Apr. 12, 2017.
By now you may have heard about the ugly events of this past Tuesday: the Jewish Community Center and the Little River United Church of Christ, both in Annandale, were defaced with incredibly disturbing hate speech. This is part of an alarming increase in vandalism toward Jewish and other communities. We have been trying to understand if there are any lessons in this. What we have come to is that people are being targeted just for who they are and believing in a more loving, equal and just world.
The Jewish community has been a specific target of hate groups for a very long time. The Little River UCC Church appears to have been targeted because of their public support for the LGBTQ community and their Muslim neighbors. There are lessons in this for Unitarian Universalists and what we support in our community. Is it possible that Unitarian Universalist congregations will be the targets of hate vandalism? The answer is yes. There have been a couple of incidents lately and the congregation Rev. David served near San Diego was a target of this kind of hate speech vandalism during his time as minister. When publicly living your values, it is always possible that others may attack you. We cannot give in to that kind of fear and intimidation.
There is another lesson of this latest series of incidents in our own community. This action based on hate and fear must be met in larger portions with actions of love, kindness and coming together. These religious organizations are our siblings in this community, and we must use this opportunity to learn more, listen more and support each other more in this vital work of building the beloved community.
There will be an interfaith service at the Little River UCC this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. All are invited to come and show their support for the congregation. There may be another vigil or service, and if there is, we will let you know. There will also be cards of good wishes for all to sign in the Commons this Sunday.
We are going through some unsettling times. It will be natural for us to feel anxiety about the changes and challenges going on around us. There are a couple of ways we can react. Our hope is that we will extend some extra grace to each other, hold each other with an abundance of care and try, as much as possible, to be in relationship from a place of kindness and love.
If you need to talk to any of us, please let us know. There is so much goodness in the world. Our calling is to bring it forth as much as we possibly can.
Rev. David A. Miller
Rev. Laura Horton-Ludwig