You may not find many in business, universities, Congress or the Chief Justice of the United States’s office, but there are still Catholics out there willing to defend the Church, decency and civilization.
As the mob tries to sweep away any indication that history began before last Tuesday, in St. Louis, the city’s namesake is under threat. A Black Lives Matter mob vandalized the statue and on June 29 attacked people holding a prayer vigil at the monument. But it seems local Catholics are not deterred and are continuing to defend and pray for the statue.
French King Louis IX (1214 - 1270), was by most accounts a deeply pious and exemplary Christian ruler for his time. But that time was not as enlightened as the left would wish. To ignorant, modern, deeply a-historical modern eyes, Louis was an Islamophobe and an antisemite. For that, says the left, he must be erased.
The usual assortment of academics and activists are excusing the violence and vandalism and offering rationale for memoryholing St. Louis. Writing for the Riverfront Times, Michael R. Allen (“lecturer in Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design” -- not history or theology) at Washington University in St. Louis, gave us the standard smug progressive take on the statue. It shows Louis:
likely plunging his sword toward Muslims in the Middle East or Northern Africa, because erasing non-Christian life from the Holy Land was the foremost concern of his reign. He launched his first Crusade in Egypt in 1249. He died in Tunis in 1270 while leading another
Back in France, before the Crusades, Louis IX had tested his resolve by persecuting Jewish people. In 1243, he banned the Talmud and other Jewish texts, which his soldiers then confiscated and burned.
That’s the kind of reflexively anti-Christian and anti-Western poison that informs a petition that demands not just the statue’s removal but a change of the city’s name: “St. Louis has a large and vibrant Jewish and Muslim community and it's an outright disrespect for those who are part of these faith communities to have to live in a city named after a man committed to the murder of their co religionists.”
Allen and his fellow Jacobins are relying on our general historical ignorance to buttress their argument. Louis was a crusader, one of many European kings who committed to rolling back the wave of Islamic aggression that encroached further and further into Christian lands. He wasn’t a very successful one, either. But he was a soldier waging campaigns against an expansionist foe -- not a murderer. As for his antisemitism, it was mild by medieval standards -- certainly nothing to make Louis Farakahn or Ice Cube blush.
But even if there were a valid argument for tearing down the statue, the BLM thugs onsite have undercut it.
According to the website Religion Unplugged, a newly formed Catholic group called St. Louis Forever formed to preserve the statue. And none too soon -- the city removed a Christopher Columbus statue last week. The group gathers nightly to pray at the base of the statue. The Catholic News Agency reported Catholics defending the statue at the protest prayed the rosary and sang, and several police officers separated them from the protesters.
According to the local Village Reporter, on June 29,
Several priests and senior citizens were praying with members of their congregation. When the group started praying the Black Lives Matters crowd started screaming and blaring horns stated members of the praying group. At least one incident shows a member of the prayer group being attacked by several members of the opposing crowd.
Vandalism, violence, lies and resentment are conspiring to topple history and civilization. Here’s to a few brave Catholics trying to save a piece from the barbarians.