A recent article published in USA Today states that active hate groups are at the highest level in the last twenty years. Organizations that have been identified as Hate Groups have climbed from 784 in 2014 to over 1,000 in 2018, and is up over 7% just in the last year. This number is not limited to white groups but includes among others, white supremacists, neo-Nazis, black nationalists and neo-confederate groups. What is particularly sad, however, is that many religious organizations have been labeled among these hate groups right along side of the Ku Klux Klan or American Nazis. This label may be misleading as for most civil activist police, any group that shows any intolerance toward another group is deemed a hate group. The unanswered question is this; have these identified hate groups actually increased in number over the past few years, or has a season and atmosphere of hatred and bigotry simply empowered already existing groups to become more vocal and public? Why the sudden uproar in exposure and boldness?
Even as I write these observations I know how critical it is that I choose my words carefully lest I too be labeled a hater. We have evolved into a society where anything and everything goes, and anyone who questions current trends from any conservative or traditional perspective is caught up in the widely cast net of intolerant haters. Our world is changing, morality is evolving, standards are being broken and liberal progression is leaving many behind in its wake. There seems to be little common ground for those who wish to remain neutral as more and more people are falling into one of two categories, extremist right wing or socialist left liberal, sharply divided like the partisan leadership we have flippantly elected to oversee our affairs and tell us how we ought to live, albeit not by exemplary lifestyles they live out.
The targets of hateful aggression is growing longer each year. You don’t have to search very hard to find a hate group to fit into. We are currently hating on blacks, whites, Jews, Muslims, gays, transgenders, Republicans, Democrats, Trump, Pelosi, the church, the atheists, Catholics, Baptists, Hannity, Farrakhan-the list is exhaustive. It doesn’t really matter if you are from the confederate south or the Yankee regions of the north, the Bible belt Midwest of the socialist state of California-there is something for everyone, a plethora of hate groups to call your own. What a sad and horrible state of affairs!
Those who choose to harbor hatred or intolerance may never be eradicated from society-it’s been over two hundred years and America still accommodates hate. That being the case, it is imperative that those of us who practice love and charity become as vocal and empowered in spreading light as those who prefer darkness. We are each presented each day with opportunities to display and express love, good will and blessings over those who are beaten down by societal and generational hatred. With everything that has changed over the past decades, we possess a truth that remains a constant, a plumb line and a guide for loving on others. We have the Bible, the written Word, and even though many of today’s haters attempt to point to the Bible as a source of hatred, the fact is irrefutable that it remains a standard of unconditional love and sacrifice. However it remains useless and ineffective unless we live out its principles in every day life as a weapon against the evils of hatred, bigotry and intolerance we face in our world. And unlike the mixed messages from even some religious groups, the Bible is black and white on the subject of love and hate:
1 John 4; “If you say “I love God” but you hate your neighbor, you are a liar!”
1 John 3; “Anyone who hates their brother or sister is guilty of murder”
1 John 2: “Anyone who claims to walk in light but has hatred is actually walking in darkness”
1 John 4; “Anyone who doesn’t love doesn’t know God, who is love”
John 13; “A new commandment-love one another, just as I have loved you”
Colossians 3; “Above all else, put on love which brings everything together in harmony”
Ephesians 4; “With humility and gentleness, accompanied by patience, love each other’
Luke 6; “Love your enemies, expecting nothing in return”
Romans 13; “Be in debt to no one, except for the unpayable debt of love, fulfilling the commands”
We who claim to walk in the light of the Word can not blindly ignore what has been written and left on our behalf. Believers are quick to get caught up in controversial issues like immigration, partisan politics, senseless arguments and debates over things that have no real eternal consequences in our lives, as if we take leave of the fact that our citizenship is not Earthly but Heavenly, and that our welfare is dependent upon God’s provisions, not current administration policy. Hatred is a byproduct of fear, and believers should have nothing to fear from anyone or anything in this life. and when we lose sight of this, we become just another lamb being led with the flock by the current trends, losing our light and identity in Christ. Each time I hear of more hate crimes, or read posts on social media touting the latest hate du jour of the day, my stomach turns as we can and should be so much better than this. Our only hope is to be points of light in the dark confines in which we may find ourselves so that through our love and genuine concerns we can refocus the light away from hatred and toward Christ, who is forever the ultimate definition of love.