Signs of the Times: The Riots on College Campuses

05-19-2024Weekly ReflectionFr. Leonard F. Villa

Inspired by no earthly ambition, the Church seeks but a solitary goal: to carry forward the work of Christ under the lead of the Spirit-Comforter. And Christ entered this world to give witness to the truth, to rescue and not to sit in judgment, to serve and not to be served.

To carry out such a task, the Church has always had the duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel. (emphasis added) Gaudium et Spes, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Second Vatican Council

Ostensibly the riots on college-campuses are about the war in Gaza, as the State of Israel seeks to destroy the terrorist organization Hamas. The riots are overwhelmingly antisemitic /pro-Hamas. However the context is larger than this especially given the presence of paid-rabble rousers; college students, who admit not really knowing what this is all about but wanting to join in the protests anyway; and college students embracing radical Islam as part of woke ideology. Whatever legitimate conflicts and issues may exist between the people in Gaza and the State of Israel or the founding of the State of Israel, it never justifies terrorism and the terrorist atrocities committed by Hamas, not to mention the legitimate right of nations to defend their countries from asymmetric warfare, seeking their destruction.

Asymmetric warfare is that kind of warfare associated with guerilla and terrorist tactics. In every case, recourse to terrorism is unjustifiable and damages the cause that is being sought. #387 …(W)ith the spreading of anti-semitism, Pope Pius XI affirmed: “Spiritually we are all Semites.” #92 Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church The term “Semitism” was coined by Wilhelm Marr in the 19 th century which then gave rise to the phrase “anti-semitism” which meant anti-Jewish with racist overtones. The phrase has now taken on its own life with various descriptions of what it consists of, in laws and books, especially after World War II and the Nazi agenda to eliminate Jews. All racism is immoral. Zionism is a movement for (originally) the reestablishment and (now) the development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel. It was established as a political organization in 1897 under Theodor Herzl, and was later led by Chaim Weizmann.

Buried in the reality of these riots are the continued threats to the United States and all free nations from cultural Marxism, political correctness, and radical Islam. An observer of the American scene notes the following: Many Americans are familiar with political correctness, yet may not be familiar with its origins in cultural Marxist theory. While classical Marxism argued that capitalism and the class structure it created must be overthrown because it is oppressive to workers, cultural Marxism argues that it is not economics that creates oppression, but rather the nuclear family, traditional morality and concepts of race, gender and sexual identity. These are the chains of tyranny which must be broken by revolution. These are the narratives which are paraded endlessly in our education system. They are not natural or accidental. They have been constructed by intellectuals and academics, who have had a radical agenda to transform the nation, and benefit themselves in the process.

Angelo Codevilla wrote a classic essay on the Marxist origins of political correctness. Here is the lead paragraph: The notion of political correctness came into use among Communists in the 1930s as a semi-humorous reminder that the Party’s interest is to be treated as a reality that ranks above reality itself. Because all progressives, Communists included, claim to be about creating new human realities, they are perpetually at war against nature’s laws and limits. But since reality does not yield, progressives end up pretending that they themselves embody those new realities.

Hence, any progressive movement’s nominal goal eventually ends up being subordinated to the urgent, all-important question of the movement’s own power.

Because that power is insecure as long as others are able to question the truth of what the progressives say about themselves and the world, progressive movements end up struggling not so much to create the promised new realities as to force people to speak and act as if these were real: as if what is correct politically—i.e., what thoughts serve the party’s interest—were correct factually. He goes on to say: Every form of progressivism bases itself on the claim of a special, “scientific,” knowledge of what is wrong with humanity and how to fix it. This recalls the ever-present heresy of Gnosticism: The doctrine of salvation by knowledge… Gnostics were "people who knew", and their knowledge at once constituted them a superior class of beings, whose present and future status was essentially different from that of those who, for whatever reason, did not know. The Catholic Encylopedia “Gnosticism”

Recently in Germany it was reported: Islamists are marching through German cities and openly demanding the proclamation of a caliphate and the abolition of all rights for women, Christians and Jews, most recently in Hamburg last weekend. A story on about the situation in Germany had the headline: “An Islam that does not share our values does not belong in Germany!” The Wall Street Journal recently reported (May 6, by Gerard Baker “U.K. Local Elections Yield Ominous Islamist Success” about the situation in Great Britain: Mothin Ali, a successful Green candidate in Leeds who concluded a fiery victory speech about Gaza with that famous rallying cry of the defenders of the environment: “Allahu Akbar!” One could overstate the problem. Turnout was low, and except in a few districts radicals won only a small vote share. But the larger significance of this electoral breakthrough shouldn’t be underestimated. Barring a Tory resurrection of Lazarus proportions, Labour will form the national government in less than a year, with a comfortable majority, and it will be under intense pressure from this rapidly rising breed of “antiZionists”—not all of them Muslim, at home and abroad. Earlier this year Mr. Starmer had to pull the party’s support at the last minute from a candidate in a parliamentary byelection who had been caught on film spouting anti-Jewish conspiracy theories. The seat was won by an independent openly supportive of radical Islam.

Note the sarcasm of the author about the rallying cry of Mothin Ali, which, of course, has nothing to do with the green environmental -movement, but everything to do with radical Islam. Is this a danger for the United States? An Irani American citizen, Amil Imani, warns, because of political correctness because of its aversion to reality political and otherwise. He sees radical Islam as a threat to Democracy in the U.S. seeking to impose Islamic sharia law throughout the West. Victor David Hanson asked the question: If someone wished to destroy America, could he do anything more catastrophic than what we currently see and hear each day? One of the things he cites is this: Turn world-class universities into indoctrination centers. Suspend the Bill of Rights on campuses. Train youth to graduate despising their own culture and civilization. Another is: ….Allow terrorists to attack Americans without response. See Islam as either similar or superior to Christianity… This past week was the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, who brought a message of the need for penance, prayer for the conversion of sinners, opposing the errors of communism, and praying the Rosary, noting that in the end her Immaculate Heart would triumph and not only over communism/Marxism. Radical Islam exists and seeks domination. The blessed Virgin is the only woman quoted in the Koran and she will be the providential means to bring Islam and all peoples to the Gospel and reign of our Lord Jesus Christ. Pray the Rosary for true peace and the conversion of sinners.