Hate engulfs my home. The word “hate” appears 144 times, in six languages, on 12 two-sided lawn signs from one end of my block to the other. The signs sanctimoniously proclaim, “Hate has no home here.”
Three of these virtue-signaling signs first appeared in April, 2017, when President Trump was preparing to address our bleeding borders. The signs instantly triggered anger in me.
First, they posit a fake issue – protecting our borders is not driven by hatred of foreigners, but by common sense and love for fellow citizens. A country without secure borders is not a country. Secondly, these in-your-face signs scream “If you disagree with me on open borders, then you’re a hater!” Being so false and offensive, such imputation constitutes “fighting words,” inviting a physical response. Lastly, the signs contain part of an American flag within a heart outline, which resembles an Obama campaign symbol.
My anger soon turned to rage.
One neighbor offered free signs to the entire block. She asked every home to display one. In a show of solidarity, 18 households put up the signs (today, only 12 remain). Only two homes – ours and a vacant one – did not. Instead, because we love the USA, we proudly fly a full-size American flag. Not surprisingly, ours is the only house to do so.
Any passerby can feel the waves of intended moral superiority and of bullying that radiate from the phalanx of vile and toxic signs. In fact, gazing down the block, a visitor to our home last fall remarked that the signs helped him appreciate the ostracism Jews felt in Nazi Germany.
I spoke with the organizer, telling her what they say in Texas: “If you have to say that you’re a lady, then you ain’t.” Unfazed, she disingenuously replied that the signs create a “welcoming” climate for immigrants and that, besides, “everyone knows your politics.”
Her words brought a chilling realization. The signs are about hate – hatred for President Trump, for the America that elected him and for us conservatives and our values. Growing up, I was taught that it is permissible to hate only the devil and sin. To liberal minds, Trump is both. Therefore, one may hate him.
Far from taking the high moral ground, these “I’m virtuous-and-you’re-not” signs wallow in the mud. They grant license to liberals to justify their hatred. Ironically, these liberal “virtuous ones” generally support the taking of innocent life (abortion) and sodomy (homosexual “marriage”).
In all fairness, some posters may have acted from group pressure or from ignorance.
In any event, I ordered “God bless President Trump” lawn signs. I had other signs printed. One said, “Secure our borders. Enforce our laws. Protect all. Yes! to legal immigration and assimilation.” Another read, “We proudly stand with President Trump and the USA against the Confederate Sanctuary Cities of America.” One proclaimed “Love for all of God’s children lives here.”
Frustrating me mightily, my good wife would not let me put them up.
Thankfully so, because slowly I came to a realization.
As a practicing Christian, I am commanded to “love your enemies” and to “pray for those who persecute you.” Christ tells us to “turn the other cheek” and to forgive “seven times 70.” We ask God to forgive us “as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
With my actions toward retaliation, I had failed the test God had sent. Who could be better candidates for forgiveness than these “virtuous” bullies who publicly define themselves with the word “hate”? What would Jesus do?
So, my yard signs remain in the basement. I have let go of the anger. I forgive my neighbors. To love them as myself is a challenge I must accept. I pray for them every day, hoping that they realize that hate destroys the hater.
The essence – and often the hardest part – of being a Christian is love and forgiveness. This incident brought that home to me. It made me a better Christian. It reminds me that love trumps hate.
In the Tower of London, awaiting execution by his former friends, Thomas More wrote (citing Joseph in the Old Testament): “Give me the grace, good Lord … to think my worst enemies my best friends, for the brethren of Joseph could never have done him so much good with their love and favor as they did him with their malice and hatred.”
Thank you, dear neighbors.