Note: Today's Perspective was recorded before this weekend's Poway Synagogue shooting.
In the last couple of months there have been horrific acts of hatred. While not as highly publicized as the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, three historically African-American churches in Louisiana were burned within 10 days. A man has been arrested and charged with a hate crime in connection with the fires. Since Reconstruction, black churches across the South have been the target of racists, from arsons and bombings to armed assaults.
The terrorist act carried out at two Mosques in New Zealand last month, where 50 people were killed while praying, is still vivid in my memory. Most recently, on Resurrection Sunday, Muslim extremist in Sri Lanka bombed several locations including houses of worship, leaving more than 350 people dead. Why so much hate? Why so much disregard for humanity?
Is hate learned behavior? Psychologist Bernard Golden says, “We are all born with the capacity for aggression as well as compassion. Which tendencies we embrace requires mindful choice by individuals, families, communities and our culture in general. The Key to overcoming hate is education: at home, in school, and in the community,”
It’s time to assess, evaluate, and deconstruct all environments, systems, and institutions that have the propensity to instill hate. This examination should include: religious doctrine, personal belief systems, educational curricula, music, and other places and spaces where racist ideology can take root.
We no longer reserve the right to be silent or ignore the indoctrination of hate. We owe it to society to change the narrative. Our homes, schools, and community must teach love, tolerance, and compassion. The Holy Scriptures I study, the Bible, says in part, the greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself.
I’m Joe Mitchell and this is my perspective.