David Ammerman is a holy warrior.
At the beginning of this month, he went up to the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes outside Francis of Assisi Church in Auburn, New York, and started pounding the hell out of it.
He had a hammer and he went after the Blessed Virgin’s head and face and hands.
When he was done, her hands were gone, her face was irreparable, she was destroyed.
He admitted his crime to police, and told them why he did it. According to the authorities, he said he did it because he couldn’t stand the fact that Catholics were praying to the statue.
He’s not Catholic.
And though Catholics would probably point out that they don’t actually pray to statues, David Ammerman believes they do and he wasn’t going to stand for it.
He disagreed with someone else’s religion, and he used violence and criminal conduct to try to stop them.
He’s been charged with felony criminal mischief.
Which is a great start, but a woefully inadequate finish.
A man disagrees with a religion, so he violently attacks an object of veneration at a place of worship.
Isn’t that a hate crime?
Isn’t that a bias crime?
Shouldn’t this be on the national news? Shouldn’t somebody from the civil rights division of the Justice Department be flying in from Washington? Shouldn’t the police or the district attorney have charged this guy with something more than industrial-strength vandalism?
Let me repeat: A man disagrees with a religion, so he violently attacks an object of veneration at a place of worship.
He is accused of committing a felony crime motivated completely by religious antipathy.
And he gets criminal mischief.
Which is a pretty good illustration of another double standard in the era of political correctness.
Let’s take this same crime and change the sign over the door. Instead of happening at a Catholic church, let’s pretend this happened at a Jewish synagogue.
Let’s say someone thought Judaism was a false religion and they committed a similar attack upon a Jewish place of worship. What if they broke in and destroyed the congregation’s Torah.
It’d have “hate crime” written all over it.
Ditto if someone broke into a mosque and vandalized it, or went into a Buddhist temple and smashed the Buddha.
If either of those things happened, it would be a national news story. Al Jazeera would be editorializing about it.
And the government would be all over it.
The federal and state governments would get into it and you could be sure charges would be brought.
The same is true if some act of vandalism was committed against a black church.
All those reactions to a crime against a place of worship would be firm and sure – as they should be.
A crime against a mosque is a hate crime. A crime against a synagogue is a hate crime.
And so is an attack against a church.
Sadly, the double standard of political correctness ignores that latter fact. The inequality of political correctness is that it ignores bias crimes against anyone other than minorities.
Catholicism has been the largest religious denomination in America since the 1860s. Catholics combine with Protestants to make Christianity America’s majority religion. Catholics are square in the center of America’s mainstream.
And consequently they get short shrift.
We’ve bought into the lie that bigotry can only be manifest by social majorities and that the bigotries of minorities are somehow justified, and steadfastly ignored.
Not that David Ammerman is a minority.
Other than the fact that only a tiny minority of people in the United States would discriminate on the basis of religion, much less take a violent act based on opposition to the peaceful faith of another.
The first crime against the people of St. Francis of Assisi Parish was that a bigot took a hammer to their statue. The second crime against the people of St. Francis of Assisi parish was that the criminal justice system and the law of the land failed to protect them or properly characterize the crime committed against them.
It wasn’t criminal mischief, it was religious bigotry.
And it should be denounced as such.
Certainly, the offended parish may choose to forgive – that is its prerogative. But the broken law must still be addressed, and so must the hateful motive of religious bigotry.
A hate crime was committed.
And nobody cares.
And that’s another hate crime of its own.