By Rev. Sharon Bush
A friend shared a flyer that was left on her windshield and many of the cars in the parking lot at a recent Recreation Centers of Sun City Board of Directors candidate forum.
While the flyers, by law, cannot be considered a hate crime, because the First Amendment protects several basic freedoms in our Country including freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to assemble, and the right to petition the government, it is so sad that this freedom is being used to attack others. In my heart this seems like a hate crime.
So, to be correct, I have to name this flyer the “hateful thoughts and words” of a person consumed by inner hate and insecurity because of their need to judge our LGBT friends. It is these kinds of narrow-minded thoughts that led to the killing of 50 people while scores of others were wounded in the shooting at the Pulse Nightclub June 12, 2016.
Anytime someone goes so low as to voice hate, it is a sad and sobering event. This is true today for the victims of all hate thoughts and deeds. My friend and I shared that our human minds, on some level, keep asking, “When will tragic events such as these ever end?” These and other horrific events represent a challenge that has so many facets to it — at least from the human point of view.
This latest event can be seen as a hate action against the LGBT community. Some view it as an attack on Western values and the notion of a free society. We must not forget that humanity is interconnected and interdependent.
The tragedy of all prejudicial actions calls into question the seeming hypocrisy of claiming to want love and peace in the world when many are OK with the endemic portrayal of violence in our society. It even suggests it is time to really think about what can be done to open the hearts and minds of those who are so ego driven that they feel the need to tear down and hurt a whole group of society. What can each of us do to bring kindness, understanding and love into our world?
Practicing spiritual principles is not only about finding peace within ourselves but about contributing to the creation of peace, nonviolence and acceptance of our fellow brothers and sisters on the planet. It starts by realizing that nothing is impossible with the all-knowing presence we call God.
Our task is to contribute to the peace effort to the best of our ability. We know that God can only do for us what we allow God to do through us. So, we do our part to remove from our awareness any hints of violence we may be harboring in our hearts, including violent thoughts against those who have hurt us and those who are different from us.
We want to transform places in our minds where it is unsafe for other people to travel, because we may snipe at them with criticism or attack them in some way. Such attacks contribute to an energy field, and the by-product can create a thought atmosphere that helps produce a person who commits a horrendous act, such as placing hate filled flyers on cars, refusing service to those who seem different from us and the violent actions that keep taking place against the black community, the Jewish community, the LGBT community and other minorities.
We are all brothers and sisters created in the likeness and the image of God. One with each other. This is true for all people even when they don’t or can’t acknowledge their bond with all of humanity.
Editor’s Note: The Rev. Sharon Bush is paster of Unity Spiritual Center in Sun City.