I am proud of the boys of Covington Catholic High School. They kept their cool and held their ground when taunted Friday by a small group of the Black Hebrew Israelite religious sect and then when confronted by left-wing Native Americans with an ax to grind.
All this took place outside the Lincoln Memorial during an Indigenous Peoples March in Washington. It coincided with the March for Life, which drew thousands of anti-abortion protesters, including a group from Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills.
The Black Hebrew Israelites had staked out a prominent place on the plaza in front of the Lincoln Memorial and were taunting white people walking by. In one instance, they verbally insulted a group of white Catholics, some dressed in Make America Great Again regalia. The group shuffled away without saying a word. Next, the men zeroed in on the group of Catholic school boys quietly awaiting their bus ride home.
Several of the boys were wearing those bright red Make America Great Again (MAGA) hats; that incensed the Black Hebrew Israelites, who taunted and insulted the boys. After receiving a couple of these vile insults, the boys responded not in kind nor with violence, but by doing some school cheers – the kind sung at pep rallies to build school spirit – after they received permission from their chaperone. This was how the boys chose to defend themselves from the vile insults being hurled at them.
The Black Hebrew Israelites continued to taunt the boys, and when they learned that two of the students were black they zeroed in on them. The students pleaded with the men to stop being racist and to stop being so mean to their black friend. One even reached out his open hand in a gesture of goodwill; this peace offering was rejected and met with more insults.
A video of just a small part of the incident went viral. The media, naturally, condemned the MAGA-hat wearing boys as anti-Native American bigots and falsely reported that the boys encircled and mocked Phillips. How did the boys’ school and diocesan leaders react? In a joint statement, the Covington Catholic High School and the Diocese of Covington condemned the boys, apologized to Phillips and declared, “This behavior is opposed to the Church’s teachings on the dignity and respect of the human person. The matter is being investigated and we will take appropriate action, up to and including expulsion.”
What in God’s name are these school and church leaders talking about? Those boys did not disrespect Phillips. It was Phillips who disrespected them with his aggressive and confrontational “in your face” activism. The Black Hebrew Israelites’ behavior toward the boys was about as vile and insulting as possible. Those boys, particularly Sandmann, showed an amazing amount of self-control. He should receive a medal of honor by his school and church leaders, not condemnation and threat of expulsion. Their reaction was a stunning betrayal of the truth and of care and concern for their own flock. Those Catholic school and church leaders ready so ready to sacrifice their sons on the altar of political correctness when it was their sons who were the ones being politically correct!
Phillips is claiming victimhood and is using the media spotlight to promote his left-wing political agenda. His fellow activists are already fundraising off it. In an interview that occurred directly after he confronted the boys, Phillips said, “This is indigenous lands. We’re not supposed to have walls here. We never did for millennia, before anyone else came here, we never had walls, we never had a prison. We always took care of our elders, we took care of our children. … We taught them right from wrong.” Translation: White Americans build walls to keep good people out, prisons to keep good people in, refuse to take care of their elders or their children and fail to teach them right from wrong.
PennLive Opinion contributor Marc A. Scaringi, of Camp Hill, is an attorney and host of the “Marc Scaringi Show” on WHP580-AM in Harrisburg. His work appears biweekly.