Home>Articles>Statues of Fr. Junipero Serra Toppled In Los Angeles, San Francisco

Father Junipero Serra statue toppled in Los Angeles on June 20, 2020. (Photo: Youtube)

Statues of Fr. Junipero Serra Toppled In Los Angeles, San Francisco

‘There are more legal means to remove things honoring a person’

By Evan Symon, June 22, 2020 5:13 pm

During the weekend, two statues of Father Junipero Serra, a Spanish priest who established several missions in California in the 1770’s and helped lead to the settlement of the state, were removed by protesters in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

2 statues removed, one more in works

The removals, which were influenced by the George Floyd protests, were carried out by Native American activists. Protesters contend that Father Serra had enslaved, beaten,incarcerated, and tried to remove the culture and beliefs of natives in the 1700′s, as well as convert them to Christianity. While the Catholic Church and others contend that Serra had treated Natives fairly and had protected them, the statues were nonetheless removed. Both San Francisco and Los Angeles officials have yet to charge anyone in the acts of destruction.

“These people enforced racist policies and enslaved others,” said San Francisco protester Paul Garland, who saw the statues of Serra, former President Ulysses S. Grant, and Francis Scott Key be torn down. “We are not erasing history, we’re just removing these honors they have. Of them not being remembered for what they had done.”

A statue of Father Serra outside the Ventura City Hall was also announced to be moved soon by the city due to fears that protesters would also destroy that statue.

Other statues of Father Serra had previously been destroyed and vandalized, including a statue in Monterey being decapitated following Serra’s canonization by the Catholic Church in 2015 and a statue of Serra in Santa Barbara being covered in red paint in 2017. The removals also follow the removals of monuments and statues of John Sutter and Christopher Columbus last week in Sacramento, as well as statues and monuments for Confederate leaders and other controversial figures since late May.

Confederate, Columbus, other statues have varying degrees of removability

“We’ve reached a strange point here,” noted historian Diana Greene, who has consulted about monument removal in Nevada, Texas, and Utah. “Confederate statues and memorials have been going away for some time, and many have found it hard to defend. They suffer from a double threat of being pro-slavery and supporting people who committed treason, some actively killing Americans. It’s getting amazingly hard to defend, and even old arguments of ‘erasing history’ aren’t holding up anymore. It also helps that cities and states, even NASCAR, have mostly been voluntarily doing this.”

“Christopher Columbus removals aren’t also new, as there have been calls for removals for decades. It just got a jump with the protests. They are still being defended as it’s a source of Italian-American pride and honoring someone who brought in Europeans to the continent. They’re still going down, but unlike Confederate monuments, there are still arguments to be made.”

“For Serra and other conquistadors it gets harder to argue for, especially with Serra. He’s a saint in the Catholic church. He did undeniable wrongs, but he also spurred the growth of California, helped settle much of the state, and really kicked off the growth of California. That’s why his statue is not in talks to be removed from Congress in D.C., and that’s why things like the San Diego Padres name isn’t being changed. Unlike the Confederacy, it’s much more nuanced.”

Historian Diana Greene continued: “The same goes for other statues that fell, like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson up in Portland. Yes, they owned slaves, but they had so many other accomplishments such as starting the country, winning the Revolution, and forming a represented democracy. That doesn’t mean we should let them off for that, but their accomplishments were so undeniably good and beneficial that it’s an impossible case to make to ask for removal legally.”

“The bottom line is that none of these people or groups are purely good or purely bad. It’s different shades of grey. Some, like the Confederate monuments, are very hard to defend as we progress. But others, like Father Serra, need to be analyzed more and be given thought to.”

“We also can’t just destroy public or private property like that – there are more legal means to remove things honoring a person.”

As of Monday, while there have been calls to remove more statues in California of Father Serra, none have been acted on so far.

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8 thoughts on “Statues of Fr. Junipero Serra Toppled In Los Angeles, San Francisco

  1. Kiss Rule of Law good bye. We now have rule of thug. In liberal cities the police protect no one at all except perhaps the thugs. If we have an election remember that civilization rides on the results. Vote Democrat and you vote for your business and house to be burned and for your family to be at the mercy of armed thugs. If allowed to continue we will see a Chinese/Vietnamese/Soviet style purge where tens of millions will die. History will repeat if we don’t wise up and fast.

  2. step back and look at what is happening. this is what isis does, these people are useful idiots for jihad. open your eyes

  3. Utterly disturbing that local governments are allowing the wanton destruction of public property. You can rest assured this would not be tolerated if perpetrated by American patriots.

  4. These acts of ugliness (Fr. Junipero Serra) and ISIS: All in the category of evil. And if it’s ignorance or stupidity, that can be evil too. And no arrests, which is jaw-dropping. Apparently the disgusting creeps who did this believe they are perfect and it is only the targets of their hatred who have flaws and have done wrong and deserve to be vandalized and thrown violently to the ground, symbolically of course. It’s just beyond belief the twisted thinking here.
    The people who did this need to do serious jail time.

  5. I’m waiting for somebody to start pulling down Martin Luther King statues, and painting over anything with his name or image on it. Suprised that it hasn’t happened yet.

    And imagine the wailing, gnashing of teeth and rending of clothes when it does. The White Devils at it again! See and hear the pious and somber statements by the usual sorts, the self important, pompous and self aggrandizing “Worthies” who’ve made a career of pandering to the fears and inadequacies of their constituents. Thrill to the stern visages of Law Enforcement officials, complete with their staff as props – so cheesy and transparent; why do they even still do that? – somberly informing the viewers that “Justice will be done.”**

    But then again, the (White) Mainstream culture doesn’t do that. Too well mannered. Too self controlled. Instead, they wait. And they think. And they talk amongst themselves. And when it’s time for next election, they’ll vote anybody and everybody out of office who allow these sorts of things to happen.* That, and with a mandate to put the damned statues back up and eliminate all the PC crap entirely.

    That, or they just explode seemingly out of no where with a savage and primal rage that’s the stuff of legends. Think the Zoot Suit or Tulsa Riots on steroids, the L.A. riots in reverse and writ very, very large.

    Don’t think it can’t happen? Think the mainstream, the middling sorts in the cities and the deplorables in the rural counties would rather just sit and watch sitcoms and drink beer? OK, then let these disaffected and aggrieved “Demonstrators” in all the states and cities keep doing what they’re doing on a nightly basis, and we’ll see what finally happens.

    Just a thought.


    *Of course that assumes no ballot harvesting or voter fraud, an increasingly likely prospect as those in office attempt to stay in office. At that point, the default position is as described in paragraph #3 above.

    **And when they discover that it was actually a “Persons of Color” that did the deed, it will be all “Well, err, ahh….” as the story is buried in haste. Happens more than you think.

  6. This could have been easily stopped but rather was allowed to happen. I saw an article over the weekend where black lives matter replaced a statue destroyed with one they created, which makes this even more sickening.

    I’m with VICB3 in that it may be the armed citizens dealing with these people. Californians alone are seeing their way of life being stripped from them for good, and eventually they are going to have nothing to lose or be on the brink of losing it all. People up and down the state are already fighting back, but if these terrorists start wandering into neighborhoods, and I am not doubting at all they will, the citizens better be ready to protect themselves and their neighbors. They are not going to be able to sit inside hoping their house isn’t targeted while their neighbor’s is. They are going to have to come out in force or the terrorists will lay claim to the neighborhood and now you’re a hostage. People are going to have to confront them in mass, and if they come back with more people they’re going to have to neutralize them with serious force if needed, period.

    The bullying reminds me of some cultures where men challenge others. If confronted a person has three choices. Give in, attempt to negotiate or fight. Giving in shows you will not fight and they have no respect for you. In attempting to negotiate you are telling them you want to avoid conflict showing weakness. They again have no respect for you and know with the smallest amount of conflict you’ll cave. If a person stands their ground they first respect you, which goes a long way, and they’ll have second thoughts and usually move on to someone that is an easier target.

    These people are going to have to be stopped by force since this is all they know. The American citizen can end this VERY quickly without the need for military or law enforcement, and if it comes down to that the thugs are going to have to decide whether they leave in handcuffs, on a stretcher or possibly worse.

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