Re­spect your neigh­bor. No ex­cep­tions.

Strive to re­spect your neigh­bor who doesn’t look like you, think like you, love like you, speak like you, pray like you, vote like you.

The News-Times - - OPINION - By Emanuela Pal­mares Emanuela Pal­mares is a Dan­bury res­i­dent and mem­ber of the Dan­bury Board of Ed­u­ca­tion.

Last month, an un­speak­able tragedy was in­flicted upon the Tree of Life Syn­a­gogue in Pitts­burgh, the dead­li­est at­tack on the Jewish com­mu­nity in United States his­tory; 11 peo­ple were killed and six were in­jured.

The sole sus­pect, a 46-year-old man, was ar­rested and charged with 29 fed­eral crimes and 36 state crimes. Us­ing the on­line so­cial net­work Gab, the shooter posted anti-Semitic com­ments against the He­brew Im­mi­grant Aid So­ci­ety (HIAS), in which the Tree of Life con­gre­ga­tion was a sup­port­ing par­tic­i­pant.

In the after­math of the tragedy, the image of a church ban­ner, en­com­pass­ing all the dif­fer­ences that fu­eled the hate that drove the shooter to at­tack, among oth­ers, be­came vi­ral. The ban­ner reads:

“Love your neigh­bor who doesn’t look like you, think like you, love like you, speak like you, pray like you, vote like you. Love your neigh­bor. No ex­cep­tions.”

The ban­ner was cre­ated by the All Souls Epis­co­pal Church in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. Their rec­tor was walk­ing past an­other Epis­co­pal church that had posted a ban­ner en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to love peo­ple, with a long list of very spe­cific char­ac­ter­is­tics. It in­spired him to de­sign a ban­ner to put in front of their church that would tran­scend any par­tic­u­lar po­lit­i­cal ide­ol­ogy, since all over Wash­ing­ton, D.C., one can see ban­ners and signs about many dif­fer­ent po­si­tions. The ban­ner cre­ated by All Souls Epis­co­pal Church seems to break down the rule into six cat­e­gories that our fast-paced, so­cial me­dia-en­trenched world can digest. But the word “love,” as pow­er­ful as it truly is, may seem too vast, too great or too of­ten mis­used for things that do not war­rant evok­ing such an emo­tion to be ap­plied to any­one you “don’t even know that well,” es­pe­cially at a time when the word “hate” is just as eas­ily used and mis­used.

But as we reach the end of an elec­tion sea­son and the be­gin­ning of the hol­i­day sea­son, we should all strive to mas­ter the six cat­e­gories on the vi­ral ban­ner, and if “love” may seem a high bar, start with the word “re­spect,” the only fit­ting sub­sti­tute un­til love is reached. It can be just as pow­er­ful in the sense of one of its def­i­ni­tions: “to have due re­gard for the feel­ings, wishes, rights, or tra­di­tions.”

So strive to re­spect your neigh­bor who doesn’t look like you, think like you, love like you, speak like you, pray like you, vote like you. Re­spect your neigh­bor. No ex­cep­tions.

For we are more than our po­lit­i­cal views, Face­book threads or any other in­di­vid­ual as­pects of our be­ing, like race, re­li­gion, sex­ual iden­tity, coun­try of ori­gin, im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus or any per­sonal pref­er­ence. We are all hu­man, and re­gard­less of whether we have strong re­li­gious be­liefs and strive to live by the golden rule, or have no be­liefs at all, we all want re­spect and even love.

We are the ones who have the power, through each one of our ac­tions to in­fuse that into the world, re­gard­less if some of our lead­ers choose not to.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.