The United States bishops’ religious freedom chair has called for better protection of churches and other houses of worship, following a recent series of acts of vandalism. Source: CNA.
Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami joined other religious leaders in a letter to congressional leaders on Monday, asking for quadrupled funding of a federal security grant program for non-profits.
“Our sacred spaces have been desecrated, and our faithful murdered,” Archbishop Wenski and other Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh leaders said in their letter. They wrote that “we believe that all people ought to be free from fear when gathering for religious worship and service.”
According to FBI statistics cited in the letter, at least 1,244 hate crimes were committed in 2018 against members of the various denominations and congregations represented.
FBI director Christopher Wray, in his testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee on September 24, said that houses of worship are increasingly becoming preferred targets by “lone wolf” attackers.
Archbishop Wenski and the other leaders asked that funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program be quadrupled in 2021 to $360 million. The program enables beneficiaries to make security improvements, such as training or emergency planning, upgrading security systems, or making renovations.
“At a time of increasing extremism and antagonism towards different religious groups and religion in general, we believe significant increased funding for this important government program in fiscal year 2021 is imperative,” the letter stated.