Is it me, or has there really been a rise in acts of hate and hate crimes in America?
I would like to think that that there’s been no increase in hate crimes against each other, just that they’re being reported more these days.
Like many of my friends, I am concerned about the direction our country seems to be taking. I think about the words of the late Rodney King, whose brutal beating by Los Angeles police officers decades ago resulted in race riots. In an effort to bring peace to the city he was quoted as saying, “Can’t we all just get along?”
We are all human beings. We bleed the same red blood; we go to work; we love our families, and we want the best for our children. What’s the problem, then? Why are Jewish sacred places of burial are being desecrated? Their places of worship being vandalized and bomb threats phoned in to their Jewish centers where many young and elderly Jews participate in daily programs?
Why are Muslims, who are some of the most peaceful people I know, are being attacked on a daily basis?
And the Muslims aren’t alone. Just this past week, in Kent, Washington, a 39-year-old Sikh man was shot in the driveway of his home, where he was working on his car. According to news reports he was shot by a white man who wore a mask over the lower part of his face, and told the victim to “go back to your own country.”
The victim is a U.S. citizen of Indian origin.
It is not enough that our schools face lock-downs almost daily because someone brought a gun or because of a drive-by shooting in the neighborhood near the school. Now, our children are facing an upsurge in racial slurs and threats and just plain meanness from some of their classmates who don’t look like them.
What’s going on? Why is this happening to America the beautiful — the land of the free and the home of the brave?
I’ve heard it said that 11 a.m. on Sunday is the most segregated time in America.
I believe that it doesn’t take much to make things better. If you don’t understand the Muslim religion — why they pray three times a day, or dress the way they do — why not visit a mosque, befriend a Muslim and learn about what makes them tick.
The same goes for black Baptists and Pentecostals and African Methodist Episcopal churches, and any other denomination. Want to know why the congregants in some churches shout and rock and sing with spirit? Show up a few times at one of these services and let your soul be bathed with a heart-rendering sermon and some good old gospel music. You may not be persuaded to become a member, but you will leave feeling much better about yourself and about the people who worship different from you.
Want to know why Catholics pray the Rosary and go to confession? Befriend a Catholic and attend a church service or two with him or her.
I use religion as an example because it embodies all that is supposed to be good. However, I know that religion, itself, isn’t the answer. People have been killed by so-called religious fanatics who thought they were doing God a favor.
So, I am aware that not all religions are good for the people; there are also cults in the world that seek to control and, therefore, destroy the human spirit. But a good, legitimate church, synagogue, or mosque is a good place to start practicing brotherly love.
We simply must win the war on hate. Our country’s future and the future of our children depend on it.
Temple Sinai of North Dade
A warm Neighbors in Religion salute to Temple Sinai of North Dade, on the occasion of its 60th anniversary.
According to information from the synagogue, Temple Sinai started in 1956 with only a few families and some very big dreams. They “dreamed of a congregation of educated, spiritual Jews; an educational, spiritual, and social program that would support their Judaism; beautiful buildings in which to gather; and the staff to lead them at an uncompromising level of excellence and service ... of a religious center for the North Dade Jewish community. Through the constant support, both moral and financial, of dedicated and committed congregants, the dream became a reality, and the reality surpassed our hopes.”
In 1967, lead by Rabbi Ralph P. Kingsley, the congregation moved to its current Carolyn Kemelhor Campus, 18801 NE 22nd Ave.
The temple will celebrate this milestone at 7 p.m. Friday with a special anniversary Shabbat, that will include special guest musicians and long-time Cantor Emeritus Shulkes. An Oneg Shabbat with dessert and champagne will follow the worship service.
South Miami Lutheran Church
The Rev. James Durham, the newly installed pastor of South Miami Lutheran Church, 7190 Sunset Dr., invites the community to the mid-week Lenten services at the church. The services, which began on Ash Wednesday (March 1), will continue through Maundy Thursday, April 13, and Good Friday, April 14, at the church.
Durham was installed in December as pastor of the church, after having served in California and Michigan.
Service time is 7:30 p.m. and everyone is welcome.
Sistah to Sistah Connection
Don ‘t forget the Sistah to Sistah Connection’s first Women’s Conference — “Kingdom Women Destined for Greatness” which will be Friday through Sunday at the victory Christian Center, 100 S. Dixie Hwy. in Hallandale Beach.
Conference sessions are at 6 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Registration is $25. Call Evangelist Gigi Rolle-Holloway at 786-246-7578 for more information.
First Church of Christ, Scientist
International speaker Leide Lessa will give a lecture on the topic, “Making the right decisions — Does prayer make a difference?” at 2 p.m. in English and at 4 p.m. in Spanish at First Church of Christ, Scientist, Coral Gables in the large auditorium, 410 Andalusia Ave.
Lessa is a practitioner and teacher of Christian Science healing, who studied languages in Vienna; Stony Brook, New York, and at Sao Paulp, Brazil, before opening her own language institute in Sao Paulo. She sole the institute to take up the full time public ministry as a Christian Science practitioner and moved to Boston in 1998.
Lessa currently lives in Quincy , Massachusetts and conducts in-depth classes on Christian Science healing in Rio de Janerio, Brazil.
For more information call Liegh Marion at 305-569-9188.
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