Saturday, July 2, 2016

Hate is Hate is Hate is Hate is Hate (Proverbs 10:12)

"This exercise to claim that I am more hated than you, is itself a product of disgust, revulsion, and blame." 

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers all wrongs.
                                                          Proverbs 10:12

It has been three weeks since the shootings in Orlando. For all our promises that, "We are Orlando," most of us have moved on. After all it was Pride Month and the victims would have wanted us to celebrate Juneteenth with even more vigor in their memory. The pundits have the bombing of the Istanbul airport and the hostages in Bangladesh to kick around. The unfortunate truth is that the Pulse Nightclub was just one more act of hate in a sea of hate. We were outraged for the moment and the moment passed.

In my last post I referenced a friend who invited me into conversation about sin. In the end he did reply - once. I guess his Orlando Vigil did the trick of relieving him of any association with the thought that his anti-gay preaching might have something to do with the rise of hate against queer people. Clearly, he wasn't going to enter a conversation that might remove the thin rusted tin of that facade. 

We're still seeking to figure out the motivation of the shooter. Was he homophobic? Did he seek to go out a notorious ISIS agent after his life had amounted to one failure after another? Was it revenge for being rejected in his own search for gay partners? It may take years to untangle the shooters' motive. Of course by then no one will really care. Which is a shame, I think there is much to learn here if we but have the courage to keep our gaze on the rage and carnage.

Hate, at least in US culture, is relational. We just don't hate in general (the French apparently have an expression which allow for unfocused hate). But in the US our hate is directed at someone or something. To hate assumes a relationship. A relationship in which we act aggressively toward another with destructive thoughts. The object of our hate brings disgust into our lives and we act on our revulsion and seek to remove from our lives the person we blame for the disgust. Of course in order to remove a person we must first see them as something less than human or at least less than worthy of our good will. This is the particular dynamic hate allows.

Which brings me to my point: hate is hate is hate is hate is hate! In situations such as the Orlando shootings there is a tendency toward ranking who is hated the most. Several posts of my Face Book feed took up the cry that the worst massacre in US history was not the Pulse Nightclub but rather Wounded Knee. Another thread compared the relative privilege of white queer people to the continuing vulnerability of African Americans. 

This exercise to claim that I am more hated than you, is itself a product of the system of disgust, revulsion, and blame. All such thinking does is to invite us to perpetuate the cycle of thoughts and emotions that hate feeds off of. Better is that we come to understand networks of thinking patterns and attitudes which allow for hate to flourish and capture all in their nets of "us versus them."

The proverb has it right, hate does stir up conflict to such a tumult of chaos and ugliness that we can even hate ourselves. Love, however, covers wrongs. That is love does not react to others with disgust but with empathy and compassion. Love refuses to dehumanize in order that I may justify my actions. Love allows me to understand that the better path in life is to welcome instead of exclude.


  1. David, I so enjoy reading your posts. Such wisdom and insight. Keep on blogging, friend. Bill Kinney

  2. Thanks Bill. You flatter me - and I'm up for flattery!