Eighteen year old Ben Keita went missing from his small town Washington home in November 2016. All that was found was his car, his cell phone and his wallet. After weeks of searching, Ben was finally found–hanging from a tree 8 feet off the ground. Initially, his death was ruled a suicide by the county Medical Examiner’s office. But several weeks later, officials changed the cause of death to “undetermined”. His family and his community believe he was lynched. Ben is black. Ben is Muslim.
Since November 9, 2016, incidents of attacks on Muslims, Jews and people of color have increased. Mosques have been burned, Jewish cemeteries vandalized, immigrants have been attacked. And our president has either been silent or has tweeted that America needs to “get smart” about our immigration policy.
Today, we remember the story of the “Sons of Thunder” who wanted to call down fire from heaven to obliterate a Samaritan village that did not welcome Jesus who was on his way to Jerusalem. But Jesus rebuked them.
Today, let’s rebuke the spirit of bigotry and hatred in ourselves, in our nation, and in our world that leads to violence and death. Today, let’s choose life.