I attended an interfaith lunch meeting earlier this week. Clergy and political leaders spoke together about how to find common ground among and between different segments of our larger community. We shared in a very positive and uplifting conversation. At one point, I spoke about the wonderful gathering we had here last week with our friends from Union Baptist Church.
You may recall. Over the past two years we’ve been evolving our relationship by visiting each other’s congregations for worship, by talking together about joint efforts, and meeting one another to establish personal bonds. Last week 60 of us gathered to explore common values. We learned about one another’s names and backgrounds. We heard from each other about memories of discrimination or feeling like “the other.” We imagined next steps and hopes.
At both the clergy lunch and the Union Baptist gathering participants referenced the recent spate of anti-Semitic threats against Jewish community organizations. Everyone expressed their outrage and concern. Everyone spoke out against prejudice and hate. And everyone was disturbed that the perpetrator seems to be an American-Israeli young adult living in Ashkelon, Israel.
I’ve been wondering what to think, let alone say, about this upsetting news. An African American pastor sitting beside me at lunch the other day gave me the benefit of his wisdom. He said, “Hate is hate. Its source does not diminish its scourge.” To which I said, “Amen.”
Hate is hate. Cruelty is cruelty. Justice is justice. Goodness is goodness. Their source does not matter. Acknowledging their existence we must repudiate what is wrong and embrace what is right.