From: www.carlchinn.com (reposted with permission)
Some years ago I (Carl) first heard the term, “hate crime”. I’m sure you recall when you first heard it as well.
When it comes to homicide and other violence, I’m not really sure which ones are not “hate induced” but it is a term we will be familiar with for the foreseeable future.
Having five children, my wife and I often encountered teachable moments. Our youngest daughter was in early grade school when I heard her tell one of her siblings, that she “hated so & so”. She was the most tender of all our children, so that phrase struck me as particularly surprising coming from her.
I sat down with her, and asked if she knew what the word “hate” meant. She responded in such a way that helped me understand she really didn’t have a clue as to the meaning of the word. As I used the example of the Nazi driven hatred of Jewish people, she began to cry as the understanding of the word began to take hold. She is now grown and married, and I don’t think she has used the word since in any conversation having to do with another person.
Not every little boy or girl who grew up using the word encountered opportunities for correction. As they used the word, the feelings grew. At some point, they became adults and the feelings continued to grow with their body, intellect and views on life.
They now look through the lens of life through smudges of hate. If something disagrees with them, they can truly hate that concept, person or group. I know Republicans who genuinely hate the Democratic Party and Democrats who genuinely hate the Republican Party (as one example). I know some who change facial expressions when discussing some political, social or theological persuasion that differs from their own.
Not everyone who hates something or someone commits a violent crime. But violent crimes are committed by haters.
Hate crime legislation is of debatable value. Most violence against persons or groupsis hate based, and to try and define only crimes against certain lifestyles or cultures as hate-based is agenda driven. My complaint is not based on those acts that are categorized as hate crimes -- rather those which are not. The most violent attack in a U. S. school was the bombing of the Bath, Michigan Consolidated School on May 18th, 1927. School Board member Andrew Kehoe became enraged (consumed by hate) over property tax issues and the pending foreclosure of his own property. He rigged explosives into the school that killed 45 (most were children 7-12 years old) and wounded 58. Yet by the definition of “hate crime” that attack would not qualify.
Nor does much of the violence directed against those of us in the Christian Faith. But if someone claiming to be a Christian attacks someone from another persuasion? Katy bar the door…the media frenzy goes wild. And they would be right – it wouldbe a hate crime. Again, my problem is not with crimes that are considered hate crimes, it is with those that are not categorized as such. In fact, I question why the distinction is made at all.
Any congregation of any size or denomination has people in the pews who are haters. Like a drug, they may be fine as long as they are surrounded by others who share their values. But like a drug that is taken away, when something in their life changes dramatically, they may lack the sustaining force of reasonable social skills to keep them grounded in their new world. It could come through a tragedy, mental or physical decline, or even a change in their surroundings.
Think about it …
1. You know who they are in your circle. The one who literally trembles and changes demeanor when you approach a particular subject. Some may brush them off as being “extremely opinionated, but harmless”. Others may find them as simply obnoxious, avoiding contact with them. The danger comes in their lack of tolerance for anyone or anything of a different opinion than theirs.
2. There are many examples of hate-driven groups. Read the recent article in The World Net Daily. We are seeing more and more attacks from homosexual activists like the attacks read of in that article. What you read there of vulgar sex-oriented vandalism happened in several Colorado churches this week as well, but the churches kept it out of the papers. Agenda driven hate groups such as many in the LGBT community are on the rise, and their militancy is out of control. It isn’t only radical gays, there are radicals for or against anything you can think of. There are anti-this and pro-that groups of many persuasions that should be watched.
3. This may be hard for some of you, but if you have someone on your security team that is strongly opinionated, you may need to rethink their appointment. Your church or ministry is responsible for the actions of the people appointed by leadership. If that person is involved in a security intervention, where the stopped party was of a persuasion that your team member is known to despise, count on a tough road of legal defense if they choose to sue the church.
4. “Tolerance” is often a Trojan horse for groups determined to justify corruption. When I speak of tolerance that is not the distortion of the word I embrace. Tolerance doesn’t mean we shouldn’t believe in, and hold fast to absolute truths. We should each be confirmed in our faith. Tolerance for the acts and opinions of others doesn’t mean we sell out our passions for a big-tent view. Right is right and wrong is wrong. I hope the value of tolerance is best understood by this examination of intolerance – when those of a different opinion are attacked for their beliefs.
5. As we get closer to the 2012 elections, we will see hatred towards faith-based people and places increase. Count on it. Be prepared, but don’t be swallowed into it.
We should always consider the model of Christ on earth;
He was a master at upholding the standard while ministering to the exception.