Hate has never resolved a conflict

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By Bob Fuselier

Dear Editor,

In a recent op-ed piece concerning the hateful comments by the Rev. Wright, Mr. Damiani asked, “How do you justify such statements in a church?” I would take that question a step further and ask, “How do you justify a hateful statement anywhere at anytime?”We hear hateful statements a lot. I’ve heard them from the pulpits of churches other than Wright’s. I’ve heard them from my own mouth. Our foolishness of trying to justify our right to make such statements seems obvious to all but the one who’s made the statement.I believe that was the point of Senator Obama’s speech on the subject. We must see that we share a common ground. But this common ground is an uncomfortable and painful truth: We all have been guilty of making similar, unjustifiable hateful comments. Afterwards, in humility, one may explain what lead up to their hateful statement and even ask forgiveness from those it offended, but one cannot honestly justify such a statement.Damiani stated that he hoped that Wright would speak up and explain his statements. I do, too. It probably would be helpful to Wright. It might also help our understanding of hate, but only if it caused us to reflect in an honest way how we too have shared this guilt. Hate has never resolved a conflict.One word seems to be involved in both the problem and solution of the conflicts we have with others. That word is “understand.” It is part of the problem when used as, “I need you to understand me.” The problem is not that we might need to be understood but that we are requiring the other person to be a saint, someone filled with concern and compassion. I don’t know about you, but I don’t often fit this category.It is part of the answer when used as, “I’m here to understand you.” Then we require that the other person be only human, filled with concerns and needs.I heard the niece of the Dalai Lama recount a story of a Tibetan monk who had been imprisoned and tortured over a period of decades. When asked what he feared most during his captivity he replied, “I feared I would lose compassion for my captors.” Even in prison, this man found freedom.Bob FuselierLos Alamos