This week on National Public Radio, I heard a commentary about how the media can deal with a national leader who is fomenting hate. Journalists are debating whether episodic Tweets about hate are news—or just distractions. The commentators was making the case that we cannot afford to just focus on his appointments and just policies, as important as that focus is. And for us as a religious people whose first principle affirms the worth and dignity of all people, I agree—and with vehemence! What the Tweets have helped create is an environment in which people have been given a license to hate. We as Unitarian Universalist and as people of faith cannot stand by while other people are treated with such disservice and such disrespect by the elected highest leader of our nation.
I would argue that this is a time in which all people of faith must speak out not only against the systemic changes that will prolong discrimination and oppression of the most marginalized in our society and increase the power of a rampant and out-of-control corporate oligarchy. We must also speak out against hatred and those actions which allow it to become the accepted standard practice in our nation.
If there is one experience that I suspect that a majority of citizens in this country share, it is some sort of disillusionment, dissatisfaction and even fear that the lack of our government to respond to the new world in which we find ourselves living. And yet our common response cannot be to allow a license to hate to be the response of our nation to that which we do not know. Somehow we must reach through our uncertainty to the certainty that dividing us against one another, and particularly scapegoating and targeting those most vulnerable in our midst is not an answer to what besets us as a nation.
As we consider day to day our religious response to a new world in which bullying runs rampant and other-ing is the new normal, countering hate must be our daily choice.
In the spirit of love and unity, Leslie