The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Excelsior Springs Standard.
Mother had lived 100 years, three months and 29 days when she decided to stop. She had driven herself to CVS in Corpus Christi, Texas to shop. She fell, beginning a three-week sojourn through hospitals, doctors and surgeries.
One of those doctors called me one morning. “I have good news and bad news,” he said. “I told your mother we were sending her to a nursing home until she was well enough to go home. She smiled. Then I was gone for a few minutes to fill out the paperwork. When I got back, she had quit breathing.”
My daughter laughed when she heard how her grandmother died, “Maw Maw always said, ‘You’ll never send me to a nursing home.’ We didn’t.”
Now I’m trying to figure out how to honor all that Mother taught me.
“Don’t say anything about a person if you can’t say something good.” Mother said this to me more times than I can count, almost daily when I was young and my approach to life was being formed.
“Don’t be a pushover. Stand up for yourself. Figure out what’s right, then do it.” There’s more. But you get the idea.
How am I to follow all these teachings now that the current occupant is in the White House? If I say nothing while he insults and demeans individual persons, entire religions, races and nationalities, might the impartial observer, if there is one, brand me as complicit?
If I stand up for what I think to be right, who can tell me from the partisan? In these times that try our souls, might silence be cowardly? It could be so seen. Therefore, my students and I at William Jewell College started HateBusters when Louisiana elected a member of the KKK to their State Legislature and the governor invited us to come help the state redeem itself.
HateBusters cannot live in a world where people fight over race and religion. In our world, there is only one race: the human race. The idea that black people are inferior to white people was invented some 400 years ago to justify slavery. It was a wicked idea that still casts an evil spell over all the earth. HateBusters know that human goodness and genius are randomly distributed among people all over the world with no regard whatever to the color of their skin.
I have lived all my life in the church. I love the church with a passion beyond my poor power to describe. As a lover of the church, I am also a student of its history. Reading about the Crusades, the Inquisition and the Reformation causes me to recognize a simple truth: when the church grows powerful, it becomes corrupt. When the spiritual becomes political, hell is let loose in the world.
HateBusters find truth in all the world’s religions. We endorse the right of each to teach and preach without fear of reprisal. All the world’s faiths are made stronger when each is encouraged to have a presence among us. As in the economic arena, competition produces a better product, so in the spiritual. If for no other reason than strengthening one’s own faith, the defense of religious freedom is a stellar idea.
“Red and Yellow, Black, Brown and White
Christian, Buddhist and Jew
Hindu, Baha’i and Muslim, too
All are precious in our sight”
HateBusters come in all colors and from all faiths. We hold Human Family Reunions any place on the planet where people invite us to come. At our reunions who is right is the wrong question. Until we know one another, we clumsily handle such a delicate question.
We HateBusters dedicate ourselves to believe and behave in such fashion that never again will such evils as the Crusades and the Inquisition be loosed upon the world. We are all the children of God. Each of our holy books teaches that we are to love one another. Some misguided and self-serving followers of all the faiths would have us believe otherwise. They would have us hate one another and make war upon each other. We have seen their kind before. They marched against Islam in the Crusades. They drove the Jews from Spain during the Inquisition.
HateBusters know this history. We hope thereby to prevent its repeat. HateBusters take notice of the militant intolerance now growing world-wide as splinter groups of Christians, Jews and Muslims seek to drive their faiths to war upon each other. If they are successful, a new Dark Age will descend upon the earth, as we are turned inward and backward.
Let it never be so. This is the fervent prayer of all HateBusters. Let us instead come together at the table of peace and justice and brotherhood.
Invite us and we will come. Join us and we will win.