The teen boys in MAGA hats who mocked a native American elder during the Indigenous Peoples March in a video that went viral this weekend, arrived at the protest in Washington D.C. from Covington Catholic High School in Covington, Ky. a district where, just this May, the Catholic diocese banned a gay valedictorian from delivering his speech calling it "inappropriate," according to USA Today.
Students from Covington Catholic High School made the trip to DC to attend the Right to Life March this weekend. In the video that’s gone viral, the gang of white male teens in red MAGA proudly taunted Nathan Phillips, a Native American elder with the Omaha Nation and a Vietnam veteran. They shouted, “Build the wall” at him as he continued singing the American Indian Movement song, according to Newsweek.
Phillips later told the Cincinnati Enquirer that he attempted to diffuse a dust-up between the Covington teens and a group of Black Hebrew Israelites at the protests at the Lincoln Memorial.
A few members of the Black Hebrew Israelites were "saying some harsh things," Phillips said, adding that one of them spit toward the Catholic students.
"So I put myself in between that, between a rock and hard place," he said.
"They were in the process of attacking these four black individuals," Phillips told the Detroit Free Press. "I was there and I was witnessing all of this ... As this kept on going on and escalating, it just got to a point where you do something or you walk away, you know? You see something that is wrong and you're faced with that choice of right or wrong."
At one point, someone with the Black Hebrew Israelites began railing about "sodomy" and "homosexuals." He turned to the Covington Catholic teens in their MAGA hats and said, "Your president is a homosexual." One of the teens countered by saying "that's homophobic," according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Still, when Phillips stepped in to help break up the tension, the Covington teens turned their attention to him.
The Diocese of Covington has issued an apology for the boys’ behavior, adding that the teens could face expulsion.
The diocese offered its "deepest apologies to Mr. Phillips."
"This behavior is opposed to the Church's teachings on the dignity and respect of the human person,” the religious organization said in a statement, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
But the diocese slamming the behavior of boys under its jurisdiction is also responsible for banning gay teen Christian Bales of Holy Cross High School from delivering his valedictorian speech at graduation claiming the speech was not turned in on time for diocesan review. Although, his speech was initially accepted. After the diocese got involved, Bales’s principal told him it was “inappropriate.” The student council president was also not allowed to deliver her speech after the Diocese of Covington deemed it “too personal.”
As for Bales, who is openly gay, he said that he’d been singled out prior to graduation for his gender nonconforming appearance and had agreed to conform to the school’s dress code for graduation.
"I have been on their radar as a rather non-gender conforming individual," Bales said. "I have worn makeup and bobby pins in my hair to school before. So it seems too much of a coincidence for my critical thinking to think this was just about the speech itself,” Bales said. "But I wasn't going to go up there and give my speech in full drag."
Because he could not speak from the podium, Bales delivered his speech using a megaphone on the lawn of his high school.
“The young people must be willing to speak candidly about issues, and we mustn’t tremble in the face of the institutions that try to silence us,” Bales said through a megaphone at the time.