JIM CREES: Another uncomfortable truth

Whether you want to admit it or not, and no matter what the suggested cause may be, there has been a noticeable and worrisome increase in hate crimes around this country over the past few months.

Sadder still, an article by Detroit Free Press reporter Niraj Warikon reports Michigan had the highest increase of “bias crimes” following the recent general election.

“There were at least 40 incidents involving bias against African Americans, Latinos, immigrants, Jews, Muslims, LGBT and others in Michigan in the period following the contentious election … according to a report by the Southern Poverty Law Center,” wrote Warikon.

The article notes the Center, which monitors extremism and bigotry, said there were 867 hate incidents nationally post-election.

“People have experienced harassment at school, at work, at home, on the street, in public transportation, in their cars, in grocery stores and other places of business, and in their houses of worship,” continued Warikon. “They most often have received messages of hate and intolerance through graffiti and verbal harassment, although a small number also have reported violent physical
interactions.”

Some of the 40 incidents in Michigan tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center include:

  • On Nov. 16, a Latino immigrant was targeted for harrassment at a restaurant in Troy.
  • On Nov. 10 at Clarkston Junior High School, there was a Nazi swastika aimed at an African American. There also were Nazi swastikas painted in incidents in Albion, Wyandotte and Ann Arbor, and other municipalities.
  • On Nov. 9, an 18-year-old female employee in Kalamazoo who is African American was cursed at and spat on by a white male customer. There also were anti-black incidents against African Americans in Marquette, on public transportation in Okemos, at a business in Flint Township and on the street in New Baltimore, among other places.
  • On Nov. 11 in Brighton, a woman said two white men approached her and said: “Just so you know, we hate (slur for lesbians) and so does our President.”

“Twelve of the victims in the 40 incidents were African American, at least four were Latino, four were Muslim, seven were LGBT people, and seven incidents were anti-immigrant in tone … Also, white supremacist fliers were found after the election in East Lansing and Allendale.

“Many of the bias incidents in Michigan were at schools, a pattern seen nationwide, the report said. The center’s report said schools and colleges “have been the most common venues for hate incidents.”

And it isn’t just political ranting leading to hate-filled activities and attacks.

Religious leaders such as Randal Terry were very active during this most recent election cycle. Terry will arguably best be remembered for his lecture some time ago during which he said “I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good. … Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a Biblical duty, we are called by God, to conquer this country. We don’t want equal time. We don’t want pluralism.”

Yes. According to some in the pulpit today (and many at political lecterns around the country) we are actually called to be hateful.

Tolerance, suggested Franklin Graham, can actually be a sin.

Interesting.

Time and time, and time again Christians are called in Scripture to be tolerant of others — including unbelievers.

In the Book of Acts (10:28) St. Peter tells his companion, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean.”

Hmmmmm …

What’s good for St. Peter doesn’t necessarily seem to carry over for many in the flock.

In Romans 14, St. Paul asks, “Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls.”

Indeed. Who are you to pass judgment on a girl wearing a hijab, or a person of color?

In fact, Jesus was considerably more tolerant than are many of those who teach His word.

When Jesus’ teachings were rejected by the inhabitants of a village in Samaria, His disciples suggested he destroy the village and the people with a curse. Jesus refused.

“… they did not receive him … And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, ‘Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, even as Elias did?’ But he turned and rebuked them, and said, ‘Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.’ And they went to another village.” (Luke 9:52-56)

Hmmmmmm … again.

But Paul knew way back when the type of people who would be sowing messages of hate in these United States today.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

Paul tried to teach tolerance and peace, “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.”

But, in the United States of today, it is far more easy to ignore the uncomfortable teaching of the Bible.

avatar

Posted by Jim Crees

Jim is the editor in chief of the Pioneer, Herald Review and Lake County Star. He can be reached by phone at (231) 592-8360 or by e-mail at jcrees@pioneergroup.com.

Leave a Reply