When authoritarians go after free peoples they start with the churches, as tyrants have no God but government. So it is with Democrats.

“Is the Catholic Church under attack?” reads the headline of a recent article by Slate’s Molly Olmstead.

Why does she have to ask? Churches are being vandalized all over the country. There have even been attempts to burn them down. Yet Olmstead blames the “Catholic right” for its “premature or recklessly dramatic” concerns – though she concedes that “to be fair, anecdotally there does seem to have been an increase in vandalism on churches.” Anecdotally? Seems?

The Catholic News Agency has been keeping a running tally of instances of vandalism in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

Pro-life pregnancy centers, many of which are run by faith-inspired organizations including the Catholic Church, have suffered vandalism at the hands of pro-abortion zealots since the leak of a draft of the Dobbs decision last May.

Earlier this week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., told reporters that Congress needs to shut down these centers – which offer pregnant women free ultrasounds, diapers and parenting classes. “You should not be able to torture a pregnant person like that,” remarked Warren.

Catholic parishes have also been on the receiving end of the rage. Four churches in Wisconsin were vandalized with pro-abortion graffiti between July 2 and 3. A building on the grounds of a Catholic school in northern Ohio sustained an estimated $1 million in damage from a fire on June 30.

Last week a masked intruder smashed the glass door of St. Louise Catholic Church in Bellevue, Washington. And this past Sunday, St. Jane Frances de Chantal Parish in Bethesda, Maryland was the target of arson.

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“Last night our church was vandalized. People broke in. They overturned statues. They tore down the Stations of the Cross. They desecrated the tabernacle, and they tried to set the church on fire,” Father Samuel Giese explained during the parish’s live-streamed 10 a.m. Sunday Mass, which was held in the school gymnasium due to heavy damage caused by the fire.

Then there’s the terror message spewed on the walls of Catholic churches and pregnancy centers by the radical pro-abortion group “Jane’s Revenge” – “if abortions aren’t safe, neither are you”. Slate’s Olmstead writes: “No one has been injured in any of the attacks.” What’s she going to say when they are?

Let’s imagine that mosques were the targets of vandals and arsonists after some Islamist terror incident. Do you think Slate would be accusing American Muslims of “victimhood identification”?

…Meanwhile, the pastor of my home parish had to assemble a task force of parishioners who are former and current law enforcement officers in order to protect the church’s security.

As far as I know, these preventative steps are working. But I’m mindful of the real and present danger my children and I face when we head off to church. Instead of worrying whether my six-year-old has his shirt tucked in, I’m thinking about exit strategies in the event of a firebombing or shooting. And while I’m doing this, Olmstead and her colleagues are busy blaming the victims. That’s normally a mortal sin in the catechism of progressives. But not, it seems, if the victims are Catholics.