Pedro Gabriel writes in Where Peter Is: As the struggle for racial justice in American society expanded to include calls for the removal of statues honouring historical figures who perpetuated institutional racism (including slaveowners and Confederate soldiers,) statues of other figures have also been called into question. Some of these include two canonized saints, like Junipero Serra (a Franciscan who founded missions in California) and Louis IX, a medieval French King.
Protesters and their sympathizers have mentioned how St Junipero Serra exhibited a paternalistic attitude toward the indigenous people in his care. They also point to violent incidents that occurred in the Californian missions where, after baptism, the indigenous people were not permitted to leave, and those who tried to flee were dragged back by soldiers and beaten. As for St Louis IX, he committed anti-Semitic acts and participated in two crusades, leading armies that killed Muslims in holy wars. Our contemporary society certainly would not view these actions as acceptable today.
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