March 21

Reflection

Combatting baseless hatred whether anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, or racist ideology will never be simple. Yet, the basic rule of our faith is love. We  cannot express horror at an event and not act to root out its causes in our own lives and our community. Baseless hatreds see and treat people as the “other.” They build on a belief that an entire group of people is a threat. The carnage resulting is a horrifying expression of a hatred so intense that lives and places of worship are meaningless. It erupted in New Zealand, in the Tree of Life synagogue, and at the Charleston Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church among others. Tolerating  speech and hostility that foster hatred is contrary to the mandate to love one’s neighbor, to welcome the stranger, and the words ”whenever you did it to one of these, you did it to me.” It is totally out of place in Christ’s community of compassion and love.

Prayer

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10

Action

Do not tolerate hate speech. Avoid stereotypic language. Don’t repeat ethnic jokes. Teach children to accept differences and respect all people for who they are. Hold political leaders responsible for their words.

Suggested Reading

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1 John 4:8

You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself,
Leviticus 19:18

We are living in times in which feelings that many thought had passed are taking new life and spreading-feelings of suspicion, fear, contempt and even hatred towards individuals or groups judged for their ethnic, national or religious identity and, as such  considered not sufficiently worthy of being fully part of society’s life.
Pope Francis

Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda. Our mission, therefore, is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity.
Kofi Annan

Quote words that affirm all men and women are your brothers and sisters.
Author-Poet Aberjhani

I never will, by any word or act, bow to the shrine of intolerance or admit a right of inquiry into the religious opinions of others.
Thomas Jefferson

Racial prejudice, anti-Semitism, or hatred of anyone with different beliefs has no place in the human mind or heart.
Billy Graham

This is the way of peace: Overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love.
Peace Pilgrim

Not one of us can rest, be happy, be at home, be at peace with ourselves, until we end hatred and division.
John Lewis

You know how big love is? Love is big. love can hold anger; love can even hold hatred.
Alice Walker\

Defeating racism, tribalism, intolerance and all forms of discrimination will liberate us all, victim and perpetrator alike.
Ban Ki-moon

We must heal the divisions caused by intolerance and bigotry.
Janet Reno

Hatred, racism, and extremism have no place in this country.
Angela Merkel

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