Ani-war protesters attack Catholic parishioners in Chicago Update: Bail set a little ... high

A group of anti-war protesters interrupted an Easter Mass in Chicago yesterday, stunning parishioners with their shouts during Cardinal Francis George’s homily. They then squirted stage blood on the congregation, leading to their arrest and an angry confrontation in the gathering space outside the hall. As it turns out, the protesters not only were mostly incoherent, but also very, very late (via Memeorandum):

Six people were arrested at Holy Name parish’s auditorium Sunday after disrupting an Easter mass to protest the Iraq war.

The group—whose female and male members identified themselves as Catholic Schoolgirls Against the War—stood up at the beginning of Cardinal Francis George‘s homily and shouted their opposition to the conflict, which marked its fifth anniversary last week. As security guards and ushers tried to remove them from the service, the demonstrators squirted fake blood on themselves and parishioners dressed in their Easter finery.

The red substance, which one protester later described as “stage blood,” initially drew gasps and a few terrified yelps from the 600 worshipers at the mass. The shock, however, quickly transformed into anger as people booed the six while they were escorted from the parish auditorium.

Why did they target the Chicago cathedral? Almost three months ago, Cardinal George met with President Bush. The protesters explained (much later) that the Cardinal should have challenged Bush to end the war during that private meeting. They failed to explain (a) how they know that Cardinal George didn’t do that, and (b) why it took them ten weeks to protest the meeting.

I warned people three weeks ago that the anti-war movement was going to start getting violent. Alan Colmes scoffed at the notion, but assaulting people sitting in church demonstrates that the fringe of the movement has no sense of boundaries, and their frustration at losing in the political process keeps growing. Instead of peacefully protesting outside the cathedral, which is their right to do, they insisted on breaking the law and conspiring to commit multiple acts of battery. This time, they used fake blood. How long before that won’t be enough, and they start trying to draw real blood instead?

Jim Hoft has a roundup of links relating to the story. It turns out that one of the apparent sponsors of this attack is the International Solidarity Movement, a pro-Palestinian organization. Why is a sponsor of the Palestinian cause sponsoring or at least offering apologetics for an attack on a Catholic Mass? One might expect the news media to ask that question, and to ask whether this is just an anti-war attack or whether it is an anti-Catholic, anti-Christian hate crime.

If that’s not clear enough, let me ask readers what kind of coverage this would have provoked had it been conducted against the worshipers at a mosque. If a group of anti-terrorist protesters had broken into Friday prayers at a Chicago mosque to spray stage blood all over Muslims in protest of al-Qaeda and the Taliban — a little stronger connection than that between the Catholic Church and the war in Iraq — the newspapers would have trumpeted it as a hate crime against American Muslims, followed by weeks of human-interest, anecdotal accounts of how terrible America is to its Muslim citizens.

Update: Via Jim and Carl in Jerusalem, here’s the video:

Notice the little bit of performance art in the middle of this protest, when they fall down shrieking. I’m assuming that’s when they threw stage blood on the parishioners. I’m heartened that they have been charged with a felony in connection to this protest, although I doubt that Chicago will actually follow through on prosecuting it.

Update II: Via Jim again, the bail for these “Holy Word 6” got set a little higher than they expected:

A judge set bond at $25,000 to $30,000 today for six anti-war protestors following an Easter service disruption at Holy Name Cathedral in the Loop Sunday morning. …

Bond was set at $35,000 for Donte D. Smith, 21 and $25,000 for the five others including: Ephran Ramirez, Jr., 22, and Ryane J. Ziemba, 25, Mercedes Phinaih, 18, Regan Maher, 25, and Angela Haban, 20. Smith has served time in a federal prison in Texas for trespassing on a Native American reservation.

All six protestors were charged with two counts of felony criminal damage to property and two counts of simple battery.

They may have to stay in jail for a while, or some of their lunatic-fringe friends will have to find about $20,000 to spring all of them. Either sounds good to me. The judge is treating this seriously instead of winking over the assault on religious practice that this represented — at least for now.