Hate Crimes

This week brought the issue of people assaulting people based on hate front and center as we all heard this story:
Michael Enright, a 21-year-old aspiring filmmaker, faces charges of attempted murder and assault as a hate crime after being accused of slashing a Manhattan cabdriver after asking him if he is Muslim.
The story brings back memories of one in Kansas from last year as the news of the murder of an abortionist began to unfold. This news also surfaced this week:
Three of the seven Long Island teenagers who admitted to being part of a gang that targeted Hispanics for violence were sentenced to seven-year prison terms Wednesday for their roles in the 2008 killing of an Ecuadorean immigrant.
The issue of hating peoples on a wholesale basis is an age old one. Even the bible tells us about the hatreds that existed between Jews and Samaritans in Jesus' day. Wars based on ethnicity have plagued the world for ages. The whole issue of prejudicial hate reminds me of an experience that I had in a public speaking class in the early 80s.

The teacher was a pretty famous acting coach from New York who was teaching our class of about 10-12 Ma Bell employees. I took him out to lunch one day at my favorite New York style deli and got to know him a bit.. as we talked I shared with him that I was taking night classes at a local bible college. When we got back to class he put me on the spot and asked me to share an impromptu sermon with the class - yeah he was a bit ornery.. many of us New Yorkers are. Here is the gist of my mini-message that day.

A verse from the Old Testament popped into my mind as soon as he asked me.. it was the one from the sixteenth chapter of first Samuel where the prophet Samuel is sent to Jesse's house to crown a new king of Israel. As the prophet sees Eliab, one of Jesse's good looking sons, he feels that he has seen Israel's next king. It is then that Samuel hears the voice of the Lord saying:
"Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
My message to that small group of fellow employees was that we ought not look at the superficial aspects of a person like their outward appearance. To get past prejudice we must get past the externals. We must do all in our power to be like God in this.. we must try know each other at a heart level. If we do not then hate is lurking and waiting for us.

When I think of 21-year-old Michael Enright all I can feel is sad. How is it that a man this young has embraced a hate so deep? What possesses a man just starting his life to do such a vile thing? How is it that Michael has missed God's message of love? It reminds me of where hate can lead us when we embrace those hateful messages that some proclaim.


  1. Wow! Good job on the spur of the moment. We do need to remember if the people of Israel had followed God's commands to rid the land of the infidels, they would be blessed. They didn't, and we have our world today.

    Ah, Abraham. Why didn't you believe God?

    Ah, Linda, why don't I obey God?

    Sinners, but saved by grace.

  2. @Linda - I'm just glad that God isn't in the business of having us rid the land of infidels these days. Gotta wonder if He ever was in that business as many of those Israelites were infidels themselves.. hmmm.

  3. But for the grace of God there go I, and you, and you, and you and even you. We are, apart from the saving grace of Jesus Christ are totally depraved. We are all capable to hate in the same manner as this young man did. We are all wicked with nothing good in us. Only by God's grace through various means does He restrain the evil that we are all capable of.

    You and I are no different than that attempted murder except God by His grace restrains us.

    Yes, when we think of the Enrights, the Dalhmer's the Gacy's et al, we feel saddness and deep grief. But why do we wonder? Unless we deny the Scriptures that apart from the saving grace of Jesus Christ we all have the capacity to hate that deep. We shouldn't wonder why some hate that deep, we should wonder why we all don't hate that deep.

    What possesses a man just starting his life to do such a vile thing? His sin nature, his depraved, dead nature that he is in absolute bondage to. How is that Michael missed God's message of love? He and others will continue to miss it unless God, by His grace perhaps chooses to grant repentance and redeems His soul.

    Listen, we don't act becasue we embrace the hateful messages that some procalim, we hate becasue are innate sinful depraved dark and dead nature hates. We will hate until Christ through the Holy Spirit intersects our lives.

    But for the grace of God, there go I.

  4. I hear you Gregg. But I do sometimes wonder what that depravity really looks like when I see love and courage rising up in some young soldiers who do not know Christ.


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