Racism is evil

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President Trump just spoke on Charlottesville.

He said:

“Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

Separately, Archbishop Chaput released a powerful statement yesterday that read, in part:

“Racism is a poison of the soul. It’s the ugly, original sin of our country, an illness that has never fully healed. Blending it with the Nazi salute, the relic of a regime that murdered millions, compounds the obscenity.

“But we need more than pious public statements. If our anger today is just another mental virus displaced tomorrow by the next distraction or outrage we find in the media, nothing will change. Charlottesville matters. It’s a snapshot of our public unraveling into real hatreds brutally expressed; a collapse of restraint and mutual respect now taking place across the country… If we want a different kind of country in the future, we need to start today with a conversion in our own hearts, and an insistence on the same in others.”

Following the coverage of the terrible events in Charlottesville over the weekend was sickening. The presence of any political movement in our country, however small, fueled by racism, white supremacy, and hate is both disgusting and reprehensible. This movement is borne of the same ideology that fueled a belief in eugenics, abortion, slavery, anti-Catholic bigotry and more.

And it must be opposed by every Catholic citizen.

Some have spoken out to condemn the ideas and violence of the counter protests by the ‘Antifa’ movement, or the racist antics of certain progressive groups or selective outrage which compound the problems. Many of these left-wing groups are now exploiting the tragedy for their own agendas.

While there are legitimate concerns and debates to be had, it is important today to speak clearly and unequivocally on the moral repugnance of the ideas and rally that gave rise to the conflict to begin with. Debates over statues and symbols are difficult. But they need not, and cannot ever be used to justify pernicious ideas of white supremacy and racism.

Our movement stands in stark contrast. We defend human dignity, ordered liberty, justice and the common good. If we hope to persuade our fellow citizens of the rightness of our cause, we must speak and act with clarity and consistency.

The events in Charlottesville shocked many of us because we had hoped that organized racist rallies were an ugly chapter of our past. But the tools of the internet and social media today allow these evils to persist, garner undue attention and credibility, and organize.

Today we want to be clear: racism is repugnant and evil.

It is neither Catholic, American, conservative, or Republican.

And it must be defeated.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org

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About Author

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Brian Burch is President of CatholicVote.org.

41 Comments

  1. Ryan Schroeder on

    I applaud what you have written, but let’s be clear. It took 48 hours for the President to make a clear, unequivocal statement about NAZIS. Seriously! Taking your message to heart – and it’s a good, worthy, message – means condemning the rhetoric of the President. I’m sorry, but it does. Highlighting what the President said today, while not mentioning what he previously said, doesn’t help this situation. We can’t pretend that things are what we wish they are or hope they are to be. We have to confront racism and those who support it, no matter how tepidly, directly.

    • Well put, Ryan. Delaying like this is brilliant for Trump. He saves face with the vast majority of Americans (including conservatives) who are not racist by now denouncing the vile racism that led to the demonstration in Charlottesville. By delaying, his white supremacist supporters like David Duke can simply say that Trump was pressured into making this statement and does not believe what he says, thereby retaining a critical niche of the electorate that helped put him in the White House.

      Plus, the President’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, the wall, the refugee policy, the English-speaking legal immigration preference, all contributes to the climate in which this demonstration arose. As long as Trump’s actions contributes to this rhetoric, and Steve Bannon remains in the picture, these marchers in Charlottesville and elsewhere have a champion in the White House.

      • Ryan/Sean-

        No one commended the act in Charlottesville.

        I honestly do not see what the issue is with the President having simply denounced the violence upon the occasion of his first statement.

        Recall President Obama’s administration clearly calling people out during civil unrest situations in Ferguson and Baltimore-only to have the events transpire where that did more harm than good.

        • Ryan Schroeder on

          Trump didn’t simply “denounce the violence.” You’re simply ignoring what he actually said, even though we all know what he said.
          “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.”
          That is the issue, obviously. President Trump is creating a moral equivalency between Nazis and white supremacists and those opposing them.

          • With all due respect, I do not see how you make the extrapolation you’ve made here, but I do appreciate that you took the time to clarify what you believe this issue is.

      • Sean

        If the vast majority of Americans are not racist as you say, why would any politician attempt to curry the favor of the miniscule segment of Americans who are racist?

  2. A strong statement, and a good statement. However, I feel like we’re beating around the bush. You highlight the words of President Trump on racism, but then go on to say that the Internet and social media have fanned the flames of racism. Steve Bannon was the one fanning those flames at Breitbart, and now he’s a chief strategist for Trump. Let’s stop pretending what Trump is based on carefully chosen words. There is no excuse for Bannon’s presence in the White House. By your very definition, Bannon’s support for racists is having an impact, and yet Trump willfully chose him.

  3. So I don’t understand what this is about….Charlottville, Trump or Steve Bannon?? I seriously don’t see the correlation between Trump & Bannon which is a separate topic apart from Charlottesville…

  4. Ryan Schroeder on

    Ram – “this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.”
    What was the display of bigotry from those in Charlottesville who were not Nazis and white supremacists? Specifically?

        • It’s hatred and violence. I believe you’d assign the bigotry properly to those guilty of same, as I did when I read the statement.

          I personally understood the admonition to be directed at the whole situation in Charlottesville without the need for the line-item.

          • Ryan Schroeder on

            No, you are changing what Trump said.
            “…this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.”
            He didn’t say hatred, bigotry or violence. He said hatred, bigotry and violence.

          • Sigh.

            I know what he said.

            How do you believe he was referring to the counter-protest folks by the word “bigotry”?

            Again, I understood the “hatred, bigotry and violence” to have been present in Charlottesville.

            Had the President made the direct call out to the white supremacist groups by name (KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups RE: racism) in his initial statement and then continued by stating or inferring that the violence on part of the counter-protest groups was also reprehensible and played a part in the young woman’s death, would that have assuaged you?

  5. Ryan Schroeder on

    Ram – no, because that’s not a proven fact. How exactly have you determined that violence by counterprotesters played a role in the death of the young woman? That’s opinion, not fact, and pretty insulting to the person who died, frankly.
    And this goes beyond simple violence. Apparently, the President can’t even bring himself to condemn white supremacists from holding a rally, let alone the outcome. It’s not hard to say “Nazis shouldn’t be holding rallies, I think that’s wrong.” It’s hard for Trump, though.
    You can play semantics all you want. This is the man who said Mexicans are rapists and murders; refugees are animals; all Muslims hate Americans. He employs Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka. His actions and words speak for themselves. If you want me to pretend that a man who has said and done all that is suddenly aghast at white supremacists, even though he won’t even say it, then I’ll suspend thinking and logic to do so.

    • I think it’s a given that the violent atmosphere contributed to the sequence of events that lead to the young woman’s death.

      Nazis CAN hold rallies, Ryan. That’s the thing. You may not like it, I may not like it, but they can.

      Speaking of you suspending thinking and logic, the President won’t go on TV and say that a group of Americans should not exercise their civil rights.

      • Is this really that hard? There is a difference between the Constitutional right to hold a rally and the morality of a rally. Obvious to anyone not hell-bent on figuring out some way to defend anything Trump says.
        Your point is obviously disproved by Trump’s speech yesterday. The supposed ”alt-left” also has a Constitutional right to assemble, yet Trump criticized them for doing so! And again, he didn’t criticize the Nazi rally.

        • I don’t think that someone’s on a moral high ground by making a statement that someone cannot/should not exercise their civil rights. You make that group a “victim”. I don’t think anyone wants to make these groups “victims”.

          Did the President criticize them (the “Alt-left” for assembling? I missed that.

          • Well I’m at a loss for words. The right thing to do is to not comment on Nazis holding rallies on the United States. Should I tell my Jewish friends that i have no comment on Nazi rallies? Honestly…

          • You may make any comment you wish on Nazi rallies, to whomever you wish.

            You may want to check up on the subject prior to your commentary. Google “ACLU Nazi Skokie 1978” before you set up your soapbox.

      • Ryan Schroeder on

        Um, there’s a difference between supporting someone’s Constitutional right to assemble and criticize the point of their assembly? Surely, you are aware of this. After all, have you forgotten what Trump had to say about people who disagreed with him exercising their Constitutional right to assemble at his campaign rallies and events?
        “I’d like to punch him in the face.”
        “In the good old days, they’d rip him out of that seat so fast. But today everyone is so politically correct. Our country is going to hell—we’re being politically correct.”
        “Just knock the hell… I promise you I will pay for the legal fees. I promise, I promise.”
        “I’ll beat the crap out of you.”
        “Part of the problem … is nobody wants to hurt each other anymore.”
        “The audience hit back. That’s what we need a little bit more of.”
        “Try not to hurt him. If you do, I’ll defend you in court, don’t worry about it.”
        “Maybe he should have been roughed up.”
        “I don’t know if I’ll do the fighting myself or if other people will.”
        Interesting. It seems the President – on TV – has many, many times has called for people exercising their civil rights to be beat up. Those who oppose him, of course.
        And Nazis? Not a peep!
        Classy of you to defend this, honestly.

        • Trump denounced the violence in VA.. He cannot/should not denounce the right to peacefully assemble.

          I can’t make it any plainer than that

          • Ryan Schroeder on

            There’s no point in talking with you about this, because you refuse to listen.
            No one is saying Trump should have said that the Nazis shouldn’t have been allowed to rally. Who has written that anywhere in these comments? Simply quote it. That will solve the problem. But you can’t, because no one has.
            I, and others here, have said, repeatedly, Trump should have said that Nazis holding rallies in the US is a bad thing for the country, because Jews are citizens and Nazis seek to eliminate Jews. Obviously, people exercising their rights can be a bad thing. Do you think it’s a bad thing, or not a bad thing, when someone uses the n-word to describe a Black person? Or is it impossible for it to be bad because speech is a protected right?
            What is so hard to understand about this?

          • Anna is saying that. “There is a difference between the Constitutional right to hold a rally and the morality of a rally.” bemoaning that Trump did not issue a statement against the rally.

            You are saying that. You were upset that “the President can’t even bring himself to condemn white supremacists from holding a rally”. You say it again here. “Trump should have said that Nazis holding rallies in the US is a bad thing for the country”.

            You then double down: “people exercising their rights can be a bad thing”.

            Has someone hijacked your screen name?

            You two are my only respondents, and both of you believe the President should have spoken against these groups’ assembling.

            Do you have a list of people who’s rights should be abridged? Even the ACLU thought the Nazis had a right to march in Skokie.

  6. Ram – where to begin?
    1) I am a Chicago resident.
    2) Just because I disagree with you doesn’t mean I agree with the ACLU.
    3) The ACLU supported the RIGHT to assemble. The Nazi assembly in Skokie was cancelled. What part of this don’t you get: the right to assemble versus disagreeing with the content and context of the assembly?
    4) The ACLU leadership condemned the content and context of the Nazi assembly.
    “He noted that he personally would “condemn the Nazis with all vigor and with all vehemence.” But he affirmed his organization’s commitment to preserving free debate in a democratic society in the hope that the people, rather than an unduly oppressive government, will choose wisely among competing ideas.

    He revealed that the ACLU has offered assistance to the Jewish community of Skokie in planning its counter-demonstration and expressed the hope that the expected “peaceable and stately” tone of the Jewish protest would effectively overshadow the “deeply offensive” Nazi rhetoric.”

    http://www.jta.org/1978/06/14/archive/aclu-defends-representing-nazis-at-free-speech-convocation
    5) Why are you making things up? This comparison makes no sense since Trump didn’t call out the Nazis.

    • Trump did call out the Nazis. The quote is embedded in the first paragraph of the article we’re commenting upon.

      Do you support the right to assemble or not?

      If so, then you agree with the ACLU and the Constitution.

      • You can selectively quote Trump all you want. I don’t care. Unlike you, I don’t ignore the rest of what he said. Maybe you missed his speech Saturday and Tuesday. I’m not pretending those didn’t happen. Sure, 48 hours later after mountains of criticism he finally says something. On Tuesday, he took it all back. I’m done playing these semantic games.
        I have never said here that the Nazis should have been banned from assembling. As always, you put words in my mouth. Impossible to have an adult discussion when you make claims for others and only selectively quote Trump.

        • I actually did not quote him at all. I’m referring to the quote presented to me in the article here.

          On Tuesday, I gather that he laid blame for the violence at the feet of the counter-protestors as well as the white supremacists, and that was not well-received by some.

          So, I misunderstood you, and the President should not make public statements denouncing any public assemblies by Nazis? He denounced the groups.

  7. Ryan Schroeder on

    If you don’t understand the difference between the right to do something versus whether someone SHOULD do something, then there’s no point talking further, honestly.
    I acknowledge your right to vote for Trump. I don’t think you should vote for Trump. If I told you I don’t think you should vote for Trump, am I abridging your Constitutional right to vote for Trump? To answer yes makes no sense whatsoever. Sorry. By that definition, CatholicVote has been abridging everyone’s Constitutional rights for years telling us who to vote for.

    • You’re all over the board here, Ryan. Honestly.

      People have the RIGHT to peacefully assemble, even if we do not care for them nor their viewpoints. That’s not up to you, me, the President nor Catholic Vote.

      Do you or do you not believe that people have the right to assemble peacefully-even those with whom you disagree vehemently? You want a politician to make a statement that some people should not be able to do this or something. That’s ridiculous.

      In your non-analogous hypothetical, no one’ s telling anyone that I shouldn’t be able to vote at all. THAT would be abridging my rights.

      • Ryan Schroeder on

        You’re incapable of responding to what people write.
        I didn’t say I want a politician to say that someone should not be able to assemble.
        In fact, I wrote the exact opposite.
        Ryan Schroeder: “No one is saying Trump should have said that the Nazis shouldn’t have been allowed to rally.”
        Ryan Schroeder: “If you don’t understand the difference between the right to do something versus whether someone SHOULD do something, then there’s no point talking further, honestly.”
        Again, and I’m not going to write the same thing again, there’s a difference between supporting someone’s RIGHT to do something and whether they should actually go and do it. Just like the ACLU example you brought up and Anna provided the actual accurate information on. The ACLU supported the right of the Nazis to assemble in Skokie while at the same time SPEAKING OUT AGAINST IT and aiding the protests against it.
        According to the historical example YOU PROVIDED, the ACLU did something that you are declaring to be impossible: both support the right to assemble LEGALLY while speaking out morally against it. How did the ACLU do this if it is not possible to do so? Why did you site the ACLU as an example if you don’t believe such actions are permissible?
        Not that hard. But time and again, and not just on this story, but every story, you insert words that people have never said, and then expect them to argue against claims you have made for them.

        • “Ryan Schroeder: “No one is saying Trump should have said that the Nazis shouldn’t have been allowed to rally.”

          From me, earlier:

          “You were upset that “the President can’t even bring himself to condemn white supremacists from holding a rally”. You say it again here. “Trump should have said that Nazis holding rallies in the US is a bad thing for the country”.

          You then double down: “people exercising their rights can be a bad thing”. ”

          So, either your short-term memory is bad or you are hoping I cannot read, but you did say that some people exercising their rights is not good, and that Trump should have said as much. You said it thrice. I pasted it again for your recollection.

          The President said nothing preceding the rally, to my knowledge. I don’t recall reading anything VA Gov. McAuliffe said before the rally, and it was in his state. Unlike the ACLU at Skokie, neither Trump nor McAuliffe had been called upon to do anything about the rally prior to the rally.

          The President did make statements after the rally.

          No point trying to draw apples to oranges conclusions, Ryan.

          At least own what you do say. That will make it easier for you and me.

          • Ryan Schroeder on

            Yes, people exercising their rights can be a bad thing. If someone called my gay brother a faggot to his face, yes, I would say that is bad.

            Obviously.

  8. Can the authors on this website ever even come close to disagreeing with the president? I’ve given up hope that they’ll ever condemn him, but at the very least, can the contributors at least show some human decency and COURAGE for once? Under the president’s logic, the *act* of abortion is wrong, the belief system that led to the abortion can be avoided, since we should only focus on the violent acts.. So when the president only condemns the actions, he is carefully avoiding the ongoing dehumanization in this country of ethnic minorities. Watch the unedited videos and the crown of white men marching with torches is in no way leading a “peaceful protest” or merely exercising their 1st amendment rights. Their aim was to intimidate, which was that tactic used on black voters in the South. If readers of the website are SO concerned about first ammendment issues, then lose the fake outrage anytime someone says “Happy Holidays” to you.

    • Joe, the authors of this website are not going to criticize this administration even when the GOP is shocked and horrified on Trump doubling down on his disgraceful equating of the hateful Nazi demonstrators with the counter-protesters. I think CV has decent people, but they have all gone too far down the road in support of this President and the GOP in general.

      • Sean-

        Do you think that the demonstrators were fighting with themselves, or with the counter-protestors?

        Are people who engage in violence absolved from blame if they engage in violence with people we don’t like?

  9. 1. With counter-protestors. I think the demonstrators were there to cause trouble and violence. That is evinced by the armed militia who showed up.

    2. No.

  10. John Flaherty on

    I find I’m almost as disgusted with the outrcry against events in Charlottesville as I am with the violence itself. For my understanding, the whole mess began because some of the population of Charlottesville insisted that a statue of a Confederate general needed to be torn down. Oddly, in all the outcry against “racism” I’ve heard this week, I have heard nothing about the racist act of tearing down the statue in the first place.
    I do not believe racial tensions will be eased before the minorities of this nation cease with demanding to redefine this nation’s history in an image they favor. I find their attitudes every bit as despicable as the worst of the infamous slave-holders or segregationists.

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