It’s no more the rebel flag; than Columbine was about trench coats or rape is about clothes girls are wearing.
Its about living in a culture where its ok to hate others based on their religion, gender, sexual orientation, race disability or a million little things that people hate other people for. People hate entire other religions and races because they were taught to. People somehow learn in “religions of peace” that it’s ok to discriminate, they condemn other lives because they are different than theirs. Our entire culture creates schisms between things that are one way and things that are another way – it’s painful, it’s hurting us and we’re letting it.
“Racism isn’t born, folks, it’s taught. I have a two-year-old son. You know what he hates? Naps! End of list.” Dennis Leary
A friend posted an article on Facebook the other day “15 Things Alcoholics Anonymous Can Teach the Church” and I liked it, but I’m rather anti-religion and pro-AA (even though some courts have ruled AA a religion and I can see that). Number 10 in that article is “Don’t shoot your wounded” and it says “Judgment or the perception of judgment is often felt in churches”. That’s often what I think of when I think of churches – hate, fear, demonizing.
In some respects this can be considered a true statement. The KKK considers itself a “Christian” organization and they think they teach “Christian” principles. Al Queda, Isis, The Westboro Baptist Church all think they teach their idea of “God”‘s principles too.
We teach girls how to keep themselves from being raped when we should be teaching boys how to not be rapists. We have politicians that blame and entire religion for terrorists acts that happen domestically and abroad. We focus on the color and stars of a flag instead of the tragedy and how we can do a better job (NRA has great spin department I think).
I know many old people that hold prejudices that they’d held for decades. It was taught to them when they were so young and now it’s the only truth they can see. This worries me… but then I remember what I’ve seen in Alcoholics Anonymous – where we teach love – where human beings who once were the most desolate of society rose up and became contributing members of society and sought only to help another man.
Today we should mourn. We should reflect back on the lives lost and the good they had done. We should look to the future and see what we can build now, learning from this. We need to teach a message of tolerance, love, hope to the country.. the whole world.
Start with me. Start by being open minded to things different that I am. Start by reaching out and sharing my experiences with others, letting them know I’m not so different than they are and we have a common bond. Start by being a better human being… start by loving, giving, helping.
But don’t focus on a flag – sure it’s in poor taste, but it didn’t pull a trigger, it didn’t share hate… it just is. It has power when you give it power…