Pray for our community and our country. More importantly, speak up to your friends and neighbors here on this Earth. Ask all of your friends to speak up. Our community and our country are descending into hatred. This is not the America that I believe in.
On Monday, up to 200 headstones were vandalized in a Jewish cemetery here in St. Louis.
In the last six weeks, 69 bomb threats have been phoned in to Jewish Community Centers around the United States, plus one in Canada.
Last month, two mosques were burned in Texas. one of them completely destroyed.
Less than two years ago, a man in Charleston murdered nine Christians at Bible study.
Victims are victims, whether they are Jewish or Muslim or Christian. Now is the time to stop scapegoating “others” and turn our attention to our home-grown violence and hatred.
Our national leaders blame outsiders for our problems: refugees, immigrants, people from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, and Libya. But no refugee committed these crimes. No immigrant. All of these crimes were perpetrated by people born right here in our United States of America.
It is easy to blame outsiders. It is tempting to rage at people who don’t look like us, people we don’t see, people who don’t live nearby. But when we pick scapegoats, we nurture hatred. We sanction the violent lunatic fringes of our own society.
No longer can we afford to be distracted from the problems here at home.
Now we must rebuild the America in which we want to live: a safe place for all of us.
Now is the time to hearken all the way back to our Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
No longer can we allow a few people to deny these rights to any of the rest of us. No longer can we sit idly, read the news about such horrors, and passively voice our mild upset to our family members.
Now is the time to tell our friends that we are angry. It is time to enlist their help. It is past time for tolerating the lunatic fringe.
Now is the time to tell our elected officials to pay more attention to the present danger and less to the imagined future threat. It is time to demand responsible governance. It is past time for hate mongering speeches.
Martin Niemöller, a prominent Protestant pastor, put it beautifully:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—
and there was no one left to speak for me.
Niemöller spent seven years in Nazi concentration camps, narrowly escaping execution. Truly, there was no one left to speak for him.
Now is our time.
Now is your time.