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Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting: Latest cost of empowering hate

Tree of Life Shooting

It was to have been among the most joyous of occasions, a baby naming ceremony. This was not how it would end.  At 954 AM the peaceful worship of the Tree of Life Synagogue was shattered when a lone gunman entered with the intent of committing a hate crime, choosing to target the Jewish congregation during their worship services for brutal murder to further his own racist agenda.

Robert Bowers entered the Synagogue with hate in his heart, rifle and pistols in hand. Eleven dead and two wounded later, he attempted to exit, and exchanged fire with the first responding police officer, wounding them in the exchange.

Two uniformed officers and two SWAT members were injured, three from gunshots as they engaged the assailant. Full credit to the brave officers of the Pittsburgh police who did not hesitate in the face of an active shooter, and took all necessary measures, at the risk of their own lives, to secure the safety of the public. The shooter is in custody, wounded but stable, awaiting charges for his crimes.

The reasons for this shooting are sadly not unfamiliar to those of us watching the changing face of our society, the greater open advocacy of hatred against minorities. In the suspects social media posts he subscribed to the right wing conspiracy theory that “the Jews” were behind the migrant caravans fleeing failed states in Central and South America, calling them “Invaders”

“I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered,” Bowers wrote. “Screw your optics, I’m going in.”…/pittsburgh-synagogue-activ…/index.html

It is becoming more common to hear the language of war being used to describe economic migrants, the term migrant being either equated or replaced with invaders, with the matching call to treat them as enemies of war, responding not with law enforcement or border patrol tactics, but with artillery and machine gun fire. While the border issues are complex and there are legitimate concerns that need to be addressed, this rhetoric is becoming common in the calls to send the army to deal with the migrants, and you cannot call for war from the pulpit, from the assembly floor, from the television studio without expecting that someone will listen, will take up arms, and seek out those you have described as invaders, as enemies, and murder them under the delusion they are somehow defending something other than blind hatred.

The shooter was a fool. His arguments are utter nonsense, and most likely deliberate falsehoods uttered for the simple reason that Antisemitism is a traditional outlet for European oligarchies in the face of rising internal strife. The European cultures that settled North America brought with them some of that same baggage and habits, and when a scapegoat is needed to blame internal problems on, the cry to blame the Jew for the troubles of the day is one of the most shameful tactics of a morally bankrupt elite afraid of the anger against their own excesses. It is shameful because it tends to work.

Hatred and acts of hate inspired vandalism and violence are on the rise against the Jewish, the LBGT+ community, those who dress in cultural clothes from outside mainstream European and English speaking North America, and of course, those that dare to speak any language other than English in public.

There is a war being waged on our streets and in our hearts. It is not being waged by immigrants, or Jews, or LGBTQ+. It is being waged by the most privileged class, straight white men, against anyone who has committed the crime of being born not the same as them, or for the crime of being the same as them but not supporting their hate filled causes.

The Troth is preparing right now to send its members along with Heathens Against Hate, and the Alliance For Inclusive Heathenry to the Parliament of World Religions to join with those of other faiths and cultures to build greater understanding and respect between all peoples of faith.

There are two choices that lie before our peoples in North America today. The first choice is to look at the differences between us and know fear, answering it with hate. This choice leads to riots, vandalism, assaults and acts of cowardly murder like today’s Synagogue shooting. The second choice is to look at the differences between us and seek to understand, to celebrate what each of us brings to this wonderful diverse culture that makes North America the great experiment and leading light of freedom.

We have chosen the second. We stand with the people of Pittsburgh and the Tree of Life Synagogue congregation as they struggle to deal with the shameful acts of this misguided and hate filled murderer. We choose to celebrate each other’s differences, choosing understanding, not fear, choose to build community not foster hatred. We ask all people of faith, indeed, all people of integrity of all faiths and none to stand with us in condemning the empowering of hatred, and the cowardly actions of today’s Synagogue shooter.


One thought on “Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting: Latest cost of empowering hate

  1. Pingback: Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting: Latest cost of empowering hate – Sparkle Puca

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