Father Damien (born Jozef De Veuster) was a Belgian Catholic priest who administered to lepers on the island of Molokai, Hawaii. He arrived late in the 19th century when leprosy was still unchecked in many third world countries.
Most missionaries avoided administering to lepers for fear of contracting the disease themselves. But Father Damien didn’t listen. Eventually, he also became a leper and died at age 49 of the disease.
Damien did more than pray for the lepers. He helped initiate reforms of how native people were treated. He also “aided the colony by teaching, painting houses, organizing farms, organizing the construction of chapels, roads, hospitals, and churches. He also personally dressed residents, dug graves, built coffins, ate food by hand with lepers, shared pipes with them, and lived with the lepers as equals.
But Damien made enemies too. He was apparently not a very nice man and even for the 19th century, uneducated and coarse. And he sometimes took credit for work done by Native Hawaiians. He also worked with the Americans who were governing the island — as one might expect given the tremendous needs of the people he ministered to.
He was a man of great energy and drive with a singular purpose — bring Christian love to people who were starving for it. But it’s his sins that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez wants him to be remembered for. She obliquely referred to him as a “white supremacist” and called him a “colonizer” — apparently because he came to Hawaii from Belgium.
It’s enough that AOC is demanding the statue of Damien displayed in the Capitol building be taken down.
As far as St. Damien being a “colonizer” — well, Hawaii was never a Belgian colony. He wasn’t there representing Belgium, either. He was there representing the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. And when the question arose in 1967 that St. Damien was an immigrant and not a Hawaiian citizen, Sen. Daniel Inouye rejected such nativism, pointing out how other states honored non-citizens with their statues, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported.
The statue of St. Damien chosen for the Capitol was sculpted by a woman of color, Marisol Escobar, an immigrant who lived in New York and was renowned as a cutting-edge pioneer feminist sculptor. The blockish style of the sculpture partly emulated native totem poles.
Is it sexist and misogynistic to point out that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has a big mouth? Sure hope so.
So, the statue Ocasio-Cortez objects to as a totem of white supremacy is a statue of a poor, sick immigrant social worker to the poor, whose work was honored by Hawaii’s native queen. The statue was created by an immigrant woman who was a feminist artist of color and chosen by the people of the least white state of the union.
To be fair, one columnist at Star-Bulletin, Sammy Amalu, had a decent critique of the decision to put St. Damien in the U.S. Capitol. (Keep in mind, Sammy wrote his columns from prison.) “Poor old chap,” Amalu wrote. “He had a hard enough life at Kalaupapa without adding to his agony by leaving him within earshot of the diatribes and harangues that punctuate each day’s passing at Capitol Hill.”
“What a fate to design for any statue. But to do it for a man who has already suffered so much for humanity’s sake is certainly stark brutality beyond compare.”
It should be obvious by now to even the dumbest lefty dullard that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez too often speaks about subjects she knows next to nothing about — and ends up making herself look stupid in the process.
But beyond that, it should be noted that Father Damien was not a perfect human being. No one is. Are we to judge men and women solely on the basis of their faults and sins? Whatever happened to balanced judgment and analysis? Shouldn’t that be the least we demand of our representatives in Congress?
AOC is trolling us. She is looking for attention by attacking supposed sacred cows. Doing it intelligently might actually help. A society that honestly critiques its heroes is a healthy society.
But this brainless twit of a woman offering mindless radical left talking points and code words to excite her millions of Twitter fans across the country does more damage to her cause than she could possibly know.