Our Hate Parade


What would I have to do to make you hate me?

If you are a regular reader of this blog, it would probably take a lot. You have read stories about my family, about my struggles, fears, and my desire to be a better man. You know that I care about people, try to take care of them, and want to do what I can to help them. If you believe these things, you may be predisposed to like me, to think good of me. Hating me would require a marked change in your perception and understanding.

What would it take for you to hate a stranger?

For many Americans the answer seems to be, “Not very much at all.” Consider recent events,

A group of high school boys went on a school trip to Washington DC. They were standing near the Lincoln Memorial waiting to be picked up by their adult chaperones. Before they knew it, they were hated. They were called vulgar names, mocked and insulted. Because they were wearing red “Make America Great Again” hats.

While they were being mocked by members of “The Black Israelites”, a Native American activist approached them, pounding a drum. He walked right up to one of the boys, chanting and beating the drum mere inches from the boy’s face. He stood there, an awkward grin on his face, clearly uncomfortable. Some of his friends, similarly behatted, chose to respond to the taunts and affront by chanting school slogans. Brief clips of the interaction were released online, clips which painted the boys in an unfavorable light.

Almost instantly the boy and his friends were hated by countless strangers. On social media and in traditional media the boys were called racist thugs, losers, scum bags and worse. Their parents were threatened, their school defamed.  The question comes to mind, even if they were wrong, is what the boys did worthy of hate?

This type of hate has been a part of our culture for years now. Most will not even recognize the name “Memories Pizza”, but its owners will never forget the firestorm that led to the closure of their restaurant. In 2015 the state of Indiana passed a law providing a religious exception from certain civil rights regulations. In response to the law’s passage a news reporter sought out the Christian owner of Memories Pizza, asking him if as a Christian he would cater a gay wedding (because so many wedding receptions have pizza). The owner, who had never been asked to provide pizza for a gay wedding, answered the hypothetical question in the negative, saying he would not.

His hypothetical response had real world consequences. When the report came out he was deluged with hate. The Yelp page for his business was inundated with negative reviews from angry people who had never been to his restaurant. Complete strangers made it their mission to destroy his livelihood. One woman Tweeted, “Who’s going to Walkerton with me to burn down Memories Pizza.” A man who started a GoFundMe to support the owners received death threats.

Memories Pizza is now out of business, destroyed by hate.

My own family has been impacted by hate. One relative severed ties with a brother because he had not voted for Hillary Clinton. The fact that he had not voted for Donald Trump either was irrelevant. If you did not share the relative’s political viewpoint, you deserved to be hated.

I struggle with this aspect of current culture. I am an opinionated man with strongly held convictions. Not a day goes by that I do not interact with someone who disagrees with me or who considers my opinions and beliefs to be foolish. I disagree with these people and think many of them hold positions that are worthy of contempt, yet I don’t hate any of them. I wouldn’t try to deny them their livelihood nor would I wish them harm. Some of them are patients I love and care for. Generally speaking, I find it hard to hate people.

Shouldn’t hate be hard for all of us?


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A Little Self-Hate Can Go a Long Way


There are things I absolutely hate about myself, aspects of my personality I despise and long to change, inherited tendencies I wish I could kill and bury. While it is possible that focusing too much on my list of faults could lead to poor self-esteem and a life of guilt and shame I am convinced that failing to address these traits would have a worse result. I would be a very bad man. I need to be better.

Among the things I wish I could change-

-          I am not a good listener. Wait, that is too kind. I am a terrible listener. My racing brain causes me to think of responses before some is halfway through a second sentence.

-          I inherited my father’s temper. I have a tendency to lash out and be unkind. I need to slow down more and think of the feelings of others.

-          I am inpatient and intolerant of the faults of others. It is too easy for me to point fingers and criticize. I need more grace.

-          I am a worrier, my anxiety can cause me to be fearful about things that may never happen and seldom do.

-          I have an unhealthy need for affirmation, I can work too hard trying to please others.

There is not room in a blog post for the complete list, so I will stop here. Needless to say, I have a LOT of things I am working on. But to me, that is the point. I am working on the list. I am not content with the person I am, not satisfied with where I am in my personal life. I need to be better.

This desire to be better is not limited to external actions. I need to think better thoughts as well. In the dark reaches of my brain lurk some pretty terrible things, things which if allowed to take hold and grow would result in terrible deeds. I realize what the Apostle Paul meant when he spoke of “taking every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.” I have thoughts that need to be put in jail, rehabilitated when possible and executed when not!

I am not alone in my struggles against and within myself. The need to struggle against the evil within is a universal one. Those who excuse their bad thoughts and behaviors, those who justify their actions instead of working to be better, will ultimately be exposed to the world as the wretches they are.

We are seeing this now on a daily basis. Each morning we wake to new reports of the terrible behavior of some celebrity or person in power. From Harvey Weinstein to Kevin Spacey to Mark Halperin there appears to be an unending stream of immoral behavior flowing from the hearts of powerful men. The natural question arises, “How could they do such terrible things?” As I hear these stories I find myself replying, “This is what happens when you don’t hate the evil inside.”

This is what happens when you make excuses for your perversity, when you consider yourself more important than others, so special and important that your desires deserve to be met. This is what happens when being a good person, being a better, kinder person, does not matter enough. The process is always the same. First we tolerate the evil desire, then we excuse the evil behavior.

If we want to be better people we need to change our priorities as a society. We need to lessen our emphasis on self-esteem and feeling good about ourselves and encourage more balanced self-assessment. When it comes to the evil in our hearts and minds, the world can use some more hate.

- Bart

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The Wrong Definition of Hate

 “You keep on using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means!” So said Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride. In the movie he was speaking of the word “inconceivable.” He could say the same thing today about the word “hate.” When people disagree with one another over moral issuesthey no longer simply declare one another wrong, misguided or mistaken. The other side, most often the side supporting traditional values, is declared to be “hateful.”

I saw this recently in an unexpected place, a sports column on Yahoo. The author, Jay Busbee, wrote an article about the potential fallout resulting from the Georgia legislature’s passage of a bill protecting religious institutions and individuals who do not perform services that go against the tenets of their faith. The bill, HB 757, does not specifically address a particular service, but no one denies that it was designed to address potential recrimination against those who do not perform same sex weddings or allow the use of their facilities for that purpose, and for religious individuals such as florists, photographers, and bakers who similarly wish to decline participating in same sex ceremonies.

Mr. Busbee wrote that the city of Atlanta might lose out in its bids to host major sporting events such as the Super Bowl and NCAA Final Fours as a result of the legislation. In his article he made his thoughts about the legislation clear. He called the legislation a “so-called Religious Liberty bill” and said that the bill was “discrimination, plain and simple” and suggested that the bill arose out of “anger crossbred with fear.” He closed the piece by writing that Georgia is “The State Hanging on to Hate.”

It seems that in the eyes of Mr. Busbee (and those who think as he does) hate is the only possible motivation for those who do not want to participate in same sex wedding ceremonies. It is never a result of a kind and loving person following a sincerely held religious belief. He seems to be either ignorant or intolerant of what the Bible teaches on the subject. There are a number of passages (such as Romans 1) that communicate dire consequences for those who live contrary to the moral teachings of Scripture. He dismisses out of hand the idea that if someone believes a lifestyle to be harmful, refusing to participate in it or support itcould be construed asan act of love, not an act of hate. 

His words imply a profound disrespect of faith, a position that religious belief should not intrude into everyday life, endure beyond Sunday mornings or extend outside the walls of the church. To Mr. Busbee it seems religion is at its best quaint and at its worst evil. This is a convenient position to take, for when religious belief is marginalized, when it is considered to be mythical, false or deceptive, there is no need to respect its teachings or the people who follow them. We are reaching a point where our society respects an individual’s right to believe what they want but only respects the individual’s right to live according to those beliefs when they are inoffensive to others. Faith only matters in matters that are insignificant. When it comes to serious issues that impact society, faith is irrelevant.

The unpleasant truth overlooked by Mr. Busbee is that when acceptable religious practice is determined by those outside of the faith, faith loses its significance. If God exists, He by definition will not be bound by the values of any culture. Morality and righteousness will be determined by Him alone, independent of the desires, beliefs and practices of those He created. More significantly, when defined by God, morality does not change.

God does not change but societies do. As societies become more secular conflict between individuals of faith and society at large are increasingly likely, for people who truly believe will not likely yield. Mr. Busbee was correct in writing that there would be adverse consequences should the Georgia legislature side with those whose faith puts them in conflict with changing social values. As our society is evolving rapidly, these conflicts will become more frequent.

As people of faith find themselves in the minority they will also find themselves in increasing danger of being persecuted for their beliefs. Those who call religious liberty laws hateful and who threaten boycotts are inadvertently making the case for the proponents of religious liberty laws. It is a fear of recrimination and punishment, of being treated as if religious faith is hateful, that inspires such legislation. The Georgia law, and others like it,  was designed to protect people of faith from those who disagree with them. Calling the law hateful is a simplistic denial of this reality.

While there are compelling arguments on both sides of the debate it is important to remember that if we wish to be a truly tolerant society, tolerance will need to be bidirectional. If only one side of a debate is tolerated, tolerance does not exist.