Ventura’s Submission to Anti-Catholic Sentiment Draws Threat of Legal Action

Thomas More Society Attorneys Seek Restoration of Religious Rights in Southern California

What started as massive civil unrest could become an uphill legal battle for Ventura County, California, and the City of Ventura, California. Thomas More Society attorneys sent them a demand letter on August 5, 2020. The letter warns the county executive officer and city mayor that they are displaying unconstitutional hostility to the Catholic religion and subscribing to anti-Catholic animus in removing a statue of the “Apostle of California” Fr. Junipero Serra from its longstanding location outside City Hall, and considering the removal of the Catholic Hispanic Saint’s image from the county seal and city police badges.

The letter, signed by Thomas More Society Special Counsel Charles LiMandri, and Jeffrey Trissell, both of LiMandri and Jonna LLP, addresses the county and city’s kowtowing to the radical demands of a vile anti-Catholic online petition.

“Instead of pushing back against this ahistorical, anti-Catholic bigotry,” the missive reports, “the City of Ventura published a letter stating that it ‘believe[d] the time has come for the [Fr. Serra] statue to be taken down and moved to a more appropriate non-public location.”

LiMandri explained the basic problem with the city and county succumbing to the newly arisen hordes of icon-toppling rabble rousers. “The First Amendment affirmatively mandates accommodation, not merely tolerance, of all religions, and forbids hostility toward any. The government must neither abdicate its responsibility to maintain a division between church and state nor evince a hostility to religion by disabling the government from, in some ways, recognizing our religious heritage.”

Fr. Serra, a Hispanic Saint, and the first person to be canonized in the United States, is revered by Catholics worldwide. Long honored throughout the State of California, Fr. Serra is credited with establishing the Franciscan Missions in the Sierra Gorda, a mission in Baja California, and nine Spanish missions in California from San Diego to San Francisco, in what was then Spanish-occupied Alta California.

LiMandri continued, “For all Catholics, the only reasonable way to view the attacks on Fr. Serra is to see them as assaults by those who hate Catholics and who hate that they evangelized native peoples.”

The letter noted that the removal of the Fr. Serra statue from in front of Ventura’s city hall has already resulted in litigation and expresses hope that further litigation need not be pursued. That would only occur should authorities decide to remove Fr. Serra’s image from the Ventura County Seal, City of Ventura Police Badges, or other prominent, municipal locations.

Read the demand letter Re: Removal of St. Junípero Serra from County and City Display issued August 5, 2020, to Ventura County, California, County Executive Office Michael Powers, and Ventura, California, Mayor Matthew LaVere, by Thomas More Society Special Counsel Charles LiMandri, and Jeffrey Trissell, both of LiMandri and Jonna LLP, here [https://www.thomasmoresociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/County-and-City.Demand-Letter.003.pdf].

About the Thomas More Society

The Thomas More Society is a national not-for-profit law firm dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, and religious liberty. Headquartered in Chicago, Omaha, and Fairfield, NJ, the Thomas More Society fosters support for these causes by providing high quality pro bono legal services from local trial courts all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. For more information, visit thomasmoresociety.org.


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Sue

Put up a dolphin statue.

Citizen Reporter

Or a pyramid with an all-seeing eye

Mario Chaidez

God forgive the father’s for what they’ve done to our church.

Rick

William: Read history. I have. The FACTS are all there. BTW – The Bible, is NOT history, it’s fiction.

You are correct. The minority (look at the popular vote in the last presidential election) are in charge, nut not for long.

William Hicks

Thanks Rick

I don’t recollect mentioning the Bible and history depends on who writes the book.

William Hicks

The County and City succummed to the minority because the minority was “offended.”My guess is they must be all currently or recently in college and have been pablum fed in their “safe places.”

How many ways is that wrong?

Anonymous

God bless the law firm litigating this against Ventura! I will pray for their strength and perseverance against the anti-Catholic mob which seeped through the cracks of Ventura. Bring Father Serra back home!

Joe Flores

First of all this is exactly what the problem is people who either have no experience as a Catholic or History it self make radical comments. So let’s start with present time we know of rapist and abuser of women still behind the wheel at this moment. It’s like commenting of my wood shop class in High School and commenting with the Contractor building CMH with my opinion. Unless you are a historian or a Catholic comment. Please don’t comment about any school providing a education to a child that one day can be your doctor or your grand child’s school teacher. Anyone has the right to educate their children how they want specially with the lack of education in this country due to politics. Unless you know exactly how Fr. Serra treated the natives which no one alive was there keep your comments out until your sure. What needs to happen is respect by learning from our past and be pro active by changing the was we disrespect others religion or beliefs. Catholics would like to worship who ever they would like and unless you know what that is no by a article in the paper or a tweet on a cell phone that tells you something brief educate your self. Worship with your own if your religious if not pick up your smart phone and worship it.

Joe C

Away with the statue of the Pope’s bloody killer !!

Rick

The word of Christ is the same today as it was in 1782. Serra did NOT treat the natives of Alta California as he would have wanted to be treated himself. He subjecated them to indentured servitude, rape by his soldiers and disease. He cared about one thing, and one thing only, the Catholic church. As today, when all you care about is protecting the institution, evil follows.

Put the statue in the Mission, you can go and worship the butcher all you like. City land, is STATE land, separation of church and state.

William Hicks

RICK – show the facts and put it on a ballot if you want a longtime standing statue taken down.

This is mob rule instead of a representative republic when a majority is overwhelmed by the minority.

Greg Carr

Toss his statue into the sea. Yes local voters can if they want vote out the town council at election time. Catholic leaders are calling for billions of tax payer dollars to prop up catholic schools and they are whining about the separation of church and state to keep the statue of a genocidal maniac and their catholic emblems on police officers badges what a total load of hypocrisy. You are free to build a 90 story likeness of whatever catholic fool you want on private property which you all pay for and which you will pay the security for. LOL you can’t even keep your churches and schools open.

William Hicks

GREG, I’m not Catholic. BUT, show me where Catholic Schools are calling for billions of taxpayer dollars.

Daniel W Bryan

For seventy one years Ventura has been my village. I was raised here and raised my children and now my grandchildren here. The statue of Fr. Junipero Serra has always graced our city as a monument to a man of herculean drive and ambition. His accomplishments transcend religious affiliation. He is no less a icon of our city than the California Street Courthouse itself. Our city fathers fell tragically short in their obligations to protect the heritage of our local culture. This issue should be put to a local vote by the citizens of our city. The voices of foreign agitators should have no impact on the monuments that serve to remind us how we have evolved as a culture and the roots of our values. Let the citizens speak. Our city counsel lost their voice to cowardice in the wake of a cancel culture assault. Vote everyone of those cowards who supported this off the board. They have lost their privilege to serve.

Gregory Ramirez

This is such *****. Many, if not most, of the people calling for the removal of the Serra statue are, in fact, lifelong practicing Catholics. I still rememver the nuns in Catholic grade achool teaching as children about how Serra abused and enslaved the Indians ! These out-of-town lawyers needs to take their **** arguments and gimmicks somewhere else to make their quick dollars and bonuses this year !!

Michael Leppert

I am not in favor of the Spanish Franciscans’ treatment of the Native Americans, but I am in favor of historical accuracy in a variety of ways. About 30 years ago, Los Angeles County was pressured to remove 3 crosses from its seal (which it did). Supporters of the separation of church and state incorrectly identified the crosses as religious symbols, rather than as historical symbols. They represented the 2 missions and presence of the Franciscans in L.A. County.

I am not a fan of Serra’s attitude vis a vis the indigenous peoples, but as a historical figure, almost no one looms as large in the development of California and Ventura County as Serra.

Matthew Vestuto

Serra spent three weeks in Ventura during the christening of the mission, left and never returned again. He did not name San Buenaventura. He does not loom large here, at all, anymore.