(RNS) — Not way back, I stood in my entrance yard and did one thing I’d been procrastinating about for months.
I put up a yard signal.
It’s a easy signal — a coronary heart, adorned with stars and stripes, sits on a background above 5 easy phrases: “Hate has no residence right here.” The message is repeated in 5 different languages — Urdu, Korean, Hebrew, Arabic and Spanish.
It’s a message so easy a toddler might perceive it — in reality, the message on the signal was coined by an elementary faculty scholar from the northside of Chicago, the place all these languages are spoken. The indicators, designed by a pal who is without doubt one of the scholar’s neighbors, went viral in 2017 in the course of the protest over what grew to become generally known as the “Muslim ban,” an govt order barring entry to immigrants from quite a few nations, most with Muslim majorities.
The ban was seen as an assault on immigrants — and an indication of the larger polarization within the nation, the place we outline ourselves an increasing number of by who we hate.
We had an analogous check in entrance of our place in Tennessee, partly as a result of my pal designed them. After we moved a couple of years in the past, the signal obtained misplaced. It took me some time to order a brand new one. Then the brand new signal sat unopened for greater than a 12 months in its package deal on a shelf in my workplace.
As a result of I used to be involved about dwelling as much as the phrases on the signal, which I’ve begun to learn otherwise over the previous few years.
To place up that signal meant claiming that hate has no residence — not simply in my neighborhood however in my own residence. And in my very own coronary heart. It’s one factor to reject insurance policies or actions which are hateful. It’s one other factor to altogether chorus from hating the individuals behind these insurance policies or actions — or to maintain hate from driving my selections, particularly in a time once we Individuals like to hate one another.
Hate makes so many issues simpler. No extra making an attempt to know advanced points or trying to see the world by way of another person’s eyes or doing the exhausting work of understanding different individuals and their factors of view.
Issues develop into easy — I’m good and the individuals I don’t like are evil. Something I try this harms or dismisses or stands in the best way of these evildoers is justified.
Let me be clear. There are trivial issues I like to hate, just like the New York Yankees (I used to be born and raised a Boston Crimson Sox fan). Or the truth that I can now not get a chocolate coconut donut at Dunkin’ Donuts. There are extra severe issues we must always hate: most cancers, or the hurt accomplished by sexual abuse within the church and church leaders’ typically callous disregard. We should always hate intentional and systemic injustice.
However it’s all too straightforward to go from hating issues to hating individuals. “Hate makes us really feel righteous,” wrote social psychologists Kurt Grey and Will Blakey in an essay known as “They Hate Me.” It provides us license to really feel good being merciless to others. This righteous cruelty drives a lot of our political discourse as we speak.
There are entire industries of people that sow battle and mistrust for revenue or, worse, for the dopamine hits that include going viral on social media, the place hate has develop into our favourite money crop.
One of many wisest parables I do know comes not from the Bible or different ebook of knowledge however from an episode of “Star Trek” known as “The Day of the Dove,” which debuted in November 1968. On this episode, the crew members of the Enterprise discover themselves locked in a battle for survival towards their fierce rivals, the Klingons. The Klingons imagine the crew of the Enterprise attacked with out warning. The crew members of the Enterprise thought they have been betrayed whereas on a mission of mercy.
Because the struggle rages on, all sides turns into extra satisfied of the righteousness of its trigger — and begins to accuse its enemies of atrocities that by no means actually occurred.
It seems they’re all being deceived by an alien who feeds battle and who likes nothing greater than to feast on hatred, actual or imagined. And when the 2 crews uncover the deception — that they’re getting used — they lay down their weapons. In doing so, they banish the alien from their presence.
“Solely a idiot fights in a burning home,” one of many Klingons says, in explaining why he gave up hate in that second.
I concern that in these current days, many people are fools preventing in a burning home.
And I don’t want to be a idiot anymore.
(Bob Smietana is a nationwide reporter for Faith Information Service. The views on this commentary don’t essentially characterize these of RNS.)