Letters to the Editor

Readers sound off on Covington Catholic controversy and a bishop’s handling of it

Dozens of teens criticized over treatment of Native American veteran at Lincoln Memorial

Covington-Catholic students were criticized over the treatment a Native American elder received when he tried to walk through the group. Nick Sandmann said he -- and his classmates -- were not mocking the man or blocking his path.
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Covington-Catholic students were criticized over the treatment a Native American elder received when he tried to walk through the group. Nick Sandmann said he -- and his classmates -- were not mocking the man or blocking his path.

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Covington Catholic

Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann came face to face with Native American elder Nathan Phillips in Washington, D.C., launching a national story with repercussions.

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The opinion piece by His Excellency Bishop John Stowe in the Jan. 23 Herald-Leader would be laughable, if it weren’t so obscene. The idea that the boys of Covington Catholic High School have anything for which to apologize is ludicrous. They are entitled to an apology – from the bishop.

Native American elder Nathan Phillips approached the boys. They didn’t approach him. The boys were unsure of what to make of the situation, particularly given that all of them — including Phillips — had been harassed by third parties. One lad stood his ground in front of a man seemingly banging a drum in his face, pre-empting his fellows from any altercation, and only smiling in response; this is laudable.

Many of the boys were sporting the apparel of President Donald Trump, who seeks an end to migration into the boys’ homeland. That is the target of the bishop’s ire. However, migration in large enough numbers has another name. Invasion.

The Goths began “migrating” into the Roman Empire in 250 A.D., displacing the prior order and largely displacing the prior population. Is it blameworthy that the Romans resisted? Hardly. Neither is it surprising that the boys feel the same way.

Robert Salyer, Lexington

Support for Stowe

We are lifelong active Catholics. I am an alumnus of Covington Catholic High School and have degrees from Thomas More University and Xavier University. My wife was educated in Catholic schools in Louisville. Bishop John Stowe does not owe us any apology. He speaks the truth. And we admire him greatly for having the courage to do so.

Bishop John Stowe of the Catholic Diocese of Lexington. YouTube

What breaks our hearts is that so many Catholics have turned a blind eye to the terrible things going on under President Donald Trump’s administration. All Trump has to do is say that he is anti-abortion and so many Catholics (and other religions) are quick to endorse everything he does. We want to make it clear that we are also pro-life, but that doesn’t mean all of the polarizing events that have happened under Trump’s guidance can be ignored. People have to look at the whole picture and at what has happened to our integrity, our generosity, and the great shame inflicted on our country.

God bless Bishop Stowe for his courage, and his desire to do the right thing. He had every right to express his opinion. These students should not have turned a moral march into a political march.

Richard and Rosalind Ante, Lexington

Pro-birth or pro-life?

Some Catholics who claim to be pro-life should actually be called pro-birth. Many forget that the abortion issue is but a portion of the concept of pro-life.

As we watch our government, (and a president who claims to be pro-life) separate immigrant children from their parents at the border, fail to recognize the trauma facing immigrants seeking asylum and dismiss addressing healthcare issues for all Americans, it is clear that pro-life means different things to different people.

So when Catholic high school students from a Catholic school attend an anti-abortion rally in our nation’s capitol, one would think they would have a full understanding of what it means to be pro-life. Evidently they did not. When you wear a hat that has become a symbol of multiple government actions that defy the concept of pro-life, it seems some further instruction may be called for in Catholic schools. Perhaps in fact, we should listen to the recent words of Bishop John Stowe.

As Catholics, we are committed to being pro-life Christians, not just pro-birth Christians, and must recognize that being pro-life is a complex matter that involves abortion, but other issues that actually impact many more people.

William Farnau, Lexington

MAGA hat history

A refresher course is in order for the Make America Great Again-hat-wearing students in Washington D.C. Many of the white supremacists at Charlottesville, Va., while chanting “Jews will not replace us”, were wearing MAGA hats. David Duke, former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, said “our people have played a huge role in electing (President Donald) Trump.”

Alexander Bissonnette, who killed six and wounded 19 at a mosque in Quebec, was shown wearing a MAGA hat on social media. Willie Ames threw a Mexican man onto subway tracks after yelling: “F…ing Mexicans… you people are dirty!” – all while wearing his MAGA hat. Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland shooter, was seen wearing a MAGA hat around school, and had a MAGA hat avatar.

On his Instagram posts, Cesar Sayoc, who sent pipe bombs to those he considered enemies of Trump, had been pictured many times in a MAGA hat. Robert Bowers, who killed 11 at a Pittsburg synagogue, had no MAGA hat but referred to migrants as “invaders … that kill our people.”

Please don’t claim innocence when wearing the very symbol of hatred and intolerance, all legitimized by the mountebank/ogre in the White House.

John Scott, Lexington

Learning, not lawsuits

It seems to me it would have been much more Christian had Covington Catholic High School’s administration, parents and students used their moment of fame to examine the full meaning of pro-life and disassociate themselves from political symbols that have been embraced by racists and xenophobes. Perhaps then there would be no need for threats of defamation lawsuits to be hurled at a leader of the Catholic Church who simply pointed to the truth of the situation.

Judith Lynn Johnson, Lexington