A historic Catholic Church in San Jose, California was vandalized with satanic and antisemitic graffiti early Sunday morning, leading a City Councilmember to blame the crime on “the national rhetoric that’s going on throughout our entire country.”
The disturbing images were spray-painted onto the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph’s outside walls, including the messages “Hail Satan Forever, Truth Lies in You, and Jewbus Wuz Here, alongside drawings of a ghoulish smile below two windows and a pentagram.
These images painted on the back wall of the Cathedral Basilica of St.Joseph in San Jose have been painted over by church staff.
But community members, including the City Councilmember who shared these pictures, say this spray painted Vandalism is disturbing. pic.twitter.com/dQvTEIbjXc
— Sergio Quintana (@svqjournalist) September 5, 2019
“Jewbus” may refer to Jewish practitioners of Buddhism or vice versa. The graffiti has since been painted over.
“That’s absolutely uncalled for, and not the kind of spirit we want to have in our city,” a neighbor told NBC Bay Area.
City Councilmember Raul Peralez posted some of the photos on his Facebook page, writing, “it’s sad to see repeated acts of hate throughout our community. My mother serves as a Eucharistic Minister at St. Joseph’s Cathedral and this morning she sent me these discouraging photos that the congregation was greeted with.”
Peralez, who represents the downtown district that includes the cathedral, told the San Jose Spotlight that this was the first time he’d seen the church vandalized in more than 10 years. The Democrat took the opportunity to link the satanic attack on the cathedral to the current political climate.
“I think this is certainly rare for the church itself and we’ve certainly seen it happening, unfortunately, throughout our entire country,” added Peralez. “Is it a Satanic group? Is it some youth that maybe weren’t even affiliated with the church or anything to do with Satanism, they just wanted to vandalize? I don’t know. But I think, without a doubt, everybody has to be able to believe that the national rhetoric that’s going on throughout our entire country is not helping at all.”
Two weeks ago, a group of Silicon Valley lawmakers unveiled “proposals to address hate crimes on both city and county levels, including establishing a Hate Crimes Task Force.”
Peralez added that targeted attacks on an “individual, entity, organization, or religion” for a set of beliefs is alarming and provokes fear among the community. Whether it’s a vandalism attack on a religious organization or even living in fear of going out to a public place because of a potential mass shooting, Peralez said hate crimes are on the rise.
“These are hate crimes against people for just who they are. There’s nothing that is bringing it on besides somebody else’s hate,” said Peralez. “And so yes, I would say they’re absolutely scary. And the reality is that I think they are on the rise throughout our entire country.”
Religiously motivated hate crimes have decreased in the San Jose area, however. “There was a significant drop in religiously motivated hate crimes in San Jose in the last year — from 13 in 2017 to 5 in 2018,” the Spotlight reported.
The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph has been “a religious flagship” in Santa Clara County for more than a hundred years and is listed as a historic landmark in California, as well as listed on the National Register of Historic Places, according to the Spotlight.
Church officials said that they were working with police, who are investigating the incident.
“The Diocese of San Jose is aware of the incident and is working with San Jose police to apprehend the culprits,” said spokesperson Liz Sullivan in a statement.