We are meditating on how authentic manliness is utterly lacking in the sick display of murder on the streets of Minneapolis by a white policeman with four accomplices who participated and looked on.  (One of them, it should be pointed out, was not white but Asian.)  

“George Floyd Riot Aftermath. Lake and Hiawatha area, near the third precinct, Minneapolis.” Photo by Jenny Salita on Flickr.

The issue is not race alone but masculinity.  A sick version of masculinity.  One that defines itself in terms of domination and power-over and “I win, you lose,” a triumph of the reptilian brain.  A photo-op seen round the world of bullies-in-action.

The cowardliness behind all bullies ruled the roost in broad daylight in the streets of Minneapolis that day. 

Here is what local eyewitness Lynnell Mickelson, freelance journalist and educational activist, wrote on social media about this moment in Minnesota and American history:

“Minnesota State Patrol stand at E Lake St and 29th Ave S in Minneapolis, Minnesota.” Photo by Lorie Shaull on Flickr.

We don’t have a protest problem. We have a policing problem. The Minneapolis police do NOT appear to be under the command, much less control, of our mayor or our excellent police chief.

For the last couple of days, most of the Minneapolis police have apparently decided to stop doing their jobs until…I dunno…until maybe their union chief, the notoriously and openly racist Bob Kroll, tells them to get back to work….

What upsets the police?  Not that murder was committed from within their ranks.  Instead,

Signs left by protesters at 38th St and S. Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis on Wednesday, after the death of George Floyd on Monday night in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Lorie Shaull on Flickr.

their strategy seems to be: “Either we get to kill Black men when we feel like it with no criticism from you people……..or you don’t get any law enforcement at all. Nice little city you got there, pity if something happens to it? Do you miss us yet?”

The scared, cowardly, bullying police went into hiding because they were upset and “furious” that the world saw four of their bros commit murder. 

The police were furious that the four officers involved with killing George Floyd were immediately fired because this rarely happens. They were furious that they were being directly criticized by the mayor and governor (both Democrats) and other officials. They’ve been furious at the protests.

So the cops have sort of gone on strike here.*

There are police who are bullies and there are police who are human. Instagram photo by @Living_Christian.

Self-pity was also on display.  That is why Minneapolis burned unabated and the curfew was never enforced.  Because the police department bullies refused orders from the police chief and the mayor and governor and ran from their jobs to stay indoors and feel sorry for themselves and their “bros.”

Scratch a bully and you get a coward.

I know. 

I followed the bullying of Cardinal Ratzinger and his so-called “Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith” for many years.  I wrote an expose about it, The Pope’s War.  Most American publishers were afraid to publish it (but kudos to Sterling Ethos who had the courage to do so).  And no Catholic publication I know has dared to review it.  Now a French journalist has written another expose called In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy and I have written a substantive review of it.**


*For the full account from Minneapolis by journalist and activist Lynnell Mickelson, see: https://www.facebook.com/lynnell.mickelsen/posts/10157238704816272. Used with permission of the author.

See Matthew Fox, The Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved, pp. 12, 165-168.

**See https://www.tikkun.org/review-of-frederic-martels-in-the-closet-of-the-vatican

Banner Image: A protester at 38th Street and S. Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis on Tuesday after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Lorie Shaull on Flickr.

Queries for Contemplation

What is your experience of bullying that goes beyond the playground into our civic and even religious institutions?  How do you recognize it and attempt to stop it or at least slow it down?

Recommended Reading

The Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved

The Pope’s War offers a provocative look at three decades of corruption in the Catholic Church, focusing on Josef Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI. The final section in the book focuses on birthing a truly catholic Christianity.
“This book should be read by everybody, not only for its ferocious courage, but also for its vision for what needs to be saved from the destructive forces that threaten authentic Christianity.” ~ Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope.
“In the gripping The Pope’s War, Matthew Fox takes an unwavering look at the layers of corruption in the Catholic Church, holding moral truth against power.”   — Jason Berry, author of Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II

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8 thoughts on “The Murder of George Floyd, continued”

  1. Avatar
    Margaret Rose Hess

    The bullying that I have experienced takes many forms, from simple annoying overconfidence and “mansplaining” to domestic violence, but as a person of privilege I have not experienced the victimization that people of color live and breathe on a daily basis. Just recognizing bullying of oneself and others actually takes courage initially, because of the sense of powerlessness and aloneness that bullies inculcate and try to perpetuate. It seems that resisting bullying is aided by spiritual growth or spiritual rebirth, as both demand an awakening of our own true manliness. It may be that part of our oppression is because we have each been assigned at birth to a “gender-box” that most of us feel we can never and should not question or ever try to escape. We might be kinder to ourselves and each other if we embraced our own and other people’s colorful individual gender fluidity and the beautiful “two spirit” that comes naturally to some. Thank you, Matthew Fox, for leading today’s healing meditation and for your constancy in speaking truth to power.

  2. Avatar

    To add to the reminders of toxic testerone, has anyone else noticed that all of the terrorist activities, both foreign and domestic, have been by males.
    We have to include in this toxicity our churches. I find it hard to believe that if half of the leaders of our church had from the beginning been women, we wouldn’t have had the sexual and physical abuse scandal.
    An ancillary that comes to mind left over from Matthew’s discussion with Jaih-Hunter Hill on May 23rd is that Matthew used the phrase “Just War”. I spent 20 years in the Army, retiring as a Master Sergeant. Two of those years were in combat and to me there is no such thing as a “Just” war. I doubt that anyone who has been a grunt in a war could ever have promulgated such a justification.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      I agree wholeheartedly with your comments about how, if women had been leaders in the church from the beginning, we wouldn’t have the sexual abuse scandal. But I believe that when it comes to war, none of us should ever want it, nor should our leaders resort to it. But, some wars are brought on by an aggressor as in WWII with the Nazis. Now, in that war, though those who fought may have felt that there was nothing just about the war, however, I am sure that those who were liberated from the concentration camps felt that what we did there was truly just!

  3. Avatar

    As in Jim’s comment about yesterday’s meditation, I continue to be concerned about Ms. Mickelson’s post, which I read in full this morning. I also read most of the comments on Mickelson’s Facebook page. In writing it, she uses the words “apparently,” “seems to be,” and “sort of,” i.e., words of speculation. There is so much misinformation being circulated–during the ongoing pandemic and now during the demonstrations against historical and escalating police brutality–that we must be extremely vigilant in what we broadcast. Without credible documentation I am very uncomfortable with circulating Ms. Mickelson’s post.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      If you are uncomfortable circulating Ms. Mickelson’s post then don’t re-post them. Matthew is just trying to share his feelings concerning what is happening, using all the “sources” available to him. You might not feel that some of his sources are strong enough, and if that is so, just move on to the rest of the meditation and try to get out of it what you can. We are all in the process of trying to put disparate pieces of the picture together. And knowing Matthew as I do, I know he never puts information out there that he doesn’t judge to be true.

      1. Matthew Fox

        Thank you, Rick. My words were based not only on Ms. Mickelson’s Facebook post and a correspondence with her but also on a further personal account from a person who lives in St. Paul, MN. That is two persons who live in the area. Also, they both pointed out that the mainline press (as in so many places) has ignored the realities of racism in the police department for a long time. Isn’t this what the current crisis is asking us to do: To shed light on racism in all the layers of our culture?

        See also: https://www.yahoo.com/news/head-minneapolis-police-union-called-222944681.html

        And this: https://www.yahoo.com/news/minneapolis-police-chief-filed-civil-100135575.html

  4. Avatar

    Hi Matt,
    I read your Daily Meditation and felt your pain.
    Yes, our Liberty Bell, our Land, our Hearts know no Freedom.

    It is so difficult to be witness to all that is happening in this brutal world.

    My hope was and still is that this time of Corona Virus that we as a people
    might learn something about what is possible as a Beloved Community.

    All that is happening wants to dampen my hope and I refuse to let that be.

    Like so many, I love this planet that struggles to hold and support us ,
    due to our violence toward her.

    I continually seek and wonder what more can I do?
    How can I be part of the solution?
    How do I move past my fear of the evil force I feel grabbing deep inside me, brutality in its many forms?

    I do all that I possibly can to keep my FB page a place where folks can come and take refuge from a world in disarray. I hope this message shares the struggle with the desire to hold to the hope in the goodness of humanity. People like you and me and so many others, who deeply care.

    I saw a news clip last night that pulled at my heart. I watched it again and again.
    A young black man – not even, he was a boy. Stepped out of the sidelines and knelt with his hands in the air, in front of a wall of Police who were pushing back the crowds. He called out to them “Shoot me!”. At that moment a young white girl, obviously quick witted and realizing the harm that might come to him, jumped out of the sidelines and put herself kneeling directly in front of him, with their hands in the air indicating that they had no weapons and no evil intent. The Police had to pass through her before they could get to him. As they shoved her, she stood, turned stumbling into the boy and encouraged him back to the sidelines out of harm’s way. What courage, what strength, what deep love.
    Only love can cure what ails us. Love that is compassionate, just and courageous. Only Love.

    This morning as I listened to your video message, I wondered,
    ‘Am I feeling my own feelings or am I experiencing Matt’s feelings?’

    One of the ways I have stepped up is to hold those of you on the front lines in daily prayer.
    I burn Sage for cleansing the evil, Sweetgrass to replace negativity with blessing, Cedar to Heal our brokenness at all levels.

    I want you to know how much I love who you are,
    how much I hold you in prayer,
    how much I care that you are on the front lines
    being what I wish I had the courage and strength to be.

    With Deep Gratitude,
    Your Sister,
    Carol

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Thank you sooo much Carol, and I also hold your feelings for what is going on in our country right now and which you have expressed in such a beautiful and poetic way. And I too pray your prayer for Matthew–how I too love him, and hold him in prayer, and how much I too care that he is on the front lines being what I wish I had the courage and strength to be.” Thank you sooo much for your words Carol !!!

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