LETTER TO THE EDITOR: We need to challenge hatred right here at home
As the world struggles to make sense of the heinous mass murder that was just committed in New Zealand, I have to say that I have personally witnessed virulently anti-Muslim preachers be warmly welcomed into our local community to spread their messages of hate.
The grotesque motivations of the killer in Christchurch weren't far off the paranoid delusions that I have heard "law-abiding Christians" spout against Muslims right here in northern Minnesota.
For anyone who wonders where such vile and murderous rage comes from, please look at the history of this colonized country: political and religious justification of slavery and manifest destiny, centuries of racist mob violence and vigilantism, generations of legally and socially sanctioned discrimination and genocide...up through more recent events like Nazis marching in Charlottesville, Jews being killed at their synagogue in Pittsburgh, policies such as the "Muslim ban," and popular chants of "Build the Wall." The monsters of white nationalism, anti-immigrant sentiment and violent Christian supremacy that possessed the killer in Christchurch are alive and well right here, too.
Yes, we should grieve these senseless deaths. Yes, we should stand in solidarity with those directly impacted. And more than that, we should realize that there is a lot—a lot—we could be doing to recognize and challenge such hatred, starting right in our own neighborhood. Please (especially if you are white and Christian!) reflect on your faith and your ethics, muster your courage, and let the expression of your mourning be action to end bigotry right here.