Words of greeting.
Words of peace.
“Hello Brother” were words from a young Muslim man who stepped up trying desperately to deflect the gunman entering a Christchurch, NZ mosque Friday March 15th. The words, meant to stop the shooter, were the last words the Muslim man spoke. He was killed. Forty-eight more lost their lives before the rampage through two mosques ended.
In this latest of horrors, the rampant self-justification from the shooter’s own words shows he thought Muslims deserved to die. As the shooter in Pittsburgh, PA earlier shot down Jews for the same demented reason and Dylan Root shot nine Black AME Christians in Charleston, SC. They deserved to die for simply being who they are. Sikhs slaughtered in WI, Unitarians in TN. These are the victims of both religious hate and racial hate, but many more acts of violence have taken down people just trying to live their lives. We are losing count.
This isn’t a “Muslim problem”. This isn’t a “Jewish problem”. This isn’t a “Black problem”.
It’s a white Christian problem.
Before anyone says, “not all white Christians”, let us consider, in our hearts, if we have done all we can to make sure we didn’t turn a blind eye, stay silent instead of speak. Have we earnestly done all we can do to stop the new global wave of white, Christian terrorism, for that is what this all is, from spreading unchallenged? We have to search our hearts and our lives to see if we can do more.
I, for one, am tired of showing up after the fact. I hate candle light vigils and don’t attend them. I’m sick of press conferences decrying bloodshed and loss of valuable lives. I’m anguished by the sense of impotence at failing to prevent another senseless massacre. I’m frightened that there will be more.
Forty nine dead in New Zealand. Eleven in Pittsburgh. Nine in Charleston.
When will it end?
We are in the grip of an administration that demonizes “the other” be it immigrants, Muslims, people of color. We have unleashed waves of hate and resentment from white people who think equality means a loss to them. Males who see female equality as a threat. If you have to enforce your superiority with violence, are you really superior at all?
We can’t dismiss this thinking that we would never do this kind of thing to anyone. It flourishes if we tolerate it, if we don’t actively stop it. Silence is tacit assent.
We have to stand up, speak out, act affirmatively not passively in the name of our country’s promise and our faith’s direction. This isn’t on Muslim, Jews, Sikhs, Unitarians. It isn’t on Black people, Brown people, immigrants, indigenous people.
It’s on us: white, middle class, mainstream Christians. We are the only people who can speak out and uphold these truths of nation and faith. We can stay silent no more.
Hello brother. Hello sister. Hello everyone. End the silence. End the violence. It’s on us.