An underage individual was arrested recently for setting fire to two churches in Bethesda, Maryland on July 9 and 10, Montgomery County fire authorities said Tuesday.
Many connected the attacks to the spate of vandalism and violence targeting pro-life organizations and churches in reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade on June 24.
Catholic News Agency reports Peter Piringer, a spokesman for the Montgomery County fire department, said they arrested and charged a juvenile for vandalizing and setting fire to St. Jane Frances de Chantal Catholic Church and North Bethesda United Methodist Church.
Because the alleged perpetrator is a juvenile, authorities said they cannot provide more details about the individual.
“I can confirm a juvenile has been arrested and charged and the matter is being handled by juvenile court,” Piringer told the Washington Times.
It is not clear if the juvenile’s motivation was based on abortion. The Rev. Samuel Giese, of St. Jane Frances de Chantal, initially said he thought an abortion activist may have been responsible for the attack.
On Tuesday, however, he told the Washington Times that the fire investigator does not think the overturning of Roe was the juvenile’s motive. Authorities did not find any graffiti or other indications in the vandalism that abortion was a motive.
“The fire investigator told me it was a minor who was not a threat. He did not believe the vandalism and arson were motivated by the abortion question. That’s all I know,” Giese said.
Giese said they replaced several pews and had to repair some of the flooring, and they plan to repaint several walls. He said the vandal also burned an American flag, pulled down the Stations of the Cross and destroyed several books.
A third church near Bethesda, Wildwood Baptist Church, also was vandalized around the same time, but authorities said the juvenile has not been charged in that incident.
Although the motive in the Bethesda crimes is unclear, there has been a spate of vandalism and arson targeting pro-life organizations and churches since May specifically because of the Supreme Court abortion ruling. The crime wave has many pro-life organizations increasing security and Republican lawmakers demanding action from the Biden administration to crack down on the growing domestic terrorism.
Earlier this week, U.S. House Democrats blocked a resolution to condemn the pro-abortion violence.
In June, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a report warning of continued “domestic violence” directed at churches, faith-based pro-life organizations, judges and lawmakers in response to the abortion ruling.
Incidents since the Supreme Court ruling on June 24:
Louisiana – Woman’s New Life Clinic in Baton Rouge Vandalized, “Abortion is a Right” (National Right to Life News) (more from 4WWL News)
Utah – Arches New Hope Pregnancy Center in Moab Vandalized, Black Paint Splattered Across Building (Moab Sun News)
Pennsylvania – Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia Had Windows Smashed, Office Vandalized with Pro-Abortion Graffiti (Philly Anti-Capitalist blog)
Kansas – Overland Park Catholic Church Vandalized with “My Body My Choice” after Speaking Out for Life (Kansas City Star)
Ohio – Right to Life of Northeast Ohio in Akron Vandalized a Second Time, “If Abortions Aren’t Safe Neither RU” (RTL of Northeast Ohio)
Washington state – Care Net of Puget Sound in Kenmore Vandalized with Spraypaint, Windows Smashed (My Northwest)
Washington state – Two Churches Vandalized with Pro-Abortion Graffiti in Sumner (My Northwest)
Washington state – Police Investigate Attempted Arson at Two Hearts Pregnancy Center in Everett (Live Action News)
Iowa – Vandals Deface Pro-Life Billboard at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Vinton (Vinton Today)
Kansas – Salina Police Cite Woman for Damaging Pro-Life “Vote Yes” Signs at 8 Locations (Salina Journal)
Wisconsin – Four Catholic Churches in Chippewa Falls, Tilden Vandalized with Pro-Abortion Graffiti (Spectrum News 1) (more from CNA)
Minnesota – Birthright Pregnancy Center Vandalized with Pro-Abortion Graffiti (Catholic News Agency) (more from The Globe)
Oregon – Radicals Smash Building, Attack Journalist at Pro-Abortion Riot in Portland (Andy Ngo)
Texas – Abortion Activists Block Traffic in Austin During Pro-Abortion Protest (Insider)
Florida – Pregnancy Help Medical Clinic in Hialeah Vandalized: “If Abortions Aren’t Safe, Neither Are You” (Martha Avila/Heartbeat of Miami) (more from Local 10 News)
Wisconsin – St. Bernard Catholic Church in Madison Vandalized with “Anti-‘Pro-Life’” Graffiti (National Review)
Ohio – Right to Life of Northeast Ohio Office Vandalized Hours after Roe Overturned (Right to Life of Northeast Ohio)
Washington, D.C. – Police Arrest Abortion Activists for Blocking Roadway near U.S. Supreme Court (Bloomberg)
New Hampshire – Pathways Pregnancy Care Center in Littleton Vandalized with Pro-Abortion Message, “Fund Abortion, Abort God” (WMUR News 9)
Kansas – Cowley County GOP Office in Winfield Vandalized, Pro-Life Materials Lit on Fire (Fox News)
Utah – Pregnancy Resource Center of Salt Lake City Vandalized Hours after Supreme Court Overturns Roe (Catholic News Agency)
California – Abortion Activists Vandalize Mobile Clinic of Pro-Life Pregnancy Center Options Health in Concord (Catholic News Agency)
Pennsylvania – St. Patrick Catholic Church in Philadelphia Vandalized with Pro-Abortion Graffiti (Catholic News Agency)
Tennessee – Pro-Life Hope Clinic for Women in Nashville Vandalized, Molotov Cocktail Found (Tennessee Lookout)
California – A Woman’s Friend Pregnancy Center in Yuba City Vandalized, Window Smashed (CBS 13 Sacramento)
Washington state – St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Renton Vandalized with Pro-Abortion Graffiti, Windows Smashed (KIRO 7)
Indiana – Monroe County Courthouse Vandalized with Pro-Abortion Graffiti (Fox 59 News)
Colorado – Heart to Heart Pregnancy Center in Cortez Vandalized with Pro-Abortion Graffiti (Catholic News Agency)
Indiana – Memorial for Aborted Babies Vandalized at St. Therese Little Flower Catholic Church (Catholic News Agency)
Florida – LifeChoice Pregnancy Center in Winter Haven Defaced with Pro-Abortion Graffiti (Catholic News Agency)
Washington state – Video: Man Smashes Bellevue Church Doors, Throws Rock at Employee (Fox 13 Seattle)
Texas – 3 Statues Vandalized at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Harlingen (Valley Central 4)
New York – Ascension Roman Catholic Church in Upper West Side Vandalized with Pro-Abortion Threat (Newsweek)
Florida – Methodist Church in Tallahassee Vandalized with Pro-Abortion Graffiti (Newsweek)
USA – Hackers Attack Pro-Life States and Organizations, Steal Data (The Byte)
Louisiana – Tombstones for Unborn Babies Vandalized at Holy Name of Mary Church in Algiers (Live Action News)
Iowa – Informed Choices Pro-Life Center Vandalized with Pro-Abortion Graffiti (Live Action News)
Oregon– All Saints Catholic Church in Northeast Portland Vandalized with Pro-Abortion Graffiti (Catholic Sentinel)
North Carolina – NC GOP Responds to Abortion Graffiti at Raleigh Headquarters (News Observer)
Rhode Island – Police Arrest Two at Pro-Abortion Protest in Providence (The Providence Journal)
Virginia – St. John Catholic Church Vandalized with Pro-Abortion Graffiti after Supreme Court Ruling (NBC Washington 4) Vandals Allegedly Tried to Set Garden on Fire (MRC-TV)
South Carolina – Police Arrest 6 Abortion Activists at Pro-Abortion Protest in Greenville (The Daily Wire)
Vermont – Windows Smashed, Pro-Abortion Graffiti Found on Vermont Statehouse after Roe Overturned (VT Digger)
California – Paso Robles Tree of Life Pregnancy Center Vandalized after Roe Overturned (KSBY News 6) (more from The Tribune)
Washington, D.C. – MAGA hat swatted off pro-life protester’s head in front of SCOTUS (Richie McGinnis/Daily Caller)
Washington state – Pro-Abortion Radicals Destroy Street Preacher’s Bible during Seattle Protest (Jonathan Choe/Discovery Institute)
Washington state – Security Guard Hit with Metal Pipe during Pro-Abortion Protest in Seattle (Jonathan Choe/Discovery Institute)
Washington state – Antifa attack and pepper spray pro-life woman in Seattle (The Post Millennial)
California – Pro-Abortion Protesters in Sacramento Surround Car, Block Driver from Leaving (Fox 40)
Oregon – Eugene Police Arrest 10 during Pro-Abortion ‘Night of Rage’ (The Hill)
California – Los Angeles Pro-Abortion Protesters Shut Down Street, Hit Drivers with Sticks (El American/Andy Ngo)
Incidents post-leak, pre-ruling:
New York – Two Pro-Life Billboards Vandalized in Esopus (Daily Freeman)
Iowa – Republican Office in Cedar Rapids Vandalized (The Gazette)
Kansas – Pro-Life Yard Signs Ripped Apart, Stolen at Multiple Homes Ahead of Pro-Life Amendment Vote (Value Them Both) (more at KSNT)
Michigan – Two More Sites Vandalized with Pro-Abortion Graffiti, Including Pro-Life Group and Congressman’s Office (Right to Life of Michigan)
Ohio – Pro-Life Billboard in Columbus Vandalized with Pro-Abortion Graffiti (Right to Life of Northeast Ohio)
Washington state – Pro-life Republican Lawmaker’s Office Hit with Arson Attempt, Vandalism
Alaska – Pregnancy Center Vandalized with Nails, Pro-Abortion Graffiti (EWTN Ireland)
New York – Topless Abortion Rights Protesters Storm Court At New York Liberty WNBA Game (Huffington Post)
New York – Statues of Lúcia dos Santos and Jacinta Marto smashed and decapitated at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church (ABC 7 New York)
Michigan – Police Arrest Abortion Activist for Allegedly Disrupting Michigan House Session (Bridge Michigan)
Maryland – Police Arrest Man with Weapon outside Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh’s Home, Allegedly Threatened to Murder Him (Washington Post)
North Carolina – Asheville Pregnancy Center Vandalized with Pro-Abortion Graffiti (Lauren Muzyka/Sidewalk Advocates for Life) (more at FOX Carolina)
New York – Pro-Abortion Protesters Mob Catholic Pro-Life Procession (National Review)
Pennsylvania – Pro-Life Billboard Vandalized in Pittsburgh (ProLife Across America)
Oregon – Mother and Child center vandalized; Address was publicized by group that favors abortion rights (Catholic Sentinel)
Oregon – Eugene Pregnancy Center Vandalized with Pro-Abortion Graffiti (Andy Ngo)
Mississippi – Rural Black Church Vandalized with Pro-Abortion Graffiti
Oregon – Pro-Life Billboard Vandalized in Portland: “Abort the Supreme Court” (Andy Ngo)
Alabama – Vicar, Parishioners Respond to Vandalism at Pro-Life Women’s Clinic in Auburn (Opelika-Auburn News)
Arizona – Watch: Pro-Abortion Demonstrators Attack, Spit on ‘Students for Kari’ Volunteers (College Fix)
Missouri – Pro-life Student Group at University of Missouri Calls for Dialogue after its Memorial Was Vandalized (Campus Reform)
Indiana – Pro-Life Student Advocates Shoved, Grabbed from Behind at Pro-Abortion Rally (Students for Life)
Maryland – Alpha Pregnancy Center in Reisterstown Vandalized with Pro-Abortion Graffiti (Andy Ngo) (more at WBAL-TV 11)
USA – Video: Pro-Life Student Activists Kicked, Shoved by Pro-Abortion Protesters (Students for Life)
Maine – Republican Senator Receives Threats after Voting No on Radical Pro-Abortion Bill (Boston Globe)
Texas – Another Pro-Life Pregnancy Center Vandalized in Denton (NRL News)
Virginia – Pro-Life Organization Office Vandalized; Man Exposes Himself, Urinates on Front Door (Concerned Women for America)
Colorado – Parish church in Fort Collins tagged with pro-abortion graffiti; police investigating (Catholic News Agency)
Virginia – Pregnancy Center Vandalized with Pro-Abortion Graffiti in Northern Virginia (National Review) (more from Human Coalition)
Texas – Pro-Life Pregnancy Center Vandalized in Denton, Texas (more from Students for Life)
Washington, D.C. – Two Pro-Life Leaders Say Abortion Activists Punched Them at D.C. Protest (Stand True)
Texas – Pro-Abortion Group Brags about Vandalizing Trotter House Pregnancy Center in Austin (Stop the Sweeps ATX) (more at Pregnancy Help News)
Washington state – Antifa Assault News Crew during Pro-Abortion Rally in Seattle (Andy Ngo)
Colorado – Catholic Church in Boulder Defiled Following Roe v. Wade Draft Opinion Leak (Denver Gazette)
Oregon – Pro-Abortion Protesters Damage Property In Portland Following SCOTUS Leak On Abortion (KXL 101 FM News) (more at KOIN 6)