I imagine if Martin Luther King Jr were alive today, he would rebuke world leaders, perhaps in the United Nations General Assembly hall, and challenge the global community with a speech titled, Choose Love Not Hate. [Featured Image credit: Hulton Getty]
Why do we hate? Why do we choose to be indifferent? Why do we devalue and dehumanize people who espouse different views from ours? Why is it so easy to find other people’s beliefs and way of life unacceptable, to the point where we are willing to criticize, condemn, and disenfranchise?
Is it because there is a social consensus that supports our indifference? Is it because we are comfortably cocooned in ideological spaces, which confirms our prejudices? Could it be that we have devolved to allow our fears to control us?
Humanity seems to have fallen out of belonging and community. The light that once lighted our path of progress, hope, and promise has faded into the blackest of midnights. We live in a world where cynicism, apathy, political correctness, and cowardice seek to take permanent residence in humanity’s collective consciousness.
The spirit of intolerance, like a bloodthirsty mercenary, endeavors to stamp out our right to free expression. Those who hold firmly to bigotry disguised as truth, brazenly parade their distorted ideologies as the equalizing elixir for the masses. Through self-declaration, sentries of anti-freedom movements have predetermined the standards of decency and morality for all to follow.
We compete over replenishable resources while our souls wither away. Rather than bear the emotional, physical, and spiritual infirmities of the weak, we find inventive ways to exploit those weaknesses.
The figurative blood of those we trampled over to fill our coffers with plenty stains our hands. We live lavishly and flaunt the fruits of our labor even as our character lies destitute and barren. The spirit of arrogance and high-mindedness has supplanted the virtues of humility and relationship.
We celebrate an idealistic view of rugged individualism over a commonsense community approach. We thoughtlessly promote the self-serving actions of the powerful as the ideal model of democracy when what we are endorsing is enlightened and destructive narcissism.
We have weaponized race, religion, and power as a means of lording over those with whom we disagree. We blame every practice and condemn every behavior we determine to be unfavorable to our firmly held ideologies.
How many times are we going to tempt fate? How many times must history tell us that political and religious campaigns meant to encourage aggression and violence are not the answers to our problems? Embracing a culture of death has never brought lasting solutions. Killing our enemies and the children of our enemies has never produced a healthy and fully functioning society or brought us peace.
Are we so deluded in our thinking and attitude of superiority that we stand ready to destroy lives based on propaganda or the slightest provocation? Are we so misguided by our purported efforts to rescue others that instead of saving we steal individual freedoms and plunder collective dreams, all in the name of our liberty?
How dare we attempt to safeguard our own civil liberties while at the same time use our power and influence to demoralize our neighbors just because they espouse different worldviews? How dare we condone and excuse preemptive attacks on human lives, human rights, and human sovereignty?
We say with our mouths we would love to coexist, but our hearts expect unquestioning allegiance and fanatical loyalty to our values.
So what do we need, and what are the solutions to our problems?
World citizens are demanding transparency and accountability from their governments. They believe no individual should consent to political authority especially when that power is not living up to its social contract with societal members.
World governments—controlled by the rich and powerful—are beginning to realize they can no longer enact laws that conveniently suit their causes without facing resistance. Freedom movements around the globe are sending a clear message that some form of protest will meet any rogue state apparatus that seeks to hijack self-determination and extinguish people’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
So why this shift? Why now? Could it be humanity’s collective consciousness is waking up from the illusion of conditioned and popularized thoughts—thoughts that tell us race, ethnicity, or religion matters? Or that wars are inevitable and the most efficient means of solving conflicts?
I stand before you today with a burning conviction to let you know, although we face significant odds, on account of our collective strengths, our faith in each other, the enduring and resilient human spirit, which knows no bounds, and with the timeless presence of the Divine, humanity can rise above bigotry and intolerance.
Humanity’s story is not a black story or a white story. It is not a Christian story or a Muslim story. It is neither an evolution story nor an intelligent design story. Humanity’s story is not a gay story or a straight story. It is not a liberal story or a conservative story.
Our unique differences are the most fascinating aspects of our humanity. There is something beautifully compelling about each person’s story. Each person’s narrative plays a part in strengthening the bonds of relationship and community. No single story transcends another story.
The only defining characteristic that should matter to us is the one called a human being. It is from the essence of our human likeness we choose diversity over division, inclusion over ostracism, hope over despair, and compassion over indifference.
My faith rests on an unshakeable conviction that when we give people the freedom to choose, they will choose LOVE.
So let us not remain shackled by fear, dumb sorrow, or hopelessness. Let us unmask and confront the climate of indifference that has been erected to perpetuate intolerance. Let us remind ourselves that we were created to live in connectedness with each other. Let us find the strength to forge and nurture the gifts of relationship, intimacy, inclusion, and love.
Humanity’s story is poised to shine forth brighter than ever before. As long as you believe, as long as I believe, as long as we believe, we do not have anything to fear, for when we do believe, anything is possible.
Eternity longs for humanity to embrace its divine inheritance to be the love center of the universe.
This article is based on excerpts from the book “Choose Love Not Hate” by Josiah Samuel Harry.
Since you’re here…
…amid the string of school shootings and violence taking place around the country, our goal is to get Choose Love Not Hate into every school and spark a national conversation about tolerance, diversity, and inclusion. Please help us make our schools and communities places of intercultural learning and hubs of compassion and love by ordering a copy of Choose Love Not Hate today. Thank you.