The Vancouver police are looking for two women who were seen splattering paint over the front of a Christian church in British Columbia last week, as similar acts of vandalism continue to target religious institutions in Canada.
Videos posted on Facebook show two women wearing masks splashing orange paint on the front of St. Jude’s Parish Catholic church in East Vancouver. The incident happened sometime on the night of July 1, Canada Day.
St. Jude’s Parish is one of the latest churches across the country being targeted for vandalism, along with suspicious fires at around 20 churches across the country, including two Anglican churches and four Catholic churches in B.C.
The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) said investigation into the “devastating fire” at St. Jude’s Parish is still ongoing. No arrests have been made.
“Our neighbourhood police officers are following up with the churches that have been vandalized to mitigate future risk. They are going over security measures they can take to hopefully either prevent crimes or assist with investigations in the future (i.e. better lighting, installing security cameras),” a VPD officer told The Epoch Times in an email.
“Neighbourhood policing officers will be paying special attention to those churches in their district.”
The acts of vandalism and arson began after the discovery of unmarked graves linked to former residential schools in B.C. and Saskatchewan.
The discovery of what is believed to be the graves of 215 indigenous children at a former residential school in Kamloops was announced in May. On June 24, the Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan found 751 unmarked graves, followed by 182 unmarked graves found by the Lower Kootenay Band in B.C. last week.
Following the vandalism at St. Jude’s Parish, the Archdiocese of Vancouver issued a statement on July 5, saying, “It is deeply distressing to hear the recent news of the burning down and vandalism of some churches.”
“The right path forward is one of reconciliation, dialogue, and atonement with Indigenous people and in following the way they would lead us in that process,” the statement said.
“Churches are made up of people, and many of them here are made up of Indigenous people, refugees, and migrants – the very people we should all seek to protect rather than terrorize.”
Many First Nations leaders have called for the burning of churches to stop.