If Covid doesn’t knock him out, Trump may be on track to win again, with help from the Sandmann—that is Nicholas Sandmann, aka one of the “Covington Kids.” The Sandmann saga is so surreal that it’s hard to believe—and it’s not over yet.
If you recall, in January 2019, Sandmann, then a sixteen-year-old, attended the anti-abortion “March for Life”. The schoolboy and his classmates, wearing MAGA hats, were at the protest as part of a trip organised by their school, Covington Catholic High. Caught on camera, Sandmann subsequently came under fire for supposedly committing a racist act—but it turned out he had been wrongfully accused. Further footage cleared him, but not before he was subjected to being purged by the press.
Recent events prove that the lapdogs of the Left are still not done with him. Considering that I, a pro-choicer, have felt sufficiently outraged to write an article defending Catholic pro-lifers, it seems to me that the Left is losing its mind, and quite possibly the upcoming election. The continued victimisation of this young man by the social justice mob should serve as a warning to those of us promoting secularism that we need to take a different path.
It all started when a video went viral of the Washington D.C. event that appeared to show Sandmann and his friends blocking the path of a Native American man, Nathan Phillips. Sandmann was singled out for apparently “smirking” at him. The mainstream media decried his behaviour, and the Left went into overdrive. Twitter was soon awash with celebrities, and even journalists, demanding that the schoolboys be doxxed, punched “in the nuts”, or “go screaming, hats first, into the wood chipper”. (Some did later apologise, including the author of the wood chipper tweet saying that he had meant to be satirical). However, new footage now proves the allegations against the schoolboys as untrue. It turned out that the Native American man had actually walked toward the crowd of boys, approached Sandmann, and continued to beat a drum near his face, while the perplexed teen stood grinning awkwardly.
In another bizarre twist, it turns out that one of the other protest groups present, a group of black men calling themselves the Black Hebrew Israelites, were screaming homophobic slurs at the rally. Yet, no one appears to be asking for these black men to be fed to a wood chipper. Sandmann has been legally vindicated after suing and settling out of court with a number of high profile media outlets, including The Washington Post and CNN. In August, Sandmann, now an 18-years-old college freshman, started working for Senator Mitch McConnell. He also spoke at the Republican National Convention about the mistreatment that was meted out to him.
Yet, the Left continues to go after him. On September 6th an American Civil Unions Liberties worker criticised Transylvania University for accepting Sandmann as a student, calling it a “stain” on the university, and “counter to their mission”.
The ACLU staffer is young, too. I don’t wish for him to become a victim of the “cancel culture” himself over what may be a hasty, misinformed Facebook post. But it’s ironic given that the ACLU’s mission is to “defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties”. And the Left must realise the ramifications of their actions.
Trying to ruin an innocent young man’s life is an example of the ominous overreach of the Left in recent years. The pity is there are bigger fish to fry than a Catholic schoolboy. CNN and co. could be churning out a story every night, if they chose to, on the real horrors within the Catholic hierarchy.
Criticism of the Catholic Church
Indeed if the Covington kids heard news of the endless accounts of Catholic Priests raping young boys and girls across the globe, whilst Church elders are covering it up, they would question the sanctity of their own school and its teachings.
If they are wanting to read something closer to home, they could start with the 2018 grand jury report that uncovered that priests have abused more than 1,000 children in Pennsylvania dioceses, with the cardinals covering up their crimes. Or they could look at the various horrors that the Australian Royal Commission uncovered. It included that 40% of the Brothers of St John of God had faced accusations of child sex abuse.
But instead of the progressive press focusing their attention on these crimes, they concentrated their zeal on crucifying choirboys. Not much different from the church that they condemn. No wonder it has entrenched formative young people, such as Sandmann, further into their conservative position.
The Catholic Church, and many other conservative Christian denominations, pressure governments worldwide to outlaw abortion. In 2015, in Catholic-dominated Paraguay, an 11-year-old, who had been raped by her stepfather, gave birth after she had been denied permission by the authorities (egged on by the Church) to have an abortion.
Rape is also a constant threat to women in war-torn countries. In the Democratic Republic of Congo nearly every minute a woman is raped, (according to a 2011 study released by The American Journal of Public Health). Child marriage, too, is prevalent in many countries. 14% of Ethiopian girls are married by the age of 15, according to a 2017 UNICEF report. A young girl going through labour is particularly vulnerable to developing obstetric fistulas. This is a hole in which urine, and sometimes faeces, can flow out uncontrollably, through a girl’s vagina. The prevalence of this problem in Ethiopia led to the building of the world’s first fistula hospital there.
Perhaps the Covington schoolboys should ponder whether they would like their little sister, or girlfriend, to endure a dangerous labour, or give birth to their rapist’s child. This is the future that the pro-life hierarchy is trying to make a reality in America. There’s hypocrisy here given that paedophile priests impregnated some of those needing abortions.
Though we must admit that consensual sexual relationships can lead to unwanted pregnancies too. This is because, in a reproductive life spanning decades, even the best of us can forget to use contraceptives. As a pro-choicer, I would argue that it is unfair that women end up bearing the burden of pregnancy. I realise this argument is unlikely to sway many pro-lifers, but this issue brings into focus how important contraception is. When people are using reliable contraception regularly, unwanted pregnancies vastly decline. Therefore, you would think that anti-abortionists would be advocating for effective contraception to be easily accessible. Yet the Catholic Church still prohibits Catholics from using safe and reliable forms of birth control.
This is as a result of Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, which banned ‘artificial’ contraception. Despite 50 years of protests by both Catholics and non-Catholics, this encyclical has never been repealed. The only approved Vatican birth control methods are ‘natural’ ones; meaning that a woman must abstain from sex when she is most fertile. Not easy to calculate and hardly convenient. In any case, such methods do not protect against STDs.
The Religious Right around the world
Of course, Catholics in the West regularly ignore the ban; yet this ban has had far-reaching effects in the third world, particularly in Catholic strongholds. Churches pressure Governments not to allow the promotion or supply of contraception, affecting both Catholics and non-Catholics. They are not the only conservative Christians with this objective. Yet, the Catholic Church is particularly dominant in many poor countries.
In the Philippines, the Catholic Church tried to block government legislation that aimed to distribute free contraception. In Kenya, a Catholic Archbishop (and some imams) burned condoms and sex education pamphlets in public bonfires. And the Vatican’s own Pontifical Council for the Family spread the falsehood that the HIV virus could pass through condoms. The result has been an AIDS pandemic. If pro-lifers want to reduce abortions, they should be lobbying governments not to give into anti-contraceptive dogma.
Perhaps pro-lifers should ponder how unfair it is to women in the third world that a dangerous and agonising, backyard abortion may seem their only option, given that they have been blocked from accessing both reliable contraception and legal abortions. Perhaps the kids from Covington High should ask their own teachers and parents if they use birth control methods banned by the Vatican. If so, why are they supporting a church that blocks their third world brethren from doing the same?
The crux of the issue
And this gets to the crux of why the social justice Left has so much anger. The hypocrisy of first-world Christians has ramifications for the third world. But this is where it gets tricky. Do we hold religious people to account for hypocrisy? After all, they’re also victims of churches who have indoctrinated them to feel ashamed of natural sexual urges. It’s no wonder that so many Christians end up living a double life: sex on Saturday, service on Sunday.
Furthermore, everyone forgets that the Covington kids were just that—children on a school trip. How many of the adolescents attending the anti-abortion march were wanting to be there, or truly knew the issues involved? If the Left focused more on these real church scandals, rather than shaming school children, perhaps some of those religiously indoctrinated would rethink their support for a clearly corrupt Church.
Instead, what the Sandmann saga achieves is showing up the social justice warriors as having an obsession with trivialities instead of real tragedies. It’s just another example in a long line of cancel culture cases that have only served to reinforce the Right, as well as swaying swing-voters to join them. If Trump triumphs again in November, it will be the Left who handed him the victory.