CLARION, Pa. — Vandals recently defaced and destroyed a number of crosses that were part of a pro-life display at a Pennsylvania university.
Students for Life at Clarion University erected 350 crosses on the campus on Sunday evening in a display known as the “Cemetery of the Innocents.” Each cross was to represent 10 children who had lost their lives that day from abortion.
But the following morning, it was discovered that a number of the crosses had been pulled up out of the ground and thrown into trash cans. Some of them had been broken. A few had messages written on them, such as, “Would you support if this life was gay?” and “Would you support if this life were trans?”
Similar vandalism had taken place in 2011 with red paint like blood being strewn on the pink and blue crosses.
“[All] 350 crosses were pulled up and re-inserted in inverted fashion, a well-known anti-Christian symbol,” the group Students for Life reported. “Additionally, red paint was splattered on crosses and signs. Even eerier was the mock bloody footprints of an infant painted in front of the display.”
The words “pro-choice” were also written on the sidewalk near the footprints.
“This was a reprehensible act of discrimination against Students for Life,” Students for Life President Todd Garrett said in a statement regarding this week’s incident. “It was an attack on the freedom of speech. I find it quite ridiculous that this is the second time … that our crosses have been desecrated.”
The display has since been restored and university police are investigating who might be responsible for the act.
“I ask that as a community of educators and students, we come together and reflect upon our commitment to our rights and responsibilities of expression,” university President Karen Whitney said in a statement. “I ask that we use dialogue and discussion to engage very differing viewpoints in ways that leave all of us better for the experience.”
As previously reported, just last month, 200 students at the University of Texas at Arlington petitioned a student pro-life group to remove an abortion display featuring nearly 3,000 crosses in part due to concerns that the crosses represented Christianity and thus were “culturally insensitive.”
“Every cross is supposed to represent an unborn child, but not necessarily every child that is aborted is Christian,” petition organizer Ashley Radovcich told The Shorthorn, the campus newspaper. “And therefore, they’re being culturally insensitive, especially since we’re the fifth most diverse campus in America.”
“When I’m looking at this, they’re basically telling us that we can go to Hell just for having options,” sophomore Olivia Frost added.
As in Pennsylvania, the memorial had likewise been vandalized.
“About 100 crosses or so were kicked over and our display signs went missing for a couple of days,” said Adam Fogel, public relations officer for the Pro-Life Mavericks.