Church attacks are disgraceful

Dear Editor, I’m finding the rise in attacks on churches in this country deeply disturbing. Last week’s paper reported an attack on a church in Limerick – Our Lady of Lourdes – and in previous weeks I remember there had been another church attack in Kilkeel, Co. Down followed by a synagogue that was attacked in Belfast. And, I have just read that there has been another attack on a church in Dungannon where UVF was spray-painted on the wall.
This vandalism has been called ‘hate crimes’ and ‘sectarian crimes’ however I still cannot understand why anyone would target a place of worship. No matter what religion you may follow if you believe in God you believe that any attack on a church can only be called sacrilegious and I argue it is also a form of blasphemy. Blasphemy that is uttered or published and is insulting or abusive to a religious group, and causes offence, is punishable by law. It is taken incredibly seriously in regards to defamation. On a spiritual level I am deeply offended by these attacks and I see the vandalism of churches and synagogues and sectarian slogans smeared on Catholic churches deeply offensive. I hope that the police take these crimes more seriously in the future because these crimes can only be committed by people not only with no respect for each other but with no respect for God. My deepest sympathies go to those who have been directly affected by these crimes. It is sad to think that in communities where so many people are willing to devote their time to work together and help each other despite race or religion, that there are still those small groups of people who want to damage and destroy something that good people have put their heart and soul into.
Yours etc.,

Pat Murphy,