Another mass shooting shocks America. Leaders at all levels condemn the violence. A grief-stricken community asks the question, why? And, the country wonders, when will this insanity ever end?
Americans now search their souls for answers to insipient divisiveness.
The murderer in Buffalo, New York, appears to have been driven by overt racism. Mayor Byron Brown brought immediate calm to the crisis and tragedy through his articulate, compassionate, professional handling of the situation. Buffalo is a community of acceptance and ethnic assimilation. Racism is not even a nascent factor. This white supremacist invaded their moral privacy, both as an individual, and as a monstrous, evil, twisted belief system.
Immediately, the generic discussion goes to stricter surveillance of individuals, more gun control laws, and labeling people by history of attitude. More dialogue is called for through public forums. These suggestions for solutions are repetitions of incidents past. Confidence in progress for elimination of the manifested evil continues to wane.
The Reverend Al Sharpton on Meet the Press this weekend was asked what, as a country, must we do to alleviate such visceral hatred? He responded, without hesitation, that the church must take a more visible role. This statement, with which I most ardently agree, is pregnant with profound understanding.
Yes, the government has a role. Elected officials can raise the tone of condemnation. But government has not the ability to legislate morality or to outlaw hatred. One’s spirit of the heart can only be directed by the spirit of their mindset.
Yes, collectively as a society, we can all declare that hate crimes are an abomination to the sensibilities of our culture. Yet, secularism and atheism have no foundational transcendent code from which the directive to love one another emanates. Many secularists are law-abiding citizens. But they fail woefully in connecting generational principles that bind us as a society.
Only faith in a higher calling of religion for attitudinal perspectives can address evil unequivocally. The Church does not have to take into consideration constitutional tolerance for free speech if it is evil. The Church does not have to accommodate twisted, distorted ideologies of white supremacy for political expediency. And the Church does not have to ponder the “what-ifs” of a secular world that does not recognize eternal principles or absolutes that reject identity politics.
Each of us as citizens, led by our faith in a common national purpose of egalitarianism and universal freedom, must step up our commitment to protect each other from racial bias, hatred, or exclusion. We accomplish this by confronting evil where it exists and where it propagates. Call it out and condemn it. Never tolerate it, even in its naïve genesis. Express outrage at the insinuation of its very concept.
Once again, the course correction of society lies within the authority and the will of the general public. In a democracy, the government will heed the demands of the people. In a free and open society, extremists will run for cover of darkness when the sustaining culture makes it clear that they are socially unacceptable.
This is not the time for iambic pentameter or political prosody. This is the time for clear, direct, emphatic declarations that racism and hatred are the unacceptable bane of civilization.
Alexis de Tocqueville, in his quest to understand democracy in America, found that the higher calling of Christianity, requiring believers of the faith to not only treat each other equally, but to believe that everyone is equal, was the essential ingredient for the success of self-rule. Eternal principles were seen as practical, not religious. Faith in the doctrine of “love your neighbor as yourself” was deemed a viable protector of all peoples.
The progenitor of hate crimes is hate uncontested. We should preach love as a protocol. We must confront hate as a spiritual crime. Hate in action cannot be allowed to germinate.
Discussion and debate abound about how Nazism, with its spewing of toxic fanaticism, dominated Germany in the 1930s. In 1932 when Adolph Hitler began his climb to power, he received 1% of the vote in his first attempt at elected office. Germany was not a hate-filled society. If Hitler had been confronted initially for the monster that he was, and exposed for the anathema that he represented to an open and tolerant society, he might never have gained the incremental traction that led to him becoming Fuhrer.
When complacency leads to purblindness, ultimate evil consummates the process of unrighteousness, rendering total destruction of civilization through the lack of societal accountability.
It is interesting that, in the face of current events, the précis argument given for the ultimate solution to our country’s divides, was given by a liberal progressive who believes that government is the answer to most problems.
Al Sharpton was right. It starts with the church. The church must take a greater role. And every American must conduct a self-examination of the faith that he or she is committed to for the hope of their children’s future.
My name is Marc Nuttle and this is what I believe.
What do you believe?