world should be given the attention they are seeking. The organization's title is a diversion. But the methodology they're incorporating should be taken seriously. We cannot separate the three words from the spirit and destruction behind them.
In an article for The Washington Sentinel about King and the Black Lives Matter intentions, writer Warner Todd Huston put it well: "Make no mistake, America. He is voicing exactly what the terroristic Black Lives Matter movement wants to do. They have already nearly finished taking down all the statues to white people regardless of what those whites did to earn a statue. Next they will be coming to burn down your churches and outlaw your religion. None of this is about 'racism.' It is all about destroying the United States of America."
Steven V. Selthoffer is an American communications executive based in Europe.
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