When I got home from Bible study on Monday, I was greeted by a piece of vile hate speech published by a neo-Nazi organization sitting in the driveway. Once I got over the shock of thinking that someone thought I would welcome such a publication, I became so enraged at what I was reading. Sure, the history and logic are laughable, but what was so disturbing was how moderate and reasonably toned both the newsletter and associated website appeared. There is no call to arms or violence. There are no burning crosses, white hoods or lynch mobs. Instead, this is a well written, well reasoned – providing you agree with their flawed logic – piece of cold hatred.
I went through several stages of response Monday.
First I wanted to know who had left it and why. Was it a response to a demographic shift on our street? Had we given the impression that we may be open to such abominable rhetoric? I looked at my neighbors with suspicion, slandering them in my mind until I realized what I was doing.
Then I began to want to debate them. I wanted to point out their irrationality and foolishness. I wanted to mockingly point out that it is impossible to claim an historic superiority for a group of people who were barely able to cook their own food while Egypt was building the Pyramids and China was inventing paper. I wanted to ask them if the Jews are so powerful, why are they the ones giving up concessions at every “peace” conference? I wanted to use their own words against them and make them look like fools, until the Lord reminded me that talking to fools is always a waste of time.
So then I wanted to go out and get a picture of me with my friend Ira and my friend Patti and make it into a poster with the title “Red and Yellow Black and White, All are precious in His sight.” and hang that in my picture window. I wanted to make a HUGE sign for my yard that said “We didn’t send out the newsletter! We aren’t selling our house because two of our neighbors are black!” I told Jonathan that I wanted to make cookies and take them to those two neighbors and tell them we didn’t have any idea of where that horrific publication had originated! Jonathan told me that it was never a bad idea to reach out to our neighbors, but I should also pray for whoever had felt the necessity to spread the atrocity.
Pray for THEM?!? I was appalled at the idea, and then I was horrified to realize that I honestly didn’t think anyone associated with this so called “National Alliance” was worthy of God’s grace. I couldn’t imagine praying that God would save them! I think of these people in the same way that they think of my friends Ira, Patti, Melinda and Irene; and I think of myself the same way they think of themselves. They think themselves superior because of some genetic decisions made by their ancestors; I think myself superior because of the decision made by a sovereign God before the foundation of the earth. Unlike them, however, my inclusion in a chosen race and a holy nation should give me an attitude of inclusion and grace rather than exclusion and hatred.
I was horrified to find on my own front steps the sort of publication I had always associated with other times and other places, but I was also horrified to find myself reflected in the cold and “reasonable” hatred contained within. Will you join me in praying that whatever person/family/group felt the need to disseminate this publication to my neighborhood will be confronted with the same Jesus that saved the Apostle Paul from a life as a religious mercenary, and the same Jesus that saved Ted Bundy as he sat on death row, and the same Jesus that saved me.