We’re better than this! Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler   
Thursday, Nov. 01, 2018 -- 12:00 AM

Catholic News Service posted a photo of a Pittsburgh Steelers fan displaying a sign October 28 to honor the victims of the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue before the game between Pittsburgh and the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

The sign said, “Hatred can’t weaken a city of steel.” It pointed to the killing of at least 11 people and the wounding of six others, including four police officers, during the October 27 shooting at the synagogue.

Not what our founders envisioned

The shootings at the synagogue and other recent acts of violence stem from bigotry and hatred from people in our country towards other people living here. This behavior is not in keeping with what the founders of our country envisioned.

They came to this country seeking a better life to escape persecution, poverty, and violence. They said in our Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

We have experienced the opposite of these principles in our country before through discrimination, anti-life policies, and violence, that have wreaked havoc on our democracy. Yet through all this, I’ve clung to the belief that we in this country are better than those who try to drag us down.

Attacks on Jews

Ironically, on November 9, we will be observing the 80th anniversary of the Kristallnacht — “the night of broken glass” — the attacks on Jewish synagogues and other places in Germany by the Nazi regime.

Apparently the world has not changed for the better since then. As Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said in a statement in response to the Pittsburgh shootings, “It is simply unconscionable for Jews to be targeted during worship on a Sabbath morning, and unthinkable that it would happen in the United States of America in this day and age.”

The U.S. Catholic bishops have condemned these attacks. They are asking for prayers for the victims and their families and the Jewish community at large.

We all must take responsibility

But I think we all have to take some responsibility for what’s happening in our country. We should strive to follow Christ’s commandment to love our neighbors and treat all people with respect, even those of different religious faiths, racial backgrounds, and political persuasions.

It means refraining from name-calling and belittling of others. And it might also mean calling out those who are violent in word and deed — including on social media.

We are better than this! Let’s live what is espoused in the Declaration of Independence and in our own Scriptures.