The Takoma Park City Council this week adopted a resolution condemning the posting of anti-Catholic placards in the city, and it will urge other jurisdictions to take similar stands against what it called "anonymously posted venom."
The resolution was introduced by council member Rino Aldrighetti, who this month noticed five large yellow posters outside a vacant store in the city.
The posters "claim that the Catholic Church controls the communication networks in the nation," he said, and they alleged that the Vatican has ties with federal government agencies, labor unions and organized crime.
"The mayor and council and citizens of Takoma Park do not welcome these merchants of hate and their anonymously posted venom," council members said in the resolution, copies of which will be sent to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and to county and municipal governments.
The resolution urges the city police department to "make every effort" to prosecute the vandals. Police said in interviews that they did not know who was responsible but that they were removing the signs.
"To just go around a community and plaster up this kind of hate in the dead of night with no signature is something that's dangerous and ugly in this country," said Aldrighetti, who is Catholic.
Aldrighetti said the posters have been sighted in the District and at Metro subway stations and on utility poles in Montgomery.
In other business, council members announced that the National Arbor Day Foundation has designated Takoma Park as a "Tree City USA," one of eight Maryland cities to earn the honor this year.
Regarded by a number of residents as a "sylvan suburb" because of its many oak, maple and elm trees, Takoma Park has in recent years taken extra steps to preserve trees and plant new ones.
An ordinance enacted two years ago, for instance, requires residents to obtain city approval before cutting down trees of a specified size.
The National Arbor Day Foundation is a Nebraska-based group that encourages tree care and tree-planting programs across the country.