When I was young I met a girl who told me I used the word "hate" far too often in my everyday conversations. She told me that when people use the word "hate" so casually in their lives, they become immune to the damage it can cause, and they underestimate the destructive power of such an emotion.
I brushed off the girl's comments and went on with my life.
As I grew older, I realized she was right. I was using the word "hate" too much. It flowed off my tongue when speaking about football teams, cars, teachers, movies and clothes. The more I used it, the more I could see it was a word that painted a darker picture than I meant to paint. I didn't really hate a football team -- I didn't even know the players. How could I hate something I really didn't know?
I started seeing that the word could unfairly influence how I felt about other people and how other people perceived me. Like changing a bad habit, I started correcting myself when speaking. Instead of saying "I hate that teacher," I would say, "I don't like the amount of homework that teacher assigns." I noticed a real difference in the way I felt about things. My life became more positive and brighter.
On Tuesday, a man walked into a Jewish community center in Los Angeles with an arsenal of deadly weapons and began shooting innocent adults and children -- all in the name of hate.
Just as when I was young, I fear we are not aware of how desensitized we are with hatred. We cannot allow such feelings to grow and flourish in our nation.
We must take a stand against groups that fill the hearts of men with such evil designs. As Americans, many of us believe the Constitution of the United States was inspired by God -- a God that loves all men and teaches us to do likewise. The men who founded this country made it clear that it was their belief that all men were created equal and share the right to pursue life, liberty and happiness.
I am certain that the authors of the Constitution did not mean for the document to protect groups or individuals whose intentions are to destroy the lives of others because of the color of their skin or their religion.
We can all take a small step today by being more aware of how we use the word "hate" in our conversations. We can take a bigger step by not tolerating the spread of hate in any form.
God help the people of this country to take a stand against this tide of hatred.
--Richard Haddad, Publisher