Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez experienced instant blowback on Friday after calling a statue of a Catholic saint who died caring for lepers an example of the “patriarchy” and “white supremacist culture” at work.
The New York Democrat’s comments about Hawaii’s tribute to St. Damien of Molokai in the U.S. Capitol came just days after National Catholic Reporter touted her in a story titled, “AOC is the future of the Catholic Church.”
“Even when we select figures to tell the stories of colonized places, it is the colonizers and settlers whose stories are told — and virtually no one else,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Instagram. “This is what patriarchy and white supremacy culture looks like! It’s not radical or crazy to understand the influence white supremacist culture has historically had in our overall culture and how it impacts the present day.”
The Daily Caller’s Mary Margaret Olohan deadpanned in response: “@AOC calling a Catholic priest part of ‘white supremacist culture’ — a man who literally rotted to death from leprosy because he was serving other lepers. She owes the Catholic Church an apology.”
Sen. Bill Cassidy warned that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s commentary was another example of “cancel culture.”
“A little research into the saint @AOC is trying to dunk on would yield his incredible devotion to those suffering from leprosy, which led to his canonization,” the Louisiana Republican tweeted.
Others noted that Hawaii also honors King Kamehameha I in the Capitol.
“It was the multiethnic people of Hawaii and their representatives, not some shadowy, oppressive outside force, who selected Damien and Kamehameha,” added The Washington Examiner’s Becket Adams in an op-ed. “If Ocasio-Cortez believes the saint is problematic, then she is free to take that up with the people of Hawaii, including their Democratic governor, their Democratic lieutenant governor, their two Democratic senators, their two Democratic House representatives, their 46 Democratic state House members, and their 24 Democratic state Senate members.”
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, however, countered that critics took her video out of context.
“1. Unsure why you cut the context of the video,” she told DC Examiner’s John Gage while linking to her video. “2. Read the text of the video you posted: it’s not about litigating an indiv [sic] person or statue, but examining that the TOTALITY of all 100+ statues are almost all white & male, incl [sic] to rep largely nonwhite places.”