All religions that I know of claim to be religions of love. Their Gods might be vengeful or strict, but God always acts of love and concern. This is much in the same way we envision a parent disciplining a child. Despite harsh rhetoric or punishment, the parent loves the child.
Unfortunately, religious people are not alway so loving. Some hate others and use their religious beliefs as an excuse or justification for their hatred.
Perhaps the most hateful religious group is the Westboro Baptist Church. They take hate to a whole new level. Not only do they hate. They make the claim that God hates. This is despite the fact that I don’t believe there is a place is Scripture that they can cite to show that God hates the people they hate.
An adorable nine year old boy who lives in Topeka, Kansas – home of the Westboro Baptist Church, took matters into his own hands. He made a perfect protest. He took his pencil and a small notepad and wrote his slogan in big bold letters: God Hates No One. I have a nine year old son. I could totally see him doing the same thing.
The kids gets it.
Religion is useful when it helps people come together and live better lives. But when the only vocal message of a religious group is hate and exclusion, the religion has outlived its utility. The starting point and ending point of all religious discussion must be “God Hates No One”.
As the Jewish people prepare for another celebration of the revelation at Sinai and the communication of the Torah from God to human, we cannot forget that we are all God’s children. Whatever divisions we may have based on interpretation and priorities are most likely invisible to God. We are his children and our petty sibling rivalries are of little consequence God’s infinite existence.
It has been a contentious few weeks. At Sinai we were present “like one person, with one heart”. Let us take a time out from our quarrels, quibbles, questions, and squabbles to come together to a virtual Sinai. That’s the way God should see us. A nation of unity.
Now it is time for us to see ourselves the same way.
Wishing everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, an inspiring, meaningful, and happy Shavuos.