Saturday, September 11, 2010

We can love...or we can not...the choice is ours

I must confess, I am getting a bit overwhelmed by who/what I'm supposed to hate these days. Is it Hispanics? Or just Hispanic immigrants and their children? Blacks? Muslims? The President? The Black Muslim President who's not really an American citizen? A mosque being built near where the World Trade Center towers used to be? Or maybe it's the Koran? Perhaps it's gays? Gays who want to get married? Or just gays who force us by their existence to face the fact that they are a part of the fabric of our society and oh, yes, they have rights, too?

Okay, here comes the truth as I see it: Hispanics were citizens of this country long before most of our ancestors arrived and snatched their land away from them. Those who immigrate, even the ones who don't do so within the legal parameters set by law, could be seen as simply returning to their homeland and maybe we're lucky they don't demand it back. Even better, perhaps Native Americans could demand their land back, with all the oil, mineral rights and other treasures stolen from them by the White Man invaders a couple centuries ago.

But I digress. Those are truths, but here come a few more: After centuries of slavery, their eventual freedom, followed by a hundred or so years of needless oppression and hard-fought rights, many of them still under seige, Blacks neither deserve nor merit the white man's hatred. Thin about it: What an ugly chapter in our beloved country's history slavery is. Yet there are those who would wish, I suppose, to characterize bringing slaves from Africa to the Americas as an all-expense-paid ocean voyage to the land of opportunity. Talk about reframing history!

The bottom line on the hatred aimed at President Obama is simple: The man is Black. No, he's not a Muslim. That's just stupid, but then stupid seems to abound these days. He's Black. Doesn't even matter that his mother was not--he is, and that's all that counts to the hatemongers that would divide and destroy our country. The Stupid reigns supreme, untempered by the slightest modicum of regret, shame or even cognizance of the harm that's being done. Oh, may I add one more thing--if the president were Muslim, so what?

Of course, the current wave of hatred toward Muslims defies logic, but underscores the ugly and overt actions that result. Burning Korans? Good grief! What purpose does that serve? It only spreads the message around the world to those for whom the Koran is a sacred book that Americans hate, and they have no compunction about expressing their hatred in the most offensive of ways. This kind of deep-seated animosity, the cruelty of the hearts and minds of those who practice it, are more than troubling. Didn't Jesus have a few words to say about love? Wasn't that his Great Commandment--Love one another even as I have loved you? Didn't the writers of the New Testament talk about it, too? I recall some words about saying we love God but hate others makes us liars. Now that's a truth everyone should be able to relate to.

Much more can be said and probably will in posts to come, but as we mark another anniversary of that awful September 11, 2001, perhaps these are some words to ponder, words that may speak to the hardest of hearts:

The prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
Where there is sadness, joy

Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love

And all the people said...Amen!