Hating People: Not an Option

World Youth Day 2000, Rome, from sporki, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.

This showed up in today’s news:

Twitter finds new ways to put hate speech on mute

Twitter Adds New Ways to Curb Abuse and Hate Speech
(The New York Times)

CNET’s piece quoted part of this Twitter blog post:

Progress on addressing online abuse
(November 15, 2016)

“…The amount of abuse, bullying, and harassment we’ve seen across the Internet has risen sharply over the past few years. These behaviors inhibit people from participating on Twitter, or anywhere….”

The Twitter post includes a link to their “Hateful conduct policy,” and I think both are worth reading. CNET’s article focused on what Twitter was doing. The New York Times followed its editorial policy in their fifth paragraph:

“…Many of Mr. Trump’s supporters also relied on a series of images — some anti-Semitic and others quietly coded as racist — to circulate hate speech on Twitter….”
(The New York Times)

Given the tone of the campaign, I don’t doubt that some folks who voted for Trump expressed themselves that way.

I am sincerely glad that the election is over, and hope that folks on all sides take a deep breath and remember what one candidate said: “Clinton expresses regret for saying ‘half’ of Trump supporters are ‘deplorables’.” (CNN)

“An Excuse for Hating People”

All that reminded me of a familiar sentiment I saw on Twitter last year:

“Sometimes I wish I was religious so I could have an excuse for hating people.”

Instead of seething with anger, I did a quick Google search.

The phrase, with exactly those words, showed up about 60 times back then. A bot had posted the earliest example I found on reddit.com, December 28, 2011.

Today I found nine results. Without the quotes, I got roughly 105,000,000 matches.

That’s a lot of folks discussing religion and hate. Some agreed with the “excuse for hating people” quote, some didn’t, and some discussed something completely different.

Last year’s “excuse for hating” quote hadn’t been directed at me, and came from an account that Tweets a lot of platitudes and quotations. Instead of firing back a response, I wrote a post that was like this one, only longer.

Imagine Love

I sympathize, a little, with folks who assume that religion and hate are inseparable — or that faith is for the addlepated.

As a teen, I tried listening to ‘Christian’ radio. The steady drip feed of guilt, interspersed with rants against commies and rock music, drove me to an all-rock station.

I learned to love rock and roll, eventually become a Catholic, and that’s another topic.

I haven’t run into quite the same weird mix of Bible trivia, divination, and numerology, since the 1960s. But ‘End Times Bible Prophecies’ are still part of American culture. (August 7, 2016)

I suspect that the strident ‘kill a commie for Christ’ crowd helped make John Lennon’s “Imagine” the best-selling single of his career:

“…Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace….”
John Lennon, “Imagine” (1971)
(posted oldielyrics.com)

Some Catholics sound and act like their ‘agree with me or be damned’ Protestant counterparts. That’s not, or shouldn’t be, what our faith is about. For two millennia, the Church has been passing along a message of hope and love.


Jubilee of Mercy, Rome, from the Vatican, used w/o permission.

I’m “religious,” in the sense that I take my faith seriously.

But when I noticed myself hating American politicians, British musicians, or anyone else: my job is rooting out that hate, not expressing it.

God doesn’t hate me, or you.

God loves us, and wants to adopt us. All of us. (John 1:1214, 3:17; Romans 8:1417; Peter 1:34; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2730, 52, 1825, 1996)

I take God’s love seriously, so I try to love God, love my neighbor, see everybody as my neighbor, and treat others as I’d like to be treated.1 Our Lord said it is important:

6 ‘Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.”
(Matthew 7:12)

” ‘Teacher, 21 which commandment in the law is the greatest?’
“He said to him, 22 ‘You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.
“This is the greatest and the first commandment.
“The second is like it: 23 You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
24 The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.’ ”
(Matthew 22:3640)

Seeing everybody as my neighbor means everybody. No exceptions. I’ll talk about the Samaritan one of these days, but not today. You’ll find that story in Luke 10:3037.

Reason and Love, Briefly

I don’t feel “loving” all that often. Happily, I don’t have to.

Feelings, emotions, are part of being human. But what counts is what I decide to do about them. (Catechism, 17621770)

Making rational decisions is easier when my emotions and reason are in sync, and that’s yet another topic. (Catechism, 1775)

Where was I? Twitter, post-election news, the Beatles. Right.

I think humanity is made in the image of the God. (Genesis 1:27; Catechism, 356361, 17011709)

Each of us is someone, not something; a person — able to reason, and decide how we act — and in these ways like God. (Catechism, 357, 17001706)

If I say that I love God, loving my neighbor — all my neighbors — seems reasonable.

Our track record for using our reason and freedom is far from perfect. (Catechism, 17071709)

And that’s yet again another topic:

1 Love God, love my neighbor, see everybody as my neighbor: it’s simple, but not easy. (Matthew 5:4344, 7:12, 22:3640; Mark 12:2831; Luke 6:31 10:2527, 2937; Catechism, 1789)

The principle of reciprocity we call the Golden Rule isn’t, quite, unique to Christianity, and that’s still another topic.

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About Brian H. Gill

I was born in 1951. I'm a husband, father and grandfather. One of the kids graduated from college in December, 2008, and is helping her husband run businesses and raise my granddaughter; another is a cartoonist and artist; #3 daughter is a writer; my son is developing a digital game with #3 and #1 daughters. I'm also a writer and artist.
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7 Responses to Hating People: Not an Option

  1. Anni H. says:

    Such good thoughts – to keep in mind our call to love one another as we love ourselves! To love is the opposite of hate, so if we are going to truly live God’s word, we need to make sure we are focusing on loving God and loving our neighbor.

    However, there is the Spiritual Work of Mercy, which instructs us to Instruct the Ignorant. I believe there is a fine line between showing love and mercifully instructing others, and being offensive in our instruction techniques.

    So, if we can keep that balance in mind, then we are able to continue working on that Work of Mercy in a loving manner.

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