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Hate and "Nice People"

The fine, fashionable are of deflecting moral responsibility.
Feb. 2, 2018

Over the last year, I've heard the word "hate" used incessantly by Left and Right alike. It's been thrown around like spaghetti in political food fights, so much so that to me at least, it's no longer clear whether many of us understand what it even means. In my experience, liberals and moderate conservatives tend to think of it as outright malice--a desire to hurt others and rob them of their humanity. That much at least, is hard to argue with... wanting to deny 22 million men, women, and children access to health care, or round up dark-skinned people, pistol-whip them in front of their kids if necessary, and deport them to war zones where they're likely to be cut to ribbons by cluster bombs or cartel gunfire certainly ain't gonna pass for "love" anytime soon. On the other hand, to all but a handful of the Trump supporters and Alt-Right Libertarians I've ever encountered, "hate" is defined as any and all attempts to criticize, or even question anything they or Donald Trump say, think, or do. I'd love to have a nickel for every time I've been branded a "hater" for literally no other reason than that I have a problem with how Trump treats women, and his unrepentant willingness to make excuses for the neo-Nazi's in Charlottesville last summer... up to and including one of them crushing a peacefully-protesting woman to death under the wheels of a Dodge Challenger.

Either way, most people seem to think of hate in terms of passionate disapproval, which is fine for what it's worth. But ultimately, hate is the opposite of love, and that isn't passionate, it's indifferent.

Jesus regularly confronted the Pharisees. "You snakes!" he said, "You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?" (Matt: 23:33). He drove the money changers out of the temple with a whip as well. "'My house will be called a house of prayer!' he said, "but you are making it a den of thieves!" (Matt. 21:12-13; John 2:15). If 99 out of 100 Trump supporters I know had been present for these events, they would've called Him a "hater" and an instigator of "alt-Left" violence. For that matter, they probably would've crucified Him for it. But this wasn't "hate," it was fierce love--the kind that knows cancer sometimes requires surgery. He also dined with these people, engaged in dialog with them, and died as much for their sins as He did for ours.

Anyone who wants to know what hate really looks like needs only to imagine the opposite of this fierce love we see in Jesus of Nazareth. Case in point: Last month, shortly after Donald Trump announced that he wouldn't allow African people from "shithole" countries who'd "never go back to their huts" into the United States, a good friend posted the following quote from writer Jon Pavlovitz at his Facebook page;

A white President calling countries filled with people of color shitholes, is so far beyond the pale, so beneath decency, and so blatantly racist that it shouldn’t merit conversation. It should be universally condemned. Humanity should be in agreement in abhorring it. And yet today (like so many other seemingly rock bottom days in the past twelve months) they will be out there: white people claiming to be good people and Christian people, who will make excuses for him or debate his motives or diminish the damage.

Not surprisingly, just as Pavlovitz predicted, within hours one of my friend's readers who somehow had managed to convince himself that these remarks were "economic" rather than racial (as though black people from shithole countries not going back to their huts is a regular topic of discussion in the Yale Economic Review), lobbed the following rock through the window in the ensuing comment thread;

"When will you liberals learn that not everything is about race? You all seem to constantly think about race, while it rarely enters my conscious thought."

Precisely... It rarely enters his conscious thought.

Soon as the polls closed last fall, an epidemic of hate crimes against blacks, Muslims, and women swept the nation. Within 72 hours more than 200 had occurred, and by Dec. 12 the count had risen to almost 1100--a rate nearly double that of the previous year and unprecedented in recent U.S. history. A 12-yr-old black girl was told, "Now that Trump is president, I'm going to shoot you and all the blacks I can find!" In Louisiana, 3 men in a pickup accosted a black woman trying to cross the street shouting, "F**k your black life!" & sped off laughing & chanting, "Trump...! Trump...! Trump...!" In Colorado "Death to Diversity!" was painted on a school banner. At college campuses across the nation, women were accosted by men claiming that "it [was] now legal to grab them by the p***y..." (ADL, 2016; SPLC, 2016; 2016b; FBI, 2016). Last summer, neo-Nazi's held their Unite-The-Right march in Charlottesville, VA, many of them wielding clubs and sporting Trump MAGA hats. One of them deliberately sped into a crowd of peaceful protesters, crushing 32-yr-old Heather Heyer to death in the process. When Trump refused to criticize any of this directly, insisting only that there was blame on "many sides" and even calling the marchers "some very fine people," neo-Nazi's were elated. According to Andrew Anglin of the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer;

Trump did the opposite of cuck. He refused to even mention anything to do with us. When reporters were screaming at him about White Nationalism he just walked out of the room. - (Wikipedia, 2018)

Etc. etc. etc… [In case you're wondering, "cuck" is the verb form of "cuckservative," an Alt-Right term for conservatives they see as having "sold out" to liberals and moderates (Wikipedia, 2018b).]

Over the last year, I've discussed all of this and more with Trump's defenders, face-to-face and on countless social media comment threads. To date, not one of them has been willing to even acknowledge these things, much less show the slightest concern about them or agree to discuss how they might be prevented. I can't even get any of them to mention Heather Heyer by name. On a few occasions I went so far as to directly challenge some of them to their faces to do so. Yet to this day, virtually every mention of the name "Heather Heyer" I've ever heard or seen anywhere in print, was by "snowflakes" or the "liberal media."

Most people think of the Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah as one of sexual depravity. But Ezekiel tells us;

"[T]his was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy." - (Ezekiel 16:49)

Arrogant... Overfed... Unconcerned...

Show me someone who refuses to entertain a conversation about a 12-yr-old black girl getting a death threat, or even mention by name a woman who was run over by a Nazi while peacefully protesting his bigotry... but bristles if anyone who actually does care about these people kneels in protest before the flag at a sporting event... and I'll show you the true face of hate: Arrogant, overfed, ice-cold indifference.

"So a black kid got a death threat... So some snowflake bitch got run over... So what! Get over it! Quit making everything about race, it rarely enters my conscious thought...!"

"What's for dinner...?"

Is it any wonder that in Alt-Right communities the term bleeding heart is a pejorative?

Today more than ever, it's too easily forgotten that words are sacred. They have the power to heal or wound, to bring light or darkness, and what we do with them matters. Dilute the word hate to where it includes any semblance of prophetic vision or a moral compass and draws no distinction whatsoever between thoughtful critiques of the bigotry and moral bankruptcy of people like Donald Trump, and the violence and persecution described above, and you'll render it meaningless... and when it's needed most, it'll have no teeth. Make no mistake people. How we respond to moral crises like these doesn't reveal us for our "political views". It determines whether we're salt and light to a world in need... or moral cowards. As writer Naomi Shulman once said;

Nice people made the best Nazis. My mom grew up next to them. They got along, refused to make waves, looked the other way when things got ugly and focused on happier things than 'politics.' They were lovely people who turned their heads as their neighbors were dragged away. You know who weren't nice people? Resisters.

We can whitewash complicity with such things as "agreeing to disagree" all we like, and flippantly dismiss anyone who calls us out for it as a "hater." But to borrow a phrase from C.S. Lewis' Screwtape, doing so won't keep any of us out of the Kingdom of Hell...

It will only make us more amusing when we finally get there.


Anti Defamation League (ADL). 2016. "Rash of vandalism, swastikas and harassment reported following Election Day." ADL Blog, Nov. 11, 2016. Available online at Accessed Feb. 2, 2018.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). 2016. "2015 Hate Crime Statistics." Available online at Accessed Feb. 2, 2018.

Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). 2016. "Over 200 Incidents of Hateful Harassment and Intimidation Since Election Day." Southern Poverty Law Center, Nov. 11, 2016. Available online at Accessed Feb. 2, 2018.

Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). 2016b. "Update: 1,094 Bias-Related Incidents in the Month Following the Election." Southern Poverty Law Center, Dec. 16, 2016. Available online at Accessed Feb. 2, 2018.

Wikipedia. 2018. Unite the Right rally. Updated Jan. 28, 2018. Online at Accessed Feb. 1, 2018.

Wikipedia. 2018b. Cuckservative. Updated Jan. 31, 2018. Online at Accessed Feb. 1, 2018.


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