Weighing In by Mick Berberian, Pastor
It’s time for me to weigh in. Under this U.S. Administration, there has been a rise in Neo-Fascist, White Supremacist rallies and evil behavior. Supporters of the Administration point out the immorality of past Administrations and evil intent of current reactionaries. This causes a renewal of the phrase, false equivalency.
White Supremacists and Neo-Nazis are evil. My reaction is simple. To quote David,“I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.”
I am quick to skip the next passage, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me…”
I am not writing this because I am Armenian American and lost aunts and uncles in the Armenian Genocide. Nor because I heard horror stories from my grandfather and uncle who survived these atrocities. The Armenians were to Turkey what the Jews were to Germany; the merchant class.
I am not writing this article as a result of growing up in the Jewish, Fairfax district of Hollywood where, at Cantor’s Deli and other deli’s, I called the ladies who served me, Auntie, as their extended arms revealed tattooed numbers identifying them as Holocaust survivors.
Moreover, I do not write this for the sake of my three African American grandchildren, one of whom could suffer the same fate as Treyvon Martin when he comes of age.
No. I am writing this as I have a horrible confession. Frankly, I do not have the courage to march undefended and place myself at the mercy of Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists. It’s as simple as that.
I don’t intentionally imagine myself turning the other cheek. It’s not in me. Theoretically, I’ve committed this many-a-time, albeit unwittingly, but never literally or physically.
I cannot stand beside Brian McLaren (http://auburnseminary.org/what-i-saw-in-charlottesville/ http://brianmclaren.net/clergy-church-leaders-its-time) who I greatly admire. But, I trust him and his physical observations. He was in a lineup of clergy waiting to be mauled by the Nazi crowd when Antifa* saw, intervened, and protected them.
Where is the equivalency? “It takes two…”, “there is always the other side…” Not if you are targeted by bigots. The “other” the,“It takes two” is because you are different than them, not because you’ve engaged.
I confess, to my shame, that I am unable to deliberately place myself in harms way by the evil forces of Nazi’s and White Supremacists. Like I say, “I hate them.”
After reading the best seller, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, the prevailing criticism was the delayed response from the church. Bonhoeffer and his delegates waited too long to act. In short, when his delegation approached Churchill, they were told it was too late.
So I am weighing in. I deplore the President’s false equivalencies. I deplore his ability to bolster the David Dukes of America. Right now I agree with Jesus, “Anyone have a sword?…that’s enough..” I’m having trouble with, “turn the other cheek.” I understand that violence begets violence. I also understand that a lot of clergy would have been beaten up without Antifa’s intervention.
Antifa* Short for anti-fascists.