Posts Tagged hate

Love Is Stronger Than Hate*

Hate is too easy. It relieves us of any responsibility.  Donald Trump has made hate speech acceptable to thousands of his followers. His rhetoric encourages those who are dissatisfied to blame other Americans for their problems. He wants to divide us by appealing to our worst emotions.

We in Charleston have a stronger message. “Love is stronger than hate.”  We will not be bullied into hatting.  A year after the savage murders of worshipers at Mother Emanuel AME Church an act that was intended for evil has instead been transformed into acceptance and community.

Let us all use our words to create relationships, build each other up, encourage one another and build a stronger community. Let us build bridges of understanding and destroy the walls of bigotry and hatred.

*Published in the Charleston PostandCourier. June 19, 2016

Tags: , , ,

When religion turns hateful, it loses its moral voice – Dr. Molly Marshall – Baptist News Global

MOLLY T. MARSHALL  |  MARCH 14, 2016

In this craziest of presidential primary seasons, I have not mentioned the Republican candidate with the “best plumage,” the colorful description offered by Marilynne Robinson. I have found his words so offensive, his narcissism so egregious, and his attitude toward “others” so despicable. I have not wanted to draw further attention to this headline-grabbing vortex, so he shall remain nameless. (It is unlikely that he could fire a seminary president, anyway.) Nonetheless, I cannot keep silent about his uncontrolled depiction of the world’s fastest growing religion or about his mocking use of Christianity for political gain.

The statement “Islam hates us” during CNN’s recent debate is one more example of his pattern of reckless speech; it only serves to foment alienation for American Muslims and recruitment opportunity for radical Islamic groups. We must see this statement for what it is: a dangerous pandering to the most exclusivist understandings of Christianity. It also stokes fear in the U.S. Jewish community, given the close ties with Israel.

As a Baptist, I get very nervous when the political realm speaks too much about religion. It is the role of the state to create a context where religious pluralism can flourish; it is not the role of the state to impose or favor one religion over another. As Rowan Williams contends in Faith in the Public Square, the state serves as “mediator and broker whose job is to balance and manage real differences.” Nor it is the role of religion to commandeer the state for its own purposes, and the cynical use of Christianity (a.k.a civil religion?) to further candidates’ prospects demeans responsible faith.

Respect for the religion of others is more than simply tolerating religious difference; rather, it draws from the common affirmation of the dignity of humans and their right to religious liberty. It is a critical task of our time to learn from adherents of other ways of faith. The last thing a politician needs to do is denigrate another religion en masse. Every faith tradition has its radical fringe, and we ought to know better than to measure the whole by those who distort its essential teaching.

I had a conversation recently with a treasured friend in Thailand about whether there is a state religion in his country. He noted that there were stringent efforts to inscribe Buddhism as the state religion in the constitution, but the royal family would not allow it. It seems that the family’s positive acquaintance with Christian missionaries over the years would not allow this legislation to go forward. As a committed Christian leader, he observed that this approach allowed the kind of healthy competition between religions that offered real choice.

While traveling to Southeast Asia, I have been working my way through Miroslav Volf’s new book, Flourishing: Why We Need Religion in a Globalized World. Dense and carefully argued, the thesis is that the great world religions are a force for good as they prompt human reach for and response to the transcendent. For these religious pursuits to remain a constructive social force, adherents will have to embrace a distinction between religion and rule; i.e., religion and politics are two “distinct, though intersecting, cultural territories.”

As I head to Myanmar during this time of unprecedented political transition, I am eager to learn how the new government will deal with the ongoing contraction of religious liberty for Muslims and Christians. Outsiders and cautious insiders have criticized Aung San Suu Kyi for her tepid reaction to the brutal treatment of Muslims by radicalized Buddhist leaders. And Christians are always on the margin, too, as they are not members of the “favored religion.” Baptist churches in the United States have witnessed and welcomed the tidal wave of refugees, our spiritual kin. Observers on the ground are hopeful that this courageous leader was wisely biding her time until the election was completed and the new leadership comes to power, which will occur in early April.

A Christian friend in Myanmar gives this perspective:

It is an exciting moment in our history. For many of us, all these things are new in life. … We do hope and pray that things would turn toward the common good of our people in Myanmar and finally peace and justice would prevail.

March 13th was Global Day of Prayer for Burma, and Christians here welcome spiritual support. I encourage you to sustain this praying, especially in this delicate time.

When a religion is an instrument of hate, it has abdicated its moral voice. At the heart of faith traditions is love of God and love of neighbor. We can offer this as a common word, even as we seek to preserve the religious liberty of those who do not share our Christian faith. This will be the best witness of all, demonstrating the remarkable dignity Jesus accords all people.

Molly Marshall is president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary. She spoke twice at the Hamrick Lectures at First Baptist Church of Charleston.

 

Tags: , , ,

Twelve Days of Christmas – Sixth Follow Through

My sixth of the extended Twelve Days of Christmas came before June 17th which is the date I have chosen for each month. I am happy to report that I did follow through and it does feel good. I have made it half way through the year.

I have marked my 2015 calendar for each of the twelve months as a way of extending the wonderful spirit of Christmas throughout the entire year. My hope is that others will join in the spirit and make it a wonderful time for all of us. It does not need to be a grand gesture. Just make it something simple. Something you will do. You will be amazed about how even the simplest acknowledgement of another person can make a tremendous difference in a person’s life. It might only be a smile, a touch, a note, a telephone call or an email.

Of course, we are free to do more than one act of kindness. Several a day would be nice. Just do at least one or more on or before the date you have selected.

Charleston was hit this week with a terrible act of hate. We have created an atmosphere where it is alright to hate. Much of it stems from the hate speech that surrounds us. If I tell you just don’t hate, what does that mean? If I tell you to say something nice. You have something to aim for. Our speech reveals what is in our hearts. Say something nice to every person you meet. Let’s change the dialogue.

I am writing this as a part of my accountability to myself to remind me to follow through. Follow through on our good intentions is always the test.

Tags: , , ,

Random Acts of Kindness – 103

There is someone who wants to join your movement to stamp out bullying. Include her or him in your campaign to end bullying. You will be glad that you did.

Tags: , , ,