By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
Editor's note: This is Michael Lacey's second freelance article since selling his interest in New Times about a year ago. The names of the students quoted below have been changed.
Athletic fields throughout the Valley are reconfigured as soccer pitches on Saturday mornings in September. It may be fall in New England, but in Phoenix, when kids begin to play soccer, it is still 100 degrees every day. Parents shelter under makeshift tents, but children kick balls beneath an unforgiving sun.
The youngest, the 5-year-olds, haven't a clue. All the players on both teams move as one, like schools of fish with baby fat, arrayed in neon uniforms that would look at home on a coral reef.
In the fall, soccer games are the village commons. Collapsible chairs are autumn's furniture, and even Kate Spade couldn't accessorize your canvas seat into a corporate suite.
Parents socialize as equals.
And if none of the parents know yet what offsides is, everyone knows that a goal, like a loose tooth, is money. A score electrifies every parent every bit as much as the kindergartner in shin guards. Yet all that competitive static fizzles at the end of the game when the shorties from both teams whoop their way through the mom/dad tunnel.
Children play as equals.
Everyone is living the American dream.
And yet . . .
"He's black. I won't play on his team."
The speaker, Mary Seao, is a young adult watching on the sidelines as her peewee charges flail at the soccer ball. She is quoting a first-grader in an afterschool program she manages.
Seao works with Athletes in Training, an organization that provides sporting activities when classes are done.
And though she is caught up in Saturday's soccer competition, she still takes time to describe events earlier that month at Madison Rose Lane Elementary School.VIDEO: Gilbert School Board hears testimony on the ADL program's positive impact in schools
She recounts that students were playing water sports when a little girl in first grade refused to play for a black coach.
"We never had a problem like that before. We didn't know what to do. She straight-up pointed at him. We only have five kids in the group. Everyone heard what she said."
Seao and her black colleague improvised. He took the boys, and she took the girls — including the one who caused a scene.
"She was willing to play as long as he wasn't her personal coach," Seao says.
Little kids continue to puddle up and down the grass moving between the goals. Soccer moms have other conversations that morning. Snacks, not race, is the focus.
Seao says she told the secretary in the front office at Madison Rose Lane about the racially charged comments. The secretary assured her the principal would be informed.
"I never heard back."
She then told her boss at Athletes in Training. But the owner was dealing with a personal tragedy that week and the issue never came up again. The black coach moved back to his old school and was happy to return to familiar territory.
This is not a story about a 6-year-old's perception of race, no matter how vivid the confrontation. Still, such talk from a little kid is so incongruent with what should be a first-grader's more typical concern: SpongeBob SquarePants. But that child merely is a glimpse, nothing more. She is one of many in our schools who hold unsettling thoughts.
There are industrious people, earnest people, who think about post-racial conditions in Arizona. These are people who address a larger concern about students, people who observe children with no need to label: Jews.
These particular Jews are in the Anti-Defamation League, and they know how to respond to a 6-year-old's racial fit. Furthermore, in a program called "World of Difference," they train willing students as ambassadors against hate.
These particular Jews have been evicted from Catholic schools by the regime of Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, leader of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix.
Who cannot claim that he is 6.
In 2008, students at Seton Catholic High School in Mesa, like students on many campuses, were no strangers to the put-down "That's so gay."
But in March of that year, the all-purpose, homophobic slur morphed. At a basketball game, unpopular calls by the ref generated a low rumble in the bleachers: "JEW-JEW-JEW-JEW!"
The chanting was not an isolated incident.
Students who'd gone through the ADL program at Seton Catholic were appalled at what they heard from their classmates. These kids approached the school administration. Leaders at the school responded swiftly by calling Bill Straus, executive director of the Anti-Defamation League of Arizona.
The school opened its library and brought the entire student body, in eight shifts, to meet Straus. He began by telling those assembled: "I'm a Jew, and I'm proud of it."
He was met with snickering.
But he continued. He held up a large picture of Jesus.
"What would this guy say?" asked Straus. "He's first-team 'All-Jew.'"
Toward the end of his chat, Straus asked how many of the students were Irish. A majority of hands shot up.
Michael Lacey is nothing but a huge Judas! The next time I see him at Saints Simon & Jude, sitting there at Mass like a wolf amongst sheep, what should I do? Give him the sign of peace or flip him the finger? Our Holy Bishop Olmsted would teach me to give Michael Lacey the sign of peace. Even though Michael Lacey claims to be Catholic but has no Catholic beliefs. Or should I say, he has only a few distorted beliefs of what Catholicism is? And it's not because he is ignorant! It's because Michael Lacey is what JPII coined as the antichurch within the Church. So for all you ignorant people who think Michael Lacey is so great..... he is not....he is just a sad, self centered, elitist, heretic that is very good at deception. Bishop Olmsted is a brave, holy and true shepherd who sacrifices himself to protect his flock. Michael Lacey and all you haters will just have to get over the fact that this holy Bishop has the strength and power from God to resist all of your anti-Catholic beliefs and stop you from infiltrating Catholic schools and organizations. On second thought maybe Michael should keep coming to Mass at Saints Simon & Jude and continue to sit through the Bishops homilies and maybe, just maybe one day, Michael Lacey will open his heart to some orthodox Catholicism instead of his own delusion. Get over it Michael Lacey. The Bishop is the authentic teacher of Catholicism and you are not. What the Bishop teaches is real and true orthodox Catholicism and you are just another heretic.
A short review of the ADL's FBI file reveals plenty of direct experience in bullying, but it is clearly not the right organization to present this type of training given its history.
Fortunately, the group did not invent, nor does it hold a patent on such training. The best advise: get qualified trainers, not the ADL, to conduct such training.
Bishop Olmsted and Julie Smith are self-righteous moral scolds using their authority to bully others. Sanctimonious Catholic church executives and aspiring TeaBagger politicians are toxic to education. His mind is closed, her mind is absent and the students are deprived of a beneficial program.
I'm waiting for the new Pope removes this bigot from his position. That would be the hoot of the year almost as joyous as the removal of comrade Joe.
Is this the same ADL which is sponsored by B'nai B'rith (Brethren of the Cut) which is a primary freemasonic coven?
Leaving the crux of the story behind for now, this has to be one of the worst written stories I have ever read. Not the subject matter but the absolute horrible style of writing. I love the New Times but some basic journalism writing techniques should be employed.
Great article. It's no surprise Olmsted would stop anything good like racial and religous understanding and love. Bishop Olmsted's spiritual growth ended decades ago. The man cares not about the sick, hungry or suffering. He preaches and promotes his anti-abortion rhetoric while not giving one God Damn about the children once they are born. He promotes hate against the GBLT community while teen age catholics struggle with a doctrine telling them they are headed to hell for being born a certain way. When those very teen agers pray to change and Olmsted's God doesn't deliver-he shames them. That is both spiritual and child abuse and it's pure evil.
For years, many Catholics have begged him to speak up against Arpaio's years of racial profiling and separating families. He absolutely refuses to but when it comes to birth control-he'll be at the Capitol protesting against Obama-care allowing it.
Pathetic article. The writer doesn't even feign objectivity - claiming malice without proving it on the bishop's part. Overlooking elements of the ADL program that caused the diocese concern. Getting paid by the word to go on and on.
The bishop owes the ADL an apology for his offensive ad. He did not have to do that. JPII, BXVI and now Francis have all made great strides in repairing the RCC's relationship with Jews. The bishop has not gotten the message. He is not pastoral, or compassionate or kind. As a result of the bishop's pettiness, the losers are the kids in RC schools who do not have the benefit of what the ADL can teach. Jews and RCs have much in common, have much to say to each other, and working together we can do much good. The bishop is an obstacle.
I was a little put off by the writer's understanding of "PC". In my mind, it means POLITE CONVERSATION rather than the term he used. Political Correctness is a term used to indicate that the person using that word is a rude SOB whose speech and should be moderate by MORE polite conversation.
Here's another organization which should be consulted by the author in researching his use of the term "PC".
The writer of this article has a complete and fundamental lack of understanding of all things Catholic. The Bishop not welcoming those of a political and moral persuasion antithetical to Catholic teaching? The thought! The use of the word "homophobic" in describing those who disagree with the militant homosexual agenda is in itself bullying, but acceptable to the new 4th Reich of progressive politics. Your taking the Pope's statements completely out of context is also indicative of your bias. Pope Francis did not say we disagree with abortion, but don't do anything to express that disagreement. Pope Francis is Pope to the whole world. In a culture such as America, where the billion dollar abortion industry murders millions of babies each year as a constitutional right, I think the Pope would support our Bishop praying the Rosary at one of these abortion mills. They are in fact today's version of the Nazi gas chambers. You object to self imposed racial segregation but support the abortion industry that specifically targets such "undesirables" as we find in the African/American community. You are the hypocrite, the white washed tomb rotting in side.
You are the one with delusions of mindless, unquestioned slavery to the spiritless, rule mongering Olmstead, a true Pharisee, as described in the Bible.
It reads as if he spent too much time on it, constantly tweaking the tone to the point that the message of the piece is drowned out by the words "pretentious" and "trying too hard" that keep popping into my head.
@frankpiccioli Absolutely right. An interesting topic made nearly incomprehensible by the author's muddled writing style.
@dennis20 Great comment. The truth rings out loud and clear.
I do agree with you however that the Bishop has ignored many social justice issues like the Sheriff's treatment of immigrants and the demonizing of labor unions. Both clearly spoke about in Church teachings on social justice.
Please study the Catholic churches teachings on homosexuality. No one says a gay man or woman is going to hell. Educate yourself please.
@dennis20 Absolutely correct. But you must act by voting with your wallet in the Phoenix Diocese. I acted by sending my money to St. Joseph's Hospital.
It's "commentary," you biased, brainwashed dumbass! Look on Craigslist and see if any brains are for sale.
I'll bet the Ayatollah Cathi Herrod gave you an A+ for that one and from the way your writing skills deteriorate the more you rant, you must have been jumping up and down and spraying spit when you wrote that last sentence.
@gjbevil When catholics start giving a damn about children already born, then and only then will I listen to political hyperbole about Abortion. Anti-Abortion crusaders are just lazy activists who can't handle the issues that effect people and racism is one of those issues. They can't emotionally deal with issues like child abuse, rape, hunger or poverty so they hide behind the abortion argument and use it as an excuse to ignore what is really going on. Their fake moral outrage is easier than trying to make this a better world. If you truly want to stop abortion, start making sure children have enough to eat and are safe from being molested by your priests. Show absolute commitment and love for all the children-brown, black, muslim, jewish and atheist. You do that and you wont have the abortion issue because every birth will be a blessing to this community.
@gjbevil Olmstead has failed as a moral leader, since, all his teaching has failed to bring the whole State to his anti choice message. Thus he has to call on the Civil, political authorities to enforce his vision, when his mere message cannot enforce it. If the Diocese of Phoenix would spend as much time and energy attacking poverty, discrimination, wars and violence as much as they spend on telling people what their reproduction choices should be, we would all be very impressed.
@dannyboy5 You talkin' to Me? ... You talkin' to ME ?? ... lol ....
@Reggievv Is that the best you can do? ... lol ....
Well I happen to have a degree in journalism, perhaps that helps. And again, I am not criticizing the story but the way it was written. As a side note, can you not post a comment here without resorting to 6th grade school yard vocabulary and bullying? 'Goober'? Seriously? Please grow up and then come back to engage in discussion.
Well considering that the Catholic Church runs more orphanages and adoption clinics across the globe than any other private or public entity I do tend to think that the Catholic Church does care.... (okay, I corrected my two grammatical errors. Now please explain to me that by stating that the Catholic Church runs more orphanages on this planet than any other entity is somehow 'ranting' and 'spraying spit'. I was simply stating a fact, just because you are anti Catholic and bigoted does not justify such a response.
You are so stupid that I sincerely hope you don't procreate. You really should shut up... You are an embarrassment to even delusional Catholics.
Well considering they the Catholic Church runs more orphanages and adoption clinics across the globe than any other private or public entity I di tend to think that the Catholic Church does care.
Your ignorance abounds! There is no institution doing more charity for the poor than the Catholic church! None. But even if your vile lie were true, you argue that unless the Catholic Church is willing to care and support you, you have no right to live. Truly diabolical.
Nobody says you don't have a right to "reproductive choice." Problem is when you choose to abort a baby it's to late; you've already reproduced. The time to responsibly choose not to reproduce has passed. Now you're just killing the innocent result of your irresponsible and evil behaviour.
@boardman990 Yes boardbrain, he was talkin' to you, fuckin' idiot!
@zele44 Spot-on comment!
Wrong again little child, I have written for quite a few publications. And as you can see from other posts I am not the only one who feels the writing style is a bit awkward. 'Goober'.... Lol... What are you like 12 Years old. Grin. Your a funny kid.
Doubt anybody has ever hired you to do journalism... Right, Goober? Mike Lacey is a legendary journalist and writer. Get a clue! That aside, though, this is an expertly written story.
@frankpiccioli - Just have to keep an eye on them so they aren't raping the orphans and selling stolen babies.
Centuries? Only in the past 50 years has the priesthood been infected by gay priests who committed most all of the pederasty which occurred. Once this malevolent and vile faction was rooted out, nearly all pederasty stopped. Oh, and by the way, it wasn't child "molestation". Almost all the victims were post adolescent males abused by gays. Ironic, you who hate the church for its telling the truth about the disordered nature of homosexuality, find your most gleeful criticism in the church being a victim of these very disordered homosexuals.
Yes bigotry... Sexual exploitation of children is a widespread evil and not limited to any religion or institution. And even your comment 'retard' shows not only your immaturity but again a bigotry. You should hold your head down in shame.
@frankpiccioli Catholic bigotry?! Priests have sexually abused children for centuries. Olmstead's predecessor protected many of them, along with Cardinal Mahoney out of L.A. Wake up, you delusional Catholic retard.
@gjbevil I don't need nor did I ask for your support. I am just an ex-catholic fotunate enough NOT to be a victim of what you've covered up. Shame on you!
The children you've harmed by protecting perverted priests need protection and support-but not from you either.. Don't brag about what you pretend you are doing. Pride goeth before distruction. Start doing what Jesus says or at least what Pope Francis says instead of Olmsted who is destroying the church. It's mid evil closed minds like yours too proud to look at yourself that is truly diabolical.
Actually your understanding of the facts are
wrong. But that is understandable given you heard them from the progressive
propaganda news industry. In fact she had the same condition as my
sister-in-law. She had to go on complete (and I literally mean complete) bed
rest for the last three months of pregnancy and be monitored very closely. Both
she and baby (my beautiful nephew) are alive and well. St. Joe's was agreeable
to proceeding directly to abortion without trying this other mode of treatment
first. Had they tried the bed rest plan first and derminating the pregnancy
were still necessary perhaps the baby would have then had a chance with a
C-section. At any rate, even if the baby had died after C-section delivery this
would have been permissable since the goal of the procedure would NOT have been
the death of the baby. But the liberal media want to slander our blessed
Bishop. And besides, from the length of my response you can see how difficult
it is to convey truth. Much easier to resort to slogans like "Bishop
forbids abortion necessary to save life of mother!"
@hansome The mother's condition had one viable solution which resulted in the abortion of the fetus. The medical staff and hospital administration went to great pains in weighing options for the sake of the mother and fetus. The bishop's position, devout as it is in his ideology, would have resulted in the loss of mother and fetus. Religious hierarchy making medical edicts without the education, training or experience many would expect and even demand as a patient in a Level One Trauma medical center.
@hansome are you talking about people who have unprotected sex instead of making responsible reproductive choices, or are you referring to the many priests who have given in to their urges to sexually exploit innocent children?
Really? You really think it was about killing the mom or perform an abortion? In fact, there are other treatments that would have saved the life of both and, are less dangerous to the mother than the abortion!!
So Olmstead was right in the hospital case, right? Kill the mother of other children rather than abort the fetus? Now there's a charitable, Christian view.
The only problem is that Olmstead is against birth control also. He has people teaching in his pre-marriage classes, that if a woman uses the pill to prevent pregnancy, she is killing a baby every month. Now there is some wisdom.
@gjbevil "Nobody says you don't have a right to "reproductive choice." Oh Really?
Whats Olmsteds beef with birth control? Who are you lieing to? Me or yourself?