An Open Letter On Anti-Asian Racism & Christian Nationalism
Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ)
Rep. Gosar is a self-described "proud Catholic"; his current parish is not publicly available. Throughout the pandemic, Gosar has used the term "Wuhan virus" to describe COVID-19, starting with a March 8, 2020 tweet. The Atlantic Council's DFRLab analysis reports, “Retweets of the terms ‘Wuhan virus,’ ‘Wuhan coronavirus,’ ‘China virus,’ and ‘Chinese coronavirus’ were relatively non-existent prior to Rep. Paul Gosar’s March 8 tweet. Within an hour of the congressman’s tweet at 9:08pm, the phrases had been retweeted 24,049 times." Rep. Gosar's official page has a section titled "Wuhan Virus Resources." (For more on the effects of terms like "Wuhan virus," see Senator Marsha Blackburn.)
Gaudium Et Spes, one of four constitutions resulting from the Catholic Church's Second Vatican Council in 1965, includes this statement on racism: "But any kind of social or cultural discrimination in basic personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language or religion, must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God’s design." Creighton University, a Jesuit college that Rep. Gosar attended, features an "anti-racism and diversity" statement on its website.
As of 2015, approximately 7500 Asians lived in Arizona’s 4th congressional district, which Rep. Gosar represents. As of 2019, Arizona as a whole was home to 241,721 Asians. Between March 19 and August 5, 2020, 33 hate crime incidents in Arizona were reported to Stop AAPI Hate (8).
For more about Gosar and the Diocese of Phoenix's response to this open letter, see the Timeline.