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Be Careful with Hashtags...

There is a particularly vile hashtag trending on social media today that speaks about hating and/or punishing muslims.  Sadly, many well-intentioned people are helping it to trend by quoting it when they decry it.

It illustrates a very real and present challenge - hashtags can be very powerful, and can be a great vehicle for awareness raising, such as the #metoo a few months ago.

There are alternative hashtags being used today such as #LoveaMuslim and #LoveaMuslimday but even these are not totally problem free - why only one day to care about the treatment of muslims?  Why, as some of other world faiths who experience hatred have asked, choose one faith over any other (well given the context...)

As Baptists we are supposed to uphold freedom of religion for all people.  To defend the right to choose any faith or none, or to create your own, and to be free from harrasment or interference.  This isn't easy either because it means honouring the freedom of people who choose words and ways that we may find offensive.  The challenge is not a mealy-mouthed 'love the sinner, hate the sin' that somehow frees us of responsibility, but the tricky path of prophetic witness that says, 'what you are saying/doing is wrong, yet I will choose love over hate, forgiveness over vengeance, engagement over estrangement'. 

I'm nowhere near as good at any of that as I'd like to be. But I am learning to be more careful with hashtags. 

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