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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

On Hatred--and Radical Love

I haven't been blogging much lately, for the usual reasons--ie., despair at the whole enterprise, with a smidgeon of being too busy with other things. (Happily, we've got you covered here with our series on Erie.) But I am moved to write by a post by Eugene Volokh yesterday (Martin Luther King Day, not incidentally) in which he writes to 

state for the record that I think it’s eminently fitting for us — and for anyone else — to feel and express hatred for those who are evil, and in particular to think that they eminently merited death and indeed would have merited an earlier one. Hatred is the normal and proper reaction to those who murder, those who enslave, and the like, both on Martin Luther King Day and on other days. 

You can read my comments on that post for the reasons why I found the post distressing, a feeling that has not abated with the passage of a day. So I thought, by way of antidote, that I'd post a link to a moving piece I read yesterday, a review in The New Yorker of a couple of recent biographies of Francis of Assisi. He does not provide an easy model for any of us to emulate, and most of us (of whatever faith) don't, really. But I can't help but find his example a more inspiring one. Enjoy.   

Posted by Paul Horwitz on January 22, 2013 at 04:26 PM in Paul Horwitz | Permalink


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I too was touched by the New Yorker article on St. Francis of Assisi. He is, of course, a saint. And we use that to marginalize him and his message.

Dorothy Day is reported to have said: "Don't call me a saint. I don't want to be dismissed that easily."

Posted by: Ann Marie Marciarille | Jan 23, 2013 12:19:22 PM

Hi Paul -- Here's Patrick Brennan, at "Mirror of Justice," commenting on your thoughtful post: http://mirrorofjustice.blogs.com/mirrorofjustice/2013/01/unconditional-forgiveness-1.html

He writes (sounding, I think, like Jeff Murphy): "The moral emotions are complex phenomena and not always under our control. Proper love of self, however, requires that, when we have suffered an offense, we try to overcome the hatred we understandably feel with love in the form of forgiveness, and without precondition. Forgiveness does not entail reconciliation, and sometimes proper self-love will preclude reconciliation with the forgiven offender. . . . Forgiveness is not supine. It is an act no one can perform for us, and it is an act that conforms us to what we have received from the God who has forgiven us our trespasses and debts."

Posted by: Rick Garnett | Jan 23, 2013 3:03:51 PM

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