Hate Your Neighbor?

Two men started firing from a car as they drove by an art gallery last night in Garland, Texas. The gallery was sponsoring an exhibit and cartoon contest to draw the Prophet Muhammad. Many Muslims believe that it is forbidden to depict Muhammad. (Also, many Muslims do not believe that their faith condones violence.) A security guard was injured, taken to a hospital, treated and released. The shooters were shot and killed by police. Later, a bomb squad checked out their car for explosives. The FBI are now investigating.

The gallery exhibitors got a lot more attention than they wanted. I imagine that they invoked the right to free speech as they planned this event. I won’t speculate further. I’ll leave that to you. However, as a Christian, I question this exhibit in light of the Great Commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-40, Luke 10:27) How is it loving to willfully offend many from another faith tradition? This theme is expressed in many, if not all, faith traditions. In Confucianism, it states the same in the negative, “What you do not wish for yourself, do not impose on others.” In rabbinic literature, the greatest principle in the law is, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Deuteronomy 6:5, Leviticus 19:18) So, Judaism espouses the same important ethic.

It goes without saying that retaliatory violence against the exhibitors and guests was terribly wrong.

How then do we love our neighbors? How do we show active good will toward anyone around us?

What are you asked to do today? Stop and listen to the still, small voice within you.