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A group of vegans in Berkley, California protested a butcher shop until the owners agreed to put a sign in their window about animal rights. Their ultimate goal is to make it unlawful to sell meat anywhere in Berkley.

White supremacists protested the removal of a Civil War memorial statue in Charlottesville, VA and were met with a counter protest from anti-racist and anti-fascist demonstrators. A woman died as a result of an angry man focused on superiority.

The president tweets and the media pounces on ‘his intent’ by twisting each of his actual or missing words looking for an assumed intent to support their agenda of who he is and what he stands for.

Someone spews to a mutual friend distorted perceptions of another’s actions fueled by  anger, hurt and jealousy. The story spreads from friend to friend until it is so well known that it becomes a distorted truth.

All the while we cling to noble reasons for our behavior. We are acting out of religious beliefs; secular altruism; distorted world views; personal frustration; boredom; elevated perception of self; crowd mentality; or an array of other twisted beliefs that fuel dangerous and twisted behaviors.

We use our understanding of God to justify atrocious behaviors when indeed God’s plan for creation had nothing to do with hate, lies, violence, exclusivity or superiority.

We ennoble ourselves when we align ourselves with a group that gives itself title to determining who is moral and who is not. Then, we shout our opinion never taking a moment to listen to the other who is, most likely, as quick to shout back their opposing opinion.

We spin local and world events in a way that fits our ultimate agenda. Have you ever looked at the headlines of a conservative media outlet and compared the same event to a liberal source’s headlines? It’s hard to tell it’s the same event making it even more difficult to find fact and truth.

In our personal relationships we become hurt when someone doesn’t cave into our perceptions. We rant and spew, hoping they will see our perspective…and when they don’t, we tell our side to the story to anyone who will listen – hoping to gain their allegiance making inappropriate categories of us against them.

We want to be special, exclusive and above the other. We claw our way to the top with words, demonstrations, religions, economics and war.

And for what?

We are created to live and love in God’s world…period. Not to convince, connive, plot, scheme or manipulate anyone into living life based on our personal litany of rules. We are to come together to correct wrongs by collaborating with those who have different experiences and wisdoms than we do. It means discerning who we are and Whose we are in this amazing creation and living as if that matters. It means understanding that we will all be better off if we make decisions based on what’s good for all – myself and my neighbor – instead of simply looking at what I want or need to be to gain power.

Don’t you know the Divine, by whatever name you call out to – God, Allah, Yahweh –  weeps when we distort our created need for love and relationship into a scramble for wealth, power, and superiority?

During the turbulence of the 60’s and 70’s, a group called the Youngbloods recorded a song written by Dino Valenti. The pleading lyrics never grow old…

Love is but a song to sing
Fear’s the way we die
You can make the mountains ring
Or make the angels cry
Though the bird is on the wing
And you may not know why

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now

Some may come and some may go
We shall surely pass
When the one that left us here
Returns for us at last
We are but a moment’s sunlight
Fading in the grass

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now.

If you hear the song I sing
You will understand (listen!)
You hold the key to love and fear
All in your trembling hand
Just one key unlocks them both
It’s there at your command.

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now

Right now!
Right now!

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