Father Damien Gets Shade Thrown at Him by AOC

Father Damien Gets Shade Thrown at Him by AOC

Father Damien Gets Shade Thrown at Him by AOC

You don’t have to be Catholic to deeply admire Father Damien of Molokai, Hawaii. Born in Belgium as Jozef de Veuster, he came to Hawaii in 1864, and eventually settled amongst the lepers of the Kalaupapa colony on Molokai. The priest not only ministered to the population, but also bettered the dreadful living conditions of the residents. But in 1884, the inevitable happened: he contracted leprosy himself, and died in 1889. He was only 49.

father damien

Father Damien on his deathbed. Wikimedia commons/public domain.

In 2009, then-governor Linda Lingle proclaimed October as “Saint Damien Day,” declaring,

“In Hawai‘i, Damien remains a spiritual hero and an icon of love, compassion, courage, humility and humanitarian service.” 

The National Park Service also honors Father Damien at the Kalaupapa National Historical Park. Plus, there’s a statue of the priest in the US Capitol building which depicts the cleric during his final days. Sores cover his face, his arm is in a sling, and his right hand holds a cane.

Even the people of Molokai still revere his memory.

Certainly Father Damien lived by the words of Jesus: Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. But that’s not good enough for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. No, she doesn’t like his statue standing in Capitol Hall. To her it smacks too much of “colonizers” and a “white supremacist culture.”

Fortunately John Gage, a writer and Hillside College alum, called her out on it.

Whereupon Ocasio-Cortez huffed:

“Read the text of the video you posted: it’s not about litigating an indiv person or statue, but examining that the TOTALITY of all 100+ statues are almost all white & male,incl to rep largely nonwhite places”

She kept digging:

“Frankly this isn’t even a hard point to understand, especially for a journalist. It’s also clear you understood this point well enough to identify the relevant context in the video and deliberately erase it in an effort to stir up controversy.”

Frankly, I think if a Congresswoman walks around Capitol Hill with the purpose of screeching about too many white man statues, she’s the one stirring up controversy. Self-awareness isn’t her strong suit, is it.

Perhaps AOC should, as her fellow Millennials like to tell us with a bit more age and a lot more wisdom: Educate yourself!

First of all, Hawaii wasn’t a Belgian colony. Secondly, Father Damien wasn’t representing Belgium, either. He represented the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. And, above all, he came to Hawaii to serve.

According to the US Capitol’s website’s comments on Father Damien:

“He constructed a home for boys and later a home for girls. He bandaged wounds, made coffins, dug graves, heard confessions, and said Mass every morning. In December 1884, Father Damien noticed severe blisters on his feet without the presence of pain. As he suspected, the disease was leprosy.”

Not only that, but in 1881, Queen Liliuokalani wrote the following letter to Father Damien, honoring him with a national award:

“I desire to express to you my admiration of the heroic and distinguished service you are rendering to the most unhappy of my subjects. . . .”

“I know well that your labors and sacrifices have no other motive than the desire to do good to those in distress; and that you look for no reward but from the great God, our sovereign Lord, who directs and inspires you. Nevertheless to satisfy my own earnest desire, I beg of you, Reverend Father, to accept the decoration of the Royal Order of Kalakaua, as a testimony of my sincere admiration for the efforts you are making to relieve the distress and lessen the sufferings of these afflicted people, as I myself had an occasion to see on my recent visit to the settlement.”

It’s interesting that Ocasio-Cortez whined that the Queen’s statue wasn’t present on Capitol Hill.

Finally, perhaps Ocasio-Cortez might also learn about the woman — yes woman! — who created the sculpture.

Marisol Escobar was a French immigrant of Venezuelan heritage. She was also a feminist. Not only that, but her blockish sculpture of Father Damien emulates native totem poles.

So let’s review: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez throws shade at a sculpture of a man who lived and died among lepers. The non-white queen of the nation he served honored him. And a statue which commemorates him was created by a Hispanic woman who employed native art forms.

Looks like the freshman Congresswoman from New York picked the wrong statue and the wrong priest to castigate. But now the nation knows more about a man who was both heroic and compassionate. Thanks, AOC!


Featured image: wikimedia commons/photograph by William Brigham/cropped/public domain.

Written by

Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!

  • Drew458 says:

    Well done. And donkey chompers is one of the biggest idiots in government. What a classless moron.

  • Skillyboo says:

    If she’s so concerned about White statues honoring White achievement then she should put forth some of the people, of color of course, who would represent her values and let Congress vote on them.

    • GWB says:

      The issue is one of actual history versus what she believes history should reflect.

      “There’s too many white people.” Well, then, AOC, build a time machine, go back in time, and bring a bunch of Africans and Asians and Australian aboriginals to America and get them set up to advance science and philosophy and theories of economics and government, invent a bunch of stuff, and help establish the US of A as a fantastic country based in freedom. I’m sure you won’t have any trouble finding folks in those places who will embrace Enlightenment principles and build upon them.

      But, until you do that, AOC, try to adjust your mind to living in the actual world, acknowledging things that actually happened. Or, go back to tending bar.

      • Skillyboo says:

        A smart person once said “you can’t fix stupid.” I won’t look up who said it because it was probably a White male and that would make it racist. And, as we’ve come to learn, if you can apply the racist tag to it then it must be condemned. To not do so would mean that someone’s feelings were hurt.

  • Mary says:

    Blind to goodness.

    • NTSOG says:

      Mary: “Blind to goodness.”

      Well Princess AOC clearly believes that she is the sole arbiter of ‘goodness’ and, presumably, Caucasians cannot perform good deeds due to their whiteness.

  • […] Father Damien Gets Shade Thrown at Him by AOC […]

  • Dietrich says:

    Stupid Bar Wench attempts to drag down those so much greater than she, who can no longer defend themselves.

  • Taylor says:

    The witch helped send destroy a promised 25,000 jobs in her District when eh opposed Amazon opening up a HQ in Queens, yet she won her primary against a far more qualified Democrat.

  • GWB says:

    I, for one, am glad AOC brought this up, as I had not heard the story of Father Damien in a very long time. I needed it to remind me of what humility and a servant heart really is.

    Maybe – just maybe – AOC might learn some of that as well.
    (I won’t hold my breath waiting for it, though.)

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