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The Resistance Prays

January 16, 2019
By Rev. Benjamin Perry

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Today's Top Story
Yesterday Annabelle Lima-Taub, a Florida city commissioner, attacked Muslim congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, saying “A Hamas-loving anti-Semite has NO place in government! She is a danger and would not put it past her to become a martyr and blow up Capitol Hill.” - via Newsweek
Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way. – Proverbs 4:14-15
To Fight Ignorance, Walk in Truth
It goes without saying that this disgusting Islamophobia has no place in our public life. That said, Lima-Taub’s bigotry also reveals how ignorant many Americans are about their Muslim siblings. Bigotry is not born entirely from a lack of knowledge, but I think it’s unquestionable that Americans’ unfamiliarity with Muslim traditions and beliefs plays an integral role in stoking anti-Muslim hate. If people’s only encounter with Islam comes from disturbing portrayals in television shows and sensationalist news coverage - not to mention the Islamophobic fever swamps of conservative media - we should not be surprised by their bigotry.
This dynamic underscores just how important it is to elect congressional representatives like Tlaib and Ilhan Omar - visible Muslim leaders who, by their actions and existence, dispel pernicious myths about who Muslims are. The best way to counteract hatred isn’t through public castigation, vehement tweets, or ridicule - it’s through elevating and promoting people who plainly expose the lies upon which that hate is built. When Rashida Tlaib continues to fight for her constituents, passing legislation that improves people’s lives, her record becomes a public testament against bigoted lies.
Indeed, this is the work to which God calls us more broadly. The best way to change people’s hearts is to change their material conditions. If an ascendant progressive coalition is able to pass policy that improves folks’ lives - universal healthcare, a Green New Deal, student debt forgiveness, affordable housing - and pay for it by heavily taxing the wealthy - rhetoric that tells people they should fear a multicultural America will swiftly ring hollow. Loving our neighbors - even those who spew vitriol - defangs hatred’s potency.
Post something on social media praising Rashida Tlaib, thanking her for her work. Counteract hatred with an outpouring of love.
God, soften hearts gripped by hatred. Show people that danger does not stem from people who look different, speak a different language, or pray differently, but from oligarchs who hoard wealth as more and more people live in poverty. Show us the path to walk, that we might help enact policy that opens eyes blinded by fear.
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