Catholic school apologizes after clips emerge of encounter between students and Native American activist

Screengrab from a viral video showcasing a confrontation between a Native American drummer and a group of Catholic high school students in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 18, 2019. Screenshot via YouTube.Screengrab from a viral video showcasing a confrontation between a Native American drummer and a group of Catholic high school students in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 18, 2019. Screenshot via YouTube.

Editor's note:This article and headline have been updated to reflect new information about the incident; see detailed corrections and update notes at the end of the story. See latest coverage of this incident here.

WASHINGTON (RNS) — A Catholic high school in Kentucky is apologizing after videos surfaced of students dressed in the school’s garb confronting and mocking a group of Native Americans—including one man believed to be a Vietnam War veteran—in Washington, D.C.

Several clips of the encounter circulating on social media show a small group of Native American drummers, who were in Washington for the Indigenous People’s March, being surrounded by a much larger band of teenagers.

Most were young men who wore hats or shirts bearing Donald Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.” Others wore clothing with references to the March for Life, an anti-abortion event convened on Jan. 18 that the students attended.

Some of the young men wore hoodies that bore the logo of Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Kentucky.

In one of the videos, the young men clap along to the drumbeat of a man who Indian Country Today identified as Nathan Phillips, an Omaha elder and Vietnam War veteran. But the moment quickly turns confrontational as the mass begins mocking the elderly man by shouting a faux Native American chant used by the Atlanta Braves and other sports teams.

The crowd then begins to laugh and shout as one young man, donning a Make America Great Again hat, stands in front of Phillips and stares, grinning.

As the crowd continues to heckle and chant, Phillips stares back and continues to drum, seemingly unfazed. But his companions appear to grow increasingly agitated as the crowd encircles them.

“You guys are acting like a mob!” one woman yells at the camera.

They released a joint statement with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington Saturday afternoon.

“We condemn the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students towards Nathan Phillips specifically, and Native Americans in general, Jan 18., after the March for Life, in Washington, D.C.,” the statement read. “We extend our deepest apologies to Mr. Phillips. This behavior is opposed to the Church’s teachings on the dignity and respect of the human person. The matter is being investigated and we will take appropriate action, up to and including expulsion. We know this incident also has tainted the entire witness of the March for Life and express our most sincere apologies to all those who attended the March and all those who support the pro-life movement.”

Chase Iron Eyes, lead counsel for the Lakota Peoples Law Project and a spokesperson for the Indigenous Peoples Movement, witnessed the encounter.

In an interview with RNS, Iron Eyes said Phillips and several others were closing out the ceremonies of the Indigenous Peoples March by blessing the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial when they observed 30 or 40 teenaged boys engaged in a back-and-forth with a small group of black religious demonstrators.

Another video widely shared on Jan. 20 showed the demonstrators repeatedly yelling insults and curses at the students. The students eventually responded by shouting school chants. One student removed his shirt as his companions yelled.

Iron Eyes said Phillips attempted to defuse the situation by offering a song, “trying to get young people to listen,” and video shows him walking over to the students while drumming. Iron Eyes called the AIM Song, associated with the 1970s American Indian Movement, a “spiritual symbol,” saying the wordless melody “is meant for all of us to sing.”

“To have our elders who are closing out, you know, a beautiful day—one that started kind of chilly and cold, but the sun came out and joined us and blessed us—to have them go through that was a particularly egregious ordeal,” he said.

Iron Eyes called the students behavior “unfortunate and sad.” He said that they were following the example of President Trump.

“They’re just responding to a president that is giving license to racists and bigots who have no place in our society,” he said.

Still, he expressed concern for the students.

“I wouldn’t even wish ill will on those kids,” he said.

In a statement posted online Sunday by CNN’s Jake Tapper, the student seen in the stare-down with Phillips said his actions also were an attempt to defuse the situation. Covington Catholic junior Nick Sandmann cited his Catholic faith and said he tries to live out its ideals, including being respectful of others and not taking any action that would lead to conflict or violence.

Sandmann said he was “startled and confused” when the elder walked up to him, drumming, and “said a silent prayer that the situation would not get out of hand.”

“We had already been yelled at by another group of protestors, and when the second group approached I was worried that a situation was getting out of control where adults were attempting to provoke teenagers,” he said.

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati also criticized the students’ actions, tweeting that “incident at the March 4 Life was unfortunate & regrettable.”

According to Indian Country Today, Phillips is a former director of the Native Youth Alliance and holds an annual ceremony honoring Native American veterans in the Arlington National Cemetery.

A separate clip posted to Twitter appears to show him emotionally reacting to the encounter.

“I heard them saying ‘build that wall.’ This is indigenous land —we’re not supposed to have walls here, we never did,” he said. “Before anybody else came here, we never had walls … We always took care of our elders, took care of our children.”

Phillips continued to speak over the sound of additional chanting in the distance: “I wish I could see the energy of that young mass of young men, put that energy into making this country really great — helping those that are hungry.”

Organizers of the Indigenous Peoples March condemned the incident.

“What we saw yesterday, the display surrounding Mr. Phillips, is emblematic of the state of our discourse in Trump’s America,” Darren Thompson, an organizer for the Indigenous Peoples Movement, said in a press release. “It clearly demonstrates the validity of our concerns about the marginalization and disrespect of Indigenous peoples, and it shows that traditional knowledge is being ignored by those who should listen most closely.”

In an initial statement, the March for Life described the behavior shown in the earliest shared videos as “reprehensible” and said that it did not represent the pro-life movement. The March for Life has since removed that statement from its website and Twitter account and now says they “will refrain from commenting further until the truth is understood.

Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), the first Native American woman elected to Congress, decried the students’ actions on Twitter Saturday, saying they displayed “blatant hate, disrespect, and intolerance.”

Phillips was reportedly the victim of a separate incident of student harassment in 2015, when Eastern Michigan University students dressed as Native Americans allegedly threw a beer can at him and shouted racial slurs.

 

Corrections and updates:

RNS updated the original story with information from newly discovered videos of the incident and to clarify the details of the initial encounter between the Native American group and the students.

According to the first RNS filing, Iron Eyes said that students approached the Native American group which had observed them harassing others. The updated filing significantly revises that account and now reports that Native American group approached students after observing a verbal “back and forth” between the students and a third group.

Additionally, since the initial report on Jan. 19 one of the students has issued a statement strongly countering testimony of other actors from the encounter.

The story has also been updated to reflect the March for Life's withdrawal of its original statement.

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J Jones
1 year 9 months ago

Read the Washington Post article

Adeolu Ademoyo
1 year 9 months ago

I will try as much as possible to give one response to the following posts. Those of Ms. Lisa M, and Mr. J. Cosgrove. I am responding because you seemed to have directly responded to my post. I am going to respond by giving a big picture, which is the source of all these problems and end there.

There is a fundamental issue here about our faith. In our faith and right inside the parishes, there are people who define themselves as left, right, conservative and progressive, liberal Catholics. I reject all of these labels inside the Church because all of these do not help our salvation in Christ. Like you, I am rooted in the Catholic Church. So I know that the right, left, conservatives, progressives, liberal labels are not helpful in understanding our faith, and in deepening our faith. They -the left and right, progressive and conservative, liberal politicians- when they bring their politics into the Church and start politicking are dangers to the unity of the Church as handed to us by Christ and as espoused in John 17: 21. It is obvious that these politicians have infiltrated the Church of Christ and their politicking represents threat to the unity of the Church.

I have been to some March For Life pilgrimages, where I saw sections, fellow pilgrims carrying the photographs of candidates contesting for elections in the country. I was shocked and disappointed. For good reasons, and you will agree with me, it is better that I do not give, names. But in those years, (the March For Life took place in election years) all of them were members of the Republican party. Do we want to minimize this craziness in a religious space, this threat to our unity in the Church in a pilgrimage -March For Life? Are we going to keep quiet because of the money these politicians allegedly donate? Given that our faith has nothing to do with the transient politics of the day, is open display of political affiliations in a religious and faith pilgrimage -March For Life not a danger to the unity of Christians as taught us in John 17: 21?

This danger is heightened when you now take the fate of the Republican party under Mr. Donald J . Trump. Here Mr. Trump playing on the apprehensions and economic situation of those who voted for him, and because of his own personal fears and travails due to the way he practiced business in the past, Mr. Trump took the party of Lincoln and Reagan and turned it into a racist club in order to keep a section of the population behind him to defend him whenever he is in political trouble. And the best way to keep those behind him is to whip up racism and bigotry, racist and bigoted sentiments. The racism and bigotry are then projected onto these youths, who are used as pawns, in a political chess board of politicians, and who are given political sweat shirts and hats such as Trump sweat shirts and MAGA hats which they gleefully put on in a sacred religious and faith pilgrimage- March For Life! If you do not see this as a threat to the Church, it will be shocking to me, it will be revealing. It will be instructive.

Now let me hypothesize, create scenario and heighten the situation. Suppose on display in the 2019 edition of March For Life were the advocates of Black Lives Matter, Civil Rights, Blue Lives Matter, Latino Rights, Immigrants Rights, Asian-American Rights, Jewish -American Rights, European-American Rights, White Nationalism, other rightwing groups, LGBTQ, Gender Rights, pro-choice, sweatshirts of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and sweatshirts of Democratic Party politicians and Republican party politicians who are running for elections and the presidency, what will the situation look like? What will you say? Will you still call that a religious pilgrimage?

I am a veteran marcher of March For Life and of the National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis. In the Church, we call them the big events. They are my family’s favorite big events. I know what we do for Christ and His Church there, in these big events. So let me complicate the matter further for you so that you see the danger which the politicization of our faith represents, and how this plus the sex abuse scandal represent existential danger and threat to the Church. Suppose as we march you suddenly see that the dioceses are divided along political and ideological lines. Some dioceses adorn sweat shirts of Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Steve King of Iowa, Mike Pence, and Fox News anchors etc representing the Republican party, while other dioceses adorn the sweatshirts of Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez representing the Democratic party.

To use the argument of those who appeal to freedom of speech and assembly to defend the actions of the Covington youths, in the name of same freedom of speech and assembly in my hypothetical scenario, all the tendencies -Democratic party and Republican party and other political tendencies must be allowed during the March For Life pilgrimage. With this kind of hypothetical scenario, it is obvious we can no longer legitimately talk of a religious and faith centered pilgrimage -March For Life anymore. While this might be okay for the defenders of Democratic and Republican party, and other political activists-conservative, progressive and liberal, it is not okay for those of us biblical and scriptural Christians and Catholics who do not want any of this nonsense, who just want to praise and worship Christ in sacred spaces.

As a human being, I cannot pretend not to have political views. But to bring my political views to the Church, to the altar of Christ is to attempt to destroy the Church. I will not do this. Never. As a minister of the Church and of Christ, I am must leave my personal views at home, I must put myself before God, before His altar, to be able to minister to and serve all parishioners and children of God regardless of their political views, race, ethnicity, orientations, backgrounds, tendencies. And I must also say the truth, put the truth squarely, frankly and with candor to those whose actions will destroy the Church. When I put myself forward as a defender of a politician and of a political party, right inside the Church of Christ, I lose my gift and grace of service to Christ, and to His people. It is the beginning of the destruction of the Church of Christ. The left and the right, the progressives, liberals and the conservatives should stop this trend, this nonsense. It is not good for the Church. It is an existential threat to the Church.

Let the Youth ministers, other lay ministers, and chaperones of Diocese of Covington who accompanied those kids to the March For Life go to confession, and confess to Christ for turning His children, those Covington kids into political pawns in the political chessboard of Mr. Trump, and for Mr. Donald J Trump and the Republican party. Let the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops take this potential dynamite and threat up with the Covington Diocese. Let all dioceses stop using these children of God as political pawns of racist and bigoted politicians, and of politicians of both right and left, progressive, liberal and conservative so that we do not see this kind of destructive acts again in our sacred religious spaces, in our pilgrimages, in our churches. And let the matter end there. This is the big picture. And I hope that both of you see it.

Lisa M
1 year 9 months ago

Adeolu: I agree that Catholicism is neither liberal nor conservative, it is Catholic. Neither party comes close to representing the teachings of Christ, and so supporting either party is difficult. But to criticize the chaperones, or the school because some kids picked up Trump hats or t shirts is politicizing the issue for no reason. Let them be kids without making something an issue that isn't. They picked up a few hats on a field trip. Big deal!!! This Trump hysteria reveals more about us then it does about him. Our intolerance to differing views, our rush to judgment without even hearing the other side, our critical assessment of a person based on their political affiliation, it's out of hand, seriously out of hand, and dangerous. We need to step back and learn from this. We, as a whole, on some level, judged a group of kids based on where they were, what they were wearing and a clip in time showing their 'actions'. Many determined they should be expelled from school and their principal should be fired. Attacks about their faith, being pro life and the Catholic Church followed, mostly from those who consider themselves open and inclusive. That's scary, really, really scary. Is this really the direction we want to go as a society?
As far as asking others to go to confession, that is not your place. Lead by example, not by demanding others behave the way you determine they should.

Adeolu Ademoyo
1 year 9 months ago

Lisa,
Thanks for your post. I will respond as follows by observing and asking questions.
1. You agree I suppose that March For Life is a religious pilgrimage. Please answer yes or no. If you do not think that March For Life is a religious pilgrimage, please kindly tell us what it is.
2. Do you agree that Donald Trump sweat shirts and MAGA hats are political campaign materials promoting the political vision, ideas of Donald Trump for this country- please answer yes or no.
3. Do you agree that Donald Trump sweat shirts and MAGA hats are campaign materials promoting the political vision of the Republican party under Donald Trump- please answer yes or No.
4. Do you agree that the Church-at least given the universal nature and mission of the Catholic Church-the Church is about unity of the community of faithful? please answer yes or no.
5. Do you agree that we Christians and Catholics are human beings with different political vision and views for the country-progressive, liberal, conservative, Democratic, Republican, Independent, center, left, right, but that for the sake of the unity of the Church we should not bring our political views to places of worship, sacred grounds/ religious Marches like March For Life? Please answer yes or no. There should not be quibbling here. Just answer.
6. Do you agree that some of these kids are below 18 years, in other words they are not adults and cannot vote, and that it is wrong, irreligious and un-ethical for political parties or any one to use them, abuse their innocence, turn them into political pawns in a religious pilgrimage? Say Yes or No.
7. Do you agree that when these kids go on these trips, we parents give them money directly or give the money to the Chaperones -money they can spend on sundry items-please answer yes or no
8. Do you agree therefore that no human being accidentally and by chance pick advertising materials-(in this case Donald Trump’s campaign materials advertising his vision and ideas for the country). You pick them consciously because that is what you believe in, or what your parents asked you to buy(if you are under-age) , or what your parents gave you when you left home for the March (if you are under age), or what the chaperones gave you during the March, or what your diocese distributed to you (it has to be one of these)-please answer yes or No.
9. If steps 1-8 are reasonable, and plausible then why do you want to paint a picture (as you did in your post) of the open display of political campaign material of a political party during a religious event- as something that happened perfunctorily? You claimed that these kids wearing, promoting and advertising the political campaign materials of Donald J. Trump is a "clip in time" Why? Why do we want to pull wool over the eyes of one another? You described as "intolerance" the fact that people commented that under age kids are being used as political pawns and puppets by politicians. Why? Intolerance about what? Do you mean that the Catholic Church should allow under aged kids to be used by politicians as political sales boys and girls to advertise and promote their own political ideas and products in a religious pilgrimage such as the March For Life? Is rejecting turning these kids to political pawns and puppets by Church politicians what you describe as "intolerance"? Lisa, again, the position that this just happened perfunctorily in a "clip of time" is revealing. It says a lot.

Now to my next step- I will quote you. You wrote: “But to criticize the chaperones, or the school because some kids picked up Trump hats or t shirts is politicizing the issue for no reason. Let them be kids without making something an issue that isn't. They picked up a few hats on a field trip. Big deal!!! This Trump hysteria reveals more about us then it does about him.”

From your comments which I have quoted, you seem to be implying the following. (i) The political campaign and marketing materials of a political party are mere toys that children just toy with-no big deal! (ii) The kids by chance and casually picked the political campaign materials of a political party on religious pilgrimage along the way, no big deal. (iii) The political campaign materials are not campaign materials, they are mere playthings, toys that say nothing-no big deal! Your observation of how these kids acquired these “innocent” “toys” suggests that you know categorically or was told by their chaperones, or that you were present at the March, and you saw them as they bought the political campaign materials, which you are misconstruing as things they just picked casually along the way. Your observation ought to be open-ended if you are not from Covington and if you were not present in DC. But you are being categorical in your knowledge of how the kids got these political campaign materials.

You could be right that the kids did not know what they bought and they just bought them casually by chance. But since you and I do not know, your categorical statement does not leave room for other possibilities of how these kids got to advertise and promote (by wearing) the political campaign materials of a political party during a religious pilgrimage where other pilgrims who might not agree with that message were present. As a Chaperone myself, and as parents we prepare our own kids because we believe we are on a religious and faith act and not a political campaign for a political party. It is possible (given the way you wish to sweep the issue under the carpet) that other dioceses and parishes in Covington Diocese, Kentucky think differently, that March For Life is a political rally for the Republican party. My parish does not think that way. My diocese does not think that way. And I know my parish and Diocese very well. For us it is a religious event (hence we call it religious pilgrimage) from start to finish. Hence, on every March For Life, a priest in our PCA will hold Mass for us one hour before we enter the bus and send us forth to the March. So, Lisa, it is not a problem if parishes and Dioceses have different views on the same thing. But for the good reason of transparency, trust and openness to one another, the only requirement is that we state our views openly so that we know where we are headed. More importantly, it is funny and amusing to say the political advertisement and promotion of the political campaign materials of the Republican Party and Mr. Donald J Trump in a religious setting and pilgrimage is "a clip in time" as you said. Though funny, it also says a lot! It is revealing! And I thank you very much for that revelation!

Let me be explicit on this aspect. As a Catholic, Christian, parent, chaperone, I will find it offensive and irreligious and therefore unacceptable if I am on a religious trip/pilgrimage, and my fellow pilgrims advertise political campaign materials of any politician-whether of the Democratic party, Republican party, Green party, Independent, conservative, progressive, liberal, European-American, African American, Jewish American, Asian American etc. I put this to you and I want you to be explicit, will you also find similar situation offensive and irreligious and therefore un-acceptable? Your answer will be helpful. My point is simple. We should not destroy the Church, the body of Christ with our individual politics-which each person has the right to hold privately and vote on privately. We should not turn our children to political pawns and puppets of politicians just because they have donated to the Church. If you are of the Church, you should know how so-called rich donors wrongly feel a distasteful sense of entitlement they own the Church just because they have donated. I reject this and I do not hesitate to express my opinion. Our faith in Christ and our work in the Church should not be tied to some people’s donation.

Finally, let me come to your other statement and I will quote you “This Trump hysteria reveals more about us than it does about him.” I am not sure what you mean by this. You may wish to explain. But let me make some observations. First, I have put it on record that I find importing any political material -of the left, right, independent, Democratic, Republican into sacred places irreligious and therefore un-acceptable. This is about any politician. It happens that the political materials I saw that the kids wore, were promoting and advertising by wearing them in a religious setting and pilgrimage were of Donald J Trump political campaign. This means that consistent with my position if the materials were from the political campaign of any political tendency I will equally find it objectionable and offensive.

So you missed the point about my view though you ought not to miss it for I am very clear in what I object to and find un-acceptable. But I will concede your right not to find the advertisement and promotion of political materials in this case Donald Trump and Republican party materials by under age kids in a religious setting objectionable. You have that right. What I challenge people on is that those who think this way should not smuggle things through the backdoor. Put them right on the table openly for all to see so that in the name of transparency we all will make our decision whether to stay or leave. If anyone thinks March For Life is a disguised political rally let that person say so. It will help each person, parish and diocese make their decision.

We read of a parish where the political and election campaign materials of Donald J Trump and the Republican party were rudely and boldly put in the weekly Church bulletins. At least that parish did not hide their views, and I am fine with that openness. Those who agree that the Church should be politicized will stay in that parish. Those who disagree will leave since they will find Christ in other religious spaces. Second to say that there is “Trump hysteria” which says something about “us” and less about him may be revealing and instructive. It is your right and prerogative as a human being and as a citizen to hold your political views which include a defense of Mr. Donald J. Trump and his political vision and ideas. The constitution actually encourages everyone to have one. What is being said is that we all should not politicize and destroy the Church by promoting our political views in religious settings and spaces. That should not be difficult for you to understand. However, kindly let me state respectfully that I am not part of that “us” you referred to. Unfortunately, it is the Trump advocates and members of the Republican party who are hiding behind religion and who are politically manipulating these Covington Diocese kids from behind, who turn them into political pawns and puppets and who are making them don political campaign materials of a political party that are not letting these kids be kids! See my point Lisa? If you and some people in the Covington Diocese made a mistake in turning our kids into political pawns and puppets for Mr. Donald J Trump and his Republican party in a religious pilgrimage, accept your wrong over reach, and apologize to the community of Christians and let us move on.

My point is simple: No one should bring politics of any type-left, right or center- into the Church. To say this is not hysteria. The history of the Church since the early days of the Church shows the destructive and destabilizing nature of the politicization of the Church. To continue do this is to destroy the divine unity of the Church. It is more painful when we turn our kids into political pawns and puppets and bearers of this needless destruction. This is why the organizers of the March For Life and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops need to urgently step in otherwise if this politicization continues Dioceses and parishes around the country might begin to introspect and consider if it is religiously and spiritually worthwhile to continue to participate in the March For Life. No one wants his or her trust to be abused. It is more so if that trust is sacred, spiritual and religious. The politicization-(either by the left, right, center, progressive, conservative , liberal) of our faith is an abuse of trust, a sacred trust, a religious trust.

On the basis of John 17: 21, this is why every Christian and Catholic should stand up and reject the politicization of the Church. We must defend the divine unity of the Church as Christ asked us to do.

Lisa M
1 year 9 months ago

1. No, I do not believe it is a religious pilgrimage. One is not required to believe in Christ to recognize abortion is the killing of a human being. It is as political as it is religious, as the whole purpose is to acknowledge the life of the unborn while at the same time demanding protection through legislation.
2. No, I do not believe that wearing campaign materials means you promote the political ideas and visions of Donald Trump. In the case of any ADULTS who may have chosen to wear Trump material, I suspect it would run the gamut as to why, from love everything about him and his policies to recognizing that his party supports their cause of protecting the unborn.
3. No, for the same reason, you don’t have to be promoting ALL Republican visions, it just might be, for them, choosing the best of 2 very bad choices, NEITHER of which represent the Catholic position.
4. Yes
5. No, I believe policies define our civilization, so we should be active in ensuring our policies reflect the society we wish to live in.
6. Who used them? Someone forced them to buy souvenirs?
7. Yes, exactly
8. Yes and no. I believe they picked it freely, for various reasons, including “My mother can’t stand Trump, wait till she sees this ” to ‘I love Trump, I’m going to buy this” Why do you care?
9. The only thing it says Adeolu, is I try, albeit fail too often, to not pigeon hole people and judge every action in a negative light. Further, when it comes to children, I do not expect them to have adult responses.

If you were to chaperone my children, I would hope, and expect that you respect that as their parent, I am their primary educator, and no one should be imposing their views on them. All of our children are influenced by their parent’s views, whether that be political, religious or otherwise, and come into their own with life experiences and maturity.
Since I do not believe either party represents our faith, I do not believe any church should be endorsing a party, but I see nothing wrong with debating the merits of a candidate, or debating which party may better represent our faith, that is called opening our minds to different points of view, and better understanding those whom we disagree.
Finally, as far as Trump, I was not speaking of you, but of us, society in general, that it has gone over the top. You don't have to like someone, or their policies, to recognize how dangerous the constant negative attacks on him and anyone who supports him in ANY way is to a free society.

Adeolu Ademoyo
1 year 9 months ago

Lisa,
Based on your answers we can make the following deductions.
1. You do not believe that the March For Life is a religious act. So what is it? I do not know your diocese. But it is possible that this is the view of your diocese, and your parish that the March For Life is not a religious act. This point is well noted. Your answer will be part of conversation in the Catholic Community. Trust that some of us will raise this down the road. This is because you have just shown that some dioceses and parishes have turned the March For Life to the political rally of the Republican party.

2. You said that do not believe that under-age and adults who wear the marketing and campaign materials of Donald J. Trump and the Republican party are promoting the vision and ideas of the Republican party and Donald J. Trump. In this regard, I have some questions for you: Do you believe that the holocaust is real? I believe that we need to examine the mind of who ever denies holocaust to check for their sanity. So given that holocaust is real, can you wear the campaign materials of Adolf Hitler of Germany who was responsible for the evil of holocaust in a March For Life Pilgrimage? You should be able to do this joyfully based on the logic of your answer since it is mere fun to wear those political costumes , a "clip in time" and what you and children wear according to you say nothing! Can you wear the campaign materials of Osama Bin Laden in a March For Life Pilgrimage? You should be able to do this for the same reason you said you and your child can wear Donald J Trump political costume at a March For Life pilgrimage and what you wear says nothing and carries no message. So you should be able to wear Osama Bin Laden's political costume and march for life! Can you wear the campaign materials of rapists, and sex abusers in March For Life? For same reasons, it is mere fun and a "clip in time" to wear the political costumes of Mr. Donald J. Trump, you should be able to wear the costumes of rapists, sexual abusers etc in March For Life since wearing costumes means nothing based on the logic of your answers. Can you wear the campaign materials of the racist organization like the Klu Klux Klan (KKK) those who conducted the evil of genocide against peoples of African descent here in the US? Yes you should be able to wear the political costumes of KKK in a March For Life pilgrimage since the message such costumes carry is just fun, a "clip in time" they mean nothing, it is just fun to wear costumes. So based on your answer in 2, you should be able to wear the political campaign materials of Adolf Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, rapists, sex abusers and the KKK. Don’t you think so? Because for you wearing the campaign materials of Adolf Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, rapists and sex abusers, KKK is just fun, a “clip in time”? Please answer yes or no. Can you wear the apparels of KKK, Osama Bin Laden and Hitler?

3. Based on your answer in 2, it means you can wear the political campaign materials of Adolf Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, KKK because it is nothing. This is simple logic. Don’t you think?

4. Based on your answer to question 5, I can now understand why some parishes shamelessly and crudely put the campaign materials of Mr. Donald J Trump in their Church weekly bulletins. It will be interesting to know if you did the same in your parish. I am just curious. If you did, did you do the same for all politicians regardless of their parties. Based on your answer in question 5, it means you can invite politicians to the altar of Christ during Mass, during the liturgy to campaign. And if Hitler were alive, and if Osama Bin Laden were alive, you can also invite them to the altar of Christ to campaign because it will be fun to do this. And today, you can ask your parish to invite the leader of KKK , to the altar and campaign for according to you, it will be fun, just a “clip in time”. Right? This will be consistent with your answer. But if you invite politicians in one party-the Republican party to campaign during Mass, during liturgy, will you also do same for candidates in the Democratic party, the Green party, the socialist party, the communist party, the White Nationalist party, the KKK, Hilter’s party and the Independents? Please answer yes or no.

My Diocese Chaperoning Children
I will quote you in order to respond to you. I need to put my answer to your observation about the hypothetical situation of me chaperoning your kid in context. “If you were to chaperone my children, I would hope, and expect that you respect that as their parent, I am their primary educator, and no one should be imposing their views on them.” This is my answer. Based on the experiences of the universal Church my diocese takes its faith mission seriously. We do not just act whimsically and capriciously. Ministers and servants of Christ in my diocese act responsibly based on the guidelines of the diocese. In my diocese parents and the Church meet for weeks before we go on any religious event. In those meetings the guidelines during the March are set forth before parents. The parents know what is going on. Unlike dioceses whose action to allow the advertisement of political campaign materials of the Republican party and Mr. Donald J. Trump you defend, my diocese is not the political enabler of any political party. We do not enable any politician or political party. And we do not allow politicians to hijack the parish, the diocese and the Church. Unlike some dioceses, we do not kow tow to the purses of politicians. In my diocese, we are a Church and not a political party. At those meetings the dos and donts during the March For Life pilgrimage are made clear.

So, suppose you are in my diocese- you would have participated in those pre-event meetings, listen to the guidelines as to what constitute appropriate behavior, ask questions accept or reject Church and parish positions. You will be a participant because no one/parent is ever left out of such discussion in my diocese and parish. You will also express your opinion and views. Though our diocese is not the branch of the republican party, but If you want your child to go to March For Life to promote the political and campaign materials of Mr. Donald J. Trump and the republican party you will say so openly in such pre-event meetings. We act transparently.

Based on your freedom to choose which is given, guaranteed and non-negotiable, because you and your child will (based on your posts here) choose to be purveyors, promoters and advertisers of the political campaign materials of politicians and because we do not allow children to become the pawns and puppets of politicians of all types, I suspect that you will have to take your decision in such pre-event meetings as to the participation of your child. You could that openly, for all meetings are run transparently, and democratically or you could decide privately.

We defend the unity of the Church in my diocese and we act as such. The diocese and the Church do not see it as their roles to turn teens into advertisers and promoters of politicians’ campaign materials, puppets and pawns of politicians. We protect our children from all predators-political and sexual. Unlike other dioceses in the country, since we do not allow our children to become puppets and pawns of politicians and since my diocese has not been infiltrated by politicians and since my diocese has not been bought by politicians so we are not obliged to display, distribute and promote the campaign materials and political costumes of politicians in any Catholic event including a solemn one like the March For Life pilgrimage.

If you cannot abide by the rules and guidelines of the diocese then you peacefully and freely take your decision because you are free. In other words as Chaperones we do not act alone in my diocese, we do not act whimsically, and capriciously, we do not act outside the rules and guidelines of the diocese and the parish because we take our faith seriously. We take our responsibility to the children seriously. From your answers and posts one can surmise that it is likely to be different with you, in your parish and in your diocese, and the diocese you defend. I do not know, but your posts suggest that. This is why it is okay for you to turn the March For Life into the political space of Mr. Donald J. Trump and his Republican party.

On a different note. Given the political sympathies you expressed in your posts, it is strange that you do not like rules and regulations. The last I heard about the Republican party, I heard they brand themselves as the party of law and order, of rules and regulations. It is strange therefore that you will allow your child to be an advertiser and a promoter of the political costumes and campaign materials of a party that markets itself as party of rules-the Republican party, yet you want your child to act outside rules and regulations in an event! See what I mean Lisa? This is 21st century. The mask has dropped, everyone is unmasked, we all can no longer hide from one another. It is strange that the defender of the party of law and order, rules, regulations and procedure will fail to acknowledge the virtues and values of order. It means that as someone who obviously defend the Republican party and can wear and help advertise and promote their campaign materials in a religious event, you can talk law and order when they are in your favor, you undermine them at your whims and caprices.

On Mr. Donald J Trump- It is a waste of precious faith and intellectual time debating him. I operate from the point of faith. This is because mom and I want to be good moral, ethical and religious examples to our children. So, this is why our only shock as Christians is that we always wonder why some Christians in the country look the other way at the fornication, adultery, sexual abuse, wife beating, raping of wife, open corruption and larceny, violation of the constitutionally guaranteed emolument clause by some politicians who belong to their party, they even point to the bible and claim that God sent such politicians while they do not look the other way at the fornication, adultery, sexual abuse, wife beating, raping of wife and open corruption and larceny of politicians who do not belong to their party. See the hypocrisy and double standard? I am sure you get my speaking in tongue!

Finally, let me summarize and end this conversation which has been revealing and helpful. This is what your answers in your posts have done.
a. Your posts have given the opponents of pro-life the weapon they need. This is because by act of commission and omission, you have just wrongly implied that March For Life is a political rally of the republican party. I reject that interpretation based on my experience in my diocese. We thank God that there are Christians who do not think the way you think (even when you have right to think that way) , and who will be able to defend life without giving the opponents of life any reason to disrepute the pro-life movement and March For Life, by its politicization and by turning the March For Life to an enabler of the republican party. It is a shame to ever link the March For Life to the republican party or any party. Beyond this space, we will have to carry this conversation into other Church spaces for the good reasons of transparency, trust and openness among we Catholics. We will want to know if the March For Life is an enabler of the republican party. We want to know which parishes and dioceses are turning the March For Life into an instrument of a political party.

b. Your last post has shown the politicization going on in the Church. Unknown to you, your post has shown one of the numerous reasons the Church pews are empty in the 21st century. The Church will be empty when the Church is made the branch of a political party, any political party because human beings will see through such hideous agenda. In that regard, they dialogue with their legs.

c. Your post has shown why it was difficult for you to see that it is un-acceptable for politicians to hide behind religion, manipulate the Church, use the Church and turn children to political pawns and puppets.

d. Your last post shows that you do not see anything wrong in the politicization of the Church and the turning of under age kids to political pawns and puppets of politicians who hide behind the screen and scene and use adults/parents of these kids to promote parochial and divisive political agenda in the Church, in the parishes and in the dioceses .

e. You ought to have revealed all these from the beginning of our conversation. You ought to have stated explicitly that you do not mind if the Church is an enabler of a political party of your choice (in this case the republican party and Mr. Donald J. Trump as your posts have implied and suggested) and that you do not mind in participating in that enabling. Your last post finally exposed things. But if you had said this earlier, we would simply have stopped and moved on because it is clear that your last post suggests that you do not mind if politicians use the Church for their own parochial and divisive political agenda. That is a fundamental point of departure for me. As a minister of the Church, I do not participate in Church politics inside and outside the Church. I would have acknowledge your right, stopped the conversation and moved on. Please check your answer in 5. I think you called it policy or civilization or something like that! Just kidding you!

f. Your post has exposed how the Republican party might have infiltrated, your parish, and the Church in your diocese. This is well noted. Your posts and information contained in them showing how politicians have used and are using and manipulating some parishes, and some dioceses are helpful in further communication and conversation within Catholic and Church communities. And I thank you for that revelation. It is helpful for other Christians who need to be careful because of hidden political and cultural agenda lurking behind the corners when we -Christians -meet one another in spaces like March For Life.
Thanks for a helpful, instructive, and revealing conversation. May God Bless you and your family.

Lisa M
1 year 9 months ago

Adeolu - Our Lord has blessed us with Pope Francis, who in these troubled and dividing times has called for unity. He has spoken about the dangers of being rigid, the fixation of 'rules' over pastoral care and living the word, the importance of listening, and the harm of slander and gossip. I try to see the world through that lens. FYI, I'm NOT a republican, I'm NOT a Trump supporter and I'm NOT a democrat, I just happen to believe there are good people who vote for either party. All the best.

Adeolu Ademoyo
1 year 9 months ago

Lisa:
I am happy that you referred to Pope Francis. Pope Francis asked us to build bridges, and not walls. Pope Francis in 2016 openly disagreed with the racism, sexism, xenophobia, bigotry and division of Mr. Donald J . Trump. When in 2016, the Holy Father, Pope Francis made a plea for inclusion, bridges of unity, Mr. Donald J. Trump whose divisive message you will allow innocent children to promote, bear and advertise through wearing the campaign materials and costumes of such divisive message openly abused Pope Francis. That is on record in 2016.

In your own words, you have shown through your posts that you and your child will wear the political costumes promoting the same message of division and bigotry of a politician because it is just a "clip in time" fun-no big deal!. Suddenly you realized what Pope Francis said! Lisa that is a summersault, a quick one. Where did you put Pope Francis' unity sermon when you said you do not care that kids are used to promote the divisive message of politicians? I am happy you went back to Pope Francis.

But Lisa, let us walk our talk. As we pray the rosary, let us walk the rosary. As we pray the liturgy of the hours, let us walk the prayers in the liturgy of the hours. As we pray in the name of the father, the son and the holy spirit, let us walk in the name of the father, the son and the holy spirit. The Catholic Church is the body of Christ. This is why we cannot allow politicians to hijack her. Catholicism is practical. It is a lived faith of John 17: 21. You cannot talk unity as you are doing by freely handing over the Church to politicians, rather you walk it as Christ asked us to do. Unity is not abstract. It is real, and tangible. When you claim that that you do not care that divisive politicians turn our children into political puppets and pawns and you will look the other way when these innocent kids are being used by a hiding divisive politician, then you have made your position very clear.

My parents used to tell me that if one does not stand for something, one will fall for anything. So stand for something my sister in Christ Lisa. The 12 Apostles of Christ stood for something, the Christian martyrs in the early history of the Church stood for something-the Church-that is why we have the Church today. Lisa, please stand for the Church. Stand by the Church and let us build the unity of the Church together from inside out, from below to the top. To hand the Church over to politicians-Democratic Party, Republican party, left, right, center, independent, conservative, progressive, liberal is to destroy the Church and her unity. Stand for something Lisa. May God in his infinite kindness, mercy and love continue to bless you and your family.

Lisa M
1 year 9 months ago

No somersaulting here Adeolu, you are choosing to completely misrepresent what I have said. I'm not going to go on about it, but as an example (there are numerous misrepresentations of what I've said) you said I'd go to a Right to Life march and wear political gear that promotes bigotry? No, I said I have NO problem with adults choosing to wear Trump hates at a march because ON THAT ONE PARTICULAR ISSUE, the Republican Party supports pro lifers, and the adults may support him for that, or for everything he represents. Why do you think the march is in Washington ,if not to address political leaders? To compare Trump gear to wearing stuff associated with the KKK, Hitler and the like is disingenuous and troubling even if you, LIKE I, disagree strongly in his position regarding immigration. Pope Francis DID NOT address racism, bigotry and sexism concerning Trump. When asked about building a wall, he instead promoted the building of bridges. Pope Francis DOES NOT spend ANY of his time putting people down, even those who attack him. He does not gossip about people, or lump them all into a category, unlike much of what you continue to do to me. As Catholics it is our DUTY to strive to bring a better world. THAT , in large part, is done through our governments, as so often these worlds collide. THE END.

Adeolu Ademoyo
1 year 9 months ago

My Dear Sister in Christ Lisa,
You cannot eat your cake and have it. The core of Christianity is unity. So you cannot claim to support unity and at the same time you said “I said I have NO problem with adults choosing to wear Trump hats at a rally…” It is not just any “rally”. It is a “rally” -the March For Life, a pilgrimage we go directly to from a solemn Mass here in my diocese.

Now let us talk about symbols and what they represent. The crucifix is not just a piece of wood or metal. The crucifix stands for something-our salvation in Christ our Lord and savior. The rosary is not just beads. The rosary stands for something-prayer through the intercession of Mary the mother of our savior-Jesus Christ.

Mr. Donald J. Trump, the republican party, their MAGA hats, Trump sweat shirts etc stand for something. They stand for what Mr. Trump and Trump’s republican party stands for-division, a racist non-inclusive America. Mr. Donald J. Trump does not hide what he stands for. It is division. That is what “Let Trump Be Trump” means. The same thing applies to Mr. Trump’s campaign materials. It is simple and straight forward. You cannot square a circle or turn a triangle into a circle. A circle is what it is, you cannot square it. Same goes for Mr. Trump. He is a chief divider and he does it gleefully and 30% of the country’s population are behind him enthusiastically as a chief divider.

There are too many examples of Mr. Trump’s racism and division. So, it is disingenuous if you do not see racism in a human being -Mr. Trump-who openly said he did not want African Americans to touch his money! Tell me what that is in plain language. This Trump’s view is on record my sister in Christ Lisa. Mr. Trump’s ancestors are from Germany and Scotland. The republican Vice President, Mr. Mike Pence’s ancestors are from Ireland. Mr. Trump’s last wife is a recent immigrant who came into this country on a visitor’s visa from Slovenia.

The lawyer of the last wife of Mr. Trump said she worked here in the US with a visitor’s visa(B1 visa) when she should not have. The wife who is an immigrant from Slovenia has also helped her parents to immigrate to the US from Slovenia. The fact that Mr. Trump’s latest wife is a recent immigrant from Slovenia, the fact that the same Trump’s wife used her new status to sponsor her own parents to immigrate from Slovenia into the US (yet Trump condemned what he calls “chain migration” while “chain migration” is happening right under his nose in his family) explains the racism and bigotry of the birther movement-the denial that Barak Obama is not a natural born US citizen. In other words how can Mr. Trump’s family be family of immigrants-from Europe(his ancestors and his wife and in-laws)- yet he lied to the American people that his predecessor in office - President Barak Obama- is not a native born American and yet 30% of American population who are republicans believe that lie and gave him their support on the basis of that lie. The birther movement was used by Mr. Donald J. Trump and the 30% of the American population that support him to delegitimize President Barak Obama’s presidency. So how is the birther movement which propelled by Mr . Trump (husband of an immigrant who came here on a visitor’s visa, whose wife worked when she was on a visitor’s visa, when she should not have worked under the law) into the consciousness of 30% of Americans who support him, and which Mr. Trump used to launch his political career not a racist movement when Mr. Trump’s ancestors are from Germany and Scotland, his last wife is from Slovenia, and the wife helped her parents to immigrate to the US from Slovenia? That is classic racism.

There is no basis in your claim about "putting people down". I am sure you meant my view that Mr. Trump promotes bigotry. Now to say someone is a racist is not an abuse. It is a description of the actions of that person. To say someone who says someone from another race should not touch his money, because of that person’s race, to say proponents of birther movement are racists is a description, not an abuse. It describes what that person is. It is disingenuous for anyone not to see this.

Mr. Trump's racism is in plain sight. The same Mr. Trump who chain migration happened underneath his nose right inside his family started his political campaign to be president on the birther movement denying that the ex-president Barak Obama is a native born American citizen. And 30% of American population who are Trump supporters believe that nonsense. That gibberish -the birther movement- is classic racism, bigotry, division and hatred of people of African descent and the fabled other. And Mr. Trump is happy promoting that division, that racism and hatred among his supporters who constitute about 30% of the country’s population-including those who wear the MAGA hats and Trump costumes in March For Life and in and around the parishes and in the dioceses that have been politically hijacked by divisive politicians. It is disingenuous that you will not see the classic racism, bigotry and division in Mr. Donald Trump’s birther movement which was also gleefully promoted by the KKK. That you see my exposure of the racism, division and bigotry in Donald Trump’s birther movement as “putting people down” says a lot about your real views on unity, racism and bigotry. You can see why I said that the wind has blown and we cannot hide from one another anymore in the Christian community.

The impact of all these on society is traumatic because it could have been avoided. This is why it is relevant to ask you simple question: Don’t you think this ugliness would have been avoided if we taught ALL our children ALL the history,(not just aspects and interpretations that suit our own political agenda) so that they are prepared to confront the ugliness of racism and bigotry and ALL the history of the country?

During pilgrimages like this we, in my diocese give our own kids diocesan neck ties, hats, T-shirts, sweat shirts. Unlike other dioceses and parishes as the 2019 Covington MAGA hat wearing Catholic kids experience has shown, no one is allowed or encouraged to wear campaign materials and political costumes of politicians because we perceive these Marches as serious faith Church events and NOT political rally of the republican party as wrongly perceived by some dioceses, parishes and some Catholic individuals.

Also, you suggested that the Covington kids bought the MAGA hats. Were you there? Are you from Covington diocese? I was not there so I do not know. But the Covington kids either bought the MAGA hats or someone in the diocese or the diocese or someone from the kids’ parish itself distributed the political MAGA hats as part their costumes. We must leave all these options open. Why? Given that it is obvious that politicians have hijacked some parishes and dioceses, we Catholics have to decide whether March For Life is a political rally of the republican party or a faith pilgrimage to defend and protect life and the un-born. From your posts and mine, it is obvious that we disagree on whether the March For Life is a faith pilgrimage to defend the unborn (my own view) or whether it is a political rally, a political front of the republican party( a view I reject).

Since you are struggling to empty the March For Life of its religious content, if indeed it is a mere political rally, why do you think we-Catholics- often start the day of the March with a Mass from the shrine in DC and end it with a celebration of Christian worship music which may or may not include Mass at George Mason?

Now talking about symbols. Please note that nobody says Lincoln’s symbols, Ronald Reagan’s symbols are symbols of hate. Unlike Trump’s symbols, Lincoln and Reagan symbols are symbols of an inclusive, loving, empathetic, compassionate and non-racist America. We need to put things explicitly on record to avoid any ambiguity.

But Hitler’s swastika is not just any symbol, it is a symbol of hate, holocaust and genocide. For the records, I am not saying that you made these claims. Rather I am producing an analogical argument. So, for anyone to claim that “I have NO problem with adults choosing to wear Nazi Swatiska” in a March for Life pilgrimage will say a lot about the person who made such claim. The Klu Klux Klan’s “noose” is a symbol of hate and genocide of people of African descent in this country. To claim that “I have NO problem with adults choosing to display Klu Klux Klan’s noose at a rally” of March For Life will say a lot about the person who makes such statement. However, the freedom of speech which allows anyone to make such claim also, allows those who hear such claims to interpret such claims. You cannot eat your cake and have it. You cannot exercise a freedom of speech and deny your interlocutor the freedom of interpretation. That will be double standard. You cannot divorce a personality from their symbols as you are attempting to do with Mr. Trump. If one cannot divorce Presidents Ronald Reagan and Lincoln from their symbols of inclusion, joy, unity and love, for America and the world, Hitler from his Swatiska of Hate, the KKK from their noose of hate, Osama Bin Laden from his hate symbols how do you want to divorce Mr. Trump from his symbols. It is disingenuous for anyone to do that, as you tried to do in your post.

Your summersault. You ought to have rested your case on Pope Francis’ unity from the beginning of our conversation. You did not . You ran to Pope Francis only when your posts became revealing and your views became very weak. But you need to read Pope Francis holistically, and not selectively to suit a fancy. You cannot pick and choose what fit your whim and caprice in Pope Francis. Pope Francis’s position on unity and bridges of unity is a categorical rejection of hatred, racism, division, sexism, bigotry, xenophobia from all sources and those sources include Mr. Donald J. Trump. Your summersault is your sudden embrace of Pope Francis when your position became weak, and your simultaneous weakness before the political hijack of the Church, some parishes, some dioceses by racist and divisive politicians. That is your summersault. Your summersault consists in the fact that if you genuinely believe in Pope Francis, you will see the danger in clutching to and embracing the political hijack of some parishes, dioceses by racist and divisive politicians which cause disunity in the Church of Christ. May you and your family remain blessed in Christ and the warm embrace of Mary, the mother of our savior Jesus Christ.

James Schwarzwalder
1 year 9 months ago

The March for Life is not a religious pilgrimage.

Adeolu Ademoyo
1 year 9 months ago

Mr. James Schwarzwalder thanks for your post. With due respect, if the March For Life is not a religious pilgrimage, then what is it? We may be dealing with a conceptual problem here and this may be helpful to resolve the matter if we all are able to arrive at a conceptual consensus of what the March For Life is. If the March For Life is not a religious pilgrimage, then is it a political rally, a political march? Now I do not have a problem with any of the conceptualizations (religious pilgrimage, political rally, political march etc) so long as we put things explicitly on record for the sake of the future and in order to avoid ambiguity. We should not play games with one another and with our parishioners who have put their trust in us, who think their children are going on a religious and faith event when we chaperone these kids to event such as March For Life.

So, for example, if the March For Life is a political rally and is a political march, then the Covington Diocese will be right (if they told the parents of these youths upfront that they are taken them to a political march) to make their youths adorn the political and campaign sweat shirts and MAGA hats of Mr. Donald Trump, and to promote the ideology of the Republican party under Mr. Donald J Trump, even when the youths are praying the rosary if they can and if they do during the march. And I will be wrong to object to the wearing of the campaign sweatshirts and campaign hats of politicians and political parties during the march because the March For Life has been conceptualized as a political rally, and we all would have agreed that it is a political rally and march. I am appealing to transparency here and openness with one another as fellow Christians. I should not be told that something is religious when it actually may be furtively political and in service and covert defense of the agenda of a political party and a cultural and political view!

So the question is: If the March For Life is not a religious pilgrimage and it is a political rally or march, why should I ask my parish to participate in a political rally or a political march? Why then should I ask my priest and parish to use their resources and put my parish youths in the bus for three days (with youths missing academic classes in their schools), for a political rally of a political party when parishioners-the parents of these youths- do not belong to the same political party and they should not because they are human beings with different minds with which they make different political decisions and choices? I can defend a situation where my own children miss classes because of their faith, our faith-e.g. attending March For Life which I conceptualize as a religious pilgrimage, a faith act. But I cannot defend a situation where my children miss class in their schools because of the political agenda, political rally or political march of a political party, of any political party, left or right, conservative or progressive or liberal.

So answer the question which your post implies Mr. Schwarzwalder, if the March For Life is not a religious pilgrimage, what is it?

James Schwarzwalder
1 year 9 months ago

Among numerous rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States are the right to assembly, to free speech, to publish (the so called "free press") and to petition the government for change and also the prohibition of the government from establishing its own state religion nor allowing the government to prevent the free exercise of religion. In the past there have been many Marches for Civil Rights (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.), for the Right of Women to Vote (Suffragettes), Anti-War Marches (the Vietnam War), Veterans Bonus Marches, Labor Rallies , and so on leading to adoption of numerous Amendments to the Constitution, Federal Legislation, etc. For me the March for Life objective is to restore legal protection for the unborn that existed in the United States prior to the Roe versus Wade Supreme Court decision.. If you don't want your children participating, in such an exercise in citizenship, then don't permit them to attend. Part of becoming an educated citizen is understanding how government works, what rights citizens have and how to participate in the political process or system of the USA that results in election results, laws, regulations and nominations of Federal judges.

Adeolu Ademoyo
1 year 9 months ago

Mr. James Schwarzwalder,
What I do not want my children to be is to be the political puppets and pawns of politicians by wearing their political costumes as the Covington Diocese kids did. I do not want my children not to be aware of the political agenda of the other parishes and dioceses thus becoming vulnerable to abuse through political manipulation of politicians who have infiltrated other dioceses. I do not want my parish to be taken advantage of by politicians who have infiltrated other dioceses and parishes. I do not want my children to be puppets and pawns of politicians who believe that they control the Church because they have donated to the Church, and then distribute their political costumes to under age during an important and solemn March thereby trivializing an important and solemn act-the March For Life. Okay?
And so for you, Mr. James Schwarzwalder, the March For Life is a political rally-yes or no-do not quibble.

J Jones
1 year 9 months ago

You are correct. It is political action.

J Jones
1 year 9 months ago

Mr Ademoyo, thank you for your thoughtful posts and challenging questions. Keep on keeping on.

Andrew Strada
1 year 9 months ago

When Duke lacrosse players were falsely accused of rape, certain members of the Duke faculty were quick to throw them under the bus, forming firm conclusions on the basis of virtually no evidence. But as true social justice warriors, they could not pass up an opportunity to express outrage. Sadly, Covington High School, the mayor, the bishop have now repeated the rush to judgment.

Apparently Reason magazine is more committed to truth and justice than America or many of its readers. Stay tuned. In the days to come sanity may yet prevail.

Rhett Segall
1 year 9 months ago

A perfect comparison, Andrew! I too "rash judged" (rush to judgement). As I reflect on why I did it's because I found it tedious to take the time and the focus to get the fuller picture to emerge. Perhaps it's also because I have FOMO (fear of missing out). Christian charity calls for a difficult asceticism here!

Lisa M
1 year 9 months ago

Well said Rhett, I did too, and feel bad about it. Our kids deserve more.

Laurel Bowman
1 year 9 months ago

I know that your writers don't see it this way, but you need to know how many of us do see this: that it's no accident that marchers at an anti-abortion rally turn out to be racists. For very many, being anti-abortion is one of the very many ways of preserving a hierarchy in which white heterosexual males are at the top, and everyone else is some steps down. https://medium.com/@candiceaiston/the-racist-covington-catholic-students-first-hated-women-7a2ea7fbaac8?fbclid=IwAR1TO_fU83LPr6ps5J4JJEVev0FlRSoGQVzxIKXd4Hi2kVm3vm-Tm5sdsAc

Lisa M
1 year 9 months ago

Laurel: Thanks for your honesty. From my perspective, saying something is doesn't make it so. How can one be called women haters when many of us are women? As pro life women, we recognize our unique vulnerability in bearing a child, but we differ from those who are 'pro choice' in that we don't see it as a solution, or one that respects our uniqueness, and ultimately it is a decision that takes a life, often because of pressure from others. That is not pro woman to me. Associating everyone who is pro life as caring more for the baby (true for some), not caring for migrants (true for some), or supporting policies that are counter to supporting women and children (true for some) seems not based in reality, but rather a needed view if you are 'pro choice". To lump us all as radical, women hating, immigrant hating, backward thinking fools makes being pro choice seem more caring and ultimately more forward thinking. If truth be told, there are plenty of us who care deeply for women in distress, for equality for all, for policies that ensure the care and promotion of the marginalized and respect for all human life. How is that backward thinking?

Andrew Strada
1 year 9 months ago

I think the students learned two important lessons from this incident.

Lesson 1. No good deed ever goes unpunished.

Lesson 2. The elders they trusted to watch out for them (school president, mayor, bishop) are unworthy of their trust.

Andrew Strada
1 year 9 months ago

Interestingly, Representative Yarmuth now claims that his fascist proposal to regulate what headgear Americans may wear was an "obvious joke". Sometimes you run something up the flagpole and no one salutes. Then you have to backtrack ever so slightly and wait for history to catch up so that you can be on the right side of history.

JR Cosgrove
1 year 9 months ago

Here is the statement from the student about the incident. https://nyp.st/2sDELsD

This kid and his family have received death threats because of this misrepresentation. You would think some would change their tone because of this. Another description of what happened http://bit.ly/2REWVJj

J Jones
1 year 9 months ago

No, that starement is NOT "from the student". It was written by and released by and distributed by a Louisville public relations firm.

JR Cosgrove
1 year 9 months ago

It's irrelevant who wrote the statement. The statement reflects the videos that are available. I would stop digging your hole. It's time to revise your comments and praise the young man for his calmness when provoked by the Nathan Phillips. The videos clearly show Phillips marched from a distance right up to the boys, picked one with a MAGA hat and attacked him with his drum that he beat within a couple inches of his face. What was Phillips trying to do? I can guess from experience but I don't read minds like a lot of people here.

J Jones
1 year 9 months ago

Only our racist narrative, history of justifying the oppression of indigenous persons as savages and system would allow the transformation of a 64 year old Native American elder, drumming and chanting traditional songs, into a threat who must be contained by a beatific white Catholic boy.

It matters that a public relations firm is involved. PR firms exist to create and promote images and narratives. The client says "here is what I want people to believe about me". The PR firm's expertise is in exploiting its understanding of a target audience to manipulate that audience into believing and DOING what the client wants that audience to believe and DO.

Denise Delurgio
1 year 9 months ago

Even though there are additions to Jack and Emily's original article their bias shows in the first paragraphs. For example, writing that most were young men wearing MAGA hats is incorrect. The lengthy video taken by one of the black racists shows the whole story.

Denise Delurgio
1 year 9 months ago

Even though there are additions to Jack and Emily's original article their bias shows in the first paragraphs. For example, writing that most were young men wearing MAGA hats is incorrect. The lengthy video taken by one of the black racists shows the whole story.

J Jones
1 year 9 months ago

The PR firm, RunSwitch PR, which released and distrubuted and thus coached or wrote "the student's statement" ---- is owned by powerful Kentucky Republican operatives.

Google the article in Courier Journal.

Vincent Gaglione
1 year 9 months ago

I wrote the following comment to the NY Times columnist, David Brook's op-ed editorial today, Jan. 22, 2019:

As a former public-school teacher and as a Catholic who has written a letter to the school and the Bishop advising the need for a retreat to discuss how to behave, I was dismayed that there were no chaperones or adults or student peers wise enough to say, let’s get out of this space. My natural reaction as a teacher on a trip with classes of students was to remove them, as quickly as possible, from intimidating circumstances and to order against any child’s personal reactions to what was happening. The appalling sight of a bare-chested boy leading cheers, approved by a chaperone, in response to the taunts was so foolish as to be foolhardy!

You wrote: “Of the major players, the boys’ behavior is probably the least egregious.” I am not totally sure that I agree with that assessment, although it was essentially approved and motivated by an adult.

To see the MAGA hats on students at a march for the Right to Life, considering some of the egregious policies by the current administration towards immigrants and other people of color, was provocative, as they probably were to those who taunted the students. That also needs to be discussed at the retreat for the students which I recommend.

Indeed, the initial video was not indicative of all the circumstances. I do not believe that it absolves the students and their adult supervision of responsibility for immature and provocative, and worst of all, un-Catholic and un-Christian behaviors.

Rhett Segall
1 year 9 months ago

Vincent, I value the quality of your reasoned response. I taught high school students for 49 years. I thought Brooks' column superb. I differ with you on these points: Perhaps if Covington Catholic was a military school a rigorous control would have been possible. I don't know if the altercations happened too quickly for the chaperones to respond, but for ordinary teen boys they were well within the bounds of free but responsible behavior. They were sacrificing time to exercise free speech and assembly. They were provoked on several fronts. It would have been nonsense (literally) to affirm the teens in speaking up for life but then to forbid those in favor of MAGA to express their views. I agree with you that Covington Catholic should organize reflection on the situation. Here are some questions I would propose: 1) What is the difference between a mob protest and a community protest? 2)What is the Christian way to respond to harassment? 3) Should we have student group leaders of small groups within the larger groups trained to diffuse volatile situations?
Shalom

Stephen Willcock
1 year 9 months ago

"Mr. Sandmann’s statement, which was released by a public relations firm...."
Not the first recourse of the innocent.

Lisa Roess
1 year 9 months ago

Shame on you, American Magazine, Fr. James Martin, and those commenting here for rushing to judgement and accusing these Catholic teens of being racists and bigots! Everything Phillips said about the boys approaching him and shouting racists things was a lie! The only racists were the grown, black men who were calling the boys homophobic slurs, crackers, school shooters, and incest babies. I don't see anyone here condemning the actions of these grown men for harassing these boys. I won't hold my breath waiting for an apology though. Somehow, you'll manage to make this fit your liberal narrative because, regardless of the truth, some of these boys are Trump supporters and in your eyes that's an unpardonable sin that deserves death. God help you.

Terry Kane
1 year 8 months ago

Lisa -
You are on target with this posting, however, you left out the racist Amerindians. At least one of the "elder's" posse was telling the students to go back to Europe and that this land was theirs. This was a racist adult bullying a child.

Jack Feehily
1 year 9 months ago

I am grossly embarrassed for the editors of America for publishing so many letters from people distorting what happened at the Lincoln Memorial. They appear to have bought into a narrative unifluenced by the facts that become obvious from perusing the the two hour video. Totally disgusting. Shame on you.

Steve Covington
1 year 9 months ago

I absolutely agree. I guess the new original sin is being white and male. The vitriol heaped on these kids including from Catholic organizations and priests , Fr James Martin, SJ for instance , is disgusting. Since everybody else has suggestions for these kids, I'll proffer my own: a Jesuit retreat for ideologues like Fr Martin focusing on the golden rule , critical thinking and when and where to sermonize and judge. Fat chance.

J Jones
1 year 9 months ago

No.

Culturally and systematically conferred white male privilege is one sin.

Acting on it is another sin.

White male teenagers who defy the authority of older Native American men exemplify that sin.

Tim O'Leary
1 year 8 months ago

I am surprised that this news article only partially updated where it got the story dreadfully wrong. It has not yet reported that Bishop Roger Foys of Covington, KY issued an apology Friday for his Jan. 19 diocesan statement. Here is what he said (Link below): “We apologize to anyone who has been offended in any way by either of our statements, which were made with goodwill based on the information we had,” said Bishop Foys in the letter, which was addressed to the parents of Covington Catholic students. “We should not have allowed ourselves to be bullied and pressured into making a statement prematurely, and we take full responsibility for it.”
Bishop Foys also singled out Covington Catholic student Nicholas Sandmann, the student at the center of the controversy. “I especially apologize to Nicholas Sandmann and his family, as well as to all CovCath families who have felt abandoned during this ordeal. Nicholas, unfortunately, has become the face of these allegations based on video clips,” said Bishop Foys. “This is not fair. This is not just.”
“Know that I stand with you, that I join with you in that ‘Spirit that will not die,’ and that together we will work through this. Thank you, and God bless you,” the bishop told students. http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/covington-bishop-apologizes-to-covington-catholic-students

Terry Kane
1 year 8 months ago

Take a look at this video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=26&v=lSkpPaiUF8s

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