Taking Responsibility

“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Last Sunday, I had the blessing of attending a Martin Luther King, Jr. Service of Rememberance at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Ambler, PA. I wasn’t the only white skinned person there, but I was definitely in the minority.

The service which lasted over 2 1/2 hours was filled with singing, dancing, preaching, prayer, and sharing. The event which was put on by the Wissahickon Faith Community Association included presentations from various congregations around the area including Baptist churches, Muslim mosques, Jewish synagogues, and several Christian churches.

As part of the service, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro was presented with an award related to his community service. During his acceptance speech, he said something about our responsibility toward hate:

“We have a responsibility to speak up against hate.”

Josh Shapiro

While there may have been some significant progress in addressing racial injustice since the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., it’s clear that we really haven’t made all that much progress when it comes to hate.

Watch the news, and you will see hatred. Pay attention to your social media feeds, and it’s not hard to find hate.

We can do better. You and I have the opportunity – we have the responsibility – to combat hate.

We must seek to understand each others different perspectives.

We must speak up when we are face to face with hate.

It may seem overwhelming. It may seem much easier to put our heads down and ignore the problem.

We must be brave. We must fight the tendency to be cowards.

Thank you, Josh Shapiro, for this reminder.

And thank you, MLK, for speaking up and setting an example.