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‘Love our human family well’

November 25, 2018

I would like to share thoughts from Jim Denison’s “Forum on Truth and Culture,” written Oct. 29 after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.

What motivates seemingly senseless violence?

Theologian Martin Buber proposed that all relationships fit into two categories: “I-Thou” and “I-It.” An “I-Thou” relationship recognizes the inherent value of the other. An “I-It” relationship (objectification) views the other as an object: a means to an end, justifying treating people however they wish.

Hate crimes follow the “I-It” rationalization. Objectification of the person leads to vilification — where the attacker blames the victim for supposed crimes against himself (e.g. stealing their jobs; threatening their way of life). This can then lead to violence: slander to discrimination to physical attack. The “normalization” of such hatred is a sign of something gone terribly wrong in the human heart.

We are all wounded by inhuman acts of violence. What is the Biblical response to hate crimes?

1. Love every person as though they were a member of your family, because they are. We are all created by the same Father. There are many ethnicities but only one race — the human race. 2. Just as God shows no partiality, we must reject all discrimination and seek to live in harmony with one another. 3. Stand with those who grieve. Our Father comforts us in all our afflictions so that we may be able to comfort those who are afflicted.

Imagine a culture in which everyone followed these simple precepts.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, and to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

With God’s help, let us seek to live and love our human family well.

Cheryl Fusco

Danbury

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