by Cole DeSantis
On October 24, 2018, a man by the name of Gregory Alan Bush tried to break into the First Baptist Church in Jeffersontown, just outside of Louisville, Kentucky. Upon realizing that the church was closed and the doors were locked, he then left. Ten to fifteen minutes later, he went to Kroger Marketplace, a supermarket chain that had a franchise nearby. He then opened fire on the store, killing a 69-year-old man named Maurice Stallard. As he fled, he shot a 67-year old woman name Vickie Jones. 
Many suspect that the act was more specifically a hate crime, and is currently being investigated as such. While shooting up the store, Bush specifically targeted Stallard, an African-American man, shooting him in the head, and then shooting him several more times. Both Stallard and Jones (who was also African-American) had several gunshot wounds. As he was being arrested, he said, “Don’t shoot me. I won’t shoot you. Whites don’t shoot whites.” Further, the church he tried to enter into was a predominantly African-American congregation. 
A few days later, on Saturday, October 27, 2018, another tragedy occurred. A man named Robert Bowers barged into the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood in Pittsburgh, and went on a 20-minute long rampage in which he attacked a group of people worshiping at the synagogue while shouting anti-Semitic slogans. Bowers, who worked as a truck-driver, was known for frequenting the website Gab, which was popular among white nationalists. In various internet posts, he wrote of several anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, including that the Jewish human rights group HIAS (the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) was attempting to bring immigrants into this country to try to displace the native white population. He also claimed that he did not vote for President Trump because he did not “hard enough” on Jews.  He also wrote in one internet comment, “[J]ews are the children of Satan.”  There were a total of 11 victims. At the moment in which he opened fire, he yelled, “All Jews must die!’ 
Anyone who hears of these stories will feel shock or disgust, which will then lead to a sense of moral outrage. And rightly so. Yet, why is this? It is taken as a given within our society that racism – and murder or hate crimes more generally – are wrong. The acceptance of certain values which people treat as axiomatic is necessary for the creation of stable societies. Yet, unless we can show whether or not these values are in line with what is objectively good and evil, we will always run the risk of falling into one of two pitfalls: either taking any moral principle or value to be merely an arbitrary phenomena contingent on evolution or social constructs; or, on the other end, not rationally examining the truth or falsehood of any moral value, and accepting as true or good anything we are told. Both can lead to immense evil.
And that is what I hope to do here: demonstrate why it is we as a society take racism to be evil. It is no mere moralizing sentiment. Here, I will be drawing mainly on the tradition of Christian anthropology, especially the metaphysical and anthropological viewpoints of St. Thomas Aquinas.