Rumors are flying around social media that statue-toppling fringe protesters may turn their attention to churches. Their target apparently would be stained glass windows that depict a Jesus who looks European.

It’s hard to know whether to take such speculation seriously. The reports may even be the work of Russian cyber-agitators. But given the quite un-fake attack on the statue of St. Junipero Serra in San Francisco June 19 and the theft of a North Carolina tabernacle with the Blessed Sacrament June 16, it’s wise to be cautious. Parishes should be on alert.

To those who would carry out such deeds, we have advice: Don’t attack a partner in the cause of justice and peace.

As Portland Archbishop Alexander Sample and the nation’s bishops have said repeatedly, the church fully supports those who protest peacefully for racial justice. God wants all to be treated with dignity, the archbishop said during his homily June 21.

We ask would-be vandals to read the history of the civil rights movement. The Catholic Church may have been tepid on slavery centuries ago, but by the middle of the 20th century it had joined Black religious leaders in the south to confront abiding racism. Many priests, nuns and lay Catholics marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Note the Rev. at the start of that distinguished man’s name. His righteous leadership emerged directly from faith.

Regarding the color of Jesus’ skin: History tells us he likely looked Middle Eastern, with skin that is not white. Yet he is sometimes depicted as Black in African churches, Asian in Asian churches and Native American in churches in some parts of our great land. He is shown as white in churches with European roots. That’s all because historical as he was, Jesus Christ is divine and so transcends time, place and race.