why it mattered / by Sarah Schwartz

This is why "they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists" mattered.

Because taking someone's baby isn't that hard, when they were trash to begin with. 

There's nothing new about peddling a tale where it is all Their fault

that your job pays crap

and your taxes are too high

and you have to say happy holidays.

Locking a child in a cage isn't that hard, when they're snakes.

It's the easiest and oldest human inclination—create monsters out of those you do not understand. Be sure that different means bad, means wrong, means crime & violence and threat to everything you hold dear, facts be damned. 

Ever Cain's indignant sons and daughters, we shout at the sky, am I my brother's keeper? when what we really mean is, how dare you suggest I am. 

We approach the Rabbi and inquire, but who is my neighbor? hoping he'll draw a small circle around our family and friends and people who speak our language and pray to our God and stand for the anthem and don't marry the same sex or cause a fuss about their lives mattering and leave us unchallenged and comfortable.

Certainly, teacher, you did not mean my brown neighbor, my poor neighbor, my undocumented neighbor.

Ripping a family apart isn't hard, when love your neighbor as yourself is drowned out by he's just rough around the edges and I like that he speaks his mind in the face of rhetoric that chipped away at our neighbor's humanity.

It's not hard, when it's not people.

***

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37)

 

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