What is Truth? Discerning What is Real from Propaganda

January 28, 2019
But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die. For
God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be
like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:2
Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” John 18:38
“The 1640’s in England were the propaganda years, when myth
became truth because so many believed only what they wanted to believe.”[1]

On January 18, 2019, a group of Catholic high school students from Covington, Kentucky, were standing near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. They were waiting for their bus to pick them up and take them back to their hotel. They were in the capital, for the March for Life, which had taken place earlier that day. Nearby, a handful of very foul-mouthed men, who call themselves the Black Hebrew Israelites (BHI’s), berate a larger group of Native Americans who had gathered nearby to rally and march in the Indigenous Peoples March. Some of the teenagers began to watch the BHI’s. Some of the students, who were predominately white, and all of whom were male because Covington Catholic is an all-male school, were wearing “Make America Great Again” hats. Video of the incident shows that the only people who appeared to be offended by the hats were the BHI’s, who began to berate the teenage boys.

The BHI’s then began inciting the Native Americans to confront the teenage boys. After about an hour of this, the teenagers began chanting their school cheers and singing their school song, which drowned out the verbal harassment from the BHI’s. Once the singing and chanting of the teenagers ebbed, a group of Native Americans, led by Nathan Phillips, a longtime left-wing political activist, walked across the courtyard of the Lincoln Memorial, toward the teenagers, as numerous followers filmed everything on their smart phones and video cameras. At first, the teenagers believed that the group of Native Americans had approached them to join the chanting and singing which had successfully drowned out the foul-mouthed harassment from the BHI’s. However, after a few moments, it became more evident that Mr. Phillips was using the teenagers in order to draw attention to himself and his political agenda. The teenagers didn’t quite grasp this. Most of them remained unaware or confused due to their lack of experience with things like propaganda which is central to political activism.

As Nathan Phillips beat his drum and chanted a Native American hymn, the teenagers stood and watched. Some chanted with him, some videotaped it on the cell phones and others laughed and talked with their classmates. One boy, the boy Mr. Phillips had chosen as his focal point, stood and watched Mr. Phillips as Mr. Phillips beat his drum and chanted right in his face. Mr. Phillips had walked several hundred yards to stand within ten to twelve inches of the boy, which is well past the edge of the comfort zone of most people.

The teenagers did not touch Mr. Phillips, they did not insult him, they did not belittle him, nor did they harass him in any other way. However, the BHI’s had been yelling extreme insults at Mr. Phillips and his fellow Native Americans for over an hour by that time.

Shortly after the incident, people began posting short clips of videos in an effort to portray the teenagers as the aggressors. Some, including Mr. Phillips, said that the teenagers had surrounded Mr. Phillips. Celebrities began condemning the teenagers, some of whom promoted violence toward the teenagers and posted their names and where they could be found. Even clergy and lay leaders in the Catholic Church quickly condemned and criticized the teenagers for what they assumed was disrespectful and embarrassing behavior. Critics include the Bishop of the Covington diocese, which is the diocese in which the high school exists, as well as the administration of the teenagers’ school.

No one seemed to be interested in the first hour or so of facts which led up to the short video of Mr. Phillips standing in front of the group of teenagers. In essence, everyone condemned the teenagers, even those who had the duty to care for them on a school-sponsored pilgrimage.

Slowly, more video started to show up on social media. The additional video showed the BHI’s foul-mouthed attacks on the Native Americans and the teenagers. The new video showed that Mr. Phillips had walked all the way across the mall to position himself directly in the face of the teenage boy, and directly in front of all of the teenagers. The new video provided perspective that only supported the innocence of the teenagers and more clearly showed the manipulation and dishonesty of Mr. Phillips, the BHI’s and those who had been promoting the persecution of the teenagers.

Unfortunately, many people don’t care if the teenagers are innocent. Some who were quick to condemn them have apologized, others have simply deleted their comments, but some refuse to withdraw their comments and apologize, and others insist that the teenagers were in the wrong and should be punished. Mr. Phillips continues to claim that he was the victim, and the BHI’s have either remained silent, or no one will dare approach them to get their perspective due to their extremely aggressive, offensive, anti-Christian, and antisocial behavior.

We must never cooperate with dishonesty, especially dishonesty which is specifically tailored to victimize children. Rushing to the defense of anyone is a perilous decision but rushing to the defense of an adult who is confronting teenagers is simply foolish, especially when that adult is a seasoned left-wing activist. People wonder why anyone would prefer dishonesty, manipulation, and propaganda, over the truth.

Then I picked up my copy of St. Augustine’s confessions, and the answer was right before my eyes:

“Why does truth call forth hatred? Why is Your servant treated as an enemy by those to whom he preaches the truth, if happiness is loved, which is simply joy in truth? Simply because truth is loved in such a way that those who love some other thing want it to be the truth, and precisely because they do not wish to be deceived, are unwilling to be convinced that they are deceived. Thus they hate the truth for the sake of that other thing which they love because they take it for truth. They love truth when it enlightens them, they hate truth when it accuses them. Because they do not wish to be deceived and do wish to deceive, they love truth when it reveals itself, and hate it when it reveals them.”[2]

Still, I wondered why and how, well-meaning people sometimes get sucked into promoting propaganda and misinformation, which makes these well-meaning people little more than pawns. Then I read this:

"The first duty of the propagandist is to win over people who can subsequently be taken into the organization… The second duty of the organization is to disrupt the existing order of things and thus make room for the penetration of the new teaching which it represents, while the duty of the organizer must be to fight for the purpose of securing power, so that the doctrine may finally triumph."[3]

The doctrine of the progressive liberal ideology has won the minds of many people. Many of these people are highly placed in our colleges and universities, as well as the media, entertainment industries. Lately it has become evident that there are several very influential Catholics who have been won over by the propaganda of progressive liberal ideology. This is where it is most dangerous because it threatens to disrupt the existing order of the teachings of the Church, where in Hitler’s words, it could penetrate “the new teaching which it represents”.

At least one bishop, a Catholic school administration, and other well-known Catholic theologians, educators, media personalities, and commentators across the country rushed to the aid of a liberal progressive activist who has used Catholic teenagers as things through which to triumph. Not only this, they do so as quickly as the liberal progressive propagandists who hate the Church. This is nothing less than influential Catholics showing that they desire to be appreciated and popular more than they desire the truth. In doing this, they worship false gods, making themselves fools.

Claiming to be wise, they became fools; and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. Romans 1:22-25

Let this be a lesson to the influential Catholics in the United States and elsewhere. Some of you are being used like pawns, by propaganda artists who have gained their skills by learning from Satan himself.

Bob and his wife Carmen are the parents of five daughters. Bob practices law in Hastings, Nebraska, where he and his family are members of St. Cecilia parish. Bob has had pieces published by Catholic Answers Magazine, Crisis Magazine, Those Catholic Men, and he writes a regular column for the Southern Nebraska Register, the newspaper for the Diocese of Lincoln. Bob is a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus and he speaks at parishes and other public venues on matters such as apologetics, evangelization, the law, and the culture. Bob’s blog page is www.bsullivan.org, and you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

[1] Warren H. Carroll, “The Cleaving of Christendom” pg. 581

[2] St. Augustine, “Confessions” 2nd Edition by Sheed & Brown, pg. 208

[3] A. Hitler, “Mein Kampf”, 1925.

Bob Sullivan


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Reader Interactions


  1. Ann Jenkins says

    Nathan Phillips, a longtime left-wing political activist, walked across the courtyard of the Lincoln Memorial, toward the teenagers, as numerous followers filmed everything on their smart phones and video cameras. At first, the teenagers believed that the group of Native Americans had approached them to join the chanting and singing which had successfully drowned out the foul-mouthed harassment from the BHI’s. However, after a few moments, it became more evident that Mr. Phillips was using the teenagers in order to draw attention to himself and his political agenda. The teenagers didn’t quite grasp this. Most of them remained unaware or confused due to their lack of experience with things like propaganda which is central to political activism. So sad. This spin is outrageous. Where were the “Adults” in charge of the boys? They were enjoying the show? Also, what are boys doing in a pro-life rally, they won’t get pregnant. Do they teach birth control and responsible sex at their school. This is a very one sided article.

    • Phil Alcoceli says

      Ms./Mrs. Ann Jenkins, I understand your frustration and that of many of us for how these boys were literally ambushed by the BHI’s (who were very aware of what the boys stood for politically and religiously), sabotaged (by a Native American with a criminal record and stolen military valor cowardice) and then criminally used by the False Media as puppets for their Anti-Catholic, Anti-American PROPAGANDA. These explains (even if it doesn’t justify it) the why adults did not immediately intervene. That on top of the fact that the school administration exhibited a cowardly, accommodating attitude to garnish popularity from the infested Anti-Culture of Death and most certainly has been indoctrinating the boy’s parents in the submit-to-evil-as-love PROPAGANDA.

      What I don’t understand is why you object to the boys being at a Pro-Life Rally and I find that hugely preposterous and in agreement with all the political and religious cowardice and compromise I already explained. BOTH men and women, young boys and girls need to get together to fight abortion, capacity-for-getting pregnant be darned. As soon as men and boys were kicked out of the issue in the past, the doors for the assassination of the unborn were flung wide open. Men are protectors, women are nurturers, both need to come together, as obviously women by themselves never amounted to an effective front against these horror. These Catholic Boys are HEROES for what actually needs to happen and that’s why they were so attacked, slandered and vilified!!! Satan absolutely does not want men to be against abortion, therefore the insanity that “it’s just a woman’s issue” in order to lie, confuse, divide and conquer!

      • Ann Jenkins says

        You can’t get pregnant, you have no idea what it like to be pregnant. No man should be able to tell a women what to do with their body. Quit hiding behind satan. That is a cop out. This is a male controlling issue. You need to teach boys and girls to respect themselves. Not boys will be boys. We have that in the highest level of government and apparently in the church. You need to teach sex ed, birth control and relationships. You do realize that the abortion rate has gone down significantly since sex ed was introduced, not just say no. that doesn’t work. You need education not condemnation. That is not a follower of Jesus. You are casting stones and judging, that is not your job, that is up to God.

        • HardAndTrue says

          I believe knowing what it’s like to be pregnant is irrelevant. I have never killed someone, nor does knowing what it is like to be so furiously angry that you want to kill someone prevent me from judging a murder to be morally wrong. If the thing in your body is indeed a child, then you are not only deciding what to do with your body but an innocent life too. It’s as wicked as turning aside a dying man asking for your help because he walked on your private property. Perhaps you can convince yourself, and perhaps a court with the help of a lawyer, that it’s all a matter of private property or personal space, but it is not. Perhaps financial uncertainty pressed you to convince yourself that the unborn child a women conceived is not really human, with human rights, but financial distress does not change the morality of the act, though it may affect culpability, depending on how bereft of reason the mother is due to media propaganda.

          • Ann Jenkins says

            I believe knowing what it’s like to be pregnant is irrelevant, it is totally relevant. You have never carried a child.You don’t have to be furiously angry, those are your words. Have you ever missed a meal, didn’t have a place to live or would be on the street if you had a child. There are so many circumstances that you can’t even begin to contemplate. I love how it is media propaganda, Men are protectors, women are nurturers, why can’t women be protectors and men be nurturing, I have sons that have children and they are very nurturing, but they wanted their children. Women are protectors, your male chauvinist ideas show how out of touch you are with Jesus. There were abortions in the bible, you choose to ignore that little fact, Jesus did not condemn them. This is a man made rule. Where are the men in this abortion issue, they donate sperm and move on, that is a fact. No one has a right to tell a women what to do with her body. It is between the women and her doctor. I don’t profess to use abortion as birth control, but as a last resort. Do you believe in welfare and food stamps, medical, and housing for these babies that are born into a horrible situation, or a mother that has to carry a dead fetus because some man is a “protector”. How many of these children of these women that couldn’t have an abortion are you raising. Quite hiding behind your “morals”. They are as fake as the media you are accusing of spreading this propaganda of abortion. We do still live in a country with free choice, just as God gave us free will. Move to Saudi Arabia if you want women to be told what to do with their bodies. There you can be a protector. Leave a women’s
            choice alone.

      • Ann Jenkins says

        What are they taught in school about relationships, sexuality, birth control and respect for women. What is march for life? Do you teach classes on how to raise a child and how to balance a checkbook, do a budget. When they get the basics about “life” then they can decide on who gets to decide about a women’s right to choose. Marching is not a discussion, Are these kids volunteering at homeless shelters, daycare centers where they can learn some real life lessons, Also, where were the adults in charge of these children? The ones that could have defused this whole situation. I know they have a great Starbucks there, it might have been where they were waiting for the bus. I have 5 children, so I do know what I am talking about.

        • Bob Sullivan says

          Ann, while you ask some very good questions, you seem to presume that Covington Catholic does not teach basic Catholic truth such as the corporal and spiritual works of mercy as well as basic life skills to their students. While I am not privy to the curriculum at that particular school, I can say that I am familiar with the curriculum at some Catholic schools, and they absolutely do offer mission trips with orders such as the Missionaries of Charity (St. Teresa of Calcutta’s order), require community service hours at shelters, nursing homes, etc…, and educate their students about love of neighbor, which includes the respect of the dignity of every human life. Some Catholic school systems also teach Theology of the Body, which is an excellent source for “sex education” as well as “how to raise a child”. Therefore, instead of assuming Covington Catholic does none of this, it may be a good idea to check directly with Covington Catholic, as I suspect they do all of this. If they don’t, your inquiry may spur them to improve.

          However, your response to my question did not address my question. Can you explain why you think this [a man’s inability to bear a child] should preclude their [males] participation in the discussion and/or in the March for Life?”

  2. Mitch Rapp says

    Well said. We should call out the cowardly Bishops and other s that threw the boys under the bus. Our so called leaders will offer up others before themselves these days.

  3. Jim says

    EWTN has a video titled “A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” that is highly relevant in our culture today. The video may be viewed on YouTube.


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