Vandalized Sign at St. Paul Catholic Church

Faith-Related Vandalism Hits Close to Home

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ATHENS, Ohio-  Across the country, people of faith have become fearful following a spike in anti-Semitic and other anti-religion behavior. Toppled headstones in Jewish cemeteries, bomb threats at Jewish community centers, Swastikas painted on cars and even vandalism at an Athens Catholic church are just a few of the most recent incidents.

Hitting Home

While students often feel that Athens is a safe place, Josh Chernomoreds, a senior at Ohio University said he has started to experience this same anti-semitic behavior locally. As a student leader within the Jewish student community,  Chernomoreds said he has most recently seen vandalism to signs and a slew of threatening “alt-right” emails – threatening not only individual students, but the entire Jewish community.

Located on Mill St.
Located on Mill St.

Not alone 

However, the Jewish community is not the only religious organization on campus seeing attacks on their faith. St Paul’s Catholic Church has seen seven incidents of vandalism in the past four years. The most recent incident involved a church sign being damaged and a piece thrown into the backyard.

St. Paul Catholic Church
St. Paul Catholic Church

Speaking Out

Father Mark Moore of Saint Paul Catholic Church expressed his concern in a letter to the editor sent to the Athens News. In the February letter, Moore said he has “Never experienced the destructive behavior we are experiencing right now.” He blamed the “Drunken social culture,” for the incidents and asked “Where is the movement to change the party culture?”