Wednesday, April 5, 2023

There Goes the Neighborhood


Passover begins at sundown this evening. It’s largely invisible in American popular culture where stores and adverts are flooded with images of Easter bunnies, Easter baskets, Easter candy, new Easter clothes. If you happen to walk down that one grocery store aisle you may catch sight of boxes of matzoh. That’s about it. I was lucky enough to have Jewish friends in my life to clue me in on what Passover means. One even invited me to join in his family’s Passover Seder. 

I learned a lot. They were kind enough to let me find the afikomen, too.

This article from the Baltimore Sun tells a story of a Jewish congregation in Baltimore who have created a community Passover Seder event which extends welcome and affirmation to those not usually affirmed by many religious groups.

Baltimore synagogue’s Passover Seder mirrors theme of deliverance for LGBTQ+ Jews, Jonathan M. Pitts, Baltimore Sun

As a non-Jew, I cannot speak with any authority on the religious authenticity of this or any other Seder. You’ll want to read the entire article to learn more. But I can say that it does my heart good to see inclusion, acceptance, and affirmation. Especially right now.

Last night news broke that a man from Howard County had been charged by federal authorities. From a tweet by Justin Fenton of the Baltimore Banner:

Unsealed yesterday: A Howard County, Md. man has been charged by federal authorities with phoning in a threat to @HRC after Nashville school shooting.

Image included with the tweet includes the text of the voicemail left by Adam Michael Nettina:

You guys going to shoot up our schools now? Is that how it's going to be? You just gonna to kill little kids. You're just going to slaughter fucking little kids. Let me tell you something, we're waiting, we're waiting. And if you want a war, we'll have a war. And we'll fucking slaughter you back. We'll cut your throats. We'll put a bullet in your head. We're not going to give a fuck. You started this bullshit.

You're going to kill us? We're going to kill you ten times more in full.

Nettina is a conservative writer who has worked for various Republican clients. Some news outlets I searched have described his writing as incendiary. He has blogged at Catholic Vote.

It was that last revelation that shook me. This week for Christians is known as Holy Week. In many ways it is seen as a triumph of God’s love over death. It’s an annual affirmation that Jesus’ followers choose the way of love. At least, that’s how I see it.

Nettina’s background is steeped in Christian education. He received his graduate degree from Abiline Christian University and wrote for the Franciscan University in Steubenville.

In response to a recent post by the Heritage Foundation, Nettina calls the White House Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, “ a disgusting woman in a terrorist administration.”

See how we Christians love one another.

People like Nittina - - those who espouse his views - - make Howard County less affirming, less accepting, less inclusive. And clearly, much less safe.

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