Junipero Serra Statue Beheaded at Old Mission

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Junipero Serra Statue Beheaded at Old Mission
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The Junípero Serra statue at the Old Santa Barbara Mission was decapitated and splashed with bright red paint between Sunday evening and Monday morning.

An edhat reader captured these photos while walking along the Mission early Monday morning. It appears the photos were taken before staff at the Santa Barbara Mission had arrived or were aware of the vandalism. The statue has since been fully covered.

Junípero Serra was a Roman Catholic Spanish priest and friar of the Franciscan Order who founded a mission in Baja California and the first nine of 21 Spanish missions in California from San Diego to San Francisco. Santa Barbara's Mission was founded on December 4th, 1786, two years after Serra died. He planned to build this mission, raising the cross at the Presidio of Santa Barbara in 1782. Successors of Serra carried on his wishes in building Mission Santa Barbara.

Serra was beatified in 1988 and canonized in 2015, because of his religious devotion and missionary efforts. He was largely credited with bringing Catholicism to California while it was under Spanish rule.

However, Serra is viewed as controversial by many historians in the mission's oppressive treatment of native people. "By law, all baptized Indians subjected themselves completely to the authority of the Franciscans; they could be whipped, shackled or imprisoned for disobedience, and hunted down if they fled the mission grounds. Indian recruits, who were often forced to convert nearly at gunpoint, could be expected to survive mission life for only about ten years," according to PBS

Two years ago, just days after Serra was raised to sainthood, vandals toppled statues and painted "Saint of Genocide" on a headstone at the Carmel Mission where remains of the missionary are buried.

Last November, red paint was splashed across the front door of Mission Santa Cruz. 

And just last month, another statue of Serra was vandalized in Mission Hills across from the San Fernando Mission. The statue's hands were painted red with murder written on the monument, reports the LA Times.

Santa Barbara Police officers were later on the scene. It's being reported there may be video footage of the incident, although this has not yet been confirmed.

Edhat will update this article with any further developments.


Junipero Serra statue at the Santa Barbara Mission before being vandalized (Facebook)

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Flicka Sep 12, 2017 09:29 AM
Junipero Serra Statue Beheaded at Old Mission

An interesting fact is that no one knows what Serra looked like, no drawings of him. The man who sculpted this statue carved the face to look like himself.

BoomerSooner Sep 12, 2017 08:57 AM
Junipero Serra Statue Beheaded at Old Mission

This is a hate crime and the perpatrators, if caught, should be treated accordingly. We may not like what this man represents to many of us, but that gives NO ONE the right to enter private property and destroy or deface anything.

Resident Sep 12, 2017 08:08 AM
Junipero Serra Statue Beheaded at Old Mission

A lot of claims that Serra tortured and enslaved Chumash people but is that true? All the record seems to show that he preached to them and converted many to Catholicism. They lived and worked around the mission which wasn't even built until he had died. IMO this current movement to damage and deface historical artifacts exhibits the low intelligence of losers.

a-1506294564 Sep 12, 2017 01:43 PM
Junipero Serra Statue Beheaded at Old Mission

I hate to tell you but what you describe is exactly what Muslims want to do with Europe now. You most likely don't know (because the "good press" keeps this under the rug) that : You can't display Xmas mangers in public places any more That pork meat is forbidden in school cafeterias. That public pools are closed to men at certain times so that Muslim women can use them with "men presence" Looking "good" doesn't it ?

a-1506294564 Sep 12, 2017 01:44 PM
Junipero Serra Statue Beheaded at Old Mission

I hate to tell you but what you describe is exactly what Muslims want to do with Europe now. You most likely don't know (because the "good press" keeps this under the rug) that : You can't display Xmas mangers in public places any more That pork meat is forbidden in school cafeterias. That public pools are closed to men at certain times so that Muslim women can use them with "men presence" Looking "good" doesn't it ?

shorebird Sep 12, 2017 10:08 AM
Junipero Serra Statue Beheaded at Old Mission

The natives were completely able to feed, cloth and house themselves and had their own religion when the Spanish arrived. Here's a question. If aliens arrived and told you that you had to stop your life, accept their religion and built their edifices how would they get you to do it? I'm guessing a bucket load of violent coercion. Not a polite request.

Roger Sep 12, 2017 07:59 AM
Junipero Serra Statue Beheaded at Old Mission

I love driving on APS it's my favorite street I think I'll pitch a tent up there someday and join the other campers Serras head is probably up there somewhere...I don't agree with sex abuse, torture, and murder and that seems to be legal within the Catholic church makes Al Capone look like Romper Room. jus sayin

a-1506294564 Sep 12, 2017 06:28 AM
Junipero Serra Statue Beheaded at Old Mission

Regardless of anything else, I'm surprised at some of these comments coming from supposedly smart or educated people. IF this man was so horrible, there are other avenues. Validating violent, preplanned vandalism this way is truly uneducated, and wait until it happens to YOU when someone decides they don't like something you say, do, believe in, place on your private property. I hope none of these commenters OKing this ever drive on APS.

a-1506294564 Sep 11, 2017 11:14 PM
Junipero Serra Statue Beheaded at Old Mission

Vandalism is vandalism. The perps should be caught and punished. This is no different than jerks spraying graffiti and making things ugly which don't belong to them and should be left alone.

Mesarats Sep 11, 2017 10:28 PM
Junipero Serra Statue Beheaded at Old Mission

I'm not down with anonymous destruction. The guy was a tyrant and there are better ways to make a point than being a garden variety vandal. If you have lived in Santa Barbara for a while you would remember the fate of the King Carlos III in DGP. I'm sure demonstrations of Chumash ceremonies honoring their ancestors in the public Rose Garden, during peak tourist traffic and with community support ( and you know that will have a big turnout) would be more effective. The Coastal Chumash really got screwed by this guy. There are better ways to address our history if a meaningful dialogue is the goal and may give the costal band a upper hand in obtaining federal recognition. Just a thought

a-1506294564 Sep 12, 2017 11:00 PM
Junipero Serra Statue Beheaded at Old Mission

no shite? weird numbers. 5.75 miles?! nope. I'll have to map this myself, hard to believe that "DGP" is that close to "ECC" (rolling eyes) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- using paradise road/old store as a measure, it's 18.3 miles via 154. Where'd you get 5 & 3/4 mi. south of ECC? I look forward to exploring the map, really. I'm geographically challenged. But this seems to be as the crow flies. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I call BS on ALL these acronyms! Been here almost as long as Rex, NEVER heard them.

REX OF SB Sep 12, 2017 06:46 PM
Junipero Serra Statue Beheaded at Old Mission

Ah. I should have realized about DGP. I seem to remember from last time that ECC = East Camino Cielo, but I hadn't a clue about LLC. I was born and raised here and know lots of local acronyms, but I don't think you can expect very many people to know about LLC. Or actually ECC, for that matter. I know it's de rigueur these days to use acronyms for everything, but I'm sure a lot of us would appreciate having some of the more obscure ones spelled out for us. Thanks! —ROSB, AWS

tagdes Sep 12, 2017 10:41 AM
Junipero Serra Statue Beheaded at Old Mission

Rex, DGP is immediately adjacent to the SBNP :>) De La Guerra Plaza, south of East Camino Cielo and east of Lake Los Carneros. You're wearing my poor fingers down to nubs having to type all this out every week.

REX OF SB Sep 12, 2017 10:26 AM
Junipero Serra Statue Beheaded at Old Mission

Let's try this again. Tagdes: I have no idea what those initials mean. Could you please enlighten those of us who don't speak fluent acronym? (God knows where this posting is going to wind up this time.)

a-1506294564 Sep 11, 2017 11:22 PM
Junipero Serra Statue Beheaded at Old Mission

As much as I appreciated this "action," and I posted same, it's NOT my style. I've been thinking a lot about this. I'm a liberal resister and I'm very angry about and resentful of the "Antifa" movement. I wholly disagree with them. A peaceful, unpaid, independent resister.

Deeker Sep 11, 2017 08:47 PM
Junipero Serra Statue Beheaded at Old Mission

As a follow up to Rex's comment, I would vote against a statue honoring Father Virgil Cordano. Although I understand he is beloved by many in this community, it's a well known fact that he harbored sex offender priests at the Santa Barbara Mission after they were ousted from the Los Angeles area. This was part of the huge cover up effort on behalf of the Catholic Church, like a priest shell game...just move the shell and the ball underneath is suddenly gone (and living in another community that may not be aware of his past bad deeds). I have nothing personal against Father Virgil Cordano and I assume that he was a good man in many ways, but he went along with the church when they sent sex offenders to Santa Barbara and was therefore complicit in their transgressions.

REX OF SB Sep 11, 2017 10:32 PM
Junipero Serra Statue Beheaded at Old Mission

You're right, Deeker, I'd forgotten about that whole priest cover-up scandal that Fr. Virgil was complicit in. Okay, how's this: get Bud Bottoms to sculpt a head of Saint Barbara that can be put atop the statue. The statue is already wearing a robe, and the shape is sexually ambiguous, so St. Barbara would fit in fine. This is a chance to kill two birds with one stone.

RLJ Sep 11, 2017 05:40 PM
Junipero Serra Statue Beheaded at Old Mission

Of all the things happening in the world today, this is a non-event. Equivalent to kids setting off firecrackers. Nobody cares about this old RC priest.

a-1506294564 Sep 11, 2017 05:28 PM
Junipero Serra Statue Beheaded at Old Mission

GABBYELLE: Why does the SYV band of Chumash treat the Coastal band so poorly? Many members of the Coastal band are in dire straits and the SYV band could care less...it is almost as if the casino has turned brother against brother. The casino Chumash learned well from the Padres at The Old Mission. I hope one day the wealthy Chumash will help their not so well off brethren.

Gabriele-D Sep 11, 2017 04:35 PM
Junipero Serra Statue Beheaded at Old Mission

He destroyed our Chumash via forced labor (including severe torture), promoted intermarriages between Chumash and Mexicans to dilute their genes, religious conversion and land theft. What's there to like about him? Seriously.

shorebird Sep 11, 2017 12:50 PM
Junipero Serra Statue Beheaded at Old Mission

This monster killed or enslaved native populations to built his mission and religion. But his statue is where it belongs. On private land.

REX OF SB Sep 11, 2017 04:11 PM
Junipero Serra Statue Beheaded at Old Mission

DUCKY: I know whatcha mean. There is a way out of this, though. The rest of the statue seems to be intact, so maybe they could just put another head on it. Someone less controversial. Like Fr. Virgil Cordano or St Francis, patron saint of the animals. From all accounts, Fr. Serra did seem to be kind of lacking in Christian spirit toward whom he deemed the lower echelon. Maybe Bud Bottoms could sculpt a nice head for the statue if Mission officials asked him politely.

420722 Sep 11, 2017 12:29 PM
Junipero Serra Statue Beheaded at Old Mission

Well, he was a monster and that is how he should be portrayed. Why does this country continue glorify people that have done such horrible things to others. I'm not surprised this happened.

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