A couple weeks ago, I found out that someone had painted offensive graffiti (hate) on a Rabbi’s door. This happened in my church’s neighbourhood.
The community of churches in the neighbourhood gathered to hear from the Rabbi to show our support and love. It was a great meeting, but also highly emotional.
She believes that the election of Donald Trump has “emboldened” others to speak hate into the lives of Jews, the LGBTQ community, women, etc.
I agree. When I heard about this terrible act, I immediately thought of the election results to the South.
I also thought about an incident between 15 to 16 years ago. A coworker and I were passing through the park on our lunch break. Littered everywhere on the ground were pieces of square paper, with the words, “No Mongrels”. The perpetrator of this message was the Heritage Front.
I confess I had to go home and look up the word. When I saw it, I wondered if I myself would fit into that category.
The incident also made me think about Canada. It is easy for us to look to the United States, and feel pretty smug about how much better we are, how much more tolerant we are than our neighbours to the South. But, are we?
While reading a book on World War II by Tim Cook, I discovered that we used to have “Gentile Only” signs plastered on our public spaces. We separated White girls from Chinese boys were a bad influence on White girls. (The more likely story is that they didn’t want any dating between the two races – It has kind of a familiar ring to it, doesn’t it?
The Book of Negroes gives us a glimpse into the history of Blacks in Nova Scotia. The picture of a Black man hanging from a tree, having been beaten beyond recognition.
Or Thomas King. A short story which includes an Indigenous man, as represented by an eagle, tied to a fence, also beaten, because the man might steal something that belongs to the White man or sleep with his wife. These writers did not make up these stories. They are fictional, but they are certainly not fiction.
I think it’s important for Canadians to not only recognize what we have done in the past, but also recognize that these things, this kind of hatred still exists. I do not know the full extent of it, but it exists.
I recently saw a young White man with the words “White” tattooed on one leg, and I believe the word, “Power” tattooed on the other leg.
A man at the neighbourhood gathering reminded me that Rob Ford, infamous mayor of Toronto, had 30% support. Toronto prides itself on being multi-cultural and tolerant. If Toronto had 30% of its population in support or Rob Ford, what percentage of Canadians across the country also supported him?
As a side-note, I just have to say I really despise the word tolerant. Tolerance is a temporary state, in my opinion. I will tolerate you until I decide not to tolerate you anymore.
Love – this is something that endures. Not tolerance. We need to love one another.
i was amazed at the feeling of love in the room. People were brought together, who would not otherwise come together. A lady from the community would like the larger community included in the meetings, not just the churches.
And, this is where I feel hopeful. Maybe the thing Trump has done is to get us talking about racial and religious hate in our country, north of the border. He is bringing Christians, Jews, Muslims, the LGBTQ community, those from non-faith communities. This is an amazing outcome!!
He has opened up conversations of love. There was talk of Restorative Justice for the juvenile, who committed this hate crime. The Rabbi does not want revenge. She wants to talk to him, to reach him.
She wants to offer him the love of God, grace and mercy. And, this is the theme that echoed throughout the room that night. Love, grace, mercy, forgiveness. There was also unity and togetherness. I felt that we were of one accord, of one mind.
We will not be made to feel ashamed or afraid. I stand with the Jewish community. It was heartbreaking to hear that due to the Holocaust, there are those, who wanted the Rabbi to remain quiet, who believe that whenever the Jewish people speak up, it is worse for them.
I cannot understand their depth of pain, of the feeling that they, as a People, are unwanted, despised, unloved. (As a Christian in Canada, I feel like people just think I’m annoying. Nothing too serious, yet.)
What I would like to say to the Jewish people is that you are loved. You are God’s chosen people and have nothing to feel ashamed about. Psalm 122 says:
I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord!”
2 Our feet have been standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem!
3 Jerusalem—built as a city
that is bound firmly together,
4 to which the tribes go up,
the tribes of the Lord,
as was decreed for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
5 There thrones for judgment were set,
the thrones of the house of David.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
“May they be secure who love you!
7 Peace be within your walls
and security within your towers!”
8 For my brothers and companions’ sake
I will say, “Peace be within you!”
9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your good.