Today, as much of the world remembers the life and death of Martin Luther King Jr., the emotions evoked by his remembrance are tainted with the lingering sorrow from the massacre at Charlie Hebdo. The close proximity of these two days create a stunning reminder of how far we have come and how much is still yet to be done.
People and groups of people in the world still engender hate. It seeps from their very being like the poisonous substance it is. Hate is their fuel, their rallying cry, and their identity. Hate destroys. It destroys the hater and the hated. No one wins.
Dr. King is remembered for his courage, his unwavering will, his vision, and his commitment to peace. He knew that love needed to win. Had to win. Must win. We celebrate his memory because it stands out as a beacon of beautiful light in a world history full of dark spaces.
The deep-seated hatred that drives people groups like ISIS, Westboro Baptist Church and others is like a virus that infects and spreads as quickly as those willing to align themselves with its destructive force. Groups such as these are rooted in fundamental ideologies that insulate them from meaningful discourse with other diverse worldviews. As such, all other perspectives are seen as the opposition and their stance becomes one of a universal "us versus them" mentality. The end result is a polarizing entity that seeks no good but their own.
It is essential that responses to groups such as these be one of unconditional love. This is not to say that we have to be helpless sheep. Rather, we should be wise as serpents and gentle as doves.
If we want to realize the dream of Dr. King, we have to reach beyond our own ability to effect change.
Violence must go.
Love must win.