Franciscan Moments @ Saint Miriam: October 29, 2018

 

“I’m Scared, too.” This was my reply to two parishioners who emailed me to tell me that they would not be coming to church this past Sunday because they feared for their family. They were afraid that if it could happen to the warm, wonderful group of faithful Jews in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, gathering to worship the very same God we do, why couldn’t happen here to us? My reply was simple, “Stay Home, I’m Scared, too. See you next Sunday.”

Misogyny, racism, prejudice, homophobia, xenophobia, bigotry, anti-Semitism, nationalism, nativism, White Supremacy, Anti-immigrant, and so many other ways to hate and divide. That what this week has shown us. Our answer? Buy bigger guns, of course. (No, friends, that is not the answer!)

This week has uncovered something very vile about the America we live in. That so many people would support such despicable ideals is not news to those hurt every day by racism, sexism, xenophobia, et al; we know it’s alive and well in our country. Some of us have been dealing with it our whole lives. But to see this hatred on such flagrant, unapologetic display is something else entirely.

If this hatred continues – if the ‘in-crowd’ gets to define who is ‘out’ again, what will happen to women’s rights, not just at a policy level, but in schools and in homes? How much more afraid will immigrants and people of color have to become that they’ll be ripped from their homes, or killed on the street, by the very people tasked to protect them? Part of the problem is that we already know the answers to these questions because the truth is, we’ve been living them.

The past 72 hours in America brought us three hate-filled crimes. Three hate-filled suspects. From Kentucky to Utah to Pittsburgh, to a neighborhood near you. Hate is abounding. Darkness is alive and well. And a whole lot of do-no-good rhetoric that just serves to inflame the already unstable is the primary course of action points.

St. Francis once said, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light…”  If this is ever to be true, we better get to work, because there is a lot of work to do…

I thought that chilly, cold night in Wyoming now some 20 years ago when Matthew Shepherd was slain and hung with barbed wire on a fence to die simply because he lived his life as a gay man and sought a nice break at a local pub one evening, was the worst, we as Americans, could do to one another. I was wrong.
 
So, as we approach All Hollow’s Eve, it is no longer the ghouls and goblins I am afraid of, it is us.
 
How will you bring light into a world so bent on hate and division? Will you choose love, finally? 
 

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