I am distraught. I am frustrated. And I am sorry.
I am writing this on Thursday, November 10th, after two full days of people celebrating and mourning Donald Trump's victory in the American presidential election. In two days, social media has been flooded with heartbreaking stories of people in the United States being threatened and abused through acts of blatant racism, homophobia and misogyny.
I feel sick. I am a 'white' person, and I recognize the privilege and safety that my 'colour' provides me, never taking it for granted. I'll likely never know the level of fear Americans are now facing. People feeling they need to act or dress differently in order to be safe. People experiencing hate because of non-whiteness and additional “othering” qualities.
And, at this point, it's only been two days.
I know quite a few Christians who are vocal about their support for Trump, looking past his 'character deficiencies', claiming that 'nobody is perfect'. They cling to their views on abortion, and proclaim that Trump's policies are 'Biblical' (sorry, but I call BS) or that he really will make America great again. I have heard people arguing at length that Trump himself is not truly racist or hateful to any group.
Regardless, his rhetoric seems to have worked as a catalyst. Racism that was simmering below the surface has been legitimated and people emboldened. People are quoting him and referring to his presidency while engaging in acts of hate. The problem is bigger than a belligerent man who will soon be the face of America. It is the people themselves, who are using their false entitlement, ignorance, fear and pride to harm those they see as different.
I am a white Christian and I want you to know I don't hate you. And I am so, so sorry. I am sorry that this is happening. I don't know if the perpetrators of the hate are also claiming to be Christian, but if they are please know they are disgustingly wrong. Please know that this is not Christianity. Jesus says “Love your neighbour as yourself,” and there is no asterisk at the end leading to a list of exceptions; there are no loopholes nor exclusions. And I believe personally that He loves you. Really. Everyone. No matter what.
There is no justification for the hate. I am sure that, while reading this, you can think of examples of hate and violence or exclusion perpetrated by 'Christians' or 'The Church' from history or even your own experiences, and I want to say that I am so, so sorry. Again, that is not Christianity. I am sorry that there are people who use religion or other labels to motivate hatred and build walls (let's hope the latter remains figurative). It seems so often that it's the small, angry groups that get the loudest. So, I want to take the chance to give a voice to the other side. I am Christian and I do not hate you. I am sorry if you have experienced pain from people who share my religion. I love you, and I want you to hear this in the midst of all the chaos. Other than this, I am at a loss. If I witness acts of hatred I will not remain a bystander, and will do whatever I can to stand up for the victims.
Canada is quite special. I'm sure many of us have strong opinions about the events happening in the U.S., but let's also at our own country, where we are able to take action and make a difference. There is much injustice for us to end here as well. Let's look inward, and make sure that we do what we can with the opportunities given to us. Hate may be getting louder, but we can help make sure that love, grace and protection drown it out.