Over the past week, Americans have witnessed vile forms of hate.
On October 29, 2018, Cesar Sayoc appeared in a courtroom. The man, blamed with sending at least 14 explosive devices to well-known liberal critics of President Donald J. Trump, faces up to 48 years in jail if a jury finds him guilty. Sayoc is on the hook for five federal charges connected to mailing the devices to media personalities and prominent Democrats. USA Today reported Sayoc’s family noticed signs of mental illness. They revealed the alleged criminal would become angry when family members asked him to seek help for his issues.
On October 27, 2018, an anti-Semitic assassin gunned down 11 worshipers attending a religious service at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. Robert Bowers, the alleged murderer, told law enforcement officers he desired to “kill Jews.” On October 28, 2018, Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Pittsburgh was filled with more than 2,000 people mourning the loss of those slain. Reportedly, thousands of others stood outside for the vigil.
The bodies of Antonio Ramirez Barron and his wife Susan Brill de Ramirez, both 63-years-old, were recovered from the Spoon River in central Illinois on October 30, 2018. The couple’s 21-year-old son, Jose Ramirez, was arrested the day before on first-degree murder charges after he allegedly confessed to police that he killed his parents. During a bond hearing, Dave Kenny, Peoria County Assistant State’s Attorney, claimed Ramirez informed friends he was “sick of his parents” and murdered them on October 26, 2018. Ramirez purportedly waited until his parents were asleep before he carried out his unthinkable crime. After spraying his parents with pepper spray, he allegedly stabbed them, wrapped them in a tent and a tarp, loaded them in his dad’s SUV, and disposed of them in the Spoon River.
While violence spurred by hate is undeniable in the United States, people have differing opinions as to what the best solution for the epidemic is. At a recent political rally, former President Barack Obama told attendees the “only” way to end all of the hate is to vote. He stated, “The only check on bad behavior is you and your vote. It’s you. You could be saving somebody’s life just by voting. That power rests in your hands.”
Franklin Graham, son of the late renowned evangelist Billy Graham, disagrees with Obama’s assertion that voting is the “only” answer to defeating hate. Graham believes Jesus is the “only” ultimate way out.
In a Facebook post written after Sayoc’s alleged attacks, the evangelist and missionary timely wrote, “Disagreeing with someone’s politics or their stand on issues does not justify violence, harassment, or intimidation tactics. We can agree to disagree. We can argue our points passionately, but with civility. We are blessed to live in a country where we can still let our voice be heard in the voting booth.”
Graham went on to boldly proclaim, “This is another reminder of how important it is to pray for our leaders and for healing for our nation. Also pray for all those targeted in these recent acts. Jesus Christ is the only one who can heal the hate in a human heart. He’s the answer for each person, for our families, and for our country.”
Graham is right. Voting Democrats, Republicans, or Independents into office won’t magically remove the hatred from the hearts of people. Only the saving grace of Jesus Christ can accomplish this task. In fact, the turbulent political environment in this country seems to exasperate the hate people feel towards others.
Pray for the deep divisiveness in America. And, follow the Bible’s instructions. Luke 6:27-28 says, “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Verse 31 of Luke 6 famously states, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
~ 1776 Christian