The Haverhill Civil Rights Commission today issued a strong condemnation of the vandalism and theft at Sacred Heart’s Parish’s nativity scene Christmas day.
In a statement, the commission said:
On Christmas Day, the Nativity Scene on the property of Sacred Hearts Church in Bradford was vandalized. The statue of Baby Jesus was stolen and the bloody, severed head of a pig was set in its place. We consider this to be a horrific, sick and cowardly act and we strongly condemn it.
Whether the vandalism was meant to be a prank or intentionally a statement of hate, it is clear that this despicable act targeted the Roman Catholic community in general and Sacred Hearts Church specifically. We consider this act an assault on everyone in our community and an assault on the United States Constitution which guarantees everyone the right to worship in accordance with one’s own religious beliefs.
This time of year reminds us of the importance of love, peace and good will – values which our community embraces wholeheartedly. It is important that we all join in reflecting on this attack and remember that our strength lies in the appreciation of the diversity and respect for every religion in our community.
We urge everyone in the community to reject this vile attack; and we urge every member of the community to assist, if at all possible, with the law enforcement efforts to bring to justice those responsible for such a horrific act.
Commissioners present at Tuesday’s meeting were Rabbi Ira L. Korinow, Temple Emanu-El; Attorney Damon Thomas; Jonathan Miller, Team Coordinating Agency; and Tim Coco, WHAV. Jennifer Leibig, assistant regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, Boston, also attended to offer guidance.
The Greater Haverhill Civil Rights Commission was founded in 1990 to respond to members of the Ku Klux Klan who took up presence in Haverhill and adjoining communities. The Commission consists of members of area clergy, law enforcement, community activists, political and business leaders and other involved citizens.
For more information, contact Rabbi Ira Korinow, Chairman of the Greater Haverhill Civil Rights Commission at (978) 373-3861 or (978) 373-7171.