Letter: A movement for civility and kindness

Published: 7/11/2018 12:01:12 AM

On July 8, more than 250 people gathered on the front lawn of the North Wilmot UCC Church. We were there to support that church and its members. Earlier this month, a person wrote on the door of the church cruel and vicious anti-Semitic slogans. The service was upbeat: love conquers hate, light defeats darkness, good triumphs over evil. Perhaps, even more important, was the presence of many to express support for the UCC church members of North Wilmot.

We read about this type of hate speech; it is always somewhere else, normally a large city. It has not happened in a place that is bucolic Norman Rockwell. Now it has, and the question is, why? Ignorance? Easy access to the internet and the belief the user is invisible? Absence of civility and loss of face-to-face social interaction?

Is this new? Probably not. In the 5th century, during a time called the “Jesus Wars,” militant monks captured another group of monks, herded them into a castle, locked them in and the set fire to the castle. Both groups called themselves Christians, and both groups had different interpretations of the divinity of Christ.

The above example is extreme, but at the last White House Correspondents’ Dinner, a speaker used the “F-bomb” to describe our current president, and while the laughter may have been nervous, there was laughter. I have used the name “Nurse Ratchet” to describe the most recent Democratic candidate. There is an old expression: If you point at another, there are three fingers pointing back at you. I cannot change the world, but I can be more civil, a better listener and a little kinder. If many of us did that, we might change the world; at least we could, in the words of Arlo Guthrie, start a movement.



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