August 20, 2017

Look at what unites us

By JOHN GRIEP Executive Editor

Friday 8 20 17 photo

On Aug. 12, a group of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, racists, anti-Semites — haters — gathered in Charlottesville, Va., ostensibly in protest of the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, but really to espouse their detestable views about African-Americans, Jews, Muslims and others.

A permit for the rally had been approved nearly two months earlier. Some estimates of the crowd on Aug. 12 are that about 500 to 700 people came for the Unite the Right rally. Nearly twice as many came to demonstrate against the haters.

With the rally heavily promoted for at least two months nationwide by alt-right, neo-Nazi and white supremacist websites and social media accounts, only 700 people showed up in support of the rally.

700.

Out of an adult population in the United States of 246 million.

On Friday night at Oxford Park, Temple B’Nai Israel, other local churches and organizations held a service in response to the tragic events in Charlottesville. That service was first widely publicized less than two days earlier.

Nearly 200 people attended Friday’s community unity worship service in Oxford.

200.

Out of an adult population in Talbot County of about 30,000.

“Shabbat in the Park: A Worship Service of Community Unity” was organized by Rabbi Peter Hyman of Temple B’Nai Israel and other clergy leaders as a response to the hate and violence last weekend in Charlottesville.

Participating organizations included the Islamic Center of Delmarva, Talbot Association of Clergy and Laity, NAACP, the Oaks of Mamre Graduate Center, the Frederick Douglass Honor Society, Christ Church (Kent Island), Christ Church (St. Michaels), St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Easton, P.E.A.C.E., Talbot Rising, TriLife Christian Center and the Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center.

The service included prayers, songs, readings and a candle lighting.

Those attending read along with portions of the service:

“In community, we are of one body; each has a part to play. When one fails or falters, we all suffer.

“In community, we become whole ... but there is always room for growth.

“In community, we help another who falters. We have empathy for another’s suffering. A trouble shared is a trouble cut in half.

“Community means surrounding ourselves with people who will build us up and not put us down, who will encourage us and not pay lip service to our wounds.

“Community engenders caring.

In true community, we appreciate people of different backgrounds, embracing their differences; recognizing that diversity makes us richer, stronger and better people.”

Religious leaders said last week that faith leaders, government officials and the community must stand up in opposition to the hatred in Charlottesville and elsewhere.

“To remain silent in the face of this would speak volumes louder than anything else,” Hyman said. This is our responsibility.”

“We need to look at what unites us and helps us to create a community in which we want to live in,” Rev. Sue Browning of Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at Easton said last week.

Look at what unites us.

What brings us together.

What creates a community.

It is not hate.

It is compassion, empathy, understanding, caring.

It is love.