I got interesting reactions from a very concerned and beloved family member who felt that my Jerry Falwell blog entry made me look like a hater. She reminded me that I was raised in the same kind of Baptist church that Falwell preached in, and that I was surrounded by wonderful people who loved me.
I responded by first asking if she actually read the entry. I admitted openly that I was concerned about my feelings toward Falwell. I did not feel that I posted a hateful message. But rather, I was expressing my honest gut feelings so that I could examine them and put them in the light of day. Better, I thought, to tell the truth and admit something I'm not proud of than hide it and pretend otherwise.
I looked around the Net and saw that there were many others who openly despised the man and who felt no guilt whatsoever about feeling that way. Their open scorn and hatred was something they felt he deserved.
Maybe he did deserve that kind of rebuke. Maybe he didn't.
But I deny that my post was a hateful post. I simply told the truth about how *I* was feeling. And said that I was not proud of these feelings. In the Soul Force method of non-violence, hate is a violent act. The question each of us who claim to be guided by the principles of non-violence have to face is how we overcome these very human emotions when confronted by the likes of a Jerry Falwell.
Anyone who reads this blog and thinks that I think I'm some kind of perfect role model isn't reading very carefully. I am the first to admit that I am the least of any of you. I look towards people like John Lennon or Martin Luther King Jr. to find my own role models of behavior. MLK had every reason in the world to hate white people, but he didn't. Instead, he hung in there and he believed in us. He believed that we were better people who were misinformed, and that if he brought us to the table and had a chance to sit with his oppressors, they could find a third position agreeable to everyone.
That's why we marched on Lynchburg. And that's why I try to not judge those who hate me. And that's why I feel my emotions about Falwell are wrong. It serves no one's interest to return hate with more hate.