The Nazi Holocaust was evil incarnate. So was the Middle Passage, and so are latter-day annihilations of whole peoples based on prejudice and hate.
I believe that is why words of hate must be countered with words of love. More than that, I believe that when groups in our community are targeted for hate, we must join them.
Not to stand with them is to stand against them. There is no neutral ground when it comes to hate. Jews learned in the Holocaust that it was bystanders, not just the Nazis, who made the ovens possible.
That is why I will go to the Virginia Holocaust Museum on Tuesday to stand in solidarity with my Jewish siblings, and why I will follow the lead of students at Hermitage High School and stand in solidarity with them — to show love for them, and for everyone, including those who come into our community to peddle hate.
The Christian term for this is “witness,” as in to give testimony. I testify to the reality and power of God’s love, knowing God does not hate.
Anyone can be a witness. And there are many ways to be a witness.
Not everyone can go to one of the sites of Tuesday’s hate invasion from Kansas. But everyone can take a moment to pray or offer a word of love to someone (and explain they are doing so in solidarity with victims of hate). Among those who come, not everyone needs to carry a sign nor do the signs have to say the same thing.
Let creativity break out. Let love empower us to make the witness that works for us.
But let us witness. Because, in a moment like this, we’re all Jews, we’re all gay, we’re all . . . . at risk.