Hate still very much alive

In what has become far too commonplace in our country, another mass shooting occurred last weekend — this time, here in Pennsylvania — as a man obviously filled with hate rampaged through the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh, killing 11 and injuring several others.

It was clear from his social media posts — some made just moments before he began his attack — that the shooter clearly blamed all the world’s ills on Jewish people and that they must pay because of it.

He reiterated that stance in interviews with police after the massacre, saying, “I just want to kill Jews” and that “all these Jews need to die.”

The defendant is clearly not the first person to harbor feelings of hatred toward a particular group of people (or act upon them violently) and, unfortunately, he won’t be the last.

Anti-Semitism has been around for thousands of years and reality is that it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Neither are the jokes and stereotypes.

Has our country and culture made strides as the years and decades pass regarding religious tolerance?

Certainly.

You don’t see nearly as many people who are openly hateful toward religious groups, even from a generation ago.

But Saturday’s senseless tragedy illustrates that there is much progress yet to be made.

One of this nation’s founding principles is that those who live here are free to practice whatever faith they choose.

This attack was against anyone who values religious freedom.

Our deepest sympathy go out to all those harmed by this shameful act of terror.

It is our hope that this tragedy reminds all of us about the inspirational, meaningful values that we share, not what we don’t.

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