“The dilemma of evil
is that even as it carries out its dark sinister work,
it always ends up strengthening Good
and evoking even more strongly
the very Light that it so desperately tries to extinguish."
-The Reverend Roberto Miranda
It was in a crowded Boston church, coming up on six years ago, that Reverend Miranda spoke these words to a congregation of mourners that included shattered families, first responders and government officials including the President. It was a memorial service for the victims of the Marathon bombers -- four innocent people killed by hateful murderers who wanted the world to believe they were righteous crusaders.
I was reminded of these words as I processed the news coming to us from the other side of the world of 50 men, women and children gunned down as they gathered at mosques for prayer. The perpetrator of those murders -- and the like-minded individuals around the world that cheered his actions would have us believe that a blow has been struck on behalf of civilization against people who pose a threat to it because of where they come from or what they believe. That, again, is a lie posing as a reason to hate and to murder.
Make no mistake about it: we are, every day, being asked to choose a side. But the lines that we have to draw aren’t between our tribe and another, or skin color versus another shade, or between one way to pray or another. If our children and grandchildren are going to live in the world we want for them, the only line we can draw is between our collective humanity and those that would choose to deny humanity to someone who is different from them.
At our Dojo, we pledge our allegiance to our side with every bow of respect we give each other. It’s in every bow we give our flag, a symbol of tolerance and freedom. And while we train in the application of violence, should it ever become a necessary skill to preserve our lives and those of others, it’s the respect that we show to those around us -- as well as those from places and experiences far removed from our own -- that genuinely strikes a blow on the side of Humanity.