Native-American activist Nathan Phillips appeared on the Today Show with Savannah Guthrie to “forgive” all the people who have “been mean to [him].”
Guthrie would go on to ask Phillips what he thought about Sandmann’s interview.
Phillips replied, “I was upset that I was made to sit down and watch it.”
When asked specifically about Sandmann’s words and his explanation of the encounter, Phillips described it as “coached.” He added, “written up for him, insincerity, lack of responsibility. Those are the words that I came up with.”
Phillips would then claim he went to go pray about the encounter and he woke up with “a forgiving heart.” He would then state that he forgives Sandmann. It’s unclear what he’s forgiving him for.
Guthrie then asked if Phillips believed Sandmann should have apologized.
Phillips responded, “Well, if there’s an apology. There’d be an apology for his own behavior to a lot of other people besides me. I’d be way down on the list of people he needs to apologize to. Because of the tomahawk chop, and the mocking and those things…There’s a lot of times he could have walked away.”
While Phillips noted that Sandmann should have walked away, he indicated that he was actually trying to walk away.
Phillips describes why he thought he couldn’t walk away, “We were surrounded. We couldn’t go right. We couldn’t go left. Back, you know. I was still in prayer. Still singing. I was looking past the crowd. I took that first step and the crowd backed up. I took a second step and the crowd started breaking apart there. I took a third and actually seen a clear space and that’s the space and we started going that way. And from somewhere, this clear space a person was there.”
He then indicates he was blocked, “I was blocked.”
Phillips described that he was praying while he beat the drum in Sandmann’s face.
He even claims that he heard people chanting “build that wall.” He adds, “I have seen some out there on the internets where you can hear them saying build that wall.” There is no video evidence of anyone chanting “build that wall” while Phillips pounded his drum in Sandmann’s face.
Phillips then offered his thoughts on the students, noting he would forgive them. “Even though I am angry, I still have that forgiveness in my heart for those students.”
He added, “That forgiveness even goes to those chaperones and teachers who should have just said you students this isn’t the place.”
However, he would then double down on his belief that Sandmann was being insincere: “Those aren’t even his words if he has a PR firm. Some sincerity. Some sense of responsibility for his actions. These are some of the things if we did meet, it would be those adults I would like to ask, ‘Why didn’t they say no?'”
Phillips also noted that he never set foot in South Vietnam.
Prior to Phillips appearing on the Today show with Guthrie, he stormed the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. during a service. He demanded the Catholic Church provide reparations to indigenous people.
Phillips also read prepared marks with his demands as reported by The Daily Caller.
“We demand that the students of Covington Catholic High School be reprimanded — not just by the school officials as seniors, but by their upcoming universities. We demand the Catholic Church hold themselves responsible for the hundred-plus years of genocide that our indigenous people have endured — and still persist through — by [implementing] the following: with reparations of land and restorations to the indigenous peoples in the U.S. and across the world.
We demand that the Catholic Church revoke the papal bulls related to the doctrine of discovery, which laid the foundation for religious prejudice and the dehumanization of indigenous peoples.”
The Church’s security had to lock the doors to prevent Phillips and other other activists from entering the building.
A security guard described the incident to Catholic News Agency:
“We had hundreds and hundreds of people from all over the country come here to celebrate life — to celebrate each other together. That a protest tried to come inside during Mass was really the worst.”
Phillips is at the center of a media storm after he approached teenager Nick Sandmann and proceeded to beat his drum in his face. The teen simply stood there with an awkward half smile on his face.
Bishop Robert Barron, an auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, described the media storm to the even as “quite literally, Satanic.”
What do you make of Phillips interview on the Today show? Do you believe his side of the story?
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