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Hooligans on both U.S. coasts took their loathing of traditionally conservative values to new lows over the weekend by vandalizing a pair of monuments – one of former President Ronald Reagan, the other of the Ten Commandments.
In Temecula, Calif., according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise, vandals late Thursday or early Friday set a fire at the base of a statue of Ronald Reagan at the city’s Ronald Reagan Sports Park.
The fire blackened the former president’s likeness and damaged tiles on what’s known as the “Can-Do Monument,” erected only one year ago in memory of Reagan’s words praising the people of Temecula for banding together to fund and build the park, rather than relying on government money for its construction.
And sometime Friday evening or early Saturday in Washington, D.C., vandals exerted extreme effort to topple an 850-pound, steel-rod enforced monument to the Ten Commandments, which sits in plain view of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The 3-foot-by-3-foot monument sits in front of the headquarters of Faith and Action, a Christian outreach ministry.
According to the Faith and Action website, the Ten Commandments monument “had been toppled forward, its face bearing the incomparable ‘Ten Words’ pointed to the ground. The steel rod that secured the monolith to a three-foot deep cement foundation had been bent to a nearly 90-degree angle.”
“It took a lot of force to wrench that hardened steel,” said Faith and Action Chief of Program Peggy Nienaber. “Whoever did this was very serious and very focused on making sure the Ten Commandments could no longer be seen or read. It was obviously intentional. This was no random act. It was well planned and well done.”
In California, the residents who helped build the park and Reagan statue are furious with the deliberate damage.
“It’s an insult to the president as well as to the community,” Perry Peters, founder of the nonprofit Friends of Ronald Reagan Sports Park, told the Press-Enterprise.
The park, once named the Rancho California Sports Park, was renamed after Reagan in 2004 in honor of the president’s praise over its construction in a March 1983 speech to the U.S. Olympic Committee.
“The folks in a rather small town, Temecula … got together and built themselves a sports park, held fund-raising barbecues and dinners,” Reagan had said. “And those that didn’t have money volunteered the time and energy. And now the young people of that community have baseball diamonds for Little League and other sports events, just due to what’s traditional Americanism.”
The Ronald Reagan Sports Park is accepting donations on its website to help repair the damaged tribute.
In D.C., Faith and Action President Rob Schenck has refused to be angry and said, in a way, the vandals have illustrated the message of the stone tablets: “We all violate the Ten Commandments. … We all violate God’s rules.”
Faith and Action has likewise launched a fund drive to repair and re-install the monument. A rededication ceremony will be held as soon as the process is complete.
“We’re as determined to repair and re-install it now as we were seven years ago when we did it the first time,” Schenck said. “The Great Words of Sinai will be seen again here on Capitol Hill.”
See the video about the effort: