Things We Will Not Let You Take – Charlottesville & Beyond
There has been a flurry of posts, articles, emails, etc., about what we should all be doing to oppose the hatred and rage we have seen rise from the white supremacists and neo-Nazis within the alt-Right movement. It reached its pinnacle in its expression in Charlottesville, and we are all still reeling wondering how this is possible in this age, in this country, and in this time of enlightened thinking.
In the midst of this, these hate-fueled protests seek to take away many things from us. They seek to take away the value of people whose color of skin is not acceptable in their sight. They seek to take away our safety and security. They seek to take away the hope that people can resolve differences without violence. They seek to take away the values of a country who has told the world, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” And they seek to take away the way faith guides us in treating people. They want to incite our rage, bring out our hate, and engage us by violent means.
On November 13, 2015, Antoine Leiris lost his wife when terrorists used bombs and mass shootings to brutally kill 89 people in Paris. Two days after this tragedy, Antoine wrote these moving words in an open letter on Facebook: “On Friday night, you stole the life of an exceptional being, the love of my life, the mother of my son, but you will not have my hate.” It’s hard for me to imagine how he could not express hate in this moment. Yet he made a stand to let people know that there are certain things he will never let someone take from him—no matter what they may do.
We are a community called by Jesus to be his voice, hands and feet in this world, and my hope and prayer is that we will proclaim to those whose hate fuels their actions: there are things you will never take from us—no matter what you may do. We will always strive to express Jesus’ radical, inclusionary love for all people. And no matter what means you use, we will choose the way of Jesus in how we live and love. These are things you will never take from us.