NOT ONE MORE, August 5, 2019
We, here at The Interfaith Peace Project, were more than gratified that many people gathered in Washington, DC to protest the Government’s inaction in the wake of growing gun violence. They chanted what must become the mantra for our time, “Not one more!” The incomprehensible inaction of the Administration and the Congress is no less than permission to resort to violence in order to redress grievances. But the situation is much worse.
The Interfaith Peace Project has long noted that violent speech is a serious justice issue. How we speak about an issue is as important as the issue about which we speak. The events of the past few days, in Gilroy, CA, El Paso, TX, and Dayton, OH, to mention a few, sound the alarm that our tolerance of hate speech as free speech has finally escalated into full-blown domestic terrorism. In fact, there have been more mass shootings in the United State this year than there are days so far this year. Something must be done and it must be done now.
We need to stop thinking that hate speech is free speech. No one has the right to harm or destroy another person’s life. The loaded mouth is as dangerous as a loaded gun. Governmental officials must resist the temptation to dehumanize people for the sake of political expediency. The rhetoric of the President is unacceptable and must be condemned by anyone and everyone who claims any sense of humanity or decency. People of color, women, asylum seekers, immigrants, Muslims, people of diverse genders or sexual orientations, and anyone deemed unfit by this President have been demeaned, insulted, and threatened. Amends must be made. We call on the Administration to formally apologize and support legislation that will begin to repair the damage done.
A quick comparison of the President’s political speeches and the language used by White Nationalist Domestic Terrorists reveals a striking similarity. We pray to God that the President does not actually believe what he has said at so many rallies across the Country. We pray to God that the silence of so many in Congress does not reflect indifference. But what are we to think if the hate speech continues and the indifference does not lead to action?
The time has come (long ago) for us as a people to cope with the rise of White Nationalism that has been fueled by the corrosive leadership of the President and the inaction of the Congress. We must not allow the hate of the White Nationalist to co-opt our religions, our political order, or our cultural and social lives.
The Interfaith Communities must rise up in solidarity to secure the human rights of all peoples in the name of decency, justice, and humanity.
We lament the violence. We reach out to the victims and their families. We raise our voices in solidarity with those demanding justice, “Not one more!”
Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P. with the Board of Directors
The Interfaith Peace Project
Photo: © PATRICK T. FALLON / REUTERS stock.adobe.com