Bishop Stowe: Why the MAGA hats at the March for Life?

(Flicker/Gage Skidmore)(Flicker/Gage Skidmore)

In a strongly worded newspaper column, a Kentucky bishop urged Catholics to consider the church’s full teaching on life and to resist temptations to align themselves with the “Make America Great Again” movement started by President Trump.

Bishop John Stowe wrote on Wednesday that it “astonishes” him that some students gathered in Washington, D.C., last week to protest abortion at the March for Life—including students caught on video in an exchange with a Native American tribal leader—wore so-called MAGA caps, which he said support a president whose policies are putting lives at risk.

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Bishop John Stowe wrote that it “astonishes” him that some students at the March for Life wore so-called MAGA caps.

“Without engaging the discussion about the context of the viral video or placing the blame entirely on these adolescents,” the Lexington, Ky., bishop wrote in the Lexington Herald-Leader, “it astonishes me that any students participating in a pro-life activity on behalf of their school and their Catholic faith could be wearing apparel sporting the slogans of a president who denigrates the lives of immigrants, refugees and people from countries that he describes with indecent words and haphazardly endangers with life-threatening policies.”

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A group of students from Covington Catholic High School, located about 80 miles north of Bishop Stowe’s diocese, were filmed wearing the red baseball caps while interacting with a group of Native American protesters who were participating in an indigenous people’s march. The tribal leader Nathan Phillips, who was filmed in the video, said he felt threatened and disrespected by the students. But some of the students said that they had been harassed by a third group of protesters, from an African-American organization called Hebrew Israelites, who shouted racist and homophobic comments at them, and that they did not intend to disrespect Mr. Phillips when he approached them.

Many Catholic voters have been supportive of President Trump, in part because of his support for judges who are opposed to abortion.

According to polling by the Public Religion Research Institute, 59 percent of Catholics overall held an unfavorable view of the president as of last September. But that unfavorability number was only 50 percent among white, non-Hispanic Catholics, with 46 percent of them giving Mr. Trump a favorable rating. (Mr. Trump sent a tweet in support of the Covington Catholic students over the weekend, and on Wednesday, the White House said the administration had “reached out” to the students, fueling speculation that they may be invited to visit with the president in the future.)

According to one poll, 59 percent of Catholics overall held an unfavorable view of the president as of last September.

But in his op-ed, Bishop Stowe questioned the logic of Catholics supporting a president who, while against abortion, clashes with church teaching on a number of other issues.

“We cannot uncritically ally ourselves with someone with whom we share the policy goal of ending abortion,” he wrote.

The bishop, a Franciscan who previously ministered on the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso, has spoken out on other controversial issues over the past couple of years. Last February, Bishop Stowe blessed a group of immigration activists who had been arrested following a protest at the U.S. Capitol. In 2017, he addressed New Ways Ministry, a group that promotes L.G.B.T. inclusion in the church. In July 2018, the bishop criticized “cruelty” toward immigrants at the Center for Migration Studies’ Conference on Promoting Just and Inclusive Communities; a shortened version of that speech was published in America.

The bishop, a Franciscan who previously ministered on the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso, has spoken out on other controversial issues over the past couple of years.

In his most recent commentary, Bishop Stowe wrote that the pro-life movement began with “peace activists who saw their opposition to abortion as a natural extension of opposition to all forms of violence.” He took issue with what he sees as the cleaving of abortion from the church’s broader social justice ministry.

“While the church’s opposition to abortion has been steadfast, it has become a stand-alone issue for many and has become disconnected to other issues of human dignity,” he wrote.

The bishop, who was appointed by Pope Francis in 2015, highlighted the recent pastoral letter on racism adopted by U.S. bishops in November, noting that it describes racism as a “life” issue and saying that insight should enter school curriculums.

“Students must grapple with this history and ask themselves how they are going to live differently,” he wrote.

There has been tension in the pro-life community in recent years about the the movement’s goals. Activists have debated whether the primary goal should be to outlaw all abortion, to restrict abortion access or to push for policy changes that would dissuade people from seeking abortion. In his Herald-Leader column, Bishop Stowe touches on that last strategy, arguing that the pro-life movement must resist aligning itself with movements that include “a politics of hate.”

“The pro-life movement claims that it wants more than the policy change of making abortion illegal [and] aims to make it unthinkable. That would require deep changes in society and policies that would support those who find it difficult to afford children,” Bishop Stowe wrote. “The association of our young people with racist acts and a politics of hate must also become unthinkable.”

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Arnoldo Miranda
5 months 3 weeks ago

It's a political rally as much as a March for Life event. It occurs in the capital of the nation. How much more political can you get. You're going to have people coming from all sides of the political spectrum. It's that simple. Stop demonizing the folks that attend the March for Life rally.

rose-ellen caminer
5 months 3 weeks ago

And the MAGA politics is one of bigotry and xenophobia;Jesus came to make America great again, and only American babies matter..

Arnoldo Miranda
5 months 3 weeks ago

And this is what's wrong. You label everybody because of a hat.

Baron Corvo
5 months 3 weeks ago

What are you even talking about ?

A person wears a team's jersey to show he is a supporter of that team.

Why would ANY high school student want to wear ANY article of clothing with the name of the PUSSYGRABBER - the man who uses a racial epithet when referring to a female US Senator ?

WHY would ANY CHAPERONE ALLOW WEARING THESE THINGS that was assigned to assure the safety and welfare of a group of high school students representing their school at a national event where cameras, journalists, and others would confuse the students' wearing campaign garb of ANY KIND as a school's official endorsement or approval ?

Renee Jimenez
5 months 3 weeks ago

The Church , and you, should not tell anyone what political party they should belong to. You seem to think that the no politician who has a checkered past has no right to be supported by Catholics. Did you vote for Hillary? She stands by a rapist husband and vilifies his victims. She is immoral. So is Trump, so what's the difference?
This sounds an awful lot like what our Church has been up to in the past decades. Covering up for criminals in the Church and lying and intimidating victims of abuse.

Robert Klahn
5 months 2 weeks ago

I supported Bernie, not Hillary. I voted against Trump, not for Hillary.

I cannot imagine anyone who does not have some degree of checkered past.

I have never seen a bit of evidence sufficient to back up an accusation of rape against BC. Trump is accused of raping an underage girl.

There is one hell of a difference. Trump is proven to lie constantly, he has never evidenced a bit of Pro-Life support except as promotes his political career, and his pre-candidate statements were in favor of legal abortion.

She is incompetent and lacks depth of morality, he is clearly degenerate and immoral and vastly more incompetent.

THOMAS E BRANDLIN, MNA
5 months 1 week ago

Very well stated, Ms. Jimenez. You can add the current Pope and many of the bishops in the group you mention. The Pope covered for so many bishops; every week it seems like we learn of another. The last sentence in your comment is perfect! Thank you.

THOMAS E BRANDLIN, MNA
5 months 3 weeks ago

Thank you for proving Mr. Miranda's point.

Ned Lemon
5 months 2 weeks ago

Very perceptive Baron. Children should not be in attendance at such a volatile and politically charged event. Adding to the scandal, the chaperones allowed the incident to escalate into chaos. I'm confident that all of the students and chaperones were wielding expensive cellphones. The Capital Police were working despite the Trump shutdown. If the adults could not exercise authority and control-help was readily available. Encouraging maturing, insulated high school boys to fall back on a tribal chant was not wise. Hopefully, the irresponsible push for Catholic schools to augment crowd size at the annual Pharisee March will be reexamined. The Church has enough legal problems.

Ned Lemon
5 months 2 weeks ago

Very perceptive Baron. Children should not be in attendance at such a volatile and politically charged event. Adding to the scandal, the chaperones allowed the incident to escalate into chaos. I'm confident that all of the students and chaperones were wielding expensive cellphones. The Capital Police were working despite the Trump shutdown. If the adults could not exercise authority and control-help was readily available. Encouraging maturing, insulated high school boys to fall back on a tribal chant was not wise. Hopefully, the irresponsible push for Catholic schools to augment crowd size at the annual Pharisee March will be reexamined. The Church has enough legal problems.

Robert Klahn
5 months 2 weeks ago

The person wearing the hat labels himself.

Bev Ceccanti
5 months 3 weeks ago

Rose Ellen: Do you think the lovely Women's March signs are less offensive banners in the eyes of God? You make me want to buy a Maga Hat. I'm sick to death of the miss characterization of myself and other people who are not afraid to acknowledge the truth and have an understandable sense of urgency about..it. Are you completely clueless about what just happened or is about to happen in New York State? Are your ears so virgin can't take a crass remark to save the babies whose impending tortuous deaths are right now being celebrated by your Planned Parenthood Party?..Looking to be chopped up a minute before birth? We don't need milk toast sentimentality at this time. There is no other issue that even approaches the horror of this one. Does a person have to keep repeating that being poor doesn't equal being a victim of this holocaust ? How dare you or anyone else try to ascribe gun toting , stone hearted homophobic traits to those of us who won't be deflected from this mission. Substitute anti Nazi banners during Hitlers rise. Would you have thought those impolite or too indelicate to post ? I'm grateful I didn't grow up in lily white naive suburbs. I guess my tough immigrant roots inspire a more laser like focus in life and death situations.(.And I come from a long line of women who could easily discern the difference between a rape and a pass. too .)

rose-ellen caminer
5 months 3 weeks ago

I agree about the atrocity that the governor has pushed.The Catholic governor. It is appalling. Your MAGA is not going to stop it. I'll go one better on this; Pope Francis should excommunicate the governor for what he has done. It's one thing if one is really following ones conscience in believing that killing humans right prior to their birth is moral [ how anyone could actually believe this is beyond me] but even if one really does , a Catholic should obey ,yes obey the church teaching on such a grave moral issue and not promote ones contrary truly held belief. And certainly not authorize it. In doing so he is undermining the Church, the gospel teachings of Jesus Christ. The clause" health of the mother" is all encompassing , and that it is not an every day occurrence does not mitigate the horrific evil of when it done. What the Catholic governor has done is blasphemy against the church, against Jesus Christ , against made in God's image human beings. The Church cannot accept this.One cannot help what ones truly believes, but one can choose to obey or not obey church teachings. On this matter of legitimizing infanticide, he must obey regardless of his inner conscience, or be excommunicated. The Governors defiance and real activism in pushing this horrific law ,is not just horrific but totally incomprehensible. He is defying church teaching by promoting such a great and obvious evil that he needs to be excommunicated for passing this disgusting nauseating obscene law!Or he must repent.

Larraine Pratt
5 months 3 weeks ago

Well said!

Robert Klahn
5 months 2 weeks ago

What does one have to do with the other? Do you think it's acceptable to align the Catholic church with true evil, even in appearance regardless of anyone else's signs?
"Looking to be chopped up a minute before birth?"

"Hath God any need of your lie, that you should speak deceitfully for him?" Job 13:7
"There is no other issue that even approaches the horror of this one. "

Yet the man whose hat you defend just makes this worse. He will increase the number of abortions, not reduce it.
"Does a person have to keep repeating that being poor doesn't equal being a victim of this holocaust?"

All too often it leads to it.

You make up accusations against Rose Ellen to advance your personal rant, it has nothing to do with being deflected from the cause. Trump is the Hitler here, so the MAGA hat is a pro-Hitler symbol.

I did grow up in a lily white suburb, what does that have to do with the issue. I now live in Toledo Ohio, where I have a very large family group of whom only one is white.

Roland Greystoke
5 months 3 weeks ago

My wife is black. She wears a MAGA hat. She voted for Trump. But I will let her know that you have declared her to be a bigot without ever having met her. My. How progressive you are.

J Jones
5 months 3 weeks ago

Roland, for the record, racial identity has no bearing on whether or not one is bigoted. Bigots come in all shapes, sizes and colors as do the targets of bigotry.

Stanley Kopacz
5 months 3 weeks ago

For instance, check out those Black Hebrew Israelites.

J Jones
5 months 3 weeks ago

Yes

Robert Klahn
5 months 2 weeks ago

My wife is black, she would never wear a MAGA hat. She would never vote for Trump.
I am a white, pro-life Catholic. I would never wear a MAGA hat. I would never vote for trump.
I am informed and smart enough to know that Trump is not pro anything that doesn't pay off for him.

Is your wife a bigot? I don't know. I do know that bigotry is not a deal breaker for her.

Tim O'Leary
5 months 3 weeks ago

MAGA - Make Abortion Gone Already. Didn't vote for Trump. Know he is very flawed and a great sinner. But, he is fighting against the killing of millions every year. "charity covers a multitude of sins." Cuomo, on the other hand expands the killing until the umbilical cord is cut, or even after. The only hope for his salvation is excommunication. If the bishops are really serious about child abuse, and don't do something about this ultimate child abuse, they will pay a big price on judgment day too.

Stanley Kopacz
5 months 3 weeks ago

There were less than 800,000 abortions in the course of a year in the US, not millions. There were over 10,000,000 abortions in China, if you're talking about straightening them out, too.

Tim O'Leary
5 months 3 weeks ago

I was speaking globally. Slavery was also a global fight. Still is. If the baby in the womb gets protections in the US, it will impact the world.

Stanley Kopacz
5 months 3 weeks ago

The rest of the world mostly thinks we're nuts for electing someone with a pinball machine for a brain as our president. The American Empire is on it's way down. Other countries are already factoring us out. Just the anti-scientific climate change denial has us labelled as nuts.

Bev Ceccanti
5 months 2 weeks ago

Stanley: comment couldn't be more irrelevant.

Bev Ceccanti
5 months 2 weeks ago

If we could only save 800,000 lives a year, our efforts wouldn't be completely in vain.

Stanley Kopacz
5 months 2 weeks ago

Nobody twisted the arms of those women to snuff out those 800,000 lives unless you count the economic pressures to do so. But in China, 12 times that number are aborted with only 3 times the population. One child government imposed policy. You can save a lot more lives if you do your preaching over there. Start a GoFundMe for the airline ticket. You can be like the early Christian's who picketed the emperor's palace over infant exposure. Must be somewhere in Acts.

Robert Klahn
5 months 2 weeks ago

If we could save 10,000 a year would that be worth it? Would you join the cause?

Jayanne Miller
5 months 2 weeks ago

You do realize that laws banning abortion would not stop them from happening? Current laws in some states that restrict access to them are cited as one of the main causes women wait longer to have abortions because they have to wait to save money or take time off work to travel elsewhere. This mostly impacts low income patients. Abortion will always exist as a medical procedure, but there are pro-life policy changes to pursue that would actually further reduce the # of abortions. It's really about whether it's about being right or getting what you want (believe in). Abortion laws are battles over who is right & nothing else.

Robert Klahn
5 months 2 weeks ago

No, he is not fighting against the killing of millions every year. He does not really give a damn. He jumps on every band wagon that advantages him, but does not do a thing unless he benefits clearly and "bigly".

Read the law, it is clear. An abortion must be necessary. A baby just before the umbilical is cut can be delivered by caesarean.

Just push that as the answer.

I do thank you for your support for universal health care, feeding the poor, housing the homeless, etc. All truly pro-life people do support those things.

Robert Klahn
5 months 2 weeks ago

Attending a Faith Event, representing yourself as Catholic in that event, sent and sponsored by a Catholic group, you are not allowed to preach from the Church, not push politics from the Church.

If the Church gives up it's charitable rating it can preach politics, not until then.

Until you can show that his politics are pro-life, and Catholic, he should not wear the hat that delivers his message.

Michael Bindner
5 months 3 weeks ago

Truth in labeling

C Walter Mattingly
5 months 3 weeks ago

The theme of the March for Life was primarily emphasizing protecting the right of unborn children to be born. Since the Trump administration is strongly pro-life, with VP Pence speaking at the rally and Trump making a video appearance committing himself to strong support, it's understandable that some of those present would wear Trump hats to this event. Were Barack Obama similarly supportive of the right of the unborn to be born, some may have worn Obama hats/shirts logically, but as he proudly proclaimed his record to be "100% pro-choice," it would make no sense at a pro-life march, as that position indicates that our former president doesn't support the right to be born for any unborn child over the right to abort them.
This of course doesn't gainsay the many totally unattractive and crude aspects of the president and offensive comments on various subjects. But that wasn't the focus of the event.

Frank Huber
5 months 3 weeks ago

Yes, lets make this about Obama.

Bev Ceccanti
5 months 3 weeks ago

Your remark doesn't exactly make sense... May I reiterate if you didn't 'get it'. The hat is a 'banner' which represents appointing fair minded Justices who will not throw babies and religious rights under the bus. If the Bishop's remarks were not taken out of context to warp what he meant to say, then he's just another disappointment. He needs to learn what it means to have valor and salt, like Cardinal Dolan..

Gary Shank
5 months 3 weeks ago

I can understand both your choice and your passion to support someone who appears to support one of your deepest held beliefs. It helps center me when I remember the late Cardinal Bernardin's Seamless Garment Doctrine. I agree that abortion is a violation of the Culture of Life. But Bernardin warned us that we have to embrace the entirety of the Culture of Life, because it a seamless garment on its own terms as well. Pro-Life means working against institutional hate and violence of all kinds, because they are part of the Culture of Death. Many who wear the MAGA hat by their own admission support capital punishment, racial and ethnic hatred, violence to women, the poor, and those in most need of grace and mercy. Remember Matthew - what you do for the least of our brothers and sisters, you do for Me. If someone appears to support one of my views, that does not immediately make them acceptable in my view. When MAGA hat wearers come to embrace the Culture of Life in it entirety, then I will embrace them as well. But until then it is my duty to love them. As the late Matthew Kelty, who was a Cistercian and Merton's confessor, once told me -- Jesus said that we have to love everyone. He didn't say we had to like them :-)

Bev Ceccanti
5 months 2 weeks ago

Put this argument in the context of the Jewish Holocaust. Would you support Nazis who toss you a good line when the trains going to Auschwitz could be otherwise stopped? The bigotry you express is so beyond reality I don't know where to begin. I've been against Capital punishment my entire adult life. I also come from a long line of smart immigrant women who could tell the difference between a rape and a pass. And if I can save millions by overlooking a disgusting remark, I'm all for it. If I wasn't afraid of assault and battery from the rabid Planned Parenthood community, I'd wear a stack of Maga hats everywhere, starting the day before yesterday..

Ned Lemon
5 months 2 weeks ago

.....Just don't forget to emboss a hammer and sickle on your stack of red hats!

Robert Klahn
5 months 2 weeks ago

The hat represents Trump's economic and immigration policies only.

Trump has no beliefs he ever expressed supporting religious rights and babies before it became to his profit to say that.

Religious rights are well protected in this country.

I do thank you for your support for a program to feed all the hungry, house all the homeless, provide universal health care, and, in general, care for the poor.

Baron Corvo
5 months 3 weeks ago

And of course you find nothing odious, un-American, or downright against God's Law about Herr Drumpf's Child Concentration Camps ?

Bev Ceccanti
5 months 3 weeks ago

Trump didn't invent the problem. And you're completely dishonest in your representation. The kids have to have housing.

Robert Klahn
5 months 2 weeks ago

Trump did invent the problem of taking children from their parents.

The kids have to have decent housing.

Ron Martel
5 months 3 weeks ago

Need to always make the distinction between pro life and pro birth.

Tim O'Leary
5 months 3 weeks ago

Pro-life is necessarily pro-birth, since birth is essential to continued life for the baby in the womb. Need to always remember the fetus will naturally be born unless someone kills her.

Erin B
5 months 2 weeks ago

Trump is pro-life? I have never read a more laughable statement. He is anything but. He claimed to be to get gullible people like you to vote for him. Stop being single-issue voters. Roe v. Wade will never be overturned. Instead of exhausting energy into trying to overturn something that never will be, the pro-life movement should be investing money into programs that help single mothers raise children, give women access to affordable healthcare, and giving access to birth control. You want to stop abortion? That's how you do it. Making abortion illegal will only increase the number of abortions and they will be much more dangerous because they will be the "back alley" procedures. Just stop.

Tim O'Leary
5 months 2 weeks ago

Erin - I didn't vote for Trump. But the abject craziness on the left right now is making me waiver for the next time around. Abortionist advocates are forever saying that more investing in socialist type government resources will reduce abortion, or that more widespread availability of abortion will actually reduce abortion. This is ridiculous, illogical and against the evidence. New York was the first state to legalize abortion, and it did so in 1970. It currently has the highest abortion rate in the country. Yet, NY has the highest welfare spend per capital in the nation. And now, they want to have abortions right up until birth, no questions asked. They will even permit non-doctors to do the dismembering - like the Sonderkommando's at Auschwitz.

Stanley Kopacz
5 months 2 weeks ago

The extermination of Jews by the Nazis was a state policy enforced by the power of the state. As I said, no one forced these American women to abort THEIR offspring. I don't understand why people who never aborted their own unborn or performed abortions on others should have to accept a deal where they must accept fascism, plutocracy, economic insecurity, a poisoned environment, irreversible climate change to block the immoral actions of a segment of the population.

Robert Klahn
5 months 2 weeks ago

"Abortionist advocates are forever saying that more investing in socialist type government resources will reduce abortion, "

Social type resources. Socialist is completely different. Learn the difference.
And yes, that part is true.

"or that more widespread availability of abortion will actually reduce abortion. "

I have never heard that said, so I call your comment a lie.

NY is the most expensive state to live in. Southern states have much more poverty, Red states in general do, but they don't give a damn about those who have been born so they do little about it.

Read the law, the abortion must be necessary. Since an unborn baby just before birth then Cesarean is the legal answer.

The law says the treatment must be within the practitioner's license. How many nurses are qualified to perform surgery? Which an abortion is.

I do thank you for your support for a program to feed all the hungry, house all the homeless, provide universal health care, and, in general, care for the poor.

Robert Klahn
5 months 2 weeks ago

"Abortionist advocates are forever saying that more investing in socialist type government resources will reduce abortion, "

Social type resources. Socialist is completely different. Learn the difference.
And yes, that part is true.

"or that more widespread availability of abortion will actually reduce abortion. "

I have never heard that said, so I call your comment a lie.

NY is the most expensive state to live in. Southern states have much more poverty, Red states in general do, but they don't give a damn about those who have been born so they do little about it.

Read the law, the abortion must be necessary. Since an unborn baby just before birth then Cesarean is the legal answer.

The law says the treatment must be within the practitioner's license. How many nurses are qualified to perform surgery? Which an abortion is.

I do thank you for your support for a program to feed all the hungry, house all the homeless, provide universal health care, and, in general, care for the poor.

Robert Klahn
5 months 2 weeks ago

You beat me to it.

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