From the Catholic Conference of Kentucky:
The Diocese of Covington and Covington Catholic High School have issued the following statement: We condemn the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students towards Nathan Phillips specifically, and Native Americans in general, Jan. 18, after the March for Life, in Washington, D.C. We extend our deepest apologies to Mr. Phillips.
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.
We know this incident also has tainted the entire witness of the March for Life and express our most sincere apologies to all those who attended the March and all those who support the pro-life movement.
The Associated Press reports:
U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, D-New Mexico, who is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna and had been at the rally earlier in the day, used Twitter to sharply criticize what she called a “heartbreaking” display of “blatant hate, disrespect, and intolerance.”
Haaland, who is also Catholic, told AP she was particularly saddened to see the boys mocking an elder, who is revered in Native American culture. She placed some of the blame on President Donald Trump, who has used Indian names like Pocahontas as an insult.
Philips told NBC News that some of the youths who surrounded him had chanted slogans in favour of President Trump’s border wall. “Chants of ‘Build the wall’ and other things that were even worse,” he said. “They were brought up to believe I’m less than human.”
“I’m still trying to process it,” Phillips said. “Who they were, who those young folks were, where they came from and who’s bringing them up. Where were the chaperones? How did this come to take this point? It’s gonna take us all to come together. I’m about prayer, but then you have to have some action to go with it.”
From an op-ed by Covington’s mayor:
Is this the way we want the rest of the nation and the world to see us? In answer, let me – as Covington’s mayor – be absolutely clear: No. The videos being shared across the nation do NOT represent the core beliefs and values of this City. Covington is a diverse community, in areas of race, national origin, ethnicity, religious preference, sexual orientation, and income.
We are one of the few cities in Kentucky with a Human Rights Ordinance that protects ALL people, including those with diverse gender identities and sexual orientation. And we have urged our fellow cities in Northern Kentucky to follow our lead.
In fact, this past summer I joined Covington’s police chief leading Northern Kentucky’s Pride Parade. City vehicles drove in the parade, and department heads marched with a banner proudly proclaiming our beliefs. No, we’re not perfect. More progress needs to be made, and we will continue to work diligently on making it.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports:
A Change.com petition addressed to Rev. Roger Joseph Foys, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington, has asked for the school to stop any association with the March for Life following the event.
The petition, signed by 1,480 people, asked for the immediate termination of principal Robert Rowe for “fostering an environment where these types of actions and words are condoned.” The petition was penned by Matthew Lehman, who said he is a 1995 graduate of Covington Catholic.
The petition also asked for the appointment of a board of the school to review CovCath’s admissions, educational standards, administration and social mission.