By BISHOP GRANT J. HAGIYA, Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop, United Methodist Church
By now, most of us have seen the chaos following what started as a peaceful protest by Trump supporters in Washington, D.C. Everyone has a right to protest against injustices as they see them in our country, and that goes for Trump supporters as well as Black Lives Matter protesters. However, violence against others and destroying public property is not acceptable under any circumstances.
My deeper concern from this incident of today is the complete political polarization that our country finds ourselves in. It is one thing to disagree, but to believe that I am right and you are wrong, whichever side you are on, lacks the wisdom that we glean from Scripture itself. Our future agenda has to be honest and constructive dialogue with those we disagree.
A divided nation cannot provide the safety and security that we all seek. Whatever side you are on politically, we must relegate that to our greater loyalty to faith in Jesus Christ. The earthly Jesus did take hard political stands, but he never demonized those who were against him. Jesus stood against the religious, political and economic forces of his day, but it was out of his love for them that he made his stands.
We must do likewise, and even though we have strong positions over our current political context, we cannot hate those who stand against where we are. We must come together as a nation to heal, rather than continue to fight each other as if God was on our side.
Let me close with a poignant quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “We have no morally persuasive power with those who can feel our underlying contempt for them.”
Let us be the Hope in this time,
Bishop Grant J. Hagiya is the author of “Leadership Kaizen” (Abingdon Press, 2013). Prior to his election to the episcopacy, he served as Los Angeles District superintendent, executive director of the Center for Leadership Excellence, and a faculty member at Claremont School of Theology.