By Ray McGovern, August 8, 2020
How the American Catholic church is wrestling with the Black Lives Matter movement.
By Elizabeth Bruenig, NY Times, August 6, 2020
In 1963, when 250,000 demonstrators gathered at the Lincoln Memorial and heard the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech, they did so under the prayerful invocation of Archbishop Patrick O’Boyle of Washington. He called for the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of Christians to the injustice of racial discrimination, condemned violence and praised the activists who had possessed the courage to go forth, like Moses, in search of a beautiful country.
Five decades later, these hopes seem in many respects unfulfilled. About one in five Americans identify as Catholic, and as of 2018, roughly six in 10 white Catholics felt that police killings of Black men were isolated incidents rather than evidence of a profound and lethal bias. Prominent Catholic commentators, including Bill O’Reilly and Father Dwight Longenecker, fear and reject the Black Lives Matter movement.
American Catholic unease with Black Lives Matter has been particularly noticeable during the protests over the killing of George Floyd. Statues commemorating Junipero Serra, a Spanish monk responsible for founding several of California’s Catholic missions in the early days of European colonization, have been torn down by protesters outraged by Father Serra’s eager participation in the conquest of North America, including the torture, enslavement and murder of some of the Native Americans he intended to convert.
Other religious statues, too, have been damaged by protesters. Coupled with the vandalism of a handful of Catholic churches along with a slew of ordinary buildings, the attacks on statuary have sparked fury among conservative Catholics, confirming what they perhaps already believed: that racial justice movements — or at least this particular one — are antithetical to the Christian faith, rooted in Marxism and atheism.
A Catholic anti-abortion activist, Abby Johnson, tweeted in June: “The Catholic Church is burning. And everyday, liberal Catholics continue to throw matches on Her with sacrilegious nonsense like this,” in reference to an icon showing Mr. Floyd as a Jesus figure, dying in his mother’s arms.
Andrew Sullivan, a Catholic writer, argued in July that Black Lives Matter and Christianity are “fundamentally incompatible world views.”
In a July 5 statement, Bishop Thomas A. Daly of Spokane, Wash., wrote: “BLM is in conflict with Church teaching regarding marriage, family and the sanctity of life. Moreover, it is disturbing that BLM has not vocally condemned the recent violence that has torn apart so many cities.”
Steady in the midst of this supposed conflict between faith and anti-racism efforts is Gloria Purvis. She is a Black Catholic — a designation lonely enough even without intrafaith political strife, as only 3 percent of American Catholics are Black. Ms. Purvis hosts a popular Catholic radio show, “Morning Glory!”, and a limited television series, “Authentically Free at Last.”
After the murder of Mr. Floyd, Ms. Purvis denounced his killing and the many killings of Black men and women by the police that had come before.
“I said I thought racism was demonic,” she told me over a recent dinner at a Washington bistro. In the weeks following Mr. Floyd’s death, “Morning Glory!” featured episodes devoted to saints who resisted racism in their lifetimes, the impact of racial discrimination on society at large and the reality of systemic racism itself.
Her comments set off a wave of recrimination via tweets and emails from indignant listeners.
“Racism makes a liar of God,” she told me. “It says not everyone is made in his image. What a horrible lie from the pit of hell.”
Her radio program was dropped in June by Guadalupe Radio Network, a Catholic station based in Midland, Texas. After outcry on social media, the network released a statement claiming that Ms. Purvis’s show had temporarily been suspended not for her remarks on racism but because the network had detected “a spirit of contention growing among the hosts.” Guadalupe Radio Network did not respond to a request for comment.
Ms. Purvis didn’t buy the explanation: There had always been occasional, friendly disagreements between the show’s hosts, but it had never been an issue before. Ms. Purvis told me the network has neither reinstated her program nor offered any explanation of when or if it plans to air it again. She still believes the show was suspended because of her explicit condemnation of police killings of Black people and her impassioned exhortations against racism.
She sighed. It isn’t that she dismisses sacred sites or representations of the saints; in fact, she told me, she credits a visit to the grotto where Our Lady of Lourdes is believed to have appeared with the birth of her daughter, after a 15-year struggle with infertility. And she was present when Pope Francis canonized Father Serra during the pontiff’s first visit to the United States. But she wishes it were possible to stipulate without incurring rancor that objects of piety have their place in the order of things.
“In the Catholic world, we’re pro-life, right?” she said. “But we were so quick to forget about a man killed in the street in favor of things that can be rebuilt or replaced. This injustice that happened to George Floyd seemed to evaporate as soon as money or property came into it.”
After she spoke out about Mr. Floyd’s death, Ms. Purvis was inundated with videos sent by her fellow faithful, condemning Mr. Floyd with an exaggerated version of his criminal record.
“I thought: Any Catholic who can watch that and not be bothered by it is missing something in their faith,” Ms. Purvis said. Mr. Floyd, she said, “had a right to life. But he also had a right to a natural death.”
That this foundational principle could be overlooked in the name of icons seemed to exhaust and dispirit her.
“I don’t think a lot of people realize racism is a sin,” she said. “Having these discussions makes people uncomfortable.”
It should not be so difficult for so many Christians to affirm that yes, Black lives matter, without conditions or complaints. “We are being called to love our neighbor,” Ms. Purvis observed, “and my God, my God, we are failing.”
Ms. Purvis maintains hope for the future. She wants to see a sincere reckoning with anti-Black racism within the church. “We need to name it,” she said, “and say: Yes, we have sinned; yes, religious orders owned slaves; we did not speak out in the abolition movement; we pushed some people even in the celebration of Mass to the side or to the back, so they could only receive our Lord when others were done.” That much and more is necessary.
This month, Americans will march on Washington in commemoration of the original march on the capital for civil rights and in hopes of reviving and redoubling efforts to achieve racial equality.
A diverse group of Catholics including clergy and laypeople — myself among them — have prepared a letter exhorting our bishops to join us at this march, to fulfill the hope laid out for Christians in the first epistle of John: “Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.”
For further background — particularly on how Georgetown University was built by enslaved people owned by the Jesuits in Maryland — see this article written by Ray four years ago: https://consortiumnews.com/2016/04/17/the-shame-of-the-jesuits/ .
President Trump spent his first two years of college at Fordham, although this is not widely known. Fordham will not release his grades. A course in Ethics was a sophomore-year requirement back in that day. The word on the street is that he got a passing grade, but only because he had someone take the final exam for him … as he reportedly did with the SATs.
By Ray McGovern
What? DNC Emails Not Hacked By Russia? Comedian Lee Camp explained it all three years ago. If you need some comic relief right away, feel free to avoid the turgid prose below and scroll right down to the highlighted links below.
The vast majority of Americans can be forgiven for still believing that Russia hacked the DNC emails and gave them to WikiLeaks. This is largely because they have no way of knowing that Shawn Henry, head of the cyber company CrowdStrike which the DNC hired to do the forensics on the DNC computers, has admitted that there was/is no concrete evidence that those DNC emails were hacked — by Russia or by anyone else.
Henry admitted this in sworn testimony to the House Intelligence Committee on December 5, 2017. Do the math: was that was 32 months ago? But his testimony was kept secret until House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff (D, California) was forced to release it on May 7, 2020. Do the math: was that three months ago? And you still haven’t heard?
Here’s how Mr. Henry answered a leading question from then-ranking member Schiff on December 5, 2017:
Mr. Schiff: Do you know the date on which the Russians exfiltrated the data from the DNC? … when would that have been?
Mr. Henry: Counsel just reminded me that, as it relates to the DNC, we have indicators that data was exfiltrated from the DNC, but we have no indicators that it was exfiltrated (sic). … There are times when we can see data exfiltrated, and we can say conclusively. But in this case, it appears it was set up to be exfiltrated, but we just don’t have the evidence that says it actually left.”
You would think that the media — including the legacy corporate media — would have jumped on the release of that bombshell testimony. And you would be wrong in thinking that. You would think that surely the alternative media would report it — wrong again. This makes it more understandable that so few Americans take the trouble to look into how they have been misled on this neuralgic issue. It’s over: Fagettaboutit!
Almost no one in the media — legacy or alternative — wants to risk being seen as supporting President Trump, and few are willing to have their belief system punctured — not to mention their residual trust in organs like the formerly reputable New York Times. We VIPS, too, have no interest in being seen as supporting Trump. But the “mainstream media” have shown they cannot be trusted. As for us VIPS, we cannot seem to shake our ingrained proclivity to seek and tell the truth, without fear of favor — even though friends and family cannot understand why we would write “anything that might help Trump.” (See: https://raymcgovern.com/2020/08/05/losing-friends-confusing-others/ .)
That we got this key issue right, as we did on the issue of the (non-existent) WMD in Iraq is of little consequence. We take zero delight in having been right about either Iraq or Russia-gate; we don’t do victory laps. Just look at what is still at stake! And, still, so few award. Are you not disturbed at how the corporate media is able to suppress key facts like Shawn Henry’s testimony 32 months ago … and, sadly, virtually all of the “alternative media” as well?
Need a Good Laugh?
For those who prefer video over turgid prose, we resurrect two episodes featuring comedian Lee Camp, who uses humor and some precious video clips to illustrate the points VIPS was making three years ago. Full Disclosure: Lee did not consult with any of us VIPS in preparing his segment. Rather, he took the time to understand what VIPS wrote in our key Memorandum for the President of July 24, 2017. ( See: https://consortiumnews.com/2017/07/24/intel-vets-challenge-russia-hack-evidence/ .) That a comedian could grasp the main points, when others with more ostensibly “serious” credentials did not seem willing/able to grasp them, speaks volumes.
Camp took a month to prepare the following segment. Perhaps his presentation will go down easier with those reluctant to read VIPS memos:
Intelligence Analysts Say Russia Didn’t Hack U.S. Election
August 26, 2017 (16 minutes)
Two weeks later, Lee interviewed me to elaborate on “Russia hacking” and related issues:
Former CIA Analyst on the Agency’s History of Lying to the Public
September 7, 2017 (21:40 minutes)
In sum, Lee Camp had assimilated — and acted out — the gist of it three years ago. Refer these links to your friends — particularly his spoof of August 26, 2017. Lots more can be found on Consortium News ( https://consortiumnews.com/vips-memos/ ) and on raymcgovern.com, both of which have easily usable search capabilities.
Here are links to two others you might include:
Finally: Some good advice on “accommodating”: Huckleberry Finn’s black friend, Big Jim, answers Huck’s question about accommodating to the conventional wisdom — in this case on slavery: ”Just because … everybody believes it’s right, that don’t make it right.”
Just because virtually everyone believes the hacks who hacked the Russian-hack story, that don’t make it true.
By Ray McGovern, August 4, 2020
Two years ago today in Seattle I made a presentation titled: “Russia-gate: Can You Handle the Truth?” ( See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngIKjpucQh8 )
I stuck to the facts available at the time (copious facts, but many of the key ones suppressed in corporate media). It turned out that, as far as I could tell, most of the very progressive audience did not seem able to “handle the truth” very well. Most, it became obvious, were malnourished on the facts, and some of the most telling facts I cited were completely new to them. So I found myself behind the 8 ball from the outset.
My remarks were far from polished rhetoric; rather they were relaxed, discursive. They did cover a lot of ground, though, on some issues that were virgin territory for many there. What I might have added at that time (August 2018) was a tad more speculation on why it was taking Robert Mueller so long to complete his investigation. Mueller was no doubt aware of the concern Peter Strzok expressed in late July 2016 regarding evidence of Russia-Trump campaign collusion, that “there is no big there there”. So what took Mueller to long to confirm that?
In retrospect, I might have pointed to the impending mid-term election in November, noting that, if the dark cloud of suspicion had been lifted before the election, the Democrats would have had much more difficulty winning control of the House.
Everyone important — including, of course, Mueller — knew that Mueller’s bevy of lawyers were fighting Mission Impossible in their quest for evidence of collusion. We hoi polloi, however, had no clue that the principal policymakers, law enforcement, and intelligence chiefs had already admitted under oath, in secret testimony to the House Intelligence Committee at the end of 2017, that they, too, saw “no there there”. That testimony was not released until May 7, 2020. The “mainstream media” is still avoiding it like the plague — or Covid-19.
There is some comfort in the fact that the Seattle speech has gotten 223,800 views so far on YouTube — just a few thousand short of those given my May 4, 2006 mini-debate with then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1FTmuhynaw ). There is more comfort still in the fact that what I laid out for the audience two years ago seems today not far off the mark. And, despite old friends and erstwhile colleagues calling me an “adulator of Vladimir Putin”, I can still look in the mirror without worrying about what I will see there.
August 2018 to August 2020
What about the last two years? Let me offer two items for consideration; the second may surprise you:
1 — Our Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) Memo yesterday to Speaker Pelosi, which includes links to other pieces that document what has been going on: ( See: https://consortiumnews.com/2020/08/03/vips-memo-to-nancy-pelosi-did-russia-hack-the-dnc-emails/ .)
2 — The text of Jim Jordan’s (R, Ohio) introductory remarks at the hearing on July 28 at which Attorney General William Barr testified: (See: https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/house-judiciary-committee-hearing-of-attorney-general-barr-transcript-july-28 ).
Suggestion: To avoid the temptation to overreact to Jordan’s theatrics (and to counter any bias against his politics), it may be helpful to read the transcript (the link is immediately above), rather than watch the performance. Then ask yourself if any of what he says is demonstrably false. There is a rather widespread inclination to avoid giving credence, prima facie, to evidence that seems to support what our super-prevaricator president may also say. It may be hard to remember, but not everything Donald Trump and his supporters say is ipso facto false.
I urge readers to try to shed all partisanship, take an objective look at Jordan’s statement, and identify those of his assertions that require correction. Might we have some volunteers to fact check?
By Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), August 3, 2020
By Ray McGovern
Curious: Why are all the Justice Department-appointed Russia-gate sleuths — including the current sleuths looking into the bizarre behavior of earlier sleuths — allergic to interviewing former UK Ambassador Craig Murray, a close associate of Julian Assange? Have they somehow missed what Murray said years ago: “To my certain knowledge neither the DNC nor Podesta leaks to WikiLeaks involved Russia. I met with someone in Washington who, to the best of my knowledge, was an actual leaker.”
Ambassador Murray wrote to Robert Mueller offering to give evidence for his investigation, but received no reply. And now the “investigators of the (original) investigators” are also avoiding Murray like the plague — or like Covid-19.
What does this tell us about the various investigations under way? Is the much heralded one led by U.S. Attorney John Durham, for example, mostly sham?
People reassure me, No, not a sham. There will be indictments in another month or so. Well, “we’ll see what happens.”
We did not learn until May 7, 2020 that Shawn Henry, the head of CrowdStrike, which former FBI Director James Comey described as the “high-class entity … the pros that they [the DNC] hired” (and Comey deferred to for forensics on the DNC computers) had testified that CrowdStrike found no concrete evidence of a hack — by Russia or anyone else. Henry gave sworn testimony to the House Intelligence Committee on Dec. 5, 2017, but his admission was kept secret for almost two and a half years until released on May 7.
You didn’t know that? Actually, the Establishment media and most alternative media are STILL keeping Henry’s admission a secret! Another bombshell made into a dud by BOTH the Fourth and the Fifth Estate.
So what’s going on? If there was no “Russian hack” (as VIPS has been asserting with growing confidence for more than three and half years), someone with access to DNC computers must have copied the emails onto an external storage device — probably a thumb drive — and gotten them physically to WikiLeaks.
Murray was in Washington during the fall of 2016 after the murder of suspected leaker Seth Rich (July 10) and after WikiLeaks’ publication of the DNC emails (July 22). He (and Julian Assange) have said consistently that no state entity was involved in WikiLeaks’ acquisition of the DNC emails. And, as mentioned above, Murray has said he “met with someone in Washington who, to the best of his knowledge, was an actual leaker.”
And none of the investigators are interested in talking to Murray?
This does not inspire confidence in the eagerly awaited, but oft delayed conclusions of John Durham — or the other US Attorneys appointed by Attorney General Barr to “investigate the investigators”.
Barr is scheduled to testify to the House Judiciary Committee later this morning. Again, “we’ll see what happens.”
Ray discussed all this, and the CIA-commissioned spying on Julian Assange in the Ecuadoran embassy in London, with Kristina Borjesson of The Whistleblower Newsroom on July 24. ( See also: https://consortiumnews.com/2020/07/22/cia-obsessed-with-former-uk-envoy-who-will-testify-in-spying-on-assange-case/ .)
By Ray McGovern, July 19, 2020
Consortium News published this trilogy yesterday.
JOE LAURIA: Powell & Iraq—How One Resignation May Have Stopped the Disastrous Invasion
July 18, 2020
SCOTT RITTER: Powell & Iraq—Regime Change, Not Disarmament: The Fundamental Lie
July 18, 2020
RAY MCGOVERN: Powell & Iraq—The Uses and Abuses of National Intelligence Estimates
July 18, 2020