None of us will ever forget the year 2020. Presidential impeachment. Coronavirus and quarantine. Economic shutdown. Churches closed. Widespread fear. And, we are not even halfway through the year. I cannot remember another year so full of frightful narratives. Fear is widespread. An unarmed black man named George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police. A video of the killing went viral, leading to nationwide riots. The narrative spread that police target blacks and kill them. Now there are growing reports of insurrectionists manipulating the crowds in the riots and pre-staging bricks and bombs for destruction.
The public is confused over what we are supposed to fear. We were told to fear Russia, Ukraine, the President and then Coronavirus. Once the riots began, we were told be afraid of police brutality targeting blacks. Nevermind the virus and quarantine; now we are supposed to be afraid of the police.
Frankly, while I am horrified at the killing of an unarmed blackman in Minneapolis, I am more afraid of the riots and the loss of social order. And, the press pushes the narrative we are supposed to believe, while we went in one week from fear of the virus to fear of police and riots.
We all live out of our “narrative”. The narrative is what we believe to be true. But what if the narrative changes weekly? We have much more to fear from a narrative that is dishonest and manipulated every day by our media, on TV, in print and on the internet and social media.
A public narrative is supposed to be the truth. However, when the public finally stops believing any narrative, they begin to make up their own narrative. We are seeing it in Austin, Texas, where many Hispanics have ceased to believe in the pandemic and are choosing to believe that the epidemic is over. As a result, the Hispanic community is now responsible for more, new Covid-19 cases in Travis County than any other ethnic group. There will also be a spike coming among the rioters across the country in our major cities. If that doesn’t happen, then we have all been manipulated over the lock-down narrative. However, we are beginning to see a new spike in Covid cases and hospitalizations. The wrong narrative can kill you.
Let’s examine some narratives. The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post this week published statistics on police shootings of black Americans. They were examining the narrative that the police are out of control and targeting blacks. We should “defund” the police. Personally, when I call “911”, I want someone to answer and respond.
Does it happen that police shoot blacks? Yes. It happens. But what are the facts?
In 2019, the latest year in which there is national data, the Wall Street Journal reports there were 1004 people shot by police in the USA. Some 24%, or 235 were Black. Police fatally shot 19 unarmed white people, while they shot 9 unarmed Blacks. Some 235 blacks were killed by police; only 9 were unarmed. 53% of all homicide offenders were black. More Blacks were killed last weekend alone in Chicago, mostly by other Black gang members. Criminals kill more blacks than police. These are facts. These facts are sad. However, these facts do not support the public narrative that police are targeting blacks. There is no public narrative using these facts. The narrative is simply not true.
The Coronavirus epidemic has not diminished, and is still dangerous. The police do not target blacks. These are the facts. Where is the narrative that these facts would support? Nobody is telling the true narratives. People die when this happens.
Recall that Jesus faced a false narrative that eventually led to his death. He was causing insurrection. His teachings were against the laws of God. False narrative. False narrative led to Jesus’ death on the cross.
In the Gospel of John we read,
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
Nicodemus knew the Temple leadership narrative against Jesus. To Nicodemus’ credit he came to ask Jesus directly what was the truth? Jesus gave him the Truth in a few short words. If the Jews had believed this Truth, Jesus would not have died. Peter and Paul would not have been martyred. Stephen, James and countless faithful, and saints would not have died for a false narrative. Jesus told the Truth:
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
Some people refer to this as the “Football Gospel”, because it has become perhaps the most quoted of all Biblical phrases. Jesus gave the true narrative. Jesus was crucified for a false narrative. False narratives kill people. The world lies.
However, Jesus had to die for the lies of the world. The world hates truth, especially if it cannot manipulate it. As Christians, we must hold fast to Truth, or we will lose our eternal lives.
Jesus told his apostles the narrative that they and we must hold fast to,
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
When the world attempts to give us the false narrative popular at the time, we must hold fast to the narrative of our Baptism.
St. Paul wrote in his second letter to the Corinthians,
Brothers and sisters, rejoice.
Mend your ways, encourage one another,
agree with one another, live in peace,
and the God of love and peace will be with you.
In every Mass we use St. Paul’s words in the greeting,
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ
and the love of God
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.
Say this over and over to the world, but it could get you martyred.