Tag Archives: bigotry

Crusading and Finger Pointing in a Time of Crisis

We are in the midst of the biggest health and economic crisis of our lifetime, but there are still people using Facebook to post their political agendas, political finger pointing, hatred and bigotry, and their false sense of superiority over their neighbor.  I am talking about both Republican and Democrat supporters, conservatives and liberals, as well as Christians and self-proclaimed do-gooders!  I for one do not give a rip about anyone’s political preferences or conservative or liberal views, especially during this time of crisis. There may be a time for those views, but now is certainly not the time.

With the current crisis, the last thing we need is finger pointing and disingenuous religious posturing.  Pointing fingers of blame and citing scripture followed by arrows of hate and ridicule of neighbors does nothing but deepen the divide in our fragmented country.  To get through this crisis, we need to do something that has become quite rare for Americans – work together.  There is enough blame for everyone to share without the petty constant reminders on Facebook.  For those who don’t believe it, look in the mirror.

Every day, I see people post comments and memes seeking God’s intervention, and then turn around in their next post and spit out hate and disdain for neighbors who believe differently or support a different lifestyle.  It is time we get real about being human beings and start acting like we care about one another!  In these troubling times, how can so many pray for God’s intervention while refusing to extend a hand of compromise, peace, and love to their neighbor?  They may be fooling themselves and others, but they are not fooling God.

If people want others to believe their Christian posts, they need to start acting like a Christian when they post.  I have the utmost confidence Christ is neither a Republican or a Democrat, and it is highly doubtful he appreciates the hateful rhetoric some people consistently spew forth on Facebook.  Crusading against your fellow man does not make a person a better Christian – it certainly does not speak well of Christianity.

If it is necessary to toss anything at a neighbor perceived as an enemy, why not try a prayer rather than ugly, heartless, and mean-spirited language?  That takes no more effort while possibly healing our division and enabling us to work together as human beings truly concerned for each other’s worth and preservation.  God bless our little Southern pea-picking hearts, in these troubling times, we can certainly use all the support and prayers we can muster even when our actions so often prove we are not deserving of God’s grace and healing touch.

JL

©Jack Linton, March 20, 2020

HB 1523: Mississippi is Better than This!

HB 1523 is discriminatory in that it singles out a select group of people, and it is contradictory to legislative claims that it protects the religious rights of Christians.   The religious right of a Christian is to love God and his fellow man, and HB 1523 protects neither of those rights.  The bill is little more than a cynical and biased shell game enacted by individuals with selective Christian beliefs.  The idea that such a bill could surface in what a growing number of Mississippians were beginning to hope and believe was an enlightened 21st Century shows that cynicism and bigotry in the state legislature and the state as a whole is alive and well.

If Mississippi legislators truly intended to protect the religious rights of Christians against the participatory sin of doing business with sinners, why didn’t they include adultery, murder, theft, bearing false witness, lying, cursing, coveting, breaking civil laws, laziness, divorce and deceit in the bill?  Could it be that some of those sins hit too close to home and are therefore exclusionary sins?  Legislators can quote the Bible and talk about religious rights all they want, but unlike the Mississippi legislature, the Bible does not single out homosexuality as the only sin.  If it did, HB 1523 might have some merit, but it does not.  Sin is sin; therefore, all sin falls short of the glory of God.  How Christian is it to place hatred of sin above love for the sinner?  Shouldn’t Christians, even Christian legislators, focus on love and witnessing and leave God to focus on sin and judging?

HB 1523 promotes a perpetual state of conservative self-centered sameness; the idea that everyone should be cut from the same template as the writer of the bill and those it claims to represent.  This does not mean the writer or supporters of this bill are bad or evil people; they simply dance a full beat off center, fearful of the changing world around them.  They live in a continuous state of self-flagellation of their human condition powerless to reason beyond their inherited convictions of what is right and wrong.  Their soap box of fanatical righteousness is nurtured by an astute conviction that their beliefs, even when fractional, are beyond reproach as they go about the business of molding the world in their image.  They embrace their phobias as a covetous crusade for their definition of the norm which often disqualifies their understanding of reasonable discourse.  Their belief system is frequently fragmented and soft core, leaving them prone to react angrily even violently when cornered, confused, or contradicted.  They live in constant fear of becoming irrelevant, and it is that fear that ushers them ever closer to irrelevance.

Although Mississippi’s past speaks volumes about its intolerance, Mississippi in the 21st Century is better than this!  Shel Silverstein said we should look at one another only if we first turn out the lights.  With no light to reflect the pigment of our skin or the brother or sister we choose to stand at our side, we are all the same.  It is time we turn out the lights in Mississippi and see our brothers and sisters with our hearts.  It is time we turn on the light in our hearts, and see each other through God’s eyes.  It is through that light that we can conquer the intolerant fear that once again threatens our great state.  HB 1523 is a serpent that should be crushed under the heel of Mississippians unified in supporting the humanity of all people, and in due time, it will be.  No one outside the state will believe this, but Mississippi is better than HB 1523!

JL

©Jack Linton, April 5, 2016

 

R & B on the Come Back?

R & B has been all over the news lately in Mississippi, but sadly, I am not talking about rhythm and blues but racism and bigotry. Although Mississippi has gone to great lengths to cast aside its image of intolerance and build an image of tolerance and enlightenment, there are still some people, as we have seen lately, who refuse to learn from the mistakes of the past. Call it ignorance, hatred, or a combination of the two, they insist on judging their fellow man rather than trying to understand him, and that is unfortunate for all Mississippi. As long as there are people who embrace intolerance, Mississippi’s sordid past will never go away completely.

Like the measles, racism and bigotry are diseases we had hoped with heightened awareness, an enlightened spirit and time we could eradicate. Yet, with the recent racist remarks of Mississippi State Representative Gene Alday and the despicable racially motivated beating death of Gary Anderson in Jackson, the disease has shown itself to be just as ugly and present in our state today as it was fifty years ago. Hopefully, the hurtful ignorance of Mr. Alday’s words is not an indication that such feelings exist throughout the state legislature, but when an elected official speaks so irresponsibly, his words can’t help but reflect negatively on peers and colleagues as well.   Likewise, the horrific action of the young people who beat Mr. Anderson and then ran over him with a pickup truck not only brings back memories of the racial injustice and horror of Mississippi’s past, but sheds serious doubt on the state’s progress toward racial tolerance. We can only pray this was an isolated incident, but even an isolated murder of a man due to the color of his skin should not happen in the 21st century. So, why did it happen? Where did these young people learn to hate and have such intolerance for a fellow human being? Mr. Alday is of an age where his words might be weakly excused as ignorance from a past era, but what is behind the hatred that led to Mr. Anderson’s death?  Where was the tolerance that these young people should have been taught at home, in church and in school?

Unfortunately, tolerance seems to be in short supply these days, especially if what people are asked to tolerate does not fit neatly into what they consider the norms. Social media are prime examples.  Often through social media, people express their biases with little regard that there are most likely impressionable kids in their audience.  For example, there are people on social media who advocate an America made up solely of English speaking Christian non-immigrates. That is all well and good, but does that mean if a person speaks English but worships in a Jewish synagogue, he does not belong in America?  I think not, but a child who does not understand that religious expression is guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, may think otherwise, especially if he/she is subject to the same biases at home.  Also, the proliferation of the non-immigrant myth is as ludicrous as it sounds, but this is not an argument for or against immigration, but rather an argument against the bigotry of standing behind America as a one language, one religion nation.  It is bigotry since such views show a distinct intolerance of the language and religious beliefs of other citizens of the United States.   If adults choose to be narrow minded, that is one thing, but what happens to children who are exposed to such narrow minded thinking day after day?  What happens when they do not have proper guidance in dealing with such ideas of intolerance?  Do non-English speaking people who do not practice Christianity become less human to them?  What if the color of their skin is black, brown, or yellow – does that make them less human? The scariest part is that social media is only a small part of the problem; it is just one example of how children can be exposed intentionally or unintentionally to bigotry.

Racism and bigotry go a lot deeper than social media, the color of a person’s skin, lifestyle, or beliefs. There are those who make a living on racism and bigotry – some in the name of money, some in the name of God, some in the name of civil rights, and some in the name of hatred and ignorance. And, then there are those who truly strive to rid the world of racism and bigotry. They understand the two come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. They understand that both are an adult problem. Racism and bigotry are an adult disease without regard for race or class that are forced on children who in turn become adults forcing it on their children. This perpetual cycle of collective cultural ignorance exists in our communities, our schools, our churches, and our government, but although it grows and is often allowed to fester in these places, none of these is the root of its ugly beginnings.

Racism and bigotry begin at home with the mamas, daddies, grandparents, aunts, and uncles who intentionally, unintentionally, or out of ignorance feed it to children.   Children are not born into this world hating! Children are not born into this world caring if another person’s skin is white or black! Children are not born into this world concerned about another person’s lifestyle! Children are born into the world only with the imprint of God on their souls. It takes a nurturer to wipe that from them and replace it with hate and prejudice. The home is where racism and bigotry are cultivated, massaged, nurtured, and molded into the disease that unless we find a way to vanquish it forever will eventually destroy us. Racism and bigotry may begin in the home, but the road to victory over racism and bigotry begins in the home as well. Mother Teresa said it best, “Peace and war begin at home. If we truly want peace in the world, let us begin by loving one another in our own families.”  Likewise, peace from racism and bigotry comes with tolerance and tolerance begins in the home.

JL

©Jack Linton, March 1, 2015