I’m witnessing the shouts of ignorance far too often these days. It’s not just the absence of love, which frequently finds space to avoid, but rather, it’s the presence of hate, which claws into words and actions with reckless abandon. We’re becoming soiled by its unyielding desire to destroy, and we’re convincing ourselves that it’s contrary to our intentions. I remain unconvinced that we are so dumb. There’s far too much available at the tips of our fingers and within reach of our ears and eyes to believe that we can blame it on misinformation or misunderstanding. No, we are complicit in this drowning of our compassion.
The reaction to “illegal” immigration has been both fascinating and disturbing. A revelation of our collective stupidity when ignoring our past is one possible way to describe it, especially considering most of those who speak so intensely about others not belonging here can trace their own lineage easily enough to demonstrate their own ancestors were “illegal” immigrants. More accurately, though, it’s a full exposure of the egocentrism that festers in a pool of privilege born of white power. Masking racism with an interpretation of the law that prevents it aligning to ourselves and ignores the factors contributing to present circumstances is conveniently but blatantly disgusting.
Defending the use of racial slurs would seem at first glance to be beneath us, even in the imaginary “post-racial” society so many of us believe we have. And yet, it’s a constant barrage of pompous dismissals alongside supportive comments when it comes to defending the use of words or symbols anyone in their right mind would never say or show directly to the face of an American Indian without rightfully and promptly being informed they are racist. Arguing the right to not listen to those we deem unworthy of our discomfort speaks to the pervasive ethnocentrism so dominate in our society, and highlights specifically how our power and privilege leads us to believe we can make pointless comparisons.
Defining a loving relationship between two mutually consenting adults within the parameters of our narrow and misguided minds has created a false sense of righteousness, especially among those who consider themselves followers of Christ. Scripture is used to defend this hatred in a way that magnifies both the ignorance of how marriage is defined within The Bible, but also in a way that ignores the history of how The Word has been distorted in history to oppress with such sweeping certainty. Instead of finding ways to expand love, we demonstrate how sick we can be by relating it to offenses with no comparison. We rush to make an exclusive club, while acting as if we are unable to recognize how we falsely define relationships as being about what happens in the bed instead of what happens in the heart.
For hatred of a leader, and at the expense of people in need and women who deserve nothing but our thanks and respect, we justify our criticisms of a system designed to provide care that we all deserve. Criticizing endless numbers of people being able to access what should be a basic right? Seriously? Imagine the progress we could make if we were demanding ways to continually improve rather than destroy access to healthcare for all? What if we cared less about pitching in a bit more, waiting a bit longer, and acting a bit less like the entire world revolves around ourselves? What if we cared more about doing absolutely everything we can to see that all people everywhere – regardless of background, circumstances, or “pre-existing conditions” – were cared for the way we all wish to be cared for?
As I write this, a decision announced by a prosecutor from a grand jury about whether or not to allow a family to have their day in court for their child is being shared. It’s not an indictment of all law enforcement everywhere. That’s a distortion and distraction of epic proportions. It’s not about just a single case. That’s downplaying a long history of injustices. No, this is a decision related to an issue that defines the state of racial divide that continues to exist day in and day out all around us. To pretend it doesn’t exist means we aren’t paying attention to the statistics that make clear the disproportionate numbers of people of color who face academic struggles and discipline referrals in schools, but also arrest, imprisonment, and death at the hands of our society.
My heart aches. My fists clench. My anger boils. Being white, straight, able-bodied and minded, economically stable, and male, I’m privileged enough to not have to live this day in and day out. Still, my heart aches. My fists clench. My anger boils. We are brothers and sisters, and we are all both victims and perpetrators.
I look for my God in all of this, and I remember He is where He always is – within us.