February 25, 2023: a “National Day of Hate.” Astonishing, this headline!
I doubted anyone would be this publicly misguided, this wrong-headed, this evil. Still, the call for public displays of antisemitism, racism and the hate mongering are genuine phenomena.
A quick online search found law enforcement agencies across the country, from New York to Miami to Seattle, are extending this warning. A coalition of neo-Nazi and White Supremacists are calling for hate-filled speech and actions on Saturday. It is not new; it is a more open call for abuse against anyone who differs. Sadly, this is a part of a freshly emerging pattern.
Only two days ago, on Ash Wednesday, Christians were reminded of our common humanity and our need for repentance. Ashes symbolize a “humas,” central to our identity. From “dust you have come and to dust you shall return.” All of us; we hold this in common. We are but temporal and temporary vessels, each carrying the potential for hope and healing or harm and hatred.
In her book “People Love Dead Jews,” Dara Horn points poignantly to the ways antisemitism is deeply embedded and intertwined in our culture. Among the haunting illustrations is the story of a Jewish child visiting a Christian church and while there asking the mother, “Where are the security guards?” It was for this Jewish child normal for any space of worship, like his own synagogue, to always need security guards present.
There has been much news about a spiritual awakening at my alma mater Asbury University. Honestly, I have been fearful that this phenomenon offers a simplistic, pietistic, and personalistic response to the divisions, deceits and challenges we face as a nation. Folks quite rightly say that the impact of this spiritual awakening will not be known for decades. True enough. Still there is a good test to be had on Saturday, February 25th. Will we stand against hatred and turn the so-called National Day of Hate into a Day to Overcome Hatred with Words and Acts of Love of Neighbor. All neighbors!