Is Evil Winning? by Michele Stopera Freyhauf


If you are li15036682_10154709860681591_8947505383481702342_nke me, today (and most days lately) it is difficult to be positive in a world that seems so full of hate.  In fact, I struggled with a topic to write about because, in all honesty, it is hard to see the greener grass from where I sit – with all of the hatred spilling out in neighborhoods, churches, schools, and college campuses – even between family and friends.  As I scrolled through Facebook, I came across a video and was struck by its message – we must be relentless in our kindness otherwise evil will win.

“Relentless” is a word that currently echoes through the United States –on both sides of the aisle.  We have been relentless in raising our voice – writing, calling, e-mailing, visiting, marching – expressing our unhappiness with the current President and all that is happening in the White House.

Instead of struggling to find the words, I share  the video and offer a transcript.

In times of chaos and crisis, what we all tend to do is start pointing fingers at where we think the bad guys are – where the evil is.

We all start arguing and everyone has a different opinion about that.

Please do not forget that hatred or evil, whatever you call it, it’s intelligent.

  • It’s smart and it’s invisible.
  • It doesn’t have a color.
  • It doesn’t have a race.
  • It doesn’t have a religion.
  • It has no politics.
  • It is an invisible snake.

That while it is planning to make its attack, it’s thinking to itself – I am going to divide my enemy into smaller less strong groups and then I’m going to make them hate each other so that it is easier to take them down and while they are yelling at each other, trying to figure out which group is causing the problem – Evil is winning – all around us.

So we have to get rid of these labels; these different factions:

  • gay-straight,
  • rich-poor,
  • mentally-ill – not mentally-ill,
  • gun-owner – not gun-owner,

none of this can matter anymore.

We are unified in our humanity and the only thing we can know andwe all appreciate is kindness.

This has to come before all things and you must operate relentlessly against this with everything you have.

We are a divided nation; however, there is a group standing up saying that we are “Indivisible” and fighting against these divisions.

Bottom line, for those that live in the United States, beyond any party, beyond any socio-economic status, beyond any gender, beyond any race – we are Americans – that, if nothing else, should bind us together and yes, we should be “indivisible” despite our politics. If you recall my last post, I provided a quote from Mark 3:25 -“and if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” We must always look beyond party politics – and look for what is good for the people.  We are missing that piece – we need to focus on the people and come together.  Hatred should not be on a rise –635780608837035479883856857_960-imgopt1000x70 infiltrating college campuses, schools, city streets.

Yes, I am dismayed and yes, I struggle with my own reflection, often becoming angry and caught up in the despair of what I cannot control in these uncertain times.  My heart breaks for a nation of people who, at one time, despite ideological differences, could still break bread together, work together, and simply get along with each other. We were and are a great nation – but we also are supposed to be a United States of America .  We are stronger together and together, we cannot – I mean will not let evil win.

Michele Stopera Freyhauf is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies and a Member of the Centre for Catholic Studies at Durham University as well as an Instructor at John Carroll University’s Department of Theology and Religious Studies. Her research and areas  of focus for the classroom, lecture, and publication are Religion, Cultural Identity and Memory Studies, Forced Migration and Exile, Cultural Heritage and Human Rights, Biblical Archaeology, Provenance of Antiquities and Art (including Nazi-Era Looting) and international dialogue surrounding the protection, conservation, and education of cultural heritage.  Michele has an M. A. in Theology and Religious Studies from John Carroll University and did post-graduate work at the University of Akron in the area of History of Religion, Gender, and Sexuality. She is also the student representative on the Board for Eastern Great Lakes Biblical Society (EGLBS). Michele is the 2015 recipient of the P. E. MacAllister Excavation Fellowship where she participated in the Bethsaida Archaeology Project.  Michele is a feminist scholar, activist, and author of several articles including “Hagia Sophia: Political and Religious Symbolism in Stones and Spolia” and lectured during the Commission for the Status of Women at the United Nations (2013 and 2014). She also wrote, “The Catholic Church and Social Media: Embracing [Fighting] a Feminist Ideological Theo-Ethical Discourse and Discursive Activism” that appears in Feminism and Religion in the 21st Century: Technology, Dialogue, and Expanding Borders, edited by Gina Messina-Dysert and Rosemary Radford Ruether. Michele can be followed on Twitter @msfreyhauf and @biblicalfem. Her website can be accessed here and is visible on other social media sites like LinkedIn and Google+.

 

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Categories: Abuse of Power, Activism, anxiety, General, Peacemaking, Race and Religion, Relationships, Resistance, Women's Voices

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8 replies

  1. Michele, I share your despair and I am not so happy with the idea that the solution is to rally round the flag or the nation state. I agree that we need to come together across divisions within our communities and our country. However, I will never again pledge allegiance to any flag or any nation state, as I recognize the degree to which nation states are part of the problem. Yes I will vote and work to make the United States more democratic again, but always with the recognition that our experiment with democracy was deeply flawed at the beginning and is deeply compromised today by the 1% and the military industrial complex, not to mention the history of white male supremacy. Sigh.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Michele. If we let our personal lives be overcome with depression due to the circumstances, it doesn’t help. But let’s look at some of the brave women out there who are fighting to make change — Rachel Maddow’s shows are amazingly powerful — see msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show — Right now Maddow presents the following videos:

      (1) American Voters Call Congress Members to Account with Town Halls
      (2) What it looks like when a President fails
      (3) Trump loses again as travel ban dies in court
      (4) JFK on the Importance of the Press to a Free Society

      Feisty Sen. Elizabeth Warren has a great Twitter website too, see — twitter.com/elizabethforma — where she says — “It’s time to grow a backbone and fight” and also “Today I stand in solidarity with “A Day Without Immigrants” protestors — Immigrants make our country strong.”

      Like

  2. Thank you Michele.
    I would suggest that we need to focus even more specifically upon the precise nature of the evil that divides us and the precise nature of the kindness that should and in fact does unite us, not merely as citizens of the United States but as humans.
    To begin we are human animals and as such we share with all animals a morality driven by instinct, a morality in which the norm for good and evil, for right and wrong is self interest and personal survival.
    But then there is the qualifier, human that means that while we always remain a part of the natural world there is a characteristic that raises us above being mere animals ruled by instinct. That characteristic is “freedom,” the ability to rise above mere instinct and make choices that go against instinct, against our inclinations for personal survival and self interest. It is our common ability to recognize that there are realities that are worse than death that makes us human and that raises us in nature above the level of mere animals.
    It is that “freedom” that unites us all as humans, regardless of skin color or race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical attractiveness, intelligence, nationality, religious preference, and all the -isms that we rally behind.
    The evil that divides us and that threatens to prevail in bringing us down is our preference for the easy morality of instinct in which right and wrong is determined by my personal survival and interests and by the survival and interests of those I love or like, in which the ethical motivation for my actions becomes increased ability, increased power.
    The kindness that can truly unite us must be a kindness that is rooted in our common humanity, our common freedom, and in the source of our common humanity and freedom whom I identify as God. The kindness must unite us if evil is not to win must be a kindness, a love that is unconditional, that is a love always extends to and includes those among us who hold on to the instinctive norm of animal morality.
    If love is to indeed trump hate, we must never allow hate to convert us, to bring us to respond to evil with anything other than love.
    Yes, we must become again what we claim to be, a “United States,” but that unity must be a unity rooted in our common humanity.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for your post. I generally write a blog that I post on my website this time of the month. But this month…..well, like you, I’m finding it exceedingly difficult to be positive. Like you and our sisters and brothers around the U.S. and around the world, too, I believe that we do indeed need to be relentless in our resistance to what’s going on with…….well, with our so-called government (which seems not to be governing) and with people spreading hate. Senator Warren is right: let’s grow our backbones stronger and resist.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My first thought was spoken with grace and clarity here by others. Our unity must be rooted in our common humanity. It is time to go beyond “my Country” and start thinking “our World”.
    When I feel anxious about an immature, self-centred, crazy person with nuclear capabilities I try to think of all those who do practice kindness. Of all the people who rallied in support of their neighbourhood Mosque after the attack in Quebec and formed bonds. Of people who sent positive messages to one of our politicians who was attacked on social media for a Bill she introduced in Parliament. Of all the people who marched on 21 January.
    Trump’s poison is not restricted to the USA. It is surfacing in the world as he calls it forth by his example and words. That’s why it’s a human concern and not just an American problem.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I think that is critical that we keep our eyes open to all this hatred as well as the internal division without allowing ourselves to be sucked into the fray.

    You are so right – human evil is real and we must learn how to go parallel with this force while refusing to give in – we choose not to engage with “it.

    But, it is not a snake. Evil is not part of the natural world… it is a human construction. Christianity gave the snake a bad name.

    One of the ways that I use to keep some kind of balance is to engage with Nature on a daily basis. Nature pulls me into the bigger picture effortlessly, restoring sanity and perspective.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. You are so right, Michele, when you say: “We have been relentless in raising our voice – writing, calling, e-mailing, visiting, marching – expressing our unhappiness with the current President and all that is happening in the White House.”

    I like Senator McCain’s warning too not to shut down the press, as he says, because shutting it down “is how dictators get started.”

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Thanks for your post Michele. Although I don’t live in the US I see turbulence all around the world. We’re having ongoing crises where I live.

    Evil is real – I don’t think it’s just a human construction. The seed is always there for corruption – or creation. Depends in which direction we activate it. We need to be aware and alert to it. Practising kindness, relentlessly, within our sphere of influence is a strong force that hopefully can keep the dark tides ‘manageable’.

    Like

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