By now if you own a computer, a smartphone or have even walked past a television set in the last 24 hours you have seen coverage of individuals from the Covington KY Catholic School on the news.
I want to step back a little further to cover what many news outlets will overlook.
The reason this individual was in Washington DC is getting lost among the outrage of how he treated Nathan Phillips, Omaha Nation Elder, and Vietnam War Veteran.
The ugly things they chanted to him, the smug entitlement in their faces, attitudes of complete contempt for individuals unlike themselves. All this is so very familiar to me.
Covington Catholic High School students went on a school-sponsored trip to Washington DC for the annual March for Life, held every year around the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade.
I am a clinic escort at the only abortion clinic in Kentucky. I have seen this very same behavior day after day for years now from individuals just like Covington Catholic students. The same despicable behavior, bigotry and callous disregard for others.
During the week it’s usually older men and women, representing many church denominations. On Saturdays they bring their young kids, teens. Sometimes large groups of religious families or fundamentalist churches will make an event of it.
Catholic churches and schools in the area organize field trips to Louisville for this purpose often with Archbishop Kurtz in attendance offering full support and encouragement, as we’ve written about before.
Once a month Kentucky Mountain Bible College offers a field trip to the abortion clinic. This allows students to get up close and personal with their harassment. Other churches and extremist groups frequent the sidewalk as well.
They chant, scream, stalk, loom and block individuals trying to make their way down a public sidewalk to a doctor’s appointment. This harassment has been documented, but is often tolerated as well.
Many people of all faiths, plus non believers are dismayed that religion is being distorted so badly to allow and even encourage this kind of hate.
For many, the raw display of racism in the news yesterday was shocking. How could they laugh and film? Where were the chaperones? How did their parents raise them? How could good Catholic kids do this?
That’s just it….
This is exactly what their elders do.
They have learned intolerance and hatred from the very people who raise and educate them.
Are you angry and upset that this type of harassment, verbal abuse and shaming still happen in 2019?
Are you willing to look at this from all angles?
Are you willing to tell others that everyone from all races, ethnicities, and beliefs deserve bodily autonomy?
That regardless of your personal beliefs no one should face this discrimination , intimidation and harassment?
Have you read this far? Then please do me one more favor, ask for a safety zone around abortion clinics to allow folks accessing care a little more physical space than the Covington Catholic students allowed Nathan Phillips.