The Editors: Catholics must combat racism and bigotry at every turn.

(CNS photo/Joshua Roberts, Reuters)

On Saturday Aug. 12, 2017, a “Unite the Right" rally was organized by white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va., in opposition to the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee by the city of Charlottesville. Participants in the rally, many drawn from far distances, chanted Nazi-inspired slogans like “Blood and Soil” and “Jews will not replace us!” A day fraught with tension was then tragically punctuated by bloodshed, when a driver, later identified as a member of a white supremacist movement, drove his car into a crowd of peaceful counterprotesters and one person died, while more than two dozen were injured.

It should seem obvious—an automatic reflex—to condemn the white supremacy, racism and hate that led directly to this unconscionable violence. It certainly is to our fellow Americans whose lives are haunted daily by the specters of racism and anti-Semitism. Yet it was not obvious to the president of the United States. At least twice Mr. Trump publicly expressed a moral equivalence between the hatemongers who had organized and led the demonstration and the contingent that had assembled to stand up to bigotry and intolerance. It is not possible to parse this failure of leadership in any way but to conclude that the president is either unable or unwilling to provide the moral witness his office requires.

Advertisement

The president is either unable or unwilling to provide the moral witness his office requires.

It therefore falls to the people to act. In the face of bigotry there can be no ambivalence: We must denounce in sure and certain terms all forms of white supremacy, anti-Semitism and violence, which stubbornly remain a part of the American experience. We must also acknowledge that this legacy of racism and oppression manifests itself today in unjust social and economic realities that tear at our nation’s social fabric and put lives, especially the lives of people of color, at risk. “We stand against the evil of racism, white supremacy and neo-nazism,” a statement of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said over the weekend. “We stand with our sisters and brothers united in the sacrifice of Jesus, by which love’s victory over every form of evil is assured.”

In the face of bigotry there can be no ambivalence.

We join the bishops in condemning these odious ideologies of oppression and remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s clarion call for action: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” We also harken to the words of St. Ignatius Loyola, that “love manifests itself more in deeds than in words.” Above all, then, now is the time to act, peacefully, in our churches, our local communities and legislative bodies and, particularly, in the human interactions of our daily lives. For all Catholics, but especially white Catholics, taking these actions may require deep and even painful conversion: “History, like prayer, matters when addressing the deep roots of racism in the Catholic Church and in Catholic families,” Michael Pasquier wrote in America in 2016. “[But] thinking about the past and kneeling in prayer can be a lot easier than living in the present and turning faith into action…. [As white Catholics] we will have to admit to some terrible sins, sins that we were born and raised into, sins that we have kept alive in what we have done and in what we have failed to do.”

The way forward is not the lex talionis, nor to pile hate upon hate. The way forward is the way of the penitent and prophet. We must act boldly on behalf of those who are persecuted, or who are in danger of persecution. But we must proceed in humility, from the lived acknowledgment that we are sinners redeemed in Christ and that we are called to reconcile in turn. Christian duty requires us to clearly name and denounce evil. It requires us to act against that evil at every turn. It also requires us to seek to love the evil-doer and not to give up hope that they may realize their errors and seek redemption. That will be, perhaps, the most vexing work of all.

The just world we are called to create will require from each of us nothing less than the radical acts of love and mercy to which the Gospel testifies. Let us ask then for the abundant grace to act, in peace, for justice. Let us pray, let us plead, for the courage to act now.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
J Cosgrove
3 months 1 week ago

At least twice Mr. Trump publicly expressed a moral equivalence between the hatemongers who had organized and led the demonstration and the contingent that had assembled to stand up to bigotry and intolerance.

There is hate, bigotry and intolerance on both sides. Mr. Trump has come out against all this hate, bigotry and intolerance. Trump has said so more than once.

Why are the editors at America only against part of the hate? Which hate do you countenance?

Would it be more accurate to have written

At least twice Mr. Trump publicly expressed condemnation of the neo Nazi hate mongers with brutal weapons that had organized and led the demonstration and the hate mongers that had assembled with equally brutal weapons to challenge them. The hate mongers that challenged the Neo Nazis have a history of violent brutal action.

I have a question for the editors. Would anyone had been hurt if the police kept the two sides apart as the Seattle police did the day after Charlottesville? One side in Seattle was a pro Trump peaceful free speech assembly but the counter protestors were the same organizations as in Charlottesville that were counter protesting and were armed to do harm.

Also there was a similar but smaller rally just a month ago (July 8th) in Charlottesville and the police acted responsibly then.

JOSEPH D'ANNA
3 months 1 week ago

Racism is based on ignorance, irrationality and arrogance. It is also hateful, inconsistent with the statements in the Declaration of Independence and has nothing to do with "love your beother", i.e., Christianity.

We should be working - starting with the President - to educate, think or. at least, pretend to be humble. All forms of racism or grouping people, based on color or ethnicity, are illogical and destructive. It is hard to truly love someone who wants to exterminate you from the face of the earth.

Gail Sockwell-Thompson
3 months 1 week ago

I am very confused. Did you not see the neo Nazis marching through town with torches and chants? Curious how you see that as peaceful assembly. It was hateful and egregious behavior that should never be tolerated. Standing against bigotry of all types is not equivalent to assembling to spread hate. I am not sure what doctrine you are following, but hate is not a Christian value. Sorry, but its not.

J Cosgrove
3 months 1 week ago

I am not sure what doctrine you are following, but hate is not a Christian value. Sorry, but its not.

So you then must condemn the hatred on both sides in Charlottesville. I agree. The editors are condoning hate on one side by not denouncing it.

As I said below in another comment this has nothing to do with race which is the sad thing about all of this.

Molly Roach
3 months 1 week ago

So you seem to be equating protesting against the hate group demonstrations as another hate group demonstration. So how, in your universe, can you protest against hate groups marching in your own town?

Thomas Severin
3 months 1 week ago

The only equivalence between the white Supremacists and and Anti-fa is the use of violence in support of their causes. The key difference between the two groups is that the White Supremacists and Neo-Nazis were in Charlottsville to foment racism, bigotry and violence and are therefore domestic terrorists. The Ant-fa is not a hate group. They are a group that actively opposes Neo-Nazi movements in our country and throughout the world. Their resistance to Nazi propaganda and activity is admirable but their use of violence as a means to resist it is not.
They viewed their presence in Charlottesville as acting as protection or a buffer between the terrorist groups and the unarmed, peaceful demonstrators who were protesting the presence of hate groups in the Charlottesville comunity.

J Cosgrove
3 months 1 week ago

The Anti fa is certainly a hate group and look for violence against those whom they disagree with. There was a smaller but similar rally in Charlottesville just a month before and the police kept the two groups apart and there was no violence between the two groups. The Anti Fa complained that they were kept apart and at the next rally last weekend the police let them clash. The Anti fa were not there for protection but looking for a fight. If all the counter protestors did was protest there would probably had been no violence.

Everywhere the Anti Fa goes they look for violence. They represent an ideology that has killed over a hundred million people and has a history of violence. The communist flag flies at their rallies. So I would have a hard time saying they are not a hate group. The neo Nazis have held several rallies where they did not instigate violence, two within the previous three months. They are still a hate group even if they did not try to be violent in their previous rallies.

This has nothing to do with racism but politics. I have not seen one serious attempt on this website to understand the racial problems in this country. All the article are political trying to make one group look bad. That is exactly what all the articles on Charlottesville is about. It has gotten so bad that violent anti social groups are now acceptable if it meets one's political objectives.

Ellen B
3 months 1 week ago

J Cosgrove, I would suggest that you look on-line at the film of Night 1, the tiki torch march. The Nazi/ KKK/ White Supremacist marchers surrounded a group of non-violent counter protesters, standing hands-linked around a statue of Thomas Jefferson & proceeded to mace & attack them. The Nazi's / KKK/ White Supremacists outnumbered the counter protesters by about 10X1. I will also suggest you view the film of the march where the car drove into the crowd, attempting to injure/ kill at which time one young woman was killed. There was no fighting taking place, it was a peaceful march & the counter protesters were blocks away from the Nazi's / White Supremacists/ KKK.

I weep for you that you were able to find one small group within the larger group of counter protesters who reacted violently on Day 2. It appears to free you of your Christian obligation to denounce the violence & words of the Nazi's, KKK & White Supremacist without qualification. Nazi's, the KKK & White Supremacists are evil. Their words and actions condemn them.

J Cosgrove
3 months 1 week ago

you were able to find one small group within the larger group of counter protesters who reacted violently on Day 2.

The Anti fa are not a small group and have been fomenting violence for several years and have escalated their violence in the last 6 months. They were there to make sure there was violence. That was their objective. They tried to do it again the next day in Seattle and were thwarted by the police. They tried to do in Charlottesville a month before and were thwarted by the police. They tried to do it in Kentucky in April and were thwarted by the police. Last weekend, they were allowed to mix with neo Nazis and it is a national obsession. I blame the police and the politicians in Virginia for this.

I in no way have ever defended the neo Nazis but one can not object to just one side. The neo Nazis are a pathetic group but have now national attention they do not deserve. Both sides are extremely malevolent and should be condemned and all this attention will just feed each miserable side.

Why are people excluding a malevolent group? Why are the editors excluding a malevolent group? The title of the article is

Catholics must combat racism and bigotry at every turn

The editors and a lot of commenters don't seem to be doing that here. Why???

Also, it is always best to refrain from making personal judgments.

And almost none of this has anything to do about racism.

James Haraldson
3 months ago

You are demonstrating a type of hate in your willful ignorance. The fascism of this anti fascist group has in its history of historical ignorance and hatred for any target they deem a threat to their concept of "peace." This is why they've even attacked peace monuments not to their liking. This is why they are violent arch-enemies of the pro-life movement. If they were about peace they would have a level of wisdom and know that a Civil War monument does not signify racism in any manner whatsoever. They indulge a type of Nazi thought themselves and their pretend hatred of Naziism is compensation for a repressed conscience for their own tolerance of hate and murder.

Boreta Singleton
3 months 1 week ago

Thank you, Editors of America Magazine for your words. As an African-American Catholic, I am deeply concerned about the recent events on our country. Let us, in the words of Sister Thea Bowman to our Bishops in 1989, remember that "The Church is a family; don't let people divide you. " It is time for our Church families to come together to stand for the Gospel values of love, peace and justice. Let us together work to build the Kingdom of God.

Matthew Malone
3 months 1 week ago

Thank you, Boreta. Thank you for your words. Thank you for your prayers. Be assured of ours and of our resolve to work for peace.

Matt Malone, SJ, Editor in Chief.

Christopher Lochner
3 months 1 week ago

Father. How about giving some specifics instead of simplistic platitudes for those of us who remain unenlightened.

THOMAS Heyman
3 months 1 week ago

I often wonder about the posts by Mr. Cosgrove. How does he not get it. As John McCain and so many others have made clear most recently the heads of the branches of the military and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs there can be no room in this country for hate groups that by words,symbols, paraphernalia or otherwise associate themselves with the Nazism and its philosophy of Aryan supremacy. This is a philosophy that terrorized the people of Germany and then all of Europe for more than 10 years resulting in the deaths of hundreds of millions of people. Given the sacrifices made by Americans in the effort to rid the world of this evil, the actions of these people need to be labelled as urban terrorism and they should be subject to criminal prosecution. The association of Catholics in these movements need to be labelled by our church as a grievous sin.

J Cosgrove
3 months 1 week ago

I often wonder about the posts by Mr. Cosgrove. How does he not get it.

Would you please explain your comment about me with something I have said. You are implying I support somehow the Neo Nazi/white supremacists protesters in Charlottesville when that is nonsense. I don't support either the protesters or the counter protesters. Both represent ideologies that are inimical to the United States and freedom. Both were violent.

Stuart Meisenzahl
3 months 1 week ago

Thomas
As a moral matter, a prudential matter, and a philosophical matter there is no room in this country for Aryan Hate Groups, Nazis Etc etc. Very Nice....Very Easy to subscribe to!.........99.9999% of people agree with you.
Fortunately [perhaps "unfortunately" to some of the 99.999% of such subscribers) the Moral, Prudential and Philosophical must give way to THE CONSTITUTIONAL which makes clear that there is not only a place in the United States for these odious groups, but that place includes those same disreputable people standing on the street in front of your house espousing all types of horrific and offensive positions. The other 99.999% have every constitutional right to speak out just as loudly in opposition. But neither "contingent" has a right to use force of any type or to physically touch or otherwise assault each other in furtherance of its views or to oppose the views of others.
Contrary to everything you will read, "hateful speech" is constitutionally protected.
Speech which is designed or likely to cause physical action against another person is not protected. The "rub " comes in distinguishing between merely hateful speech and speech inciting such violence.......that is left to the courts and NOT to you or me and certainly not to a mob in the streets. This whole event in Charlottesville had its roots in a judge's decision that determined the City was violating the alleged "Alt Right" groups freedom of speech by limiting the where and the when of "their meeting" to protest City Council action. Those odious groups had the Constitutional high ground!
What you don't seem "to get" or refuse to recognize is that your holding the moral high ground has no special place in our constitutional world. While your hurling anathemas down from such moral high ground may be rhetorically satisfying, it is a useless and frustrating exercise ..........no US Court is going to permit the criminalization of hateful and offensive speech or groups.

Douglas Fang
3 months 1 week ago

Thank you, Editors, for publishing this timely article. America needs to wake up learn that it has been ignoring a crucial tie between Nazi Germany and the Confederate South for too long – just google “why-nazis-and-confederates-came-together-at-charlottesville”

Blaming both sides is very dishonest and distorts the truth. It is no wonder why many of the Republican officials themselves have raised their objection to this kind of moral ambiguity. I have just a few examples here as there are too many to list…

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla. “"Blaming "both sides" for #Charlottesville?! No," she wrote in a tweet. "Back to relativism when dealing with KKK, Nazi sympathizers, white supremacists? Just no."

Mitch McConnell: “We can have no tolerance for an ideology of racial hatred. There are no good neo-Nazis (mine added - or good white supremacist, good KKK...), and those who espouse their views are not supporters of American ideals and freedoms”

I hope and pray that the Church can still stand for the Gospel values of love, peace, and justice in this dark moment of our society.

Eugene Fitzpatrick
3 months 1 week ago

If you were aware that Ros-Lehtinen and McConnell in their careers have been two of the most fanatical congressional supporters of Israel's rape of Pelestine, perhaps common sense would have kept you from using these two moral lepers as ethical guideposts for the readership as it tip-toes its way through the American social and cultural minefield.

Stuart Meisenzahl
3 months 1 week ago

Father Malone
I do not disagree with the gist of this Editorial but I do suggest that in an effort to make its point it conveniently recasts demonstrably troubling facts.
You reference the President's putative action ....his "expressed moral equivalence between the hate mongers who had organized and led the demonstration and the contingent that had assembled to stand up to bigotry and intolerance"
Any examination of the photos of the event will demonstrate that it was no mere ....."contingent that assembled to stand up to bigotry..." but a substantial number of club wielding masked wearing , goggled , tear gas carrying people , including one dude using an aerosol can as a flame thrower.
So while the Editors are correct that there is no moral equivalency in the immeadiate cause of this awful event, there is a lot of equivalency in the violence that ensued. Your portrayal of "the contingent as assembled to stand up to bigotry " is convenient to your argument but essentially flawed and dishonest.

UPDATE AUGUST 28:
Father Malone
Yesterday ( two weeks after Charlottesville ) your previously described ...."contingent that assembled to stand up against bigotry" showed up again in Berkeley to oppose a group of unarmed people (who expressly disavowed White Supremacists and Neo Nazis ). As in Charlottesville, these Counter Protesters carried clubs, wore masks, hurled tear gas and pepper spray, and carried shields. These same AntiFa then attacked an unarmed, peaceful group of right wingers, as well as reporters. It was so bad and so obvious that even the Washington Post condemned their actions.
So Father Malone, your carefully crafted exoneration of the Charlottsvile counter protesters collapsed when without provocation they attacked and assaulted their perceived opposition. This event certainly demonstrated the moral equivalency of the AntiFa violence with that of the White Supremacists.
The AntiFa have demonstrated their position that they are fully justified to initiate violence in opposition to ideas they disapprove of. Those Ideas are morally and philosophically reprehensible, but the mere espousal of them cannot and does not justify their initiation of violence.
I await the Editors writing a new editorial condemning the AntiFa with the same fulsome enthusiasm and language as the above article. It would nice if the Editors could also admit the bias displayed in your original cleansing misrepresentation of that....."contingent that assembled to stand up to bigotry". But I suspect I will be waiting a long time for either a new Editorial or an apology.

Robert Killoren
3 months 1 week ago

The Knights of Columbus missed a great opportunity to fight the forces of evil that past members fought. Those who stood up to Know-nothings, the KKK that killed not only blacks but Catholics as well. They could stand with the Knights who fought the fascists in Italy, who fought the Nazis of Germany, and fought the Nationalists who believed in the racial superiority of the Japanese. They released a prayer to say yesterday which was supposed to be a day praying for peace and reconciliation on the feast of the Assumption. The press release mentioned the attack on the Congessmen shot at by a domestic terrorist while practicing for a baseball game. Nothing was said about the Nazis, fascists, and white supremacists spreading hate and fear and death in Charlottesville. This is my last posting. I won't try to reason anymore with those who spout political ideology and Church militants. And those who troll good people like Fr Jim and other Jesuits who take all sorts of abuse for giving their lives for Jesus while their critics sit in their comfortable kitchens condemning those who preach a Gospel of love and mercy. My uncle was Jesuit who spent around 20 years in a black urban parish and another 20 ministering to native Americans on a reservation. He would have loved Pope Francis. Another great Jesuit was Fr John Kavanaugh who wrote in the pages of America Magazine and took heat all the time for his stance against war and racial bigotry. These men are worth a thousand of the Francis critics and haters.

THOMAS Heyman
3 months 1 week ago

Mr. Cosgrove it is your equivalence between the protestors and the counter-protestors that is at the core of the anger of so many Americans to the President's ambivalent statements regarding the events in Charlottesville. Again you appear not to get the evil in this equivalence. It reflects Donald Trump's entire life filled with racist statements as well as his racist actions in the real estate business beginning when he worked with his father redlining their apartments to insure they would not be rented to African-Americans.

J Cosgrove
3 months 1 week ago

Mr. Heyman,

There are extremely destructive ideologies on both sides of the protests in Charlottesville. Thank God, they represent a very small number of people in the United States.

They do not have good intentions. What is absurd is to have to point this out. What is even more absurd is for someone to call this moral equivalence by pointing this out. By not condemning the malevolent forces on one side it is tantamount to condoning these malevolence forces.

So are you condoning malevolent groups which both advocate and act on the harming of others?

The major cause for the dysfunction of the Black community in the United States are policies by the Democratic Party over the years. So are the white liberals the real racists in this country? Is one who votes and supports the Democratic Party a racist? I could make a good case for this.

So I would refrain from personal accusations of racist attitudes especially if you have ever supported the Democratic Party.

And by the way the public outcry by various people about Charlottesville has nothing to do with race. And the editors know this.

Chuck Kotlarz
3 months ago

“The major cause for the dysfunction of the Black community in the United States are policies by the Democratic Party over the years.”

Please name a city or state where Republican policies have produced superior results for blacks.

Kevin Murphy
3 months 1 week ago

Amazing. America recently ran a puff piece on eco-warriors who are doing violence against companies building a pipeline. Now, in this piece we see the fascistic Antifa referred to "as the contingent that had assembled to stand up to bigotry and intolerance literally." In other words, the Left-wing fascists who fought the Right wing fascists. They are both vile, un-Christian, and evil. The disturbing thing is America is becoming increasingly comfortable with the "correct" type of violence. I doubt that is what Jesus would have preferred, but America has always been social justice first, spirituality second.

Hanna Sarah
3 months 1 week ago

I find there to be a distinction between "violence" against property and violence against human beings. Is that not something we can agree on?

Rich Phillips
3 months 1 week ago

Regarding the tragedy that befell Charlottesville this past weekend, there are a few things that should be kept in mind. The claimed reason for the march by the protesters in the first place was their objection to the removal of the statue of Lee. They did’t want to see their history erased. The problem with that reasoning is that the “history” they refer to is the history of the Confederacy, not that of the United States. The Civil War was a war for a number of Union states to secede from the Union. That war was a war of treason regarding “States’ Rights” and the justification for slavery. Lee was a traitor to the United States of America in leading the Confederate troops in battle against the troops of the country. Because the US fought against Germany in WW2 does the “history” of that struggle justify erecting statues of Hitler and his generals in our parks and before our courthouses? Because Lee was a native of Virginia apparently justified the statue in question. You won’t find many statues of Hitler in Germany because he was a native German. The only markers there are to the Jewish families who were taken from their homes and sent to die.

“White Supremacy” means that the members of that cause, white supremacists or klansmen, believe that whites are superior to all other races by nature of the color of their skin. If we go back far enough we all came from Africa, descendants of Adam and Eve. How the various ethnic differences came to be is known to the Almighty and to Him alone. Because the white race got to be white instead of red or black or brown or yellow does not constitute supremacy in any form.

“White Nationalists” want to send all non-caucasians out of the country so that the United States is exclusively white and, if truth be told, Protestant. Where does that leave the Catholic population? Jews are named first as not wanted, but at what point does “other” include a whole host of those who now feel unthreatened by this group? At what point do Methodists become disenfranchised, and then Lutherans, and then Baptists and on and on? This past weekend was not about free speech but rather about “hate speech.” There is a difference.

I will not get into the politics of this matter. It makes no difference. I happen to be a moderate Democrat, however I do not believe in abortion or same sex marriage or capital punishment or any one of many other labels conservatives use when brandishing their broad brushes against the Democratic Party. We are none of us the same. If we use a single theme to either support or decry a fellow citizen, we are not being honest with ourselves. As an example, abortion is a decision made by one person, whether there is a law against it or not. There have been laws in the world for as long as there has been civilization. “Thou Shalt Not Kill” does not prevent gang members or drug lords from killing. A law against speeding does not keep everyone at or under the speed limit. Each choice made must be answered for in eternity. However to not stand up for the law is aiding and abetting the sinner, whether that be a killer or a speeder or a racist.

Donald Trump ran on the message “Make America Great Again”. What he’s done is Make America Hate Again. The racism to which he has given his blessing has been with us for the entire history of our country. It’s not likely to disappear based on a few comments on a website like this one. Since the 60’s those with hateful views haven’t lost those views, but just kept them under wraps. It wasn’t “politically correct.” The term “politically correct” has been made into a four-letter word since he started his campaign. What it really means is to respect one another. Being polite and giving as much of an ear to another’s point of view as we impart our own - that’s being politically correct. We have become a nation of extremists. We stay in our own silos listening only to those who share our own opinions. Moderates are necessary and compromise is essential to maintain a democracy. Perhaps we should spend more time on that than on tearing each other down.

Peace

Stuart Meisenzahl
3 months 1 week ago

Rich
Your view of what constitutes a nations history is to say the least..."cramped". While the victors always write history they cannot write out their adversaries, nor do they usually wish to. After all who wants to have defeated "what 's his name" or to deprecate the skills of the person who you vanquished.
In case of the US Civil War you really should read that history before you write it off as not OUR history. It is after all rather difficult to have a Civil War without there being two sides and as such it is Our History.
General Lee received amnesty from President Johnson (over an attempted pocket denial by Sec of State Seward) and his citizenship was restored by President Gerald Ford and an act of Congress sponsored by that paragon of the Democratic Party , Sen Harry Byrd! At a ceremony at the Custis Lee Mansion on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetary President Ford said:
."........As a soldier General Lee left his mark on military strategy. As a man he stood as the symbol of valor and duty. As an educator, he appealed to reason and learning to achieve understanding and to build a stronger nation.."

Given that tribute by President Ford, this is exactly where this matter quiescently stood for almost 45 years until this wave of politically correct thinking emerged to castigate and eliminate anything that opposes it ....including apparently history itself. Talk about a slippery slope!!
This approach is simply intellectually bankrupt. The current Politically Correct view of OUR history will itself inevitably be consigned to the dust bin by the next "better" wave of even more politically correct thinking. The trouble with being an coastal elitist is that if you are successful you cease to be elite unless you can create another more even "elite" POLITICAL CORRECT position in order to distinguish yourself from the less well informed, non avant-garde , hoi polloi.

Maria Shavzin
3 months 1 week ago

Then maybe we should start by admitting that bigotry and racism is not a one direction thing. If we battle reverse racism, that directed towards white people, then we will eventually end ALL racism. And I am saying this as someone that is Asian, female, and Jewish...before I get called a neo nazi. Sad world we live in. I just hate unfairness.

joseph mulligan
3 months 1 week ago

A “Morning Meditation” by Pope Francis called “Never exclude” (Nov. 5, 2015) is especially pertinent to this discussion.
It is by our deeds that Jesus asks us to include everyone, the Pope said, because as Christians “we do not have the right” to exclude others, nor to judge or close the doors on them. This “attitude of exclusion” is at the root of all wars, large and small, Pope Francis said.
Referring to the day’s passage from the Letter to the Romans (14:7-12), Pope Francis noted that … it is “Christ who unites, who makes unity; Christ who, by his sacrifice on Calvary, made it so that all people are included in salvation”.
“The attitude Paul wants to emphasize is precisely the attitude of inclusion”, the Pope explained. In fact, the Apostle “wants them to be inclusive, to include everyone, as the Lord did. He admonishes the Romans: ‘And you, with that which the Lord has made, why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother?’”. Hence the Apostle “makes them feel that they have an attitude which is not the Lord’s”, because “the Lord includes. In another passage Paul also says: ‘From two peoples he has made one’”, while these people, instead, “exclude”.
“When we pass judgement on a person”, Pope Francis continued, “we create exclusion”, perhaps saying: “Not with this man, not with this woman, not with this one... no”. In doing so, “we remain in our little group and we are selective, and this is not Christian”….
“Jesus’ attitude”, however, “is to include”. Here, the Pope explained, “there are two possible paths: the path of excluding people from our community and the path of including”. The first, “though to a limited degree, is at the root of all wars: all disasters, all conflicts begin with exclusion”. There is exclusion “from the international community, but also from families: among friends, how many fights!”. Instead, “the path that Jesus shows us, that he teaches us, is completely different, and it is opposed to the other: to include”….
God has included everyone in salvation, everyone!”. And “this is the beginning: we, with our weaknesses and our sins, with our envy and jealousy, always have this attitude of excluding which, as I said before, can end in war”.
Jesus does the same as the Father did, “when he sent him to save us: he seeks us out to include us, to enter a community, to be a family”.
http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/cotidie/2015/documents/papa-f…

Michael Barberi
3 months 1 week ago

It seems that the message of this article seems to be that a significant percent of the "white population" in the U.S. are in some way racist but most of us don't recognize it. If this is the message of the Editors, I think it is an exaggeration that lacks a context. This does not mean many of us should not recognize that some of us and some of our language inadvertently fuels racism. Unfortunately, racism exists not just in the white community.

I believe that most Catholics and Christians condemn all forms of discrimination and racism. Clearly, not everyone stands up and 'acts' against racial stereotypes and language that reflects, in part, a hidden or latent racism. However, what percent of Americans are 'racist' and how to we define it? If we define racism in its broadest terms, many of us will fall into this category. In other words, are we racist if we sometimes use inappropriate and irresponsible language that implies negative racial stereotypes? I say yes. Does racism reside in the white and black community, other communities? I say yes. However, in what degree? Are we exaggerating it or just condemning any form of it regardless of its frequency or degree?

How would we define what Obama did when he jumped to conclusions about what happen in Ferguson? When his Justice Department found false the 'hands up don't shoot' defense but did find that a black man violently tried to take the gun from the police officer, then threaten him, Obama never retracted his initial reaction. What about Obama's reaction to the events in other locations where there was a confrontation between while policemen and black men leading to the death of a black man? How do we define things when the main street media does not report a truthful account of what happened, but only focus on the things that suite a far left political ideology? Or will the Editors say I am exaggerating here?

I did agree with the Editors that every time we see Neo-Nazi and KKK rallies and violence, all of us should speak out against it by our words 'and' actions. Maybe I missed something, but I thought Trump condemned these groups in no uncertain terms, yet the press ignored it....and the Editors failed to mention it as well.

I also agree that reminding us of the Gospel teachings to love God and neighbor is a most important moral teaching we should be guided by. However, general principals provide less of a solution when the issue at hand is both complex and full of particular details and circumstances...e.g., racism. Clearly there is racism in this country. However, are most white people racist but don't realize it? Are white people guilty of white privilege (whatever that means)? What about those that are not white? Is racism justified if you are black? Let's get more specific. If some Catholics are racist, who are they? What percent of Catholics are racist who attend weekly Mass (e.g., 1%, 15%, 50%)? What percent of all Catholics are racists? Is white racism the cause of the problem we saw in Charlottesville? Or are those who posit these questions (like myself) missing the point according to the Editors?

Unfortunately, while I agree with the Editors about our Catholic obligation, I question precisely what the Editors are trying to say. Is this article another attempt to declare that Trump is irresponsible, even evil, because they believe he is fueling racism in the U.S.?

Douglas Fang
3 months 1 week ago

Michael,
Maybe you don’t really understand the feeling of people of color as you are a white person. I believe that most white people are nice and decent and not racist, especially in the metropolitan areas. However, in the more rural and small town areas, there are a significant number of white people who are not comfortable with people of different color. I said this based on my own experience. Images of the white supremacists, white nationalists going around with torches, Nazi symbols, white hoods, etc. make me sick and scare.

About your last question, “…Trump is irresponsible, even evil, because they believe he is fueling racism in the U.S?” The answer is the resounding YES, if you don’t see that then you are kidding yourself. How many white nationalists, white supremacists publicly did come out to show their appreciation for Trump because they perceived that he is supporting them? I watched a few of them calmly and confidently talking about their cause and their dream, i.e. bring back segregation, in the interviews with mainstream news like ABC, CBS, etc.

The only ways for you to defeat evil is to accept that there is evil. Otherwise, you are just a victim of its deception.

Peace be with you,

Stuart Meisenzahl
3 months ago

Mr Fang
Your comments reflect an hysteria that feeds itself into a greater frenzy with each passing event. This is beginning to look like the Salem Witch Trials where unfounded fears bred unfounded evils. I am reminded of your comments in these pages about the ejection of David Dao by the police from a United Airlines flight where you immediately attributed "anti Asian prejudice" as the cause of that event before any of the facts were known ........facts which when disclosed demonstrated just how baseless you accusation was. I have no idea what specific events in people's lives such as yours have brought them to such points of hyper sensitivity that but it is entirely unfair of you to assert that anyone who does not agree with your heightened sensitivity is perpetrating yet another offense against you.
Trump fueling racism?: Have you accused President Obama of fueling racial prejudice with his comments on the Henry Gates matter in Cambridge?...., or the Ferguson /Michael Brown matter?
Have you suggested that President Obama is responsible because in response to Ferguson etc a number of police were executed? .....riots ensued....buildings were burned....shop keepers' livings were destroyed. Did President Obama signal his personal support because he sent three White House Representatives to Michael Browns funeral but none to the funerals of the slain police officers?
I do not think Obama is responsible for those events. But your assertion that Trump fuels racism because of events that followed if applied to Obama would indicate that President Obama is indeed directly responsible for these cop killings, riots, and loss of employment.

Douglas Fang
3 months ago

I may be a little bit too sensitive because I am a minority. But here is the very words of Mitt Romney on Facebook yesterday about Trump - “what he communicated caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn” – Is he hysterical too?

Trump’s statements are so despicable even for CEO of Fox network, a perennial conservative, had to speak up “What we watched this last week in Charlottesville and the reaction to it by the President of the United States concern all of us as Americans and free people. . . . I can't even believe I have to write this: standing up to Nazis is essential; there are no good Nazis. Or Klansmen, or terrorists…” - Is he also overreacting?

Can you explain why the white supremacy, white nationalism suddenly feel emboldened these days?

I leave it to your own rational conscience to make your own conclusion.

Stuart Meisenzahl
3 months ago

Mr Fang
Can you explain the rise in anti police sentiment and the execution/murders of more than 5 policemen after President Obama spouted off about Michael Brown etc? Why did Far Left groups take to the streets in New York etc to chant " death to the police ". Considering that eye witness testimony, physical evidence, and video tapes definitively exonerated the Police Officer in the Brown matter, was President Obama's premature indictment of the officer a despicable outrage?
While President Trump' s grevious sin was "blaming both sides for the violence"....President Obama wrongly blamed just the police officer.. remember "Hands up, don't shoot" . Search your own conscience on this comparison for why you are now screaming about the injustice of Trump's remarks but ignored the patent injustice of President Obama's remarks.
You need to remember that disagreement with you does not constitute support for new Nazis, white supremists, or racist skin heads.

Douglas Fang
3 months ago

You keep on referring to the Ferguson's incident as a comparison. It seems that you ignore a huge, huge difference between the 2 incidents –public reaction. Was there any public outcries, backlash, or anything like this with respect to what Obama said or did in the Ferguson’s incident? On the contrary, you saw a convulsive uproar from many, many prominent political, business, military, and religious figures against what Trump said in the Charlottesville’s incident including top republican politicians as Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Bob Corker, etc., to the mass resignation of top tier CEOs from Trump various councils, to the top military leaders, etc.

I end this thread with a simple question to you – please explain to me as a non-native minority citizen in plain English what Mitt Romney’s words mean: “…RACITS TO REJOICE, MINORITIES TO WEEP…”

Stuart Meisenzahl
3 months ago

Mr Fang
You did not see a huge public uproar over Obama's remarks because any critic of Obama's was/is immediately branded as a RACIST. If the Ferguson reference troubles you, check out President Obama's equally precipitous and erroneous comments about the Baltimore Riots , where again the police were vindicated ( by a black judge) and again police officers were killed in the aftermath.. As to Mr Romney I believe he is still wincing from his famous "47% will vote for President Obama no matter what" because they get free stuff. I am quite sure that to Mr Romney the concept his having lost the Presidency and Trump winning it assures his eternal enmity to Mr Trump. There is little question that Mr Romney is a far finer person than Trump and thankfully does not have the same thin skin. But you can be assured that Trump winning and his losing the Presidency will be a burr under Romney's skin that will never heal. The Media and Mr Obama were joint passengers on "The Love Boat". The Media and Mr Trump share the stage at a national version of "The Jerry Springer Show" ...little wonder the CEOs fled....they feared being hit by one of those flying chairs or roughed up the Media goons waiting in the wings.

Michael Barberi
3 months ago

Douglas,
Just because I am white does not make me insensitive or ignorant of the feelings of people of color. I grew up in Brooklyn NY and lived in Texas and other states. I had friends who were white, black and hispanic. In my life I have witnessed discrimination towards others and believe that some people are racist. I get it.

I do agree with you that in some areas of the south racism is more prevalent that in the northern cities. Most people understand this if they are paying attention to what is happening in our society. Most people condemn all forms of racism. However, we live in a society where the far-right and far-left have rigid positions where bigotry and identity politics are fueling hatred and violence. Congress does nothing because no one is willing to compromise. The excuse: politicians claim they will compromise on the issues but not on their principles. However, when everything is a 'principle' the nothing gets done because there is no compromise.

To say that Trump is evil because he is fueling racism in the U.S. is an over reaction and irresponsible. Just because hate groups support Trump does not make him a supporter of hate groups. How many times does Trump have to say that he condemns Neo-Nazism, the KKK and white supremacists groups for you, the Media and Democrats to acknowledge it. Just because Trump said that both groups in Charlottesville caused violence does not mean that Trump was supporting racism. Would you call Obama racist because of his close relationship with his minister who preached hate speech and a reverse-racist ideology?

I believe that evil exists in this world and I don't agree with many things that Trump says. However, keep in mind that the Media is broadcasting half-truths, misinformation and in some cases fake news all for the objective of trying to convince people that Trump is evil, irresponsible, a racist, anti-Muslim, anti-women and anti-immigrant. He was elected President because he wants to change Washington and that includes establishment politics on both sides of the political divide. While his choice of means have much to be desired they are not evil. Perhaps you believe Trump colluded with the Russians to get elected while there is no evidence to support this. However, Trump is not a racist because of the Media has taken selected words he said and built it into a negative narrative to support their goal of getting Trump impeached. I hope you realize that the Media and Democrats distort what Trump does and says. I agree that some of the criticism is legitimate. However, when Trump's every word and action is being turned into a 'destroy Trump narrative' by the Media, it is being blind not to recognize this.

I did not vote for Trump or Clinton. However, he is the President and I believe that most of his goals and policies will help the people of our country. This does not mean that some people may have a different political view point and disagree with Trump. However, I don't believe Trump is a bigot, evil and racist.

Dimitri Cavalli
3 months ago

Do the editors have any plans, then, to take issue with one of the most anti-Catholic sites on the Internet, specifically, the popular left-wing Web site, Alternet.org? (The Southern Poverty Law Center uses it as a frequent source.)

Alternet has published and republished articles such as "8 Ugly Sins of the Catholic Church" (June 11, 2012); "Why Is Anyone Still Catholic?" (May 14, 2010); "Why Are Pedophile-Hiding, Child-Abusing Church Fathers Allowed to Write Laws About Women's Bodies?" (April 2, 2010); "Why Does Congress Allow a Pedophile-Ridden Church to Control Women's Bodies?" (May 26, 2010); "Will Pope Francis Have the Courage to Break With the Church's Anti-Woman Stance?" (September 23, 2005); "Opus Dei and the War on Birth Control: Neofascism Within the Catholic Church" (February 20, 2012); "Should People and Governments Shun the Totalitarian Catholic Church?" (January 5, 2012); "50 Reasons to Boycott the Catholic Church" (November 26, 2012), and "Pope Francis, the CIA, and 'Death Squads'" (March 17, 2013).

The above is just a small sampling. If you type in the word "Catholic" in Alternet's search engine, it will retrieve thousands of shrill articles attacking the Catholic Church.

J Cosgrove
3 months ago

This reaction to what happened in Charlottesville has little to do with racism. It definitely does deal with an odious racist group who were ostensibly protesting the planned removal of a statue. But the reaction since is mainly about politics and making Trump look bad. One of the articles about Charlottesville on this site misstated what Trump said.

The Russia hoax is nearly over so the press and the liberals must have an issue to marginalize Trump. Racism is always a convenient issue if there is one because it immediately says hate. But did what really happened in Charlottesville make it a text book exemplar of extreme racism?

Basically a relatively small number of extreme racists, about 400, were given a permit to protest. This is nothing new and there was a similar but much smaller protest just a month before in Charlottesville. Such a protest will always attract counter-protesters and the month before they were kept apart. There were much larger number of counter protesters last week which included people ready to instigate violence.

Normally police would separate these two groups but the state police did not do that this time. The New York PD said there was no way these two sides would have contact with each other in a New York demonstration. Last weekend, the plan was to let them be roughly 100 ft apart. Instead of forming barriers a block away the police allowed the two sides to be literally in shouting distance apart.

Next a half hour before the start of the event, the assembly was declared illegal. The state police then forced the Nazi/white supremacist/KKK protesters into the counter protesters a few feet away. Both sides then fought each other as the protesters tried to reach other areas.

The back end of the park away from the counter protesters was available for an exit but the state police did not allow it to be used.

Google Lee Park in Charlottesville and go to map of area. The south end of the park is Market St. Protesters were in two pens in Lee Park about 50 ft from Market St. The counter protesters were on Market St. It looks like the state police were instructed to force a violent interaction.

A question: if the police had separated the two groups as is normally done or if the back end of the park was used for evacuation would anyone in the country know that such a demonstration took place last week in Charlottesville? And would there had been the assault with a car that killed one person and injured a couple dozen more?

Leonard Villa
2 months 3 weeks ago

There are many of those decrying racism who don't view anti-white racism as racist. It is perfectly okay with them hence their definition of racism is entirely political. That's going on in many places especially on college campuses and in the media. They no longer accept Dr. King's vision of the quality of a person's character rather than skin color.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Images: CNS/Composite: America
On Nov. 11, the Catholic Church lost a moral titan in the long struggle for racial equality and justice in the United States.
Shannen Dee WilliamsNovember 22, 2017
Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, Myanmar military commander-in-chief, speaks during the Union Peace Conference Aug. 31 in Naypyitaw (CNS photo/Hein Htet, EPA).
Gen. Min Aung Hlaing wields great political power in the country.
Jacob Tremblay and Julia Roberts in “Wonder” (CNS photo/Lionsgate). 
‘Wonder’ is a tween melodrama on a mission of mercy.
Simcha FisherNovember 22, 2017
The change was in “no way” a response to the C.C.H.D.’s persistent online critics, an archdiocesan official says.
Kevin ClarkeNovember 22, 2017