The other day I was scrolling through Facebook when I saw an image of a family. The caption added by my Catholic Facebook friend was the beautiful quote by Pope St John Paul II “As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.” This particular quote communicates a beautiful Catholic view of family, but the image accompanying it immediately made me hesitate.
It was a drawing featuring a dad, pregnant mom, and young children with a banner stating: “This Is How We Save the West” I felt that something was off immediately.
“This Is How We Save the West….This isn’t usually the way a Catholic describes the blessing of large families and openness to life,” I thought to myself. “Where have I heard that rhetoric before?” Something in the wording made me uneasy. What is meant by “the west?” Are we talking about Christian Culture as preserved in the Catholic Church? I knew in the pit of my stomach that this was not the case. This isn’t an image in support of big Catholic families, I realized, this is about white supremacy.
I followed my gut and searched for the artist’s name. He wasn’t hard to find and his Twitter feed confirmed my guess.
It was steeped in the most vile alt-right rhetoric and the thread with the image I saw was a string of his followers applauding the “white baby challenge,” bemoaning the existence of minorities, and speaking fearfully of the rate at which Africans are procreating and what should be done about it.
I felt physically sick.
The problem with the image is not that it’s a depiction of a white family. Images that don’t include people of color are not somehow automatically racist. My family is white. Do I have to be suspicious of the photographs on our home’s walls of my family? Obviously not. A drawing of a white family featuring Pope St. John Paul II’s quote supporting passing our faith on to the next generation isn’t problematic. But THIS image was because of what the artist intended to communicate.
Church teaching on sexuality sometimes leads Catholic families to be bigger than contemporary cultural norms, but that’s not the same message at the heart of white nationalism that promotes large families in an effort to preserve the white race as a form of conquest. There’s a gigantic difference between the Catholic view of family and vocation and this image advertising for large white families to “save the West.”
Here’s an example of another image of a happy family with the text “Healthy Parents, Healthy Children.”
Certainly no one is against smiling families or wellness! But a closer look at the fine print reveals an exhortation to comply with sterilization laws to prevent non-ideal offspring. This is an image created with the intention to promote eugenics: large, healthy Aryan families are the goal. You probably knew right away that this is WWII Nazi propaganda and could discern its REAL message without even knowing what the text says. We have the cultural context to recognize it for what it is. But the language used by the modern alt-right may not be as familiar–hence why the image of the white family saving the west may not immediately be a red flag.
My Facebook friend certainly didn’t know that the image he posted was created to communicate a white supremacist message and took it down immediately when I explained the artists ideology–something he wanted nothing to do with. But I was perplexed. Do intelligent, faithful Catholics not know about the alt-right? I sent the image to a few Catholic friends and asked, “would you have known right away that there was something wrong with this image?” Some said yes, but many said no. It wouldn’t have even crossed their minds that the image was anything more than support for openness to life.
What’s tricky is that the terms get crossed. My friends probably interpreted “the west” as “western Christianity.” They weren’t aware that the people who created the image were selling an ideology about the superiority of white people–what the alt-right means by “the West.”
But aren’t those white supremacists people just a few crazies shooting their mouths off in the cesspool of Twitter? No. I think it’s very easy for your average white person to be unaware of the prevalence of white nationalism today in the insidious subculture of the alt-right. But, my friends, I’m telling you about it right now. If you’re not aware, it’s time to become aware. I’m begging you to hear me out with an open heart.
The alt-right is often dismissed out of hand as a small group of fringe extremists rather than a growing and terrifying ideology. The neo-Nazis marching with torchs are dismissed as just a few nutcases rather than representatives of a real movement. And it’s not just the neo-nazis, the alt-right has many defenders and is creeping into more mainstream demographics.
Being aware of the warped and disgusting ideology of contemporary white supremacy would help you know that this image wasn’t advocating for intact families, or even large families, it was advocating for white families which for white nationalism are the only families worth having around. It’s the context of the ideologies currently gaining traction that should make us skeptical of the twisted alt-right rhetoric.
A lot of this is hard to see and the rhetoric is so subtle that it’s easy to miss, hence the confused response many of my friends had to this image and how easily it was accepted as promoting something good. Isn’t that the way evil works? Taking something that’s good and warping and perverting it? It’s nuanced. No one’s coming out and saying, “Look we hate the Jews and people of color.” Even the Nazi propaganda image I shared is speaking in positives: “healthy families!” Who can argue with that? The alt-right is far more subtle and dependent on predominantly true statements and good things slowly twisted into something incredibly dangerous and damaging. I find the idea that this could seep into Catholic culture positively terrifying.
One reason some people are perhaps susceptible to this imagery is that it wears the veneer of “tradition.” A fetishization of 1950s white culture espoused by the alt-right overlaps somewhat with perfectly innocuous or positive things: prioritizing family life, cooking at home, and other things that my rather traditional Catholic family also practices. A perfect example might be some of the social media celebrities of the “tradlife” movement. If you take a look at @apurposefulwife on Twitter, for example, you’ll see a woman’s feed lauding 50s fashion, carving pumpkins with your kids, enjoying being a stay-at-home mom and…..white supremacy.
Her feed seems mostly harmless and silly until you see the posts that reference “our people” and conclude with bizarre racial claims promoting white nationalism. You’d think she’s just some crazy woman on the internet, but she had over 30,000 rabid fans following her bizarre tweets.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with appreciating a 50s aesthetic. However, we must recognize that this time period was chosen as the ideal age for white nationalists for a reason. It was a period of strong economic growth in this country but also a time when minorities were not yet appearing in advertisements. White supremacists want to sell you their movement and what better way than the ready-made, whites-only advertisements of the 50s? We have to be careful not to idolize a 50s aesthetic if it’s warping into a toxic ideology. (As well as acknowledge that the 50s was no golden age for many Americans.)
So if you love eating meatloaf as a family (hand raised), or covet Betty Draper’s wardrobe (hand raised again), be loud and proud about it! But be aware of how the alt-right is co-opting the rhetoric of traditionalism and worshipping the negative facets of 50s cultural mores (such as rampant racial inequality) that have no place in Catholic culture.
Be skeptical of language that calls for the salvation of “western civilization.” Recognize that when these people are talking about saving “the West,” what they mean is preserving white power. We need to understand that when these people idolize large intact families, it’s not because they have really taken Pope St. John Paul II’s teaching to heart, it’s merely because big white families produce lots of white babies. And we must be aware in order to keep Catholic culture from becoming muddied with this toxic and dangerous anti-Gospel ideology in any way.
Equip yourself to know it right away and to reject any ideology that diminishes the dignity of each human being. When you hear someone talking about immigrants ask yourself is this is the same message the bishops are offering. When you hear someone talk about “the west” ask yourself if they want to preserve the Book of Kells or if they want to perpetuate oppression toward people of color and the perverse gospel of eugenics. The same people urging white women not to abort their babies may be the same people pushing for sterilization of minorities, because it’s not the right to life that concerns them but the power of whites in the global sphere. Be aware and be wary.
After that very disheartening day that the white supremacist image crossed my path, I saw another image on Facebook. It was a beautiful image. A large family was gathered together praying the Rosary with that same quote from Pope Saint John Paul II. It was created by artist Rebecca Fuentes to represent her own interracial family. The juxtaposition was powerful.
May God grant that our brothers and sisters of every race and culture are cherished and given the dignity that God has endowed them with by making them in his own image. And let us not be taken in by lies that twist and pervert what is beautiful and true. The alt-right has no place in Catholic culture.
Well said. The alt-Left also has no place in Catholic culture either. Violence and bigotry are found at the ends of the political spectrum.
You are basically (although possibly unknowingly) dismissing alt-right beliefs with your comment about bigotry being the same on the “alt-left”. It would feel better if the other side is in the wrong too, because that means that you can keep the comfort of ignorance and you don’t have to go through the burden of changing your view. Please be aware of this motivation, because it can unknowingly make you a bystander or a supporter of things you don’t believe in.
Great comment, Joe and so true. Using a false narrative or false equivalency tells more about the writer than he or she might believe, but your comments are accurate.
Amo Libri says
Honest question: what is the “alt-left”? I never heard this term before President Trump said it while suggesting a false equivalency between white supremesists and those who oppose them.
Antifa is the alt left
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m heartbroken too when I see Catholics unwittingly jumping on the “white babies are the answer to America’s problems” bandwagon.
Do you have any advice for what to do when a priest is promoting such ideas? The normal answer would be talk to him directly and if that doesn’t work, talk to the bishop. I’ve done both of those things and nobody cares. 🙁
Oh, gosh. That’s so upsetting. Anybody have advice for Maura?
I would suggest writing Father via email. Be unfailingly polite “Father the CCC says x and last Sunday you said y, could you please help me understand…” Or use an applicable encyclical.
If it’s a case of misunderstanding Father has a chance to clarify and if not at very least you’ve given him a gentle reminder of what the Church teaches.
This method could also help with the Bishop, it would give him something more to go on than “Maura says you’re a racist”
Also pray for your priest! He may need your prayers more than you realize!
Do your best to emulate Matthew 18:15-20
Maybe just repeat ‘Jesus was a brown refugee and economic migrant’ ad nauseum? Somewhat tongue in cheek, I know, but I’m at a loss.
Matt Blumenfeld says
Christ and His Mother are the answers to the West’s… and to everybody’s problems.
And God’s plans/designs include a total change in our culture’s mindset when it comes to life.
That means more babies of every color and ethnicity. And support for mothers and children of every color and ethnicity. And more protection for the elderly. And treating the imprisoned like real human beings.
I could go on.
But “more babies” in a vacuum is not really the answer and it most CERTAINLY is not “more of just one type of baby based solely on skin pigmentation.”
Åsa Nilsonne says
More babies? At a time when the ecosystem is collapsing under the strain that we humans put on the resources of the earth?
Michael Kellogg says
This whole post strikes me as WAY overwrought. You are reading evil motives into a lot of places where it isn’t actually present. White Supremacy IS, in fact, a fringe movement, not the powerful movement it was 50 years ago. 50 years ago tens of thousands of Nazi’s marched together, today they managed to pull together 400 loners in a nationwide hunt culminating in Charlottesville.
Systemic racism (by whites, anyway) has been eradicated from our culture, and it’s not making a comeback. If a white supremacist makes a cartoon and nobody who sees it realizes it’s promoting white supremacy, WHO CARES?? It’s like the old tree-in-the-forest bit.
The biggest threat to the West (yes, the West) is leftist ideology, which is destroying the family (as a concept. Color is irrelevant) on its way to destroying our culture and then society. This is a serious threat that people need to recognize because it’s happening right in front of us, every day.
The fact that white supremacist rhetoric is being unknowingly embraced by well-meaning Catholics is not a “who cares” situation, Michael. That’s terrifying. Your comment dismissing the idea of institutional racism still VERY MUCH ALIVE in our culture is a perfect example of why the alt-right is taking such a hold (and has such strong defenders).
I couldn’t have said it better. You are “spot on” and I totally agree.
Thank you, Haley!
>Your comment dismissing the idea of institutional racism still VERY MUCH ALIVE in our culture
Are you saying that (1) institutional racism is very much alive . (2) that since such a concept isn’t the alt-right has emerged, or (3) that since people deny institutional racism it empowers the alt-right?
Personally I think both this post and *your comment* are overwrought in terms of the threats of specific ideologies.
It’s not leftism and not the alt+right that is corroding the West. It is secularism. It is the abandonment of God. We live in a post-Christian society right now where both the political left and right are just appalling.
I speak as someone who lives in Charlottesville. My parish is literally around the corner from the Lee statue. I do not live in fear of the alt+right… or ANTIFA or Black Lives Matter or anybody else. We had 4x as many people come process and pray the Rosary for Our Lady of Fatima than Spencer had show up during his “surprise” return on Oct. 7.
If you ask me, the alt+right is radically overblown by the media… and so is ANTIFA. Both are tiny, tiny fringes rejected by nearly all of America. But you know what Americans are also rejecting? Christ. Left and right. THAT is the biggest threat.
Thank you so much for that breath of reason, Matt. I’m always amazed when Catholic bloggers forget to mention God.
It seems to me that this article has very little to do with numbers – it’s not about how many people are actually white supremacists, nor about whether white supremacy is either the most widespread or the most critical threat to society. It’s about teaching important media literacy to people who might not recognize the message they are actually delivering on their own public social media sites. The language used by white supremacists, no matter how large the movement, is subtle and often plays off themes that Catholic readers hold dear, as she shows. So this kind of an article is extremely useful to raise awareness – most Catholics and other God-fearing people are only interested in passing along and representing that which is “virtuous, lovely, of good report, and praiseworthy.” We seek to project light and goodness in order to reflect God’s goodness. How very, very sad, then, if we are unaware that some of what seems to be part of that goodness is actually part of a movement that opposes one of God’s most fundamental commandments – to love our neighbor as ourselves! There should definitely be a place to raise this kind of awareness exactly so that we can be better followers of Christ.
I think this post has some good points and things to think about! But Matt, you are 100% right. Political awareness is important, but it won’t save us – we need God more than we know.
It’s leftism and secularism are the main issue; they’re tied to one another. Alt-right is the least of Western society’s worries – for now.
Wrong on so many levels. White supremacy is making a comeback, is supported in Washington DC, in Breitbart, by Steve Bannon, Trump and Steve King. And by you. The moment you deny systemic racism exists? You just supported the whole movement.
>The moment you deny systemic racism exists? You just supported the whole movement.
Sorry, that logic doesn’t hunt. Mary, at least point to a policy/law/act within the system, point any administration of an organization (let’s exclude political groups for the sake of it), that you – or many here – would deem as systemic racism. You and others can say it exists, even to a degree that it hurts minority groups, but just because you think that it exists – no actually know – doesn’t make it real.
Oh Michael. Ask your black and brown friends (make a black or brown friend?) if systemic racism has been eradicated. There is discrimination by business owners, police, teachers, and medical care providers in terms of who gets served and how people are treated based on skin color. A lot is based on unacknowledged biases.
I’d encourage you to spend the time to take an implicit association test to see how you may be letting bias creep into how you interact with others based on how they look.
Sadly, you are in denial. Your privilege and lack of awareness about the world around you blinds you. The rest of the world and the country doesn’t live the same as you live. Many of us research to find the truth. This movement is growing around the world at a rapid pace. Being caught in a box of thinking that this warning is by “lefties” tells much about you. Either you are in a bubble of ignorance, you’re complicit in the alt right/Nazi/White Nationalist /KKK movement or you’re part of it.
Right. You don’t know a thing about me, but you feel it’s okay to call me a racist, as well as dismiss my entire life experience while citing not a single example of this supposed worldwide threat. I have plenty of black and brown (and other colors!) friends. Systemic racism is dead and buried: Nobody (at least not anyone who’s not black) can openly say or do racist things in this country without immediate condemnation from all quarters. Are there racists? Of course! Of all colors. You cannot eliminate it, no matter how hard you try. It’s impossible. But is there systemic racism in America? NO. America is the least racist country on the planet today. Whites are becoming less and less the majority, even as more people claim white supremacy is somehow making a comeback. People (like me) are called racists as a reflex, to avoid having to come up with an actual argument against their points of view. It’s toxic.
I’m sorry, but I have to agree with Matt. I might not go so far as to claim that white supremacism will never make a comeback (because I’m not omniscient), but I do agree that it is a fringe movement, and I agree with his logic about the unawareness of the image. If we see an image and do not interpret AS THE ARTIST/POSTER INTENDS, then the message is not passed onto us. In fact, Hollywood and Social Media have proven that calling attention to something is only a good thing for promoting that message (there is no such thing as bad press). Also, you cannot have a discussion about the evils of the alt-right agenda without discussing all digressions from the concept of Christian society. Secularization IS what is wrong with our society. It stems from the Enlightenment ideals which promote the individual over the common good. It produces relativism, and evidence of that belief-system is evident in alt-right, progressive, etc. movements. I do believe that Christian culture and the historical concept of “the West” are similar if not synonymous. That term is unpopular now, because we recognize that many non-westerners have entered into God’s family because of missionary work and the work of the Holy Spirit. But when some speak of “the West” they are not speaking of white, European people, but instead the historical Western tradition of a Christian society. In fact, I agree that having more babies is a way to save “the West” as it relates to Christian societies, because sterilization and birth control is depriving us of our future. Whether those babies come from two white parents or from two non-white parents or from any color of parents is irrelevant. As long as they are welcomed into the life of the Church.
In theory, I agree with you. If something is meaningful to us and we aren’t aware of any other interpretation, how can another interpretation have anything to do with it? The problem is that we can’t just assume that other viewers see it the way we do. On social media, everyone interprets what they see according to their own understanding. If the source of an image or article is white supremacist, it is likely that others will see it that way (perhaps especially non-Catholic friends), even if that’s not at all what you intended. So it can send a message that Catholic values, or Christan values, or traditional family values, or your values align with the troubling values of the original source.
Oh, I wouldn’t share it, for sure. But I also wouldn’t feel that I was propagating the alt-right message if I posted a picture of my (all-white) family with that quote by St. John Paul the Great. I truly believe that we have contorted our natural concern for things if we’re dissecting our OWN honest intentions. Sharing or participating in someone else’s ideologies (especially one’s we don’t hold) is certainly a different matter.
Interesting. I’m aware of the alt right; but not the ’50s idealism and “the west” talk. Thanks for the heads up; I would have thought it was a little odd, but I strongly doubt I’d have connected it to white supremacy!
The rhetoric is so subtle, Lorelei!
I too was unfamiliar with this, but it makes perfect sense!! Thank you for writing this important post.
Haley, I’ve been a lurker on your blog for many years, but this is the first time I’ve been moved to comment. I have always been struck by the similarities between us (I like books! And animals! And I’ve loved watching your kids grow up as I consider when and how to have my own kids), despite the fact that I’m an agnostic, queer, pro-choice progressive.
It’s so important to see people all across the political spectrum denouncing the alt-right and white supremacy in all their forms. This dangerous ideology has always been present in our society, but in the last few years it has been attempting to become much more mainstream, and unfortunately has been succeeding. I’m really glad to see you taking a stand.
Thanks for your comment, Sarah! I’m glad you’re here. <3
SO glad you posted on this! Catholics have to unequivocally stand in opposition to the alt right.
Katherine Makowsky says
Thank you for writing this, Haley!!!
Haley, I totally agree with you that we need to separate ourselves from the Gospel of Eugenics. As we well know, the doctrine of Margaret Sanger who is so celebrated by the left as the founder of PP, was incredibly racist. People now champion PP as being some sort of savior of poor people, while at the same time this organization purposefully places their clinics in areas where people are poor and preys on women to abort who are usually minorities and cannot afford to have babies. The Church can do a far better job of supporting our brothers and sister. One way to do this is to make it FINANCIALLY FEASIBLE for people to have babies. We have been living in an America where the gap between the very poor and the very rich is continuing to widen, which does not enable people to have babies. It would be much easier to sell the ‘culture of life’ if families could support themselves without working two jobs, getting money from the government, etc, etc.
As for eugenics, I beg you to look into what is going on with vaccines, and the willful destruction of our children (making them sick) and disabling them. This is done under the guise of ‘health care’ while big pHARMA makes money. The Catholic Church is woefully out of touch with the use of aborted fetal cells used in vaccines. We should be MUCH MORE CONCERNED with raising a generation of asthmatic, allergy ridden, autistic children who have suffered at the hands of this culture. It deserves our attention.
I’m not saying that you don’t have some great points, you do. BUT, the media loves for us to think that this neo-nazi thing is something new or something emboldened by our current president which is nonsense. You cannot eradicate racism. You cannot eradicate people being oppressed by others because we are a fallen race. However, you can teach your children to love those around them regardless of skin color.
“As for eugenics, I beg you to look into what is going on with vaccines, ”
Yes, definitely. Vaccines have saved millions from what had been crippling and fatal diseases. We should look into making more.
Matt, I beg you to do some research. Read Suzanne Humphries book titled “Dissolving Illusions”. Did you know that vaccine manufacturers were granted COMPLETE IMMUNITY from harm caused by their product in an act of congress. Don’t be a sheep. The idea that vaccines have eradicated disease is trash, there are many diseases that we no longer have that have never had a vaccine.
I am an epidemiologist and my job is literally to research health exposures and outcomes. I work in infectious disease, so vaccines are kind of my jam. I can tell you that the overwhelming evidence, put to rigorous statistical tests, supports vaccines in general and the CDC recommended vaccine schedule for children in particular. But I am guessing this will not change your opinion (internet comments hardly ever do), so I’ll just make sure I vaccinate myself and my children and hope that this gives your family protection.
Christine, your vaccines won’t protect my family so thanks anyway. I’d love to see an actual study that tests the safety of the current vaccine schedule against COMPLETELY UNVACCINATED children. It doesn’t exist. There are no statistical tests that show vaccines are safe. There are, however, overwhelming studies done that show that the ingredients in vaccines are toxic to human beings that are in a developmental stage of life. Please look outside CDC studies. You might study epidemiology, but you probably don’t study toxicology, so start.
Thanks for your comment here. Last year at my medical school, a patient in a simulated case brought up similar concerns to you and as a pro-lifer, I was of course horrified by this prospect. It may be helpful to know (as it was for me), that while it is true that several vaccines were grown from cell lines that originally derived from aborted fetuses, these children were not aborted for the purpose of being used in vaccines and the vaccines available in doctors’ offices have a tiny (very tiny) amount of human tissue in them.
As pro-lifers, however, our imperative to safeguard life should encourage us to consider the risk to present-day children if one chooses not to vaccinate. For instance, the rubella vaccine is one that was developed from a cell line that is derived from an aborted fetus – however, in choosing not to be vaccinated against rubella, a woman may risk a spontaneous miscarriage which is one of the risks of the rubella virus.
Sanasi, I appreciate your reply. However, if you are going to be a doctor and take the Hippocratic oath seriously please read Suzanne Humphries’ book. She was a nephrologist. Please spend a night on pubmed looking up articles that link autism to GI issues, mercury poisoning, and aluminum adjuvant toxcity. THERE IS NO QUESTION. Vaccines are harming our population in a significant way. Anyone who does not question the current vaccine schedule with a healthy dose of skepticism at this point needs their head examined. I understand because I accepted vaccination as the morally right thing to do. However, if you look into it, you will find that things like herd immunity are just not true or scientifically proven. This goes well beyond the problem of aborted fetuses. I mention that because Haley is Catholic, and it is a good way to open this conversation, but people need to wake up.
…wait, how did we get from white supremacists to vaccination?!
Erin, out of one side of your mouth you say that we can’t eliminate racism through eugenics but that we can teach our kids to love regardless of skin color (absolutely!). But out of the other side of your mouth you condemn children with autism as “sick” and seem to want to erradicate them by… not vaccinating people? Autism isn’t a disease, it is a label applied to all sorts of ways in which the brain processes information differently. Its a construct to make it easier to identify individuals who might do better in a different environment with different supports than non-autistic children. To the extent that the traits commonly associated with autism are real, they are often genetic (see sibling studies). Attempting to eradicate a genetic difference is the definition of eugenics. (Setting aside the other inerrant problems with telling people not to vaccinate, the ends and the means are both problematic). Why not just teach our kids to love all people regardless of how their brain processes information?
kdal, I don’t get the impression that you’ve spent any time with anyone who is autistic. My son has ‘autism’ which is an insurance label, not a diagnosis. Children with autism have co-morbid conditions including but not limited to seizures, GI issues, viral problems, immune system dysfunction, etc. Genetics most certainly has a part to play in autism, but VACCINES are the elephant in the room that no one seems to want to acknowledge. I pray that my son is accepted with his ‘autism’, but I don’t expect people to think that kids with autism are simply ‘neurodiverse’ or that they ‘process information differently’ because that’s a load of garbage.
So I really don’t want to get pulled into a vaccine debate, but why is biodiversity a load of garbage? My 18-year old has Asperger’s and after raising 5 kids, I can tell you she was different from the moment she was out of the womb. No vaccine put her on the spectrum. She was most certainly born that way, she isn’t sick, and she doesn’t need to be “fixed.” She has had to work hard to overcome some challenges, but she has grown into a beautiful young woman who adds her own unique flavor to the world.
I understand that autism can be triggered by fever (a side effect of vaccines) in some people with mitochondrial dysfunction, but that doesn’t make biodiversity a load of garbage.
Maryalene, ‘biodiversity’ is touted today as a distraction from the idea that autism is an EPIDEMIC continuing to spiral out of control. I don’t deny that some children are made differently. However, as I stated before, seizures, GI issues, immune dysfunction, etc are all indicators of a physical body that is not functioning properly so to say that is ‘biodiversity’ rather than a medical condition is wrong and thwarts us doing anything to help our kids.
Kdal, I have a severely autistic nephew, he is not neurally diverse, he is disabled!
We almost lost him when he was a toddler due to the gastro-intestinal pieces of autism.
He could not speak or blow his nose (these functions are from the same part of the brain) until he was 11! And even now, at 16, a conversation is stilted, a couple word linkages but no full sentences, and you have to get used to the sounds he uses to form some words… They are not the norm!
He will need to be in a supervised setting the rest of his life!
I do not believe vaccines cause autism. I do believe they open pathways as they affect the immune system! I do believe that giving a baby 9 vaccines on their 2nd year pediatric visit is over the top – NINE! And if the child happens to be sick, many pediatric offices will STILL inject the prescribed dosage! And what about under weight kids, failure to thrive babies, premies… Often the schedule is what drives the bus!!!
At 62, I have lived through MANY corporate conglomerates, in concert with governmental agencies, lying to the general public, using ‘scientific’ research to promote the sale of a product when some members of the organization KNOW there are health concerns, serious health concerns!
For example, and I will use the products or by-products here not the companies or the supposedly watchdog governmental agencies…
– Acid rain
– Agent Orange, many fertilizers and pesticides
– Red dye #40 and other food colorings
– BHA and BHT, nitrites and nitrates & other preservatives
– Love Canal like dumping sites
When something gets pushed so very vigorously and people’s objections get so vociferously shot down… That raises all sorts of red flags for me!
Thanks for posting this, Haley. This alt-right ideology has been a growing part of our culture far longer than the current president in office and far longer than the torch-bearing protests in our cities. The real battle for this movement has been fought online and in social circles for decades. It is never too late to stand up and call it for what it is- racism and white supremacy. But it is nothing new. I am saddened that we have waited so long for the average american to notice what is going on. But I am deeply encouraged to see a push against these ideals begin in earnest. Thank you for speaking out!
I totally agree, Rachael! This presidency has brought to the surface what has been going on across our nation in our under belly, so to speak.
And please note, as a white Roman Catholic, we all should be concerned because many of these prejudicial groups have also historically, and probably are currently, been anti-Catholic!
To them, Catholic social teaching, especially in the areas of unionization, the preferential option for the poor, that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God… these are red flags and must be squelched. The history of anti-Catholicism in the United States is well documented!
Haley, way to go taking on this subject! Thank you. I wanted to ask if at some point you could also comment re: Islam? People seem to freak out about Muslim immigration and “they need to assimilate” etc and it puzzles me. As a Catholic, I have been glad that basically, we don’t denounce other faiths or religions from the pulpit or institutionally. (I can count on one hand when I have ever heard a priest in homily even mention other faiths and most of those were positive comments!) versus other faiths I encounter who really trash on the Catholic Church. I’m glad we don’t denounce other faiths, but from some Catholics I have heard this anti-Islam rhetoric. So I’d be curious if you’d approach that with the same attitude as you discussed above? I respect your opinion and feel that you appeal to a wide group of people. You have earned the right to be heard and I’d be curious how you approach that subject.
I wholeheartedly agree with this entire article. Thank you for ending with such a beautiful picture of hope.
priest's wife (@byzcathwife) says
Thank you for writing this strong, pertinent essay.
Yes!! Thank you SO MUCH for addressing this important issue. It is truly sickening to see those types of posts. I am white and currently pregnant and was very upset recently when a woman that I was chatting with at a store made a comment like “Congratulations on your pregnancy! We really need more white babies.” I felt sick and didn’t really respond– I wish I was eloquent like you!
I’m sure I would be much too stunned in that situation to be able to say anything at all! Wow!
I would probably answer, just for the pleasure of watching her facial expression: “Oh, thanks, but this baby isn’t white. My husband is African-American. But we need more black babies, too, right?”
I read a biography of St. Francis recently, and was really struck by his interaction with the Muslims, with whom the West was literally having a Crusade at the time, and rape and murder were happening on both sides. Francis risked his life and suffered at Muslim hands so that he could go to their leader and…. embrace him. His gospel is often interpreted as weakness but I feel like we need more of this kind of Christianity. One that will embrace someone and then look them in the eye and tell them personally why you disagree. This whole “get them out of my country” rhetoric is very disturbing.
Racism from Alt-right, middle or Left… It’s all totally against our faith and Christ’s love for all his beautiful children and we should always speak out against it!! . On another note, that preggo lady in the picture who is apparently going to save the West needs to look into a more supportive bra situation.
Katherine Makowsky says
Yeah can we take a sec to recognize how HIDEOUS the alt-right illustration is?? It’s cringy on so many levels.
Laura F says
HAHAHA. Yes! I thought the same thing!
Thank you so much for writing this article Haley. I have been a fan of your blog for several years now and am excited to see you take your writing to new levels. I commend you for speaking out about this. Navigating the current political climate as a Catholic comitted to all of Catholic Social Teaching is so daunting. My husband is an immigrant from Mexico and I am white. The rhetoric around immigration during the past two years has been acutely felt in our household. It’s easy to deny systemic racism and chalk it up as some leftist political agenda when you don’t experience or are closely tied to people that do.
> The rhetoric around immigration during the past two years has been acutely felt in our household. It’s easy to deny systemic racism and chalk it up as some leftist political agenda when you don’t experience or are closely tied to people that do.
1. My parents were immigrants to the States. They’re citizens now.
2. My aunt just got her green card .
3. They don’t really worry about the rhetoric around immigration. Why? Because they came here legally and for the most part they understand that the rhetoric is due to immigration control, not out of pure racism.
Like I said to Mary, at least give some proof if not examples of systemic racism that your husband has faced or felt when it came to immigration.
All I ask for all of you here proclaiming that there is indeed systemic racism upheld in America is to give solid examples.
So well done, Haley! I am so very glad you brought this up. I learned a lot, too. I read through the comments and am astonished about how quickly this rhetoric seems to be spreading. 🙁
Thank you Haley. I admire you so much for speaking out on this. I see it too.
Sarah O'Brien says
Keep writing about race, Haley. ?? as a Protestant in college my faith was shaped by talking about race and doing the uncomfortable/weird/hard to explain work of digging into my own whiteness and how I benefit from and contribute to systemic racism and injustice. Now that I’m Catholic, most of my mom friends and blogs/insta’s I follow are white women who are not talking about race. But we need to be. So, thank you. Please keep speaking truth. (curious how you handle negative comments – it would bum me out so much. also, can you bring back Good Music Monday’s? ?)
Could you unpack that? Specifically, what hard/weird things did you have to do? How do you benefit from systemic racism and injustice? How do you contribute to it? Why do you think we need to talk about race more, rather than less?
I ask because I disagree with you about 180 degrees on every one of those points.
MLK wanted a color-blind society. There are a lot of us out here who try to live our lives that way, and to me focusing on race all the time is the exact opposite of what MLK fought for. Today it’s race, race, and more race. Everybody’s a victim. Everybody else is an oppressor. The whole thing is disgusting.
I recommend you read Taylor Branch’s epic trilogy America in the King Years to get a more nuanced and historical understanding of what MLK and others in the civil rights’ movement believed and were working for. For sure it was not the faux “color blind” society we currently live in, in which some people are treated worse than others because of their skin or social position, but the culture at large agrees not to mention, see or remedy that injustice.
The University of California now lists the phrase “there is only one race, the human race” as a microaggression, so you’re fairly spot-on in your assessment, Michael.
Thank you Haley for this enlightening essay, I always thought you should have a wider audience and it sounds like it is happening for you. Unless and until we can live the catholic and Catholic message of Social Teaching, we are not living to our fullest potential. You are a shining example Sweetie, keep doing what you are doing so well! Preach Girl!
The final image you shared was incredibly moving and beautiful. Thank you SO much for speaking up about this.
Thank you so much for writing about this, Hayley. I have noticed this troubling trend myself and not known how to raise the issue to my innocent and well-meaning friends. You have articulated the issue very well. Again, thank you. God bless.
I am happy to see Catholics taking a stand against white supremacy. I follow North American political and social situation with concern. I see so many people (your president included) stating that the left is as bad as the right, and being afraid of the Antifas. Antifas are literally AntiFascist. I am one, of course. Aren’t you? And everyone of sane mind? I live in a country that went through a fascist dictatorship for over 40 years. The Antifas were the ones that fought in the Resistance, the ones who were tortured in terrible ways and killed when caught, the ones who still have the scars and shed tears on the anniversary of the Revolution . And you know what? There were priest antifas. Even though the Catholic Church was one the pillars of the regime, there were priests who worked for the resistance and some were killed for it. So, no, Antifas are not a problem. Nazis are the problem. Let’s focus on that.
I, too, am against fascism, but not a member of Antifa 🙂
As a fellow European I do not understand why you think Antifas are no problem. What good is there in not accepting the law, in violence and causing trouble?
I see your point about Antifa’s role in Portugals history but I would guess that the movement has changed quite a bit over the past decades? Or maybe it’s just very different here in Germany…
Antifa is a broad term and can lend itself to specific groups. I not a part of any organisation in particular that calls themselves antifa, but what I was trying to convey is that the term antifascist cannot be seen as a bad thing. Being antifascist does not mean, by any terms, not accepting the law or even causing violence or “trouble”. Yes, anarchist groups may use violence (or not, some anarchist are strict pacifists), but the difference is that a Nazi is always violent and an Antifascist is not.
What troubles me is this trend of considering people who stand against the extreme right as being as bad as the nazis they’re fighting because that’s seems a way to dismiss the whole thing as a partisan scuffle and a way to convince the average non-political person to just put them all on the same bag and not try to understand what’s at stake. Just the fact that I have to defend the notion that being antifascist is a good thing tells me that there is a serious problem.
About the the antifascist in Portugal? Yes, the groups have (somewhat) changed. But again, no, antifascist are not any more law breakers that any other group. We have parties that are very openly against fascism and are on the Parliament; very institutional and law abiding!
But you ask what is good in not accepting the law. I want to stress this: if the law is wrong, imoral, and unjust, why would it be a good thing to follow it?
You have made some excellent points. In Charlottsville, peacefully protesting members of the clergy were attacked by Nazis and Klansmen. Antifa quite literally saved them!
I wouldn’t say Nazis are always violent. There were millions of Nazis in Germany during World War II and most of them did not use (physical) violence. But I get your point that not all Antifas are violent.
Also, I agree, that not every law should be blindly accepted. We definitely need to stand up against the evil. But I do not trust the Antifa to define what is right and what is wrong. In Germany we have antisemitic Antifa groups for example.
I also agree that it’s not helpful to say “left is just as bad as right”. These are two very different ideologies. But when violence is used and people are threatened I don’t care which direction it comes from – this is just wrong! It would be good if people dissociated themselves from such things. I feel like this isn’t happening enough.
Again, I can only speak for Germany, where if you call yourself antifascist everyone will assume you do not accept the government nor the police (ACAB – all cops are bastards – is a very common Antifa graffiti that you will find in every German town).
I guess it probably is quite different in Portugal and Germany (no anti-fascist political parties here!).
We have a similar situation here in the USA… Look at the rhetoric verses Black Lives Matter and the football players peacefully taking a knee during our national anthem.
Any group that resorts to violence, right or left, has huge issues. Violence only begets violence! Unfortunately, in our history during the Vietnam War protests, some resorted to violence which resulted in many peaceful protesters getting hurt or killed as the powers that be labeled all protesters as violent! E.g. Kent State.
I appreciate the distinctions concerning Antics above!
I encourage readers here to read the Second Vatican Council’s documents on religious liberty. St. Francis believed this long before it became part of the church’s teaching!
I think labeling Antifa proper as merely anti-fascism (a good thing) is extremely naive. While their proclaimed raison d’etre is noble in its statement; in function, these Antifa groups engender the definition of fascism. And I don’t mean the recently changed definition. I mean the longstanding definition of fascism. “Fascism /ˈfæʃɪzəm/ is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism, characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and control of industry and commerce that came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe.”
As I stated “Antifa is a broad term and can lend itself to specific groups”. I am quite sure I am not in least naive about is fascism. I hope you can understand what an offence it is and how hurtful it can be to suggest that antifascists are really just another form of fascism. Especially in conversation with someone who lives in a country who still deals with the remains of a 40 year fascist dictatorship. I can see that was not your intention, but please consider what I have said.
>So, no, Antifas are not a problem. Nazis are the problem. Let’s focus on that.
Nazis aren’t the problem to the degree Antifa is. It may vary by country, but Antifa US is an an issue when they assemble since they actively disrupt any group they oppose.
Thank you, Haley, for such an interesting and important article!
I am German and so much of what you talk about sounds familiar.
We had our national elections a month ago and while our two big mainstream political parties lost a lot of ground, a third one which is relatively young and oftentimes outspokenly racist got 12.6 % of the votes. Their main concern: the many refugees we opened our country to over the past two years, Islamization, terrorism and the loss of “our German heritage”.
Obviously, this is an extremely sensitive topic for our country and the “debate” that was held around it was very emotional. What makes me very sad is that
(1) while I clearly see many bad people rallying for that particular party (it is called AFD – Alternative for Germany), I also know some fellow Christians, good and well-meaning people who voted for them and I do understand their motives. Our political parties have moved to the left so far that if certain topics are important to you (like gender mainstreaming, marriage, religious freedom…) you better search elsewhere…unfortunately there is little to be found except AFD.
By the way, one of their election posters titled “New Germans? We will make them ourselves!”
(2) our debate was not really a debate. It is easy (in Germany at least) to dismiss people who worry about immigration as racist. And this is what happened. People were ridiculed and called stupid ALL THE TIME.
I think the society should provide places for people to talk about their concerns (even if they appear racist at first!), to be taken seriously. If it’s only the right-wing parties that take them seriously we have a problem (we sure have a problem now! – hopefully not for long…)
I also believe that we as Christians are free to talk and listen to anyone, trying to find some common ground. I am convinced that only a minority of the people supporting racist views are truly bad people. Most of them feel threatened by the changes they (we) experience, and this is something we can (and should!) talk about.
I really appreciate you warning against this ideology and not being disrespectful against those who sympathize with it.
Thanks for weighing in from a German perspective –
Germany is demonstrative not only because of the 20th century history, but also because of the current climate. (I lived in Dresden several years ago, right before the anti-Islamic rallies started there.)
The end of your first point about the AFD’s birth rate propaganda is really interesting, especially given Germany’s history in the past several decades! Gastarbeiter after the war, lack of assimilation, the low birth rate causing manifold problems (arguably including necessary immigration!)… it seems that the specific inclusion of “large families”/”have more babies” messaging is a pot boiling over after decades of declining birth rates. The US isn’t so far along but obviously we’re headed down that path.
Also I wanted to clarify my comment – I’m not saying that making racist arguments in the form of “have more white babies!” is AT ALL the answer!! I think it’s vile and creepy. Just chewing on the demographic realities in Europe and increasingly the US – middle and upper-class people are generally not having kids, and this is causing problems that we’ll continue to see surface down the line. The alt-right, in this case, is taking advantage of that fact and using it for their own means.
Marisa Gatti-Taylor says
Marisa Gatti-Taylor I just sat down at the computer with my three-year-old granddaughter, who identified the image of this post as “The Happy Hollisters,” a book that her family reads together every evening. God bless her! The fact is that Western Civilization, as well as Christianity, is indeed under attack. Children are the future, for all races. So encouraging families to procreate, which conforms to the precepts of our Faith, does not constitute nefarious idealogies in my opinion. The demographics projected for Europe clearly indicate that in thirty years, white Christians will be a small minority. Whites too can say, “White is beautiful” if we are going to be fair.
Can you provide a picture to substantiate this? I searched “The Happy Hollisters” and didn’t find anything resembling the pictures in this post.
I agree that Christianity is under attack from a secular world, but I don’t see how western civilization is under attack. Can you share a little more about why you feel that way?
Also, it will be a sad day when/if Christians are in the minority because then we are obviously not doing a very good job of evangelizing. However, is it really a problem if “white Christians” are in the minority?
Is it a problem if the European cultures disintegrate before our very eyes? I for one would still like to visit much of Europe, and view their culture as it has been. The mass immigration that Europeans rail against is creating striking issues in many countries. Rape and pedophilia rings have spiked in Britain and Sweden. Women were harassed and groped last New Years eve in Germany. This is not okay. I want to visit Ireland and be in Ireland. I want Italy, France and Germany to keep their character, but the fact is that the country men of those nations are not reproducing fast enough to just maintain their cultures. There is a large likelihood that they will be highly islamic sooner than later, and then how will our Catholic brethren fare? THAT is Marisa’s point that you snidely commented on as if she was either racist or dumb.
Well, first of all, intention is hard to read on the internet and my comment was not intended to imply Marisa was racist or dumb. Please don’t read more into my words than what is there. I am trying to understand where she’s coming from.
As for Europe, it looks like there are some European readers commenting up above so maybe they can shed more light on the subject. However, I don’t see where European culture is disintegrating. No one I know who’s visited lately has reported anything amiss. While there have obviously been problems, the idea that the continent has been overrun by Islamic sexual perverts seems to be mainly a result of the media trying to whip up public hysteria. JMHO.
No, Europe is not under threat, no matter what the right is saying…. the ideia that we should close our borders because someone may want to visit and look at what they think we should be is sad. We are not a museum, we are living and ever changing countries. You know, my country is the oldest country in the world that has the same establish borders (I don’t know if I am making myself clear, I mean we have the oldest borders as they are) but before that this country declared it’s independence from Castille (aka Spain) and conquered a lot of territory from muslins. Some of our culture and genetics are from muslim origin. A lot of words and names. You know, like Fátima, the catholic shrine. Just a thought.
Migration has always been part of human history. At this point in time you will find Germans with Turkish, Italian, Greek etc. roots, and British people with Indian, Pakistani, Jamaican etc. roots. You might be surprised what our cultures actually really look like!
German culture will keep on changing and I don’t have a problem with that. Yes, some aspects of Arab culture do bother me – but not because they aren’t German but because they contradict the message of the Bible. The same is true the other way round, though! (e.g. how we treat the elderly)
We can learn a lot from each other!
Anyway, I wonder – what if all this is part of God’s plan? After all human history is HIS story. If He sends all these people our way (among them people from countries where it is forbidden to evangelize), then it is my hope that they will encounter Jesus here.
Nowhere in the Bible do I find a command to preserve my culture or my privileges. Paul is an excellent example that the opposite is true.
Emily Clare Hubbell says
At first, I was wary of seeing the term “alt-right” used for white supremacy (I’ve seen so many Catholics called alt-right for just being more religiously tradition-leaning). But I understand after doing some simple digging on the definition that it was coined by avowed white supremacist Richard Spencer to describe his beliefs and political ideology. (I would have considered myself “alt-right” because the connotation *I* understood from hearing it used is that it was just a term for really conservative conservatives or really Catholic Catholics). Reading this post inspired me to look into and learn that it’s not just some term bandied around religious circles. Granted, religious circles are the only places I’ve really heard it so far, and I do have a problem with it being used so widely (just from what I’ve seen online, I guess) for Christians and Catholics who cherish tradition (tradition =/= white supremacy) and I’m glad you make that distinction here, too.
This topic deserves the “splitting hairs” and attention to subtlety that you address here.
It must have been difficult to write and publish, and to address the feedback, but kudos to you! I learned something new from reading this and that makes me a happier and informed Catholic and citizen.
Margaret Sky says
Haley, well done with this brave post. It evoked a lot of strong reactions from people, and I view that as a good thing. 🙂 I recently learned there are multiple warring white supremacy gangs in the city I live in… I agree that “traditionalism,” something I’m a fan of in a lot of ways (and not in a lot of ways), is being co-opted by the alt-right. Something very important for those with religious or traditional values to keep in mind and speak up against so as to avoid the appearance of assent by silence.
Ironically, the influx of Hispanic immigration makes our country MORE Catholic. Catholism is near and dear to the cultures of Latin America. So, to save Catholic America, supporting Latino immigrants is actually really, really important (ya know, in addition to welcoming the stranger and basic Christian decency).
Just some food for thought.
I feel blessed to live in a predominantly Hispanic area where Whites are the minority in that we get to sit out on a lot of the racist upheaval, at least on a local level.
This is a great article, highlighting something that I think has tremendous potential to negatively impact both our faith communities and our country’s foundation.
I don’t think white supremacy has hit mainstream yet, but I think we’re getting there thanks to the alt-right. As you mention, they use a lot of subtle language and imagery to get people to embrace their way of thinking. Not many people (I hope) are willing to openly say they don’t like other races. However, it is considered virtuous to love your country (patriotism seems to be the new religion in the U.S.) If the alt-right can convince people “Western ideals” and the country is under attack, it’s just a short leap to having them believe that white people are key to protecting the nation.
In my mind, the immigration debate is central to all this. It’s created a world of us vs. them. I see it quite a bit on FB where my very Catholic friends post articles, memes and comments that all have the same message: we’re not opposed to immigration….we just don’t want “those people” here.
And for Catholics, I think this is a very sad line of thinking. There should be no “those people” on Earth. We are all sons and daughters of God so there shouldn’t be an us and a them. There should only be an us.
Thank you for this post! All it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing!
My respect for people who disagree with Haley’s worldview (I guess the press termed them the “alt-right”?) comes from their unabashed willingness to expose hipsters and other similar flavors of millenials for the insufferable buttholes that they are. They’re a bunch of tattooed forever-toddlers who whine about things not being fair while simultaneously not being able to do their boss the favor of showing up to work reliably. Boooooooo, Haley! BOOOOOOOO!
Katherine Makowsky says
Ana, your comment really baffles me, but I just want to let you know that the term “alt-right” was coined by white supremacist Richard Spencer.
So often our culture twists the beautiful Truth of the Catholic Church, which then turns people away from the Church entirely. You’re right – the idea that this could seep into what people see as the Catholic Church is terrifying. But hopefully your post will wake others up, and then keep more people’s eyes open moving forward. Thank you.
This is a wonderful post, Haley, and I appreciate your writing it. Let’s see more healthy families of all colors!
I’ve seen some prominent Catholics advocating for a return to a Western curriculum, for kids to focus on the Western classics in school, etc. have you noticed that? As a big fan of a classical education, I was still uncomfortable. There is so much wonderful art and literature from outside the European canon! And it seems awfully close to what you are talking about to bemoan the loss of Western classics because of the supposed scourge of multiculturalism.
Laura F says
I work at a school that is classical-based and teaches many western classics (Homer, Shakespeare, Moby Dick, etc.) These are the tools we use to teach the Trivium (the educational model which includes the Grammatical, Logical, and Rhetorical stages ), however, we do incorporate and embrace many other tools, celebrating that which is true and good in other cultures. I’ve never taught nor heard an implication of this “scourge of multiculturalism” in our classrooms. Our belief is that classical education is for everyone.
Same. I teach at a university, but what I am being constantly pressured with is that this “classical” education of which you speak is inherently racist, ethnocentric, and patriarchal, and therefore must be jettisoned. I enjoy teaching Henry James; however, when I brought this up with my coordinator, I was met with a grimace and was told “…can’t you find someone else? He’s so canonical!” It’s a tricky field to navigate in that we’re being made to support binaries, when the “fight” (so to speak) is not really here at all.
> There is so much wonderful art and literature from outside the European canon!
>And it seems awfully close to what you are talking about to bemoan the loss of Western classics because of the supposed scourge of multiculturalism.tern classics because of the supposed scourge of multiculturalism.
This is nonsense. Today’s multicultural curriculum in many universities, even high schools, actually dismisses Western classics saying that “it’s too white” or that it’s too “Western centric.” The books that replace the classics aren’t even at the same level of quality. So yes, there IS and WILL BE a loss of Western classic if administrators and curriculum designers approach multiculturalism this way.
Much of the content of a classical liberal education is based on values that have created Western civilization, and I hate to say it, but much of the content that I’ve come across in so to speak a more (regionally) diverse curriculum was based off of grievances. As another poster stated, there is nothing actually stopping the administrator incorporating the best of other regions, but given the history of how the classical liberal education has shaped America and the West (for good), the whole multicultural zeal falls short of its promises. And I say that as non-white child of immigrants from Asia.
This is perfect! I’m shocked by some of these comments. I know I shouldn’t be. As a mixed race woman living in America I can vouch for the fact that racism is alive and well.
Your article is smart, articulate, and correct. I know your article helped many and will continue to. Thank you for sharing the information.
I’m with you on this! I think it’s time Catholics put their faith above their politics and see the truth for what it is. Unfortunately, I think too many assume their politics are with the church when often they are not. I’m white but having a unique family growing up and cultural diversity I saw how people treated my brothers differently then me because of there not so whiteness. Systemic racism is very alive and well and as Catholics we need to remember our faith first and leave the bad politics of both sides at the door.
My late husband had relatives who are not-so-white, and that really brings all the unfairness home. It’s one thing to be white and come from a white family and try to be an ally to those who are not white, but it is quite another to think how racism affects my sweet niece, for example. I think we all need diversity in our family and close friends so that we aren’t just thinking about how this kind of horror affects only those who are in our little bubble.
A friend of mine looks white and is part Native American. Her husband is pretty much just white, I think. The kids to whom my friend has given birth range from pale-skinned, blond, and blue-eyed to brown-skinned, black-haired, and brown-eyed. Plus they adopted a biracial Puerto Rican girl, so they really have a range of looks in their family. It’s pretty cool!
I enjoyed reading this and wholeheartedly agree. It’s so important to cling to our idenity as CATHOLICS first and foremost, and not allow ourselves to be muddled by the media and other anti-catholic influences. I also think that devotion to Our Lady is one inoculation to alt-right ideologies.
One more thought. I’ve read several comments about the necessity of returning to our “Christian” roots as a society. I find this interesting and actually slightly disturbing. We are certainly a nation founded on Christian principles, but not Catholic ones. And there is a difference. I encourage anyone to read “The Papists Guide to America” by Daniel Schwindt. A fascinating and enlightening look at the principles our nation was founded upon through the lens of Catholicism.
From one of your Jewish readers, thank you for identifying and clarifying this sneaky propaganda for your friends and readers, and using your platform to inform.
People of all faiths that uphold the equality of all people in G-d’s love must stand firm against these ideologies of hatred and division. G-d bless you.
I wanted to let you know that your post sparked some really good internal conversations within me, but also between my husband and I. I grew up in deep south Louisiana where, unfortunately, racism is prevalent. I come from a family with a history of confederate soldiers, and my dad is a retired inner city street cop from a very violent city. After reading your post I immediately wanted to comment and point out everything wrong with it, but instead I thought on it. I began to read articles written by black Americans, and I really tried to understand their stories. Within the past couple of days I have thought about the ways slavery, segregation, lynching, etc. have all impacted black Americans today.
I still disagree with your blanket statements regarding people who use the term “the west”. There are many people who are not racist who use that term to describe countries based on more European laws of liberty and personal freedom. Japan is considered “the west” and they are not a white country. While many white supremacists do use that term in way meaning “white countries” there are also many people who do not use it in that way. Don’t discount people like Ben Shapiro as a white supremacist because of a term used by many in different ways. He is a major target of the alt-right and anti-semetic people.
Basically, I just wanted to thank you for making this post because it has started really good conversations in my home (my husband agrees), and we will continue to try and learn from our fellow Americans who have a very different history and experience.
Haley, thank you for the post. We all need to stand up with this same strength and clarity of voice!
Victoria S says
Thank you for this relevant and well-thought piece of work. I admire your bravery (and cajones) for speaking out on what you believe.
Thank you so much for writing this. I’ve been disturbed by the deafening silence of many white Catholics over the last year as our country has started down (continued down..) a very frightening path. I don’t necessarily think that the majority are “racist” or even really subscribe to the ideology of the alt-right but I do think that it is easy to stay silent when things are happening that don’t personally affect you. I am a white woman with 4 white children and a white husband who has a good job. Nothing that has happened in the last year personally affects me (aside from our slide towards nuclear war, but I digress). But I have been sickened by the way people are normalizing racism and hatred.
I think that many people believe if they aren’t actively participating in it, then their hands are clean. But when it comes to something so very important, I think anything short of shouting from the rooftops that this isn’t right is very dangerous. Shortly after the Charlottesville riots, our priest gave a homily on racism being an “intrinsic evil” and I was so relieved to hear such strong words from him.
One of my favorite quotes of all time is “The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.” It’s been a favorite of mine for a long time, seeing as I am a person who has never been neutral about almost anything, but it has really struck a chord with me in the last year and a half. Thank you for speaking out and not maintaining neutrality! I’m sure you have gotten plenty of hateful feedback from internet trolls but I hope that the positive feedback outweighs it.
Melanie Schaffer says
I get politics everywhere else. Do I also have to get it on Christian mommy blogs? Please keep writing what your audience comes here for and not for what we don’t.
I was glad to see Haley’s thoughts on this. She gave me a deeper insight, and I always need that. It’s true that politics is everywhere, but that’s because we live in troubled times. We need to know how to respond to what’s going on both for ourselves and for our children.
Thanks again for this blog post, Haley.
Ashleigh Chevalier says
Thank you for advocating and being courageous in dissecting controversial, global social and cultural realities, both historical and present day. The differences have to be explained, or everything becomes blurred in the whirl of the 1000 images a minute, and propaganda becomes subliminal and erosive.
This article is relevant for any Christian family, Catholic or Protestant, (or any faith practicing family, really). The relevance is ever present, since so many neglect that politicians and leaders, also historically to present day, use religion and dogma to manipulate and influence the populace. At its base, this devalues the purpose of a personal faith (in my opinion).
This isn’t a new reality, but the conversation’s vernacular and imagery changes, so we have to keep talking about it. There is nothing new under the sun, but we have to remain vigilant, awake, and aware.