On this eve of Christmas Eve, I read a story about a couple of small business owners in Minnesota who are standing up against the current spike in xenophobia. Their names are Elana and Danny Schwartzman, and they own the Common Roots Café.
While our presidential candidates, who claim to be Christians, are railing against Muslims, immigrants, and illegals, the Schwartzmans are taking a different tack. They put a sign in their café’s window that says, “Hate Has No Business Here.” In addition, they asked others via the Internet to do the same thing. Now the national organization called Main Street Alliance is promoting this attitude on a broader level.
So as we begin to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, which is really what the Christmas holiday honors whether you’re a believer or not, let us ask why hate has become such a problem.
Jesus didn’t hate, although he had harsh words for the money changers in the Temple. His followers, as far as we know, didn’t hate even when they were martyred for their beliefs. So why would today’s Christians do otherwise? I’m not sure.
Perhaps it’s because of fear of the unknown, although the early Christians certainly didn’t have a crystal ball about the future. Perhaps it’s because few among us actually have Muslim or refugee neighbors. We don’t know them personally, so we rely on the media to inform us.
It’s a bad reliance. Instead we should seek out such people as the Schwartzmans and join with them to acknowledge that hate has no business here.