Photo credit: “Jesus Wept” by Erik Hollander
As I browsed the news online this morning, I noticed that today is “Day Without Immigrants”, a protest in response to stepped-up deportations of illegal immigrants. All over the country, people are staying home from school and work to make their point. Restaurants and other businesses find themselves working with reduced staff. And that, of course, is the whole point of the protest – to make people see what things would be like if they suddenly were all deported.
Over in the Netherlands, authorities are keeping a sharp lookout for Dutch nationals from Syria and Iraq who are members of the Islamic State. DW News says some of them can be as young as 9 years old, so even children have to be scrutinized as possible terrorists.
Another news story focused on the rash of bomb threats at Jewish community centers and schools. Because the threats turn out to be fake, it hasn’t been getting a lot of attention. But just the threat of being bombed causes a lot of fear, and some people have stopped going to their cultural/religious centers.
The Toronto Sun in Canada reports that the co-founder of the Toronto chapter of Black Lives Matter, Yusra Khogali, teaches that white people are genetic defects and are sub-human. Hmm, that sounds an awful lot like what white people used to say about black people. She has tweeted: “Plz Allah give me strength to not cuss/kill these men and white folks out here today.”
Closer to home, a local artist who has created Biblical art for over a quarter of a century recently tried to sell some of his art online. The proceeds were going to be sent to help Syrian refugees. Paypal banned him from using their payment system, supposedly because of national security policies. Incredible.
It’s a strange world we are living in. Surely God weeps when He sees the humans he created putting down, attacking, oppressing and trying to kill each other. He sent Jesus here to bring peace and forgiveness, but people crucified him. Thank God this world is not our permanent home. We are only passing through.
The third time I read “Black Like Me”, I read the 35th anniversary edition. It contained some additions that were not in the earlier printing. I was especially struck by John’s observations about racism not being limited to any one race.
“The Negro does not understand the white any more than the white understands the Negro. I was dismayed to see the extent to which this youth exaggerated – how could he do otherwise? – the feelings of the whites toward Negroes. He thought they all hated him.
The most distressing repercussion of this lack of communication has been the rise in racism among Negroes, justified to some extent, but a grave symptom nevertheless. It only strengthens the white racist’s cause. The Negro who turns now, in the moment of near-realization of his liberties, and bares his fangs at a man’s whiteness, makes the same tragic error the white racist has made.
And it is happening on a wider scale. Too many of the more militant leaders are preaching Negro superiority. I pray that the Negro will not miss his chance to rise to greatness, to build from the strength gained through his past suffering and, above all, to rise beyond vengeance.
If some spark does set the keg afire, it will be a senseless tragedy of ignorant against ignorant, injustice answering injustice – a holocaust that will drag down the innocent and right-thinking masses of human beings.”
(from page 159 of the 35th anniversary edition)
John Griffin was right. People of any race can become convinced, sometimes wrongly so, that everyone of a different race hates them. This belief builds walls between groups of people, and keeps them from understanding each other. When hearts are ruled by hate, no one wins.
I woke up this morning, checked the news online, and this is what greeted me: “Protests Coast To Coast – Demonstrations in 170 U.S. cities”. This country is beginning to look like Greece and Spain. There are many people who are trying to protest peacefully. But there are far too many who are resorting to violence. Neighborhood stores are being broken into, cars set ablaze, tear gas thrown at people, and people being physically attacked. There is too much violence on both sides. Are there people behind the scenes that are purposefully feeding the anger and encouraging entire communities to riot? I believe so. If the violence continues, we are ripe for martial law. Maybe that is what some want – a disbanding of our normal laws to be able to radically change our government because the situation is deemed an emergency. Call me a conspiracy nut case, but I can see it coming.
Martin Luther King Jr. said:
“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar,
but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater,
but you do not murder hate.
In fact, violence merely increases hate.
So it goes.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
Jesus Christ, on the night he was unjustly arrested, told his disciple Peter to put away his sword. Peter thought he was doing a good thing by cutting off the ear of one of the arresting officers. You can read about it in the Bible, in John chapter 18. We would be wise to listen to the words of Jesus and people like Martin Luther King, who found non-violent ways to make things right.