What is Virtue Signaling?


I never heard of the term “virtue signaling” until last Sunday when I listened to news reports about the confrontation between the Covington Kentucky Catholic High School students and the Native American Elder. Now I know what “virtue signaling” is all about. In retrospect, I have probably been guilty of “virtue signaling” myself, maybe even as I present my thoughts in this article.

The political left always seems to assume they have the moral high ground without telling us what is the bases or moral predicates for their arguments. Nancy Pelosi says “a wall is immoral”. How can an inanimate object be immoral? Today on CNN a Catholic Priest proclaimed the Covington Kentucky school boys provocateurs. Fr. Edward Beck also stated the boys “had no right to wear MAGA hats.” Does being Speaker of the House or a Catholic Priest make one more virtuous? Remember the “high Priests in the market place” as they confronted Jesus? Were they moral signaling?

This one incident in the broad scheme of things may seem to be insignificant, but it speaks to the heart of conflicting factions in our country and the loss of leadership at the highest levels in our institutions, businesses, and government organizations. We are now living in an age of anti-religious bigotry. It is now time for people of all faiths—especially those who live their lives according to a Christian-Judeo ethic to stand up for each other.

I am Catholic and my step brother is a Catholic Priest. I continue to have the utmost respect for the 99% of Priests who are devout and today are under suspicion because of the criminal misconduct of their fellow Priests. The good Priests today have an almost impossible job, so when I criticize a Catholic Priest like Fr. Beck, I understand that I could be “piling on”, but in this case, a response is required. I respectfully ask Fr. Beck to read paragraphs 2302-2305 of the Catholic Catechism. It discusses “hate” and violence. We are also advised to confront evil and Jesus by his life’s witness showed us how to do it.

Martin Luther King was very specific in differentiating between agitation and non-violence and like in the Catholic Catechism he made the connection between guilt-anger-and hate. Gandhi also taught and instructed his followers about non-confrontational tactics while demonstrating.

So if I was a parent of the “Covington Students” I would be proud. They did not go to the Washington Mall seeking to confront or agitate. They had every right to project their political beliefs by wearing MAGA hats. When confronted by angry adults they exercised self-control and comported themselves in a state of equipoise and equanimity.

Their Christian education at home and paid for by the labors of their parents at work paid off big time. A great sacrifice of middle-class Catholic parents was paid many times over on the mall. If ever there was a test of their Catholicism and Christian character it was demonstrated on the mall three days ago. Congratulations Mom and Dad for raising such special children.

And finally where is the Catholic Bishop of Covington Kentucky in all this? He should be out front congratulating and defending these young people. Like so many people leading our institutions, businesses and government organizations including our upper levels of the military—-the strength of our military today is not in the Sr. Officer Corps, but in the Sr. Enlisted men and women, leaders are leading from behind not from out front. Sr. leadership—-unlike a generation ago believes that they exist to be served by the very people they have been called on to serve themselves.

Congratulations again “Covington Kids”. The calm in your faces when confronted with hate and evil was a reflection of “a peace I give you a peace I give unto you not as the world giveth I unto you”

Well done parents, Amen and Amen

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