Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

The danger of selective outrage

By MSGR. RICHARD LOPEZ, Commentary | Published December 24, 2020

I believe it was T.S. Eliot who said: “Humankind cannot bear very much reality.” We also seem to be highly selective in the reality we seek to bear.

Msgr. Richard J. Lopez

I have seen heart-wrenching ads on TV of kittens freezing in abusive conditions or cute doggies chained and starving for food and attention. Few complain about these ads being too graphic. They are incentives to stop animal abuse. The fact of the matter is people who abuse animals often later abuse human beings.

The question I am raising is why are there not similar ads that bring attention to the abuse of human beings? For example, why was there not a program about the Yazidi genocide in parts of Iraq and Syria? Why did we not see the video made by Isis that showed the beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians in 2015? Would not the outrage of seeing such things lead to action for justice?

I have seen ads that highlight the crisis of climate change and the impact on polar bears. Cute polar bear cubs seem so vulnerable. No doubt the ads elicit concern for climate change and the continuation of a species. Why are there no ads showing the destruction and extinction of Christian communities that date back to the time of the Apostles in the Middle East? Can we not bear the reality?

We have sympathy for kittens and polar bear cubs; would the reality of an ultrasound of an actual human abortion be something we need to bear to clarify our thinking?

There have been massive demonstrations over the horrible murder of George Floyd, an African American man. Why are there no demonstrations over African Christians being murdered in Nigeria?

Nina Shea, director of the Hudson’s Institute for Religious Freedom, states: “More Christians have been targeted and slaughtered by extremists in Nigeria than in the entire Middle East in recent years. These vulnerable Christians who are being attacked on two fronts by Islamic terrorists and jihadists need help.”

Is there a hidden racism in our indifference to Christians because they suffer in Africa? Our 2020 demonstrations in the U.S. were born out of a hunger for justice. What about justice for those who are the victims of genocide? By international laws, these victims are entitled to asylum, yet our doors are slammed shut to Christians in refugee camps throughout the Middle East and Africa. Justice is about judging the perpetrators of genocide, yet we are silent about their crimes.

Recently, a 14-year-old Christian girl in Pakistan named Maira was kidnapped and forced into both Islam and marriage. The perpetrator claimed she is 19 despite all the documents to the contrary. The family’s lawyer said: “The people who do this kind of thing to a young girl like Maira treat us (Christians) not as human beings but as if we’re animals.”

Sadly, our selective outrage in this country seems more bent on helping animals than persecuted Christians.

If the camera had not caught what had happened to George Floyd, the world would not have noticed or cared. Perhaps, we have to become the cameras to present the pictures of Christians suffering discrimination and murder in the world today. To keep aware, awake and active in concern, stay in touch with Aid to the Church in Need.

Msgr. Richard Lopez served for many years as a teacher at St. Pius X High School, Atlanta.