- Monday, 04 February 2019
- Written by KARL MERRITT
There is concern in America that our security is threatened by terrorists, Russia, Iran, China, North Korea and other forces. It occurs to me that these forces we view as enemies need not make any effort to destroy us. That is because we are destroying ourselves. If our enemies will be patient, we will reduce our national condition to one of being incapable of defending against the physical and economic aggression of others. This is because we have become a nation in darkness and consumed by hate.
From www.biblestudytools.com, “If light symbolizes God, darkness connotes everything that is anti- God.” Combine our general state of darkness with the overwhelming hate that pervades our society, and the truth of the paragraph above is apparent.
Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Given that we are in great darkness, with little or no light in sight, and consumed by hate, with societal love only a figment of our imagination, our future is bleak.
This American condition of darkness and hate was openly on display in the events of Jan. 18 after the March for Life in Washington, D.C. A group of students from the all-male Covington Catholic High School in Frankfort, Kentucky, attended the march. Afterward, the students, some wearing bright red “Make America Great Again” baseball caps, gathered near the Lincoln Memorial to wait for their bus.
There was interaction between these students and a small group of Native Americans who were singing in the area. What proved to be a highly edited video of this interaction appeared to show the students chanting and mocking the Native Americans. This was especially true of one student, later identified as Nick Sandmann, who is shown in the video standing motionless and face-to-face with Nathan Phillips, a Native American who was beating a drum and singing.
In several interviews, Phillips repeated the following, which appears in an article by Chris Francescani and Bill Hutchinson titled “Viral video of Catholic school teens in ‘MAGA’ caps taunting Native Americans draws widespread condemnation; prompts a school investigation.”
The article states, “In an interview following the confrontation on Friday that was posted to Instagram, Phillips said he wished the throng of teens would put their energy into helping feed the poor.”
Phillips added, “I heard them say, ‘Build that wall, build that wall,’ you know?”
The article continues, “In a separate interview with The Washington Post, Phillips said that the dozens of teens began to swarm around his group as they concluded their march and were getting ready to leave.
“‘It was getting ugly,’ he told the newspaper.
“‘I started going that way, and that guy in the hat stood in my way and we were at an impasse. He just blocked my way and wouldn’t allow me to retreat.’”
Across the nation, the video and Phillips’ interviews inspired outrage because many viewers concluded that the students were tremendously disrespectful to Phillips and his group.
Here are some comments reported in the Francescani and Hutchinson article referenced above:
“‘This Veteran put his life on the line for our country. The students’ display of blatant hate, disrespect, and intolerance is a signal of how common decency has decayed under this administration,’ Rep. Deb Haaland, D-New Mexico, who is part Native American, tweeted Saturday. ‘Heartbreaking.’”
“Then, in a blistering statement posted to her verified Facebook account shortly after 3 p.m. Saturday, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes called the viral videos ‘horrific.’
‘In spite of these horrific scenes, I refuse to shame and solely blame these children for this type of behavior. Instead, I turn to the adults and administration that are charged with teaching them, and to those who are silently letting others promote this behavior.’”
Further, from an article by Shaan Joshi titled “Patton Oswalt, Ava DuVernay, Kathy Griffin, and Other Celebs React to Teens in MAGA Hats,” come the following tweets:
“Comedian and actor Patton Oswalt: ‘I liked intimidating elderly Native Americans. I STILL like intimidating elderly Native Americans.’ — this kid, at his confirmation hearing, before being appointed to the Supreme Court.”
“Comedian Kathy Griffin was similarly outraged by the disrespectful teenagers, and she condemned ‘MAGA’ hats on Twitter. ‘MAGA hats. Donald Trump has brought the worst out in our country,’ Griffin wrote.”
The comments above were mild compared to some others. The following is from an article by Jon Levine titled “National Review Pulls Article Saying Covington Students ‘Might as Well Have Just Spit on the Cross’”:
“The National Review pulled down an article on Sunday attacking the students at Covington Catholic High School, which said their behavior toward Native American elder Nathan Phillips was comparable to spitting on the cross.
“They mock a serious, frail-looking older man and gloat in their momentary role as Roman soldiers to his Christ. ‘Bullying is a worn-out word and doesn’t convey the full extent of the evil on display here,’ National Review Deputy Managing Editor Nicholas Frankovich said in the original piece. ‘As for the putatively Catholic students from Covington, they might as well have just spit on the cross and got it over with.’”
Jon Levine reported the following regarding Erik Abriss in an article titled “Vulture Writer Who Wished Death on Covington Students Fired from Job at INE Entertainment.”
“Abriss wrote: ‘I don’t know what it says about me, but I’ve truly lost the ability to articulate the hysterical rage, nausea, and heartache this makes me feel. I just want these people to die. Simple as that. Every single one of them. And their parents.’” Then there is this joint statement from the school and Covington Diocese as quoted in an article by Max Londberg titled “‘Blatant racism’: Ky. high school apologizes following backlash after video shows students surrounding indigenous marchers”:
“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. 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 statement read.
What is presented to this point hardly scratches the surface in describing the condemnation that was heaped on this group of young boys. Beyond the condemnation from others, their school and diocese immediately joined the chorus of condemnation. In the midst of these young lives being led to the slaughter, a video of longer length surfaced. It showed that a group called the Black Hebrew Israelites incessantly yelled racist, homophobic, bigoted epithets at the boys, calling them “children of incest,” “crackers” and so forth.
The longer video contradicts much of what Phillips reported. It shows that he approached the boys; they did not surround him. He made no effort to walk past Nick Sandmann, but stood face-to-face with him while beating a drum and singing. There is no indication that the students were chanting, “Build that wall.”
In view of this longer video, some people who had made harsh comments withdrew them; some even apologized. However, others continued the verbal assaults and threats to the point that Covington Catholic High School was, at the suggestion of law enforcement, closed Jan. 22. Students returned the next day with heavy police presence.
At best, Nathan Phillips lied. While the behavior of the Black Hebrew Israelites was abhorrent, hardly any outrage is directed toward Phillips or the Black Hebrew Israelites. However, these young boys, who clearly did nothing deserving of condemnation, are condemned, threatened and vilified.
I agree with those who say these students are the recipients of this horrible treatment because they are white, male, Catholic and because they appear to be Trump supporters.
What is described here is the result of our being in darkness and consumed by hate. Russia, China and all who would destroy us, just be patient. However, maybe — because of his mercy — God will save us from ourselves.
- Monday, 04 February 2019
- Written by BILL BOWMAN
Gilbert Theater’s newest production, “Doubt,” opened this past weekend to a small audience who undoubtedly enjoyed a huge show. Directed by Matthew Overturf, this thoughtprovoking drama written by John Patrick Shanley could be the Gilbert’s best show of this season.
Even though the play was written in the 1960s, it is relevant to the crazy realities we face today. Shanley’s piece centers around Sister Aloysius, a tenacious nun who is the principal of a Catholic school in the Bronx in New York. She is convinced the parish priest, Father Flynn, is having an inappropriate relationship with a young male student.
Was he? Wasn’t he? That is where this drama draws an eerie correlation to what we are experiencing in this politically charged 21st century. The shameful acts and subsequent cover-up of bad behavior by Catholic priests is not new news. However, viewing the show in relationship to what we are experiencing as a nation gives this play its gut-wrenching impact. Even back in the ’60s, there was a hint of a lack of presumption of innocence.
Now, with the prominence of the internet and social media — and a political climate that has adopted a slanderous, no holds barred, anything goes, search-and-destroy campaign strategy — this play parallels our country’s deteriorating respect for humanity.
If you are a well-informed American of any race, religion or political affiliation, you will recognize the parallels in this story to Robert Mueller’s Russian investigation; the confirmation fiasco of Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh; the accusations lodged against two Covington, Kentucky, students accused of disrespecting Native Americans; the politically charged border security issues, which result in the deplorable treatment and exploitation of humanity; and more recently, the explosive issue of legalizing full-term abortions.
All of these present-day issues fill plenty of us with plenty of doubt. Go and see the play and ponder on the similarities for yourself. You will not be disappointed. The show runs through Feb. 17.
I would be remiss to not mention the talented cast of “Doubt,” who gave stellar performances. Kay Cole plays Sister Aloysius. Evie King is Sister James. Deannah Robinson plays Mrs. Muller, and Cole Vecchio is Father Flynn. All four of these actors performed flawlessly to create a tour-deforce theater production.
Fayetteville is certainly the theatrical mecca of North Carolina. No doubt you will be impressed.
Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.
Photo: Robert Mueller (top right), Brett Kavanaugh (center right) and Nick Sandmann (bottom right).