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A Culture of Hate: Is This Who We Are?

Images of hatred fill our newspapers, radios, social media and televisions daily. During these last several weeks we have seen horrendous acts of violence against people because of their skin color, their employment as police, their sexual orientation, their ethnic background, or their beliefs and faith. It also very evident in the political rhetoric inside and outside the party conventions.

Hate is scary. By definition, hate is an intense hostility and emotional aversion to someone or something. It is a taught emotion. It is displayed with words, harassment and/or acts of violence including killing. It is sometimes hidden from friends or family, but at other times it is bragged about on social media. Hatred can be motivated by the desire for political power, for the need to “put someone in their place,” and even by religious beliefs.

Hatred can also be caused by fear. It may be fear of the unknown, fear of someone who is different. The fear may be irrational but it causes people to slash out at the other. Fear is easily transmitted to others, especially from adults to children, and can easily be stirred up by reciting ugly stories, falsehoods, and myths. Whatever the cause, hatred is dangerous to those who are hated and those who hate.

Do we live in a culture of hate? Are we so concerned about ourselves that we are not willing to follow the teachings of Jesus “to love our neighbors and our enemies?” Has violence and revenge become the acceptable way of solving problems within society?

Let us pray:

Open our hearts dear God to love, not hate;

To peace, not revenge;

To assurance, not despair.

Give us the courage to stand against hatred and for justice with our deeds and public action. Amen

Joyce SohlJoyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, and quarterly retreats and art exhibits.