The Old Testament teaches: “Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart” (Proverbs 26:24). The New Testament adds to the definition of hate: “But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness. He does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes” (John 2:11).
Tears are the order of the day. We mourn the loss of life, the death and destruction, the hurt and the pain of so many in Orlando.
Many of our brothers and sisters that were killed and wounded were members of the LGBTQ community. But, in a larger sense, in a better sense, we must say from our hearts, they were from our community. They are our brothers and sisters. They are members of our human family of love—in death, as they were in life, God’s creations.
But while we cry, we must also gain our composure and not allow cynicism to have the first, the loudest, or the last word.
We cannot use the deceit of hate as the path through our pain into our tomorrow. Hate fuels hate—racial hate, anti-LGBTQ hate, religious hate, class hate, and the rhetoric of hate. The culture of hate creates the actions of hate.
The forces of hate have watched people coming together against colonial oppression and exploitation. The forces of hate have seen people in America coming together and challenging the system of racism, the system of sexism, and the oppression against LGBT people. The forces of hate have seen millions of white and straight and males coming together rejecting the sirens of extremism. We are coming together.
As late as last Friday, on the great bend in the Ohio River where the Port of Louisville was built, hate was the only group not welcome as the Islamic service for the most beloved Muslim in today’s world was transitioned on songs and poems and laughter of love. People of all faiths and races, the full breadth of humanity came together to cover Muhammad Ali with clouds of love.
The forces of hate hated this outpouring for an Islamic messenger of love. Hate would rather see division and degradation among the people of the world than witness the beloved community.
On Saturday night, hate slouched into Orlando and tried to seize the moral low ground again. This is not the first time hate has reacted to the rise of love.
After the long dark night of slavery, 250 years for our ancestors, hate reacted to freedom’s call with lynchings and other forms of degrading murders. In 1898, in the largest city in North Carolina, where black and white leaders had been working together and had managed to use the vote to win political power in much of the Carolina Delta and Black Belt, hate went into a rage. With a Gatling gun mounted on a wagon, crazed by racist hatred against the white and black fusion leaders, scores of black people were shot down in cold blood. The fusion government was violently overthrown. Hate metastasized its Wilmington model across the South, adding terror to the new Jim Crow laws, with mass murders in many large Southern cities.