Twenty people were killed. It was the latest in ongoing attacks on civilians in the area.
I knew about the attack - not from NBC, CBS or ABC. CNN did not run wall-to-wall coverage. No one of social media changed their profile picture or anguished over the deaths. In fact, when I did post something very recently, a woman I know who would consider herself very enlightened and progressive pointed out to me that 'this happened in January'. Now she was careful to state that, gee, it was awful that it had happened but come on...it happened in January.
In 2018 an attack by terrorists killed 18 worshipers during a religious gathering in Nigeria.
Again, I was informed of the attack but not so by the press in the United States.
This past week a White Nationalist killed 49 people in a mosque during prayer service in New Zealand. Children were pumped full of bullets. Old people were murdered. We are, right now, today, here in Modesto, California, gathering at a mosque for a show of unity against hate. Our House of Representative member, Josh Harder, will attend. The Mayor of Modesto will attend. People will gather in a show of strength and solidarity against the type of hatred demonstrated by this sick and evil act.
Why did this horrific attack get press when the others are ignored?
Oh come on, you know just as well as I.....no one cares when Catholics are killed.
This blog post is not about how people are hypocrites. It is about something that people like me have always been keenly aware of - our status as 'other'.
Because people are very aware of 'pickawordandaddphobetotheend' they will drive for miles to put flowers on a sidewalk so everyone will know that we condemn whatever ugliness has happened to a specific group of people. They will put little hats with cat ears on them and march because they want women to feel free. They will stand on corners and hold signs demanding we honk to show you reject racism. They will do whatever they can to support those who have been attacked.
Unless those who have been attacked are part of that unpopular religion. If so, no worries...everyone is given a pass on hating Catholics.
Most of my far left and far right friends will never understand is that we, true and faithful Catholics, have always been aware that we are not trusted, we are not considered true Americans (or true whatever country we are in) and that everything about us is constantly questioned and suspect. We are the first to volunteer to fight your wars. We helped build your country. We joined your scout troops and we donate to your red kettle stuff but we know that YOU know that we do not really belong here...and so whatever happens to us on the other side of the world doesn't warrant the press that a tragedy such as that which happened in New Zealand warranted.
If you find out our leaders have been horrific and sinned and caused pain? OH MAN WATCH OUT.
I have people in my life who still think the Inquisition killed MILLIONS of people in Europe.
I am held to ridicule because The Church says marriage is between one man and one woman, that a child deserves to live, that maybe we need to really restrict that death penalty thing and (worst of all!) there IS such a thing as Objective Truth.
I have had members of my 12 Step group - who spout the word 'tolerance' every chance they get - tell me that my wearing my Dominican cross makes me separate from them...and I damn well know that they would no sooner ask a Muslim woman to take off her hajib than they would drink a bottle of whiskey from the podium.
The Catholic Church suffers from a real problem with Her leadership - sinful men have destroyed our trust and made a mockery of our teachings but if anyone thinks THAT is why people hate us they do not know their American history. They do not know we have always been considered strangers in a strange land.
If people are willing to hold tight to the complicated myth that the Catholic Church hurt indigenous people they better be willing to grant the idea of freedom of religion to people like Kateri Tekakwitha and Black Elk. If people are going to shame the Catholic Church for racism then they better be able to understand the spirituality of St. Martin de Porres or Father Tolton.
No one is asking anyone to love The Catholic Church. If you have left, you have left. If you hate us, you hate us. If you feel, somehow, that we deserve everything that happens to us then so be it.
However, do not expect me to think you are wonderful for showing up for a day of unity and ignoring the horrors of terrorism against MY people.
And while I love this country and will sacrifice for it, do not expect me to think of myself as anything other than what I am - I am a stranger in your land, I am someone you do not really trust.
In the words of my brother, Black Elk (whose cause for canonization is currently being considered):
There can never be peace between nations until there is first known that true peace which is within the souls of men.
Please pray for all those who are the victims of hatred.