They represent what happens when people become their own gods. People who act out of hatred and cruelty. People who lust after dominance and power. People who hide behind and pervert justice.
They are the people who live in every generation, who exploit the defenseless and call cruelty courage. They have no principles. They betray the trust of others. They have no shame.
And – wherever and whenever they surface – I will join others in naming the evil that they do. Just as countless others have resisted them in centuries past, some at enormous cost.
But I will not do this by claiming that they represent my race, my faith or my country. They do not, and battling the obscenity and offense that they have committed begins in disavowing them and their behavior. I will not be helpless before them. I will not own or excuse their behavior. I will not offer them the comfort that they somehow represent me.
I will stand, shoulder to shoulder, with men and women who have acknowledged that all of God’s children are made in God’s image; who have died in defending them; and who have worked to build a world where they are honored and own their own honor. I will live in a fashion that witnesses to God’s calling on my life and to God’s insistence that true healing and redemption touches not just our relationship with God, but with one another.
For only in giving ourselves to God’s redemptive love, can we live in hope. Only in healing can we witness to the coming of the Kingdom. And only as members of Christ’s body, redeemed and restored, can we oppose evil in all its manifestations.