Responding to Hate: Practicing Peace and Love

Image by Mamoritai via Flickr

Anger in the face of injustice is understandable. Righteous anger. It can motivate us to stand up against oppression and abuse. Some days it seems my righteous anger can easily find many targets: a church planning to burn the Quran, a political leader “joking” about hanging LGBT people. This kind of hatred, bigotry and oppression diminishes us all.

I came across an inspiring post today (via Twitter, but of course🙂 ) that has me thinking about options besides anger. Constantly feeling outraged takes a toll on us. I do not like how that feels and it isn’t what I believe in theoretically. What good is responding to hate with more hate? Read Love Burns Brighter by Mommy Melee to contemplate an alternative:

I propose this: Instead of giving in to the instinct to pop off some angry message in 140 characters or less. Instead of inviting your friends and followers to attack and protest the church’s Twitter account, just breathe.

And send them some love. Some peace. Some tolerance. Some joy. Something to balance the ugliness, anything to push something positive into the fray. Find a picture that makes you smile, that comforts you, that illustrates love.

Love burns brighter.

Want to add to the message? Reply with @iiotd with a photo and the hashtag #loveburnsbrighter.

What if we responded to hatred and intolerance with love? With peace? Not just directed toward the oppressed, like I wrote about in Countering LGBT Hate with Messages of Love, but toward the oppressors as well? Not in a way that says bigotry and hatred is in any way acceptable, but in a way that holds us all to a higher standard.

Karen Walrond of chookooloonks.com also did just that. She responded to the proposed book burning with a photobomb.  She sent photographs with images of peace, complete with a message of peace written on the back, packaged them in one giant box, and sent it to the church.  In her words:

A big huge box of goodness, making it very clear that we are in vehement disagreement with the policies and position of the church.

I found these ideas inspiring. What powerful examples of being the change we want to see! If we want more peace and love in the world, where better place to start than with ourselves?

What do you think? Do you have other examples of meeting injustice from a place of peace or love or creativity? I’d love to hear other thoughts and experiences!

Kathleen Young, Psy.D.

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This entry was posted in Abuse, Activism, Hate Crimes, Homophobia, LGBT, Oppression, Trauma, Twitter, Violence and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Responding to Hate: Practicing Peace and Love

  1. Kristin says:

    Like “Angels in America” where everyone shows up at the protest wearing angel wings, surrounding the offenders.
    I too posted on facebook about how attacking another’s holy book isn’t ok. But I hadn’t thought of this. Thanks. Kristin

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