Hearts Must Change

The marches and folk singers and stories of confrontations with white police affected me deeply when I was young. The civil rights movement.

Which was more than a little strange given that I had never even met a black person. My first black friend (and also first Jewish friend and first Jewish person I ever met) came into my life as a university freshman.

But I was optimistic back in those days. Laws were changed. By the way, a conservative Republican Congressman was key to passing civil rights legislation. People remember Lyndon Johnson, but Bill McCulloch (my Congressman at the time, dad was on his campaign committee) was key to getting enough votes to pass. Would that happen today?

Note to the Christians who today think that changing laws brings forth a Christian society—-it doesn’t work. Laws only did so much in Jesus’s day. They only changed so much in the 60s. They only do so much now.

We changed laws 55 years ago. But we changed only a few hearts. Obviously. Just look at the news at all the angry and hate-filled hearts.

On the other hand, it is heartening that hundreds of thousands came out to show support peacefully all over the world.

We start by acknowledging the other person. Person to person. Listening—something that is an exchange of energy.

And teaching—showing that people who are different are not necessarily threatening. They can be your friend, too. When we are not threatened, then we are not full of fear. We accept a diversity of people, cultures, opinions. Indeed, we rejoice in it.

Changed hearts can change systems. And then we’re on our way to a healthier, mature culture.

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