CARMEL, Ind. — The pastor of a Catholic church in Indiana is facing backlash after he compared Black Lives Matter demonstrators to “maggots and parasites.”
“When I tell you we were vibrating with emotion, I’m not exaggerating,” said activist Ashten Spilker. “I mean, we were shaking. We were so appalled and upset by the words and the hateful rhetoric.”
The group “Carmel against Racial Injustice” is calling on Theodore Rothrock, pastor of St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church, to resign, reported WRTV.
Rothrock’s comments were made in a since-deleted post that appeared in a weekly message on the church’s website.
“One hundred percent of all the protests that have taken place in Carmel have been peaceful,” said group member James Ziegler. “So as a leader in this community to make those statements, not only are they troubling, they are completely misguided and have no basis in fact.”
Demonstrators plan to protest outside the church on Sunday, a nod to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. following Rothrock’s comments questioning whether the civil rights leader would have supported the BLM movement.
“Absolutely,” said Spilker, also a group member. “He would be marching in the streets, and I think he would be appalled with today’s climate.”
Members of the group say Rothrock’s words prove the city has a lot of work to do.
“We want, like I said, to lead by example and give off that representation that our society needs and that the youth can look up to when we don’t have representation where it should be currently,” said group member Kayla Seymour.
The bishop of the diocese said Rothrock should issue a clarification of the post.
Rothrock, who was ordained in 1983, according to a Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana newsletter, has not responded for comment.