Wednesday, January 30, 2019

A Cautionary Tale for Our Times

What bothers me about the Covington incident is that so many Catholic leaders were quick to denounce the youngsters before having all the facts, whereas the same leaders are slow to use their authority in the cases of gross violations of basic morality. From The National Catholic Register:
The media bias against the pro-life cause and Catholicism is well-trodden ground. A relatively newer phenomenon on display were the calls for violence, “doxxing” (publishing private information on the internet) the minors involved and causing harm to them and their families. More appalling was the haste with which many Catholic commentators and even Church leaders reacted and condemned the alleged incident without yet knowing the full facts and based solely on an unreliable video, angry tweets and a condemnatory media firestorm. Covington Catholic High School, along with Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville and Bishop Roger Foys of Covington, issued profoundly hasty statements that extended their “deepest apologies to Mr. Phillips.” Five days after the incident, Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky, wrote an editorial entitled, “Wearing a Trump Hat? That’s Not Exactly Pro-Life.” (Read more.)

One of the best articles on the Covington case, from one of my neighbors. From The Talbot Spy:
 I write all this down because far too few Americans have any idea of the history of bigotry and discrimination against Catholics.  Catholics did not demand reparations for discrimination against their ancestors.  We do not teach about “Protestant Privilege.” Catholics certainly did not get affirmative action.  The wave of Catholic immigrants simply buckled down to become indistinguishable from other Americans, despite Pope Leo XIII’s warnings about where this would lead.  When Catholics march, it is not for ourselves but for others – the March for Life being a case in point.

The recent examples of bias against Catholics include both the historically familiar features of falsehoods that incite mob reactions and campaigns to exclude Catholics from public office. White boys from a Catholic school in a red state wearing MAGA hats were the perfect target for the bigots of the modern age.  They fit the profile.

The young men were standing where they had been instructed by school officials to wait for their bus after participating in the March for Life.  It happened to be near a Native American gathering at the Lincoln Memorial, and they were verbally assaulted by a group of radical black supremacists known as the Black Israelites.  Without provocation, the black racists called the young men ‘racists,’ ‘bigots,’ ‘white crackers,’ ‘faggots,’ and ‘incest kids.’ The young Catholic men stood their ground, as was their right and necessary to avoid missing their bus, and eventually started some school spirit chants to drown out the obscenities.  Seizing an opportunity for attention, a “professional Indian” agitator grabbed a drum and started beating it in the face of one of the young men.

As the student in the viral picture described it, “To be honest, I was startled and confused as to why he had approached me. We had worried that a situation was getting out of control where adults were attempting to provoke teenagers. I believed that by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping to diffuse [sic] the situation. I realized everyone had cameras and that perhaps a group of adults was trying to provoke a group of teenagers into a larger conflict. I said a silent prayer that the situation would not get out of hand.”

As he feared, a video of a young white man smiling at a furious Native American beating a drum went viral.  Whoever posted the photo didn’t even need to make up an accusation against the young men – the media and the sharks of the internet immediately took up the attack and manufactured their own lurid stories about how the Catholic youths were disrupting a sacred event and showing disrespect for protected minorities.  Their story became headlines on all the television networks and in those bastions of tolerance, the Washington Post and New York times. Even the Bishop of Covington and their own school administrators turned on them, condemning them without even asking their own student what happened.

As Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, one of their few forthright defenders, put it, “It was amazing how quick those who preach tolerance and non-judgment of others were to judge and label some high school students based on partial information…There are none more intolerant than liberals who don’t like your options, values, faith beliefs, political stance, …” (Read more.)

Some people are not sorry for maligning the young people. From Townhall:
She’s not sorry. She’s not going to apologize. What else is new? The funny thing is that she thinks students from a Catholic school were are a pro-life march. That’s controversial? It all boils down to these kids were white, Catholic, and wearing MAGA hats. It’s not racist. News bulletin to liberal America: just because you lost doesn’t mean racism is to blame. This is so tiring, but they have to keep their narrative alive no matter how oxygen deprived it has become. It’s literally been beaten into a coma, but these kids were asking for it, or something. The best line is where she tries to say that not every Trump voter is a racist, but you really are. If you support this president and his agenda, you like the line Make America Great Again. And that’s fine! Bill Clinton said it, is he an imperial wizard of the KKK now? Is job creation, tax cuts, better trade deals, and border security racist? No. It’s sensible. It’s mainstream. It’s universally accepted. And yet, in the urban cesspools of America, where these Democratic creatures reside, multiply, and infest, this is seen as pillars of white supremacy. What type of black tar heroin are these people taking? (Read more.)

From Rod Dreher at The American Conservative:
 What we are dealing with here, in sight of the Lincoln Memorial, is what Connerton calls political theology. The political theology of the ancien régime was expressed symbolically by the archbishop placing the crown on the head of the king, showing the connection between the sacred and the ruler. This is why the revolutionaries decapitated Louis XVI: one ritual had to be negated by a counter-ritual.

It makes sense that Nathan Phillips, the Indian provocateur, went after the MAGA hat confrontation with his fellow protesters to the Catholic basilica in Washington, and tried to invade the sacred space during mass. It would have been an act of sacrilege, and therefore one of political theology. Under secular liberalism — a social order that includes many Catholic leaders (see Darel Paul’s excellent piece today on “Our Therapeutic Bishops”) — people like Nathan Phillips are the bearers of the new “sacred” order.

Expect more of this. Culture war is, at bottom, religious war, because sociologically speaking, culture derives from cult, a system of religious veneration and devotion. This is why the facts emerging from the clash at the Lincoln Memorial — facts that negated the initial progressive reading of the event — did not change the minds of progressive devotees. This is not a matter of facts and reason. They wanted a martyr — a witness to the evil of their enemies — and they manufactured one. They’re still doing it. (Read more.)

What a case of bad journalism. From The Atlantic:
The full video reveals that these kids had wandered into a Tom Wolfe novel and had no idea how to get out of it. It seems that the Black Hebrew Israelites had come to the Lincoln Memorial with the express intention of verbally confronting the Native Americans, some of whom had already begun to gather as the video begins, many of them in Native dress. The Black Hebrew Israelites’ leader begins shouting at them: “Before you started worshipping totem poles, you was worshipping the true and living God. Before you became an idol worshipper, you was worshipping the true and living God. This is the reason why this land was taken away from you! Because you worship everything except the most high. You worship every creation except the Creator—and that’s what we are here to tell you to do.”

A young man in Native dress approaches them and gestures toward the group gathering for its event. But the Black Hebrew Israelites mix things up by throwing some dead-white-male jargon at him—they are there because of “freedom of the speech ” and “freedom of religion” and all that. The young man backs away. “You have to come away from your religious philosophy,” one Black Hebrew Israelite yells after him.

A few more people in Native costume gather, clearly stunned by his tirade. “You’re not supposed to worship eagles, buffalos, rams, all types of animals,” he calls out to them. A Native woman approaches the group and begins to challenge its ideology, which prompts the pastor’s coreligionists to thumb their Bibles for relevant passages from Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. He asks the woman why she’s angry, and when she tells him that she’s isn’t angry, he responds, “You’re not angry? You’re not angry? I’m making you angry.” The two start yelling at each other, and the speaker calls out to his associates for Isaiah 58:1.

Another woman comes up to him yelling, “The Bible says a lot of shit. The Bible says a lot of shit. The Bible says a lot of shit.” Black Hebrew Israelites believe, among other things, that they are indigenous people. The preacher tells a woman that “you’re not an Indian. Indian means ‘savage.’ ”
Men begin to gather with concerned looks on their face. “Indian does not mean ‘savage,’ ” one of them says reasonably. “I don’t know where you got that from.” At this point, most of the Native Americans who have surrounded—“mobbed”?—the preacher have realized what the boys will prove too young and too unsophisticated to understand: that the “four young African American men preaching about the Bible and oppression” are the kind of people you sometimes encounter in big cities, and the best thing to do is steer a wide berth. Most of them leave, exchanging amused glances at one another. But one of the women stays put, and she begins making excellent points, some of which stump the Black Hebrew Israelites. (Read more.)

Fr. Pavone defends the teenagers. From Life Site:
In a Thursday livestream, Priests for Life’s Fr. Frank Pavone wore his own MAGA hat to demonstrate its compatibility with the pro-life cause. “I believe that the principles America was founded on are consistent with the Gospel, the unalienable rights bestowed by our Creator of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” he explained. “I believe furthermore that making America great again is simply another way of saying what we say throughout our history when we talk about preserving liberty, defending life, fighting for freedom.”

“God bless you, Covington students, for coming to the March for Life,” Pavone continued. “God bless those who brought you there, who organized the trip. You were in the right place, as were all the other hundreds of thousands of us in the right place on that day, because we're standing up for the children who cannot speak for themselves.”

He said their hats were evidence that the students had confidence in their convictions, and were perfectly appropriate in light of President Donald Trump’s pro-life record during his first two years in office, as well as the pro-life promises he reiterated in a message to the March. “Did we not hear the words of the most pro-life president that we have ever had when it comes to this issue of abortion?” Pavone asked. “Did he not stand up and say before our eyes and before our ears and before the whole nation and before the world that he would veto any legislation brought to his desk that weakens the pro-life provisions that our elected officials have worked so hard to put into our laws?” (Read more.)

Why are our bishops so weak? From First Things:
 The story is by now famous. While waiting last Friday afternoon for their bus home after the March for Life, roughly thirty students from the all-male Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Kentucky, found themselves in an incident—altercation is far too strong a term—with American Indian Movement activists in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Saturday morning, less than twelve hours after a 60-second video of the event was posted anonymously on Twitter, the Diocese of Covington and the administration of Covington Catholic High School released a joint statement condemning their own children, their parishioners, their flock. The statement barely offered justification for the censure, pointing vaguely toward untold violations of the “dignity and respect of the human person.” Later that morning the Archdiocese of Cincinnati lamented the boys’ “unfortunate & regrettable” behavior while anticipating “an important teachable moment” for them. Saturday afternoon Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville personally piled on, citing the Covington boys’ “shameful act of disrespect” and expressing total confidence in the Bishop of Covington to do the right thing. As late as Sunday morning, the Archdiocese of Baltimore felt the need to join the fray against Covington Catholic High School by condemning “disrespect” and insisting on “dignity.”
In the heat of the Twitter moment, it seems none of these Catholic leaders gave a thought to whether their own children might deserve respect and dignity. Why not? Cravenness can certainly explain a good deal of what American Catholics have witnessed from their leaders this past week. Yet there is more here to be unpacked. Catholic school principals, bishops, and archbishops are not only Catholic leaders. They are members of the American elite, its professional-managerial class that commands the heights of the country’s political, economic, social, and cultural institutions. Simply because they are Catholic does not mean they do not swim in the sea of class doctrines and dogmas. Neither does Catholic belief separate them from conforming to the cultural and moral ideals of that elite.
Today those ideals are realized in the character of the therapeutic manager. The philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre defines a “character” as the internalization and embodiment of the values of a social order. Characters—by which MacIntyre evokes both the ethical and the theatrical meaning of the word—are “the moral representatives of their culture.” In the fusion of personality and role, the character “morally legitimates a mode of social existence.” (Read more.)


Just Helen said...

I can't imagine they would have been any kinder to Protestant students. It's the spirit of anti Christ.

julygirl said...

Bias against Catholics, but added to that, hate for President Trump almost overriding their hate for the RC church that stands against all they favor... abortion, sodomy, believing the Church to be anti women, and the most important factor....their atheism.

Just Helen said...

They should direct their protests against Islam.