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Putting to death the disparity of our differences

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talk in front of a display during a visit at the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talk in front of a display during a visit at the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010.
AP Photo/Tobias Schwarz, pool

Have you ever been in a group of people where you felt you were completely different from everyone else in the room?  Did those around you have different politics or religious beliefs or skin color?  Did it cross your mind that they might feel justified putting you to death for your differences?

 

Wednesday, January 27 is International Holocaust Remembrance Day (http://tinyurl.com/yfdgykv).  It was on this day in 1945 that Soviet troops liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp in southern
Poland
where more than one million human beings, mostly Jewish, were put to death.  In addition to the approximate six million Jews exterminated during the holocaust of World War II, there were others put to death or persecuted for their undesirable differences as well. 

 

Polish citizens, mostly Christians, were killed for their land.  Black youth were sterilized and Romanian Gypsies were slain because of their racial inferiority.  Jehovah Witnesses were forced to wear purple armbands and imprisoned because they refused to take a pledge of loyalty to the Third Reich.  Gay men were forced to wear pink triangles and sent to concentration camps for their sexual orientation.  The list goes on and on-- trade unionists, resistance fighters, Social Democrats, Communists, Soviet POWs.

 

Could you have been slated for imprisonment, torture or death because of an undesirable difference?  Could you today?

 

Undesirable differences are usually defined by the majority, or those who are desirably the same.  One’s status as a member of that majority can change quite rapidly for any number of reasons.  What if it becomes your politics or religious beliefs or skin color that becomes suspect?  It’s happened in Serbia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Somalia, Sudan,
El Salvador
and a myriad of other places around our world.

 


Jackson, Mississippi is known as the “city of soul.” There are people of strong faith and convictions in our area who come together on a regular basis to work for understanding and peace even in the midst of enormous diversity.  Such work may actually put to death the disparity of our differences as opposed to our putting each other to death for them.  If you’re interested in joining such work, here are some suggestions:

 

Mississippi Religious Leadership Conference (http://www.msrlc.org)

The
Institute of
Interfaith Dialog-Jackson
, MS Chapter  (http://tinyurl.com/yd2rpp4
)

Raindrop Turkish House-Jackson, MS Branch (http://tinyurl.com/yk4eqjd)

Habitat for Humanity-Metro Jackson (http://tinyurl.com/yzrxpdd)

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