Drinking the Poison of White Nationalistic Violence | Sojourners

Drinking the Poison of White Nationalistic Violence

The massacre at two mosques in New Zealand shows us again what happens when we drink from the cup of hatred. A man whose compassion, decency, and sense of humanity were killed by this poison committed a great evil.

He chose to drink from the cup of poison instead of the cup of life.

The struggle against hatred is as old as humanity, and it will continue after each of us is gone from the planet. But God has given us this moment to join the struggle against the ideologies that that inflict such evil upon our families, our communities, and our world.

The armed men who have violated so many sacred spaces — an historic black church in Charleston, a synagogue in Pittsburgh, mosques in New Zealand, schools, and places of learning and caring around the world — all drank the same poison.

The poison that exalts white nationalism and supremacy and privilege.

The poison that chooses conflict and bullets as solutions to problems.

The poison that stokes fear of anyone who is different.

The poison that builds walls between ourselves and those who have a different skin color, different religion, different ethnic origin, different sexuality, or different political viewpoints.

The poison that aims to divide God’s children and turn one against another instead of loving one another.

We must work together to empty this cup of poison and offer the cup of life instead.

I’ve been touched by the many interfaith gatherings around the world since the mosque massacres. People of different faiths have come together to proclaim their common values of love, compassion, peace, and healing — the foundation of all true religion.

They’ve joined hands against hatred and renewed their commitment to transform poisoned hearts and divided communities with a love that is undeterred and undiminished.

They’ve offered a drink from a different cup.

They’ve prayed for the victims and the perpetrators, recognizing that our thoughts and prayers are only a starting point. Words are never a finish line. Action must follow.

We begin by guarding our own hearts against this poison. It’s easy for words of hatred to seep inside us and influence us. Each of us must be vigilant in monitoring ourselves.

We must challenge our leaders — especially our president and other national leaders — to unequivocally denounce these acts and properly label them as terrorism and expressions of a deeper evil. They also must emphatically and fully reject the ideologies that produce these acts.

Acts of hatred don’t come out of the blue. They’re shaped and inspired by the poisonous words in our world. Any leader who refuses to condemn hateful ideologies is aiding and abetting and promoting the inevitable results, and they must be resisted.

And we must always respond to the poisonous words we encounter in our daily interactions. We must not allow them to pass without offering words of life to counter them. We lovingly yet firmly push back by insisting that everyone must be treated as beloved by God.

It’s not about enforcing political correctness. It’s about defending God's children. It’s about living our faith.

We invite all people of goodwill to join us in bringing love and peace more fully into our families and our communities. We continue the work that’s been ongoing since the start of human history.

It’s our moment in time to fully engage ourselves in the struggle. Let’s work with God and with one another to bring hope, light and healing to a world so desperate for them.

Together, let's push back against this hatred by offering a drink from the cup of life.

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