The sad, annual tradition of destroying Christian depictions of the birth of Jesus Christ continues unabated this year, according to the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. The organization is flooded every Christmas season with reports of vandalism to nativity scenes and other religious displays.
Among the incidents reported this year: In Sandusky, Ohio a 50-year old figure of the Baby Jesus was stolen from a downtown park. It was found a few days later hanging from a ceiling fan in the apartment of the thief who stole it. A Christian pastor in Loma Linda, Calif., was beaten and left in critical condition while decorating his church. In Orange County, Fla., a Christian church’s drive-through nativity scene was completely demolished by vandals. The Blessed Virgin figure was stolen from a nativity scene in front of a home in Colorado Springs, Colo. Twice within a couple of weeks, the crèche in Norwood, Mass., was vandalized . A drive-through nativity built by a Christian church in Stone Mountain, Ga., was destroyed. In Waggaman, La., a 38-year old man, accompanied by two boys, trashed Christmas decorations at five homes. A 50-year old statue of a shepherd was beheaded in a nativity scene in downtown Kingsport, Tenn. The Holy Family was stolen from a crèche outside of a home in New Albany, Ind. The nativity scene in front of a Christian church in Christoval, Texas was splattered with red paint. Figures of the Baby Jesus were stolen from homes or churches in Memphis; Littlestown, Pa.; Valrico, Calif.; Akron, Ohio; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Andover, N.Y.; Sumter, S.C.; St. Charles, Ill.; Moberly, Mo.; Lehighton, Pa.; Bismarck, N.D.; Omaha; Paw Paw, Mich.; North Richland Hills, Texas; Eureka Springs, Ark.; and Independence Mall in Philadelphia.
The persistent vandalism has some churches turning to technology to protect their cherished displays. More than 70 churches across the country have installed security cameras and GPS tracking devices in their nativity figures. The high-tech gear was provided for free by BrickHouse Security in New York City.
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