In response to a recent hate fueled letter received by the Evergreen Islamic Center, as a Christian I am appalled at the ignorant rant that is directed towards members of a shared Abrahamic faith tradition. The author of this letter clearly is not knowledgeable of their own faith tradition as they claim to profess to “God Bless America” yet clearly do not know that Christians, Muslims and Jews all share the same lineage under the same God. What we have here is a product of uniformed religious teachings that have been passed down by evangelicals to demonize anyone who isn’t Christian, much like Isis, this form of Christianity is creating a cosmic divide within religious traditions which is counter intuitive to works of peace and justice.
Due to our current political climate in relation to Presidential Elect Trump, our country is facing an increase in hate related criminal activity. In regards to this criminal activity it is relevant that we look at the notions of the Abrahamic faith traditions to address where our obligations stand in relations to our current political climate as believers in the God of Abraham. When I consider the relevance of our faith I am reminded of our call to justice in action and deed to care for the poor and needy and bring forth the spirit reconciliation for the works of peace and justice.
As author Dr. Ronald L. Eisenberg discusses in his book Jewish Traditions, Gemilut Hasadim “the giving of loving kindness” is a significant social value within Jewish tradition. Eisenberg notes the practice of “Tzedakah”, which literally means “justice” or “righteousness” which is an obligatory “mitzvah” or commandment where believers are called to practice their faith. Therefore, Eisenberg notes when a person practices their faith in action and deed they are exercising a fundamental part of their faith. So much so that “the poor man does more for the householder (in accepting alms) than the householder does for the poor man” Lev. 34:8.
In addition, the giving of Loving Kindness is no less valuable in the reckoning of the Christian Faith. Therefore, how be it that Christian’s find it appropriate to ridicule, dehumanize, discriminate and hate on their Muslim neighbors? It is time for Christians to finally reconcile their faith and obligation to Christ in the expression of justice. It is time to recognize that hate and discrimination is counter to the great commission of Christ to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Whether we agree or not with our neighbor’s religious tradition, nowhere does Jesus instruct us to “hate” our neighbor. Much like the prophet Muhammad, Jesus was concerned with “love” expressed through action and deed. As we encounter this era of religious and political complexity let us remember that we are not called to be complacent in the face of hate. For God has called all of us to express our faith through love, for nothing “Great” can be achieved apart from love.