Yesterday and today marked the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht in Germany. The Kristallnacht was the 24 hour period over November 9 and 10, 1938 when the Germans damaged or destroyed more than 1400 synagogues, prayer rooms, hospitals, cemeteries, and businesses owned by Jews. In addition, 91 people were killed and another 30,000 men, women and children were arrested and put into concentration camps. They did all this because of hate and very few tried to stop the hate.
We see a rise in our nation of many of the same forces that led to the Kristallnacht. The anger directed at people simple for their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or social status is the same dividing force that convinced otherwise good people in Germany to act against their conscience. As a result, some of those people would later commit suicide once they came to understand the horrors they had participated in.
This week, I got a taste of that hatred myself for simply exercising my First Amendment right to speak out about things I feel are wrong. As of this morning, there are 1,500 comments and counting on the video of the protest I attended. About 1,450 of those are hateful, demeaning, bigoted, and evil comments. And the majority of the people spewing that hate, have photos of them in church, sharing pics of Jesus, and telling people how Jesus in the center of their lives.
We as Christians are called to be better than this. Jesus called us to love one another and to help those most in need. In addition, our Christ stood up to the corrupt authorities in his day and even drove the money changers out of the temple! Moreover, the law and order religious leaders even trumped up charges against him and had him executed. Jesus was a man put through a sham trial with paid witnesses, not allowed to give a defense (he was smacked when he spoke up), and then sentenced to death despite the law saying they did not have the authority to execute him.
We see this same process play out every day. And we as Christian remain silent. Lately, many Christians cheer such abuses. They claim they are standing up for their country. Trying to take their country back. They don’t want people of other nationalities, races, faiths, genders and sexual orientations coming into their country. They don’t want them working in their businesses or living in their cities/neighborhoods.
This is not the message of the Gospel. It is a message that runs contrary to the Gospel. As a Bishop in the One Holy, catholic, and Apostolic Church, I refuse to remain silent in the face of this behavior. I MUST speak out against the hatred. It is my duty to correct those who claim to be Christian, yet live and preach messages that are anything but Christian. And I will.
I hope I can count on you to stand with me in this mission. Let us be a force for good in the world, in addition to letting our light overcome the darkness. Join me in sharing love in the face of hate.
Let us show the world a different way to to be Catholic and Christian!