A Catholic priest in Indiana was attacked, strangled, and beaten by a man screaming “this is for the kids” while getting his church ready for mass. The FBI has gotten involved and is treating it as a hate crime:
An attack on a northwest Indiana priest is being investigated as a hate crime by the FBI.
The Rev. Basil Hutsko was hospitalized after he was beaten at St. Michael’s Byzantine Church in Merrilville, Ind., Monday morning as he finished celebrating liturgy at the church.
Hutsko told the Rev. Thomas Loya that as his back was turned, a man came up suddenly from behind. The attack left the priest unconscious for 15 minutes.
“[He said] the attacker grabbed him, choked him and threw him to the ground and knocked him unconscious,” Loya said. “He was wearing gloves. Father Basil does not know who it was, but while he was attacking him, he heard the attacker say, ‘This is for all the kids.’”
Hutsko took that as a reference to the priest sex abuse scandal that’s back in the headlines after a grand jury in Pennsylvania found Roman Catholic Church leaders covered up child sex abuse by more than 300 priests over seven decades. Loya said his friend and colleague has never been accused of sex abuse.
“He’s a very dedicated priest and hardworking and in good standing, it’s just a random act of an innocent priest,” Loya said.
Hutsko is undergoing tests now to determine the extent of his injuries. In the meantime, his fellow priests are sounding the alarm and saying all clergy are now targets and need to be vigilant. Loya said in the past, other priests have been attacked and/or disrespected because of the scandal.
WGN found a blog post about Hutsko’s attack in which the blogger appears to be encouraging his followers to take matters into their own hands and “beat up some priests.”
Loya said he is not surprised by the attack, in fact he expected it to happen, just not to someone he knows.
“The stories are very ugly, you know, let’s face it, and very unbecoming of the church so I can see where some people might become enraged, but at the same time people get enraged and do this to an innocent priest and that’s not going to help or solve anything,” he said.
Merrillville police have turned the investigation over to the FBI to be investigated as a hate crime.
The FBI has not responded to request for comments.
No one is in custody. (source)
Incidents of rash violence done in the name of “patriotism”, “nationalism,” or other ridiculous reasons such as this are not uncommon to Americans.
Remember that after the events of September 11th, 2001, there was a rash of violence against Sikh people. Sikhs, who predominately come from Punjab Province, India, are a sub-religion of Hinduism, and yet because in the minds of Americans they “looked like terrorists,” they were attacked and even murdered.
In 2009, an elderly Greek Orthodox priest who had recently arrived in the USA was lost and tried to ask a random man for directions. The man, who was a US Marine, responded by attacking the priest and then getting a tire iron and nearly beating him to death. His defense was that he thought the priests was a Muslim, and that he was a US marine.
During the First World War, in the name of “patriotism,” American schools stopped teaching German and attempted to strip all vestiges of a German cultural presence from society, despite Germans being the largest ethnic group in the USA, German the most taught language, and German culture readily accepted before that.
During the Second World War, the US Government rounded up and interned citizens who had as little as 1/16th Japanese in his heritage, again in the name of “patriotism.”
There is a culturally unstable element within American society that if the social consensus deems something to be so, then to act in a way contrary to that justifies social ostracism and violence against said person because of one’s existence and without any need to provide a justifiable reason for the response. It does not matter what the topic in question is, but if in the mind of the society that it is a “settled” matter or not.
Anti-Catholicism has deep roots in American society and still does today. The massive presence and contributions of Catholic immigrants to the betterment of the society, and even the popular acceptance of Catholic people into government still has not changed this. While there are origins with Protestantism and the Catholic-Protestant conflict, much of this stems at the essence from nationalism, which is the true religion of the USA and is what defines American Protestantism.
The same also applies to things considered as “foreign,” as Americans have a love/hate relationship with it. If a “foreign” thing is accepted, it will be accepted in mass and then Americanized. This usually comes in the form of food, where foods from different cultures when accepted are then modified with bacon, cheese, and some form of hot peppers or hot sauce, and maybe sugar. If it is not accepted, it will be regarded as “weird” and so will those who associate with it until the cultural consensus changes. If it continues not to be accepted, then those who associate with it will eventually have their patriotism questioned by somebody.
The danger with any trend, idea, or thing is that once the people decide “this is bad,” they will proceed to exterminate said thing. It’s not about whether is makes sense or is wrong, but if it makes the people feel good in the moment.
This incident that happened in Indiana was clearly a hate crime. The priest is not, was not, and has no evidence at all for being involved in any crimes. He was attacked because he was Catholic, and the justification that the man who did it, who undoubtedly fancies himself a good American patriot, said that it was for “the kids” is a typical American form of attempting to rationalize the irrational or outright lack of reason in their responses in order to justify violence against another person, place, or thing that is determined to be “anti-American.”
This is the reason why although one can have strong opinions about anything, one must also be measured in one’s response and what one says should be “the answer” because not only can it lead to bad or unintended consequences for anybody, but that it can be used to promote evil ends. This is the danger of the “counter jihad” movement, for while it opposes Islam, it does so in order to promote nationalism as the answer. One cannot counter evil by justifying another evil.
Expect to see more attacks on Catholic priests that are in no way connected to the real abuse scandal, justified by the reporting in the news by people waving American flags and saying they are just good patriots defending FREEDUMB, DUMBOCRACY, and apple pie.