March 11, 2013
Pastorgraphs: “Don’t Be A Hater”
A few days ago, I received a packet of materials from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), including a map of the USA showing the location of 1,018 active hate groups in 49 of the 50 states. (Hawaii alone has no organized hate groups – yet!) The groups range from the KKK, Neo-Nazi, White Nationalists, Black Separatists, Racists Skinheads, Neo-Confederate, “Christian Identity” Hate Groups, and others (who apparently hate just for the sake of hating).
One of the saddest pictures I have ever seen is this one by Todd Robertson of the Gainesville Times, showing a small child dressed in KKK garb, being taught from infancy to hate.
2012 was the first year the number of organized hate groups topped 1,000, leading many to label 2012, “The Year of Hate”. With the deep divisions in our country, the vitriol and stagnation in Washington and anger over the economy, perhaps we should not be surprised by the increase of fear merchants, doomsdayers, conspiracy-minded anti-government “Patriot” groups, and the old fashioned garden variety haters. Just say such words as Democrat, Republican, immigration, national debt, family planning or gun control, and watch the anger surface immediately. But we must do better than this. Else, like the little child who is learning to hate, we lose something we may never recover.
The Southern Poverty Law Center was organized in 1971 to bring justice for the exploited, the powerless and the forgotten. But before you interpret “Southern” as the place where prejudice, bigotry and racial hatred exists, please know there are just as many hate groups in Southern California as in Alabama. I observe as much racism today in San Diego as I saw in my native Mississippi in the 1960s. It would have been very easy for me to have become a racist, with hate all around me; but thanks to my family, my church leaders and by the grace of God I learned that love is “a more excellent way”.
By the way, the San Diego Anti-Defamation League is sponsoring an anti-hate exhibit this month at the Jewish Community Center in La Jolla.
Racism and hatred know no boundaries. And it is not as simple as black and white. When I served as a pastor in Green Bay, Wisconsin (1971-74) I was amazed to learn that in spite of being 99% “white”, there was an unspoken racism between the descendants of Norwegians, Dutch, Belgians, Poles and Swedes. I couldn’t tell the difference, but believe me, they knew! And there was little love lost between the “ethnic” Europeans.
I have quit reading the comments at the end of online news and sports stories. It depresses me to know so many people are filled with such vile and venom, and are not shy about spewing their hatred for all to see.
In the Sermon on the Mount (Luke 6), Jesus said:
- “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
- Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.
- If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
- But love your enemies, and do good, … and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.
- Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
- Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.
- Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”
Sorry, Christians, we are not permitted to hate. I know, it goes against our human nature to love our “enemies”. But when we practice love as the God of Love intended, we discover our biggest enemy is Hate itself.
Don’t be a hater! Now go out there today and love others as God first loved you!
From the Quote Garden:
“The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom, be he any color of the rainbow, but people have a way of carrying their resentments right into a jury box. As you grow older, you'll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don't you forget it - whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.”
~ Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird ~
Rev. Bill Prince: A Memorial Service celebrating the life of Rev. Bill Prince, founding pastor of our Hispanic Methodist Congregation, will be conducted the Sunday, March 17, 2013, at 6:00 PM at Christ United Methodist Ministry Center.
Easter Joint Worship Service: You are invited to a joint worship Easter Celebration Sunday, March 31, 10:00 AM, sponsored by Exodus Church and the Methodist congregations at 33rd and Meade. Everyone is invited to attend. Multiple choirs will sing, and I have the honor of preaching the Easter Sermon. It will be a glorious day, similar to multi-congregational services we have experienced in the past.
Christ United Methodist Ministry Center
“Christ in the Heart of San Diego”
3295 Meade Avenue - San Diego, CA 92116 - (619) 284-9205