SUNDAY, APRIL 16, 1995

Easter A Good Time To Fight The Darkness

It’s easy to blame others for the tension and racial strife gripping our country.

Scapegoats abound.

Gonzaga University has a racist who gets his or her kicks by mailing anonymous threats to black law students. Some southern Idaho farmers consider Mexican-American laborers subhuman, according to a study. And area supremacist Richard Butler still attracts converts to a perverted brand of religion laced with racism.

We criticize such people and are smugly satisfied we’re not like them. But many of us practice our own form of intolerance.

As Christians celebrate Easter today, Jesus Christ’s words are convicting: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

Some, for example, don’t like the black eye Butler and his ilk have given the Inland Northwest, but privately they are glad the Aryan bogeyman is near to scare off minorities.

Others denounce prejudice but find it acceptable to foment ill will toward Republicans. Or Democrats. Or pro-lifers. Or prochoicers. Or homosexuals. Or Catholics. Or women. Or men. Or welfare recipients. Or whites.

Such are hypocrites.

You don’t have to be a Christian to appreciate Jesus’ color, social and gender blindness. He recognized “neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female.”

Jesus illustrated that point by telling his followers about a man of the hated Samaritan race who helped a “neighbor,” robbed and left for dead. This parable of love in the face of bigotry is so powerful that we still refer to people who extend kindness to strangers as “Good Samaritans.”

In the IN Life section today, you’ll read about the philosophical offspring of the Good Samaritan, people who fight darkness by practicing random acts of kindness.

There’s a boy who picked dandelions to decorate forgotten graves. A reclusive neighbor who nursed a mother and her children back to health. A Sandpoint desk clerk who delivered pizza 30 miles away to construction workers who were tired of sandwiches. And Pullman school children who made a lonely new kid who “was kind of short” feel welcomed.

Such actions bridge the differences among us. We’re all part of the human family.

An old Lutheran television program had a saying that seems more appropriate today than ever: “It is better to light one little candle than to curse (and be part of) the darkness.”

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = D.F. Oliveria/For the editorial board

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