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Daniel Bruch column: Just a reminder about love and peace

Daniel Bruch

I confess. I am one of those silent/mature generation members, joined by some of the earlier baby boomers, who every Friday for the last several months stand on the corner of Walnut and Second streets in Hudson to protest.

The word "protest," by the way, is a positive word. It is made up of two Latin words, "pro" and "testamentum." It means we stand FOR something, for some belief or value or promise or covenant. The people who drive by and respond (many just ignore us) don't always stand for what we stand for, and they let us know that with a thumb down or a finger up or a shouted phrase that, even at my advanced age, embarrasses me.

The times we are living in are troubling. Here as elsewhere, intolerance, hatred, bigotry and racism have been seething out of the shadows and manifested in ways not seen for decades. We have seen the increased activity and visibility of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, anti-Muslim activists and the Ku Klux Klan. Because of that and other reasons, I protest, I stand for the increase of love and peace. Why?

Because one of the core principles or values that runs uniformly through the world's major religious teachings — at least as expressed by Jehovah, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Krishna, Shankara, Confucius and others is the concept of loving our neighbors and conquering fear with love. It is the belief that behaviors based upon faith and prayer and meditation can all provide us with the strength that allows love for our fellow humans to become an abiding part of our lives. Love is a unifying force.

A second core principle is the unifying power of seeking peace. When people live in the awareness that there is a close kinship between all individuals and nations, peace is the natural result.

On the other hand, hate groups are energized and empowered by sowing terror and fear. Their purpose is to divide us against one another as a means of leading us to scapegoat and hate those who are different from us. It is particularly religious groups and minorities that are targeted by such ideological extremists here in Hudson and elsewhere. This behavior, which is the antithesis of seeking love and peace, can have tragic consequences for unmeasured numbers of people.

I expect that the majority of you reading this column stand together with all people of good will, religious and non-religious, in stating categorically your abhorrence and rejection of any rhetoric or action that incites one group of people to vilify and diminish another group for any reason. I expect that same majority would categorically reject any expressions of hatred, racism, intolerance and bigotry, even towards those who are full of hate themselves. I am grateful that you remain committed to welcoming all into our community and to promoting inclusivity as a community norm.