“They’re not coming to this country if I’m president,” said Donald Trump about Muslims.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best…They’re sending people that have lots of problems…They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re bringing rapists,” said Donald Trump about Mexicans.
Signing (North Carolina) House Bill 2, which basically states that no local law can provide protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, “was the right thing to do” because “there are some laws that need to be uniform across the state, especially when it comes to protecting our citizens,” said NC House Representative Jon Hardister (R).
When I hear statements like these, I try not to get angry or post disrespectful comments on Facebook about the people who say them. Instead, I try to focus on the question that the Black Eyed Peas sang about. Where is the love?
But if you only have love for your own race, then you only leave space to discriminate. And to discriminate only generates hate. Whatever happened to the values of humanity? Whatever happened to the fairness and equality? Instead of spreading love, we’re spreading animosity.
And when I think about love, I think about St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, which speaks largely on this topic. Paul wrote to the Church in Corinth when he was trying to unite a group of very factious Christians. He wrote an epistle to this congregation, because the church had lost its moral compass. Sound familiar?
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Paul’s message and his reason for sending it seems just as appropriate now as it did in the 1st century. There is conflict in our midst. We have lost sight of our basic humanity, and we need to recalibrate our moral compass.
Black, white, gay, straight, man, woman, child, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Syrian/Iraqi/Afghani refugee, rich, poor, Republican, Democrat, non-English speaking American, illegal alien, every human being. Every human being deserves to be treated with kindness and patience, with honor and protection.
To practice love is my personal responsibility, because I try to live by my values, and my values include awareness and compassion and connection. They don’t include hate and injustice and discord. Frankly, I don’t know of anyone who has those values. Do you?
To practice love is also my civic duty, because I care about the general welfare of all people – not just those who look and think like me or live in my state or country. So, I must adopt an attitude and act in ways that contribute to the welfare of every human being.
I will practice love.