- Politics and Social Issues
I Come In Peace
A Single Candle Lit Against The Darkness
On Friday, January 8, 2016, a single woman stood up for peace, and a small candle of hope was lit in a darkened room. The forces of evil will always be with us, and the daily battle for good to triumph has been waged since the beginning of time, yet somehow, when evil men appear on the scene with their plans to turn the world upside down, there come those gentle people who, with sufficient time and self-sacrifice, manage to turn it back right side up. Often, their spiritual actions are not without having to endure pain, loss and suffering, but despite it all, one by one those candles of hope are lit, and those defiant acts of moral courage add together to become the light of peace that can bring us all back from the brink of total destruction. I watched in admiration as this gentle Muslim woman, Rose Hamid, stood silently in protest at a Donald Trump political rally, standing there wearing traditional religious Muslim attire, with a phrase written across her chest that said, “I Come In Peace.” She was escorted out by police, and the crowd around her showed gross inhumanity, violent lack of compassion and the lowest levels of contempt. I thought of Christ and His message of universal love, dragging His cross through the streets of Jerusalem as people showed that same level of contempt. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
Turning People Against One Another For Political Gain
I have been watching the current political race for the highest office in our land, the presidency, and I have listened as politicians sell their souls for the chance to have their hands on power. Someone once said that power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely. Former congressman Tip O’Neil once said that politicians are whores for votes. Sadly, many people who watch these stage shows are not educated enough, have not studied history enough, have not genuinely studied the facts enough, to see through the smoke and mirrors games these clever foxes utilize in order to attain their self-serving goals. If one were to simply study the history of the rise of Adolph Hitler, a person who led the entire world into chaos and death, a single megalomaniac who brought more costly destruction than the worst pestilence and plague in history, one would see that the same tactics Hitler used to turn people into opposing sides is being used today. In ways, this is the strategy of divide and conquer. If you cannot win the entire nation, create two opposing sides and turn them against the other. Arm the side that is for you, demonize the side that is against you, and once you have gained power, begin to systematically rob, plunder and murder the opposing side. Hitler found that “opposing” side by making the Jews the scapegoats for all of Germany’s problems, and it was not long after he succeeded in this that his rise to complete power meant that he could mete out death and destruction with no one to challenge him. By then, it was too late to stand up at a political rally and peacefully remind the rest of those in attendance that there were still those alive who had a conscience, that there were still those alive who sought peace instead of war, and that there were still those who come in peace.
We Are One People
The theme of isolationism is the first tool in the playbook of power mongers. Instead of universal brotherhood, it becomes “us” versus “them.” We are instructed by these people that they know who our enemies are, and they will teach us how to identify our enemies...and they will also tell us what to do with our “enemies.” And if we listen long enough, we will come to believe that we indeed do have enemies, that this “leader” is correct, that we must act according to his dictates to save ourselves from the “menace.” Hitler is reborn again every time this occurs. But whether we like it or not, whether we understand it or not, the world is no longer multiple foreign nations divided by time and space that keep us forever apart. Rather, it is one large, inter-connected civilization composed of children all created by the same God. You drive a car made by one of His children in Japan, drink coffee that was picked by one of His children in Brazil, wear shoes that were made by one of His children in Italy, clothes made by one of His children in India, talk on your cell phone which was invented by one of His children in the United States and assembled by one of His children in China. There is a universal connection to all of us, we are not alone, and those who preach isolationism take us in the wrong direction, a direction that is both away from God’s intent and toward self-destruction. There IS an alternative to war and bloodshed.
As Dr. Martin Luther King wisely said, “I do not wish to minimize the complexity of the problems to be faced in achieving disarmament and peace. But we shall not have the courage, the insight, to deal with such matters unless we are prepared to undergo a mental and spiritual change. It is not enough to say we must not wage war. We must love peace and sacrifice for it. We must fix our visions not merely on the negative expulsion of war, but upon the positive affirmation of peace. We must see that peace represents a sweeter music, far superior to the discords of war “
Live Together As Brothers, Or Die Together As Fools
As I watched the footage of this brave, humble and spiritual woman taking a stand for peace, I had problems with the reaction of those around her. Here’s why. Most of those sitting there undoubtedly identify with Christianity. Sadly, they are nominal Christians, because they apparently checked their beliefs in Jesus at the door. Despicable and blatant acts of hatred and scorn were displayed for all to see. “I Come In Peace,” the message written on her clothing, had no effect on their unbridled demonstrations of contempt. I did not see Jesus anywhere in the audience. And only a few days ago, these same people were singing Christmas carols in their churches, doubtlessly congratulating themselves on their religiosity while singing “peace on earth, goodwill toward all men.” As Dr. King correctly stated, “If we don't have good will toward men in this world, we will destroy ourselves by the misuse of our own instruments and our own power. Now let me suggest first that if we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective. No individual can live alone; no nation can live alone, and as long as we try, the more we are going to have war in this world. Now the judgment of God is upon us, and we must either learn to live together as brothers or we are all going to perish together as fools.”
Are We Tools For Peace, Or Are We Tools For War?
What human being on this planet is not a human being? What human being on this planet does not operate by having blood coursing through their veins? By breathing air? By eating to survive? By resting to live well? What human being has never known love for someone? Are we all really that different? If we are cut, do we not bleed? If we starve, do we not die? And if we hate, do we not in some way destroy the image that God made us to be? Is not the entire planet populated by an inescapable network of humanity that wears the same clothing designed by Our Creator? And if we teach hate, what do we reap? No matter what the false promise, are not the seeds of hate the guarantee of a harvest of sorrow? Good does not come from evil. It only comes from sowing good, from planting the seeds of hope, compassion, togetherness, unity and love.
Hitler said that everything he did for Germany was for peace and prosperity. He claimed that the seeds he sold would bring a harvest of abundance for all who followed his plans. Whether it is whispered as an aside that is meant only for the ears of the members of a private club, or it is trumpeted from the grandstands of some politicians campaign for the office of President of the United States, hate is hate, and the end result is destruction and loss. There is NO hope in hate. One single woman stood up to be counted for peace, and she was reviled by those who had already swallowed the elixir being served by the silver-tongued orator of hate and division. Believing a lie, rather than researching the truth, following the course that leads to war, rather than seeking the course that leads to peace, they are beating their plowshares into swords, their pruning hooks into spears. So soon after Christmas, so soon after celebrating the birth of the One Who Came in Peace, and it seems that His message has been lost on those who claim to follow Him. Are we still paralyzed by centuries of prejudice? Have we forgotten the toll of the great wars? Have we truly never fully understood the meaning of the words “human dignity?” Is human worth only allotted to those who belong to a special club, the membership details declared to us by the leaders now running for President? Do they determine who we hate? Do they tell us who is not worthy of compassion? And while they will gladly sacrifice us to defend their castles, when have we EVER seen these self-appointed “leaders” following the great commandment of Jesus Christ, that being to love our neighbors as we love ourselves? Where is their message of peace on earth, good will toward ALL mankind?
The message we ALL need to start sharing is simple - “I Come In Peace.”