Ken Hutcherson started life being hated by those who did not know him but who disliked him based on the color of his skin. Much changed during his life, but not the ability of many to hate those they do not know. The Seattle Times wrote the following on Dec. 18, as news of his death spread, “While beloved by his congregation, many hated the pastor for his stand on homosexuality.”
I can’t speak for our dear friend, Hutch, but I can convey what I understood after spending much time with him over the years. Ken Hutcherson hated nobody. He completely dismissed the idea of comparing the Black struggle for equality and respect with the homosexual movement. He lived under Jim Crow in the south, barred from certain areas, confined to specific water fountains and at the mercy of a corrupt justice system. Racism was a reality to him. Equating that with a demand for the legal system to change a millennium old religiously based definition of marriage demeaned the suffering and struggle of his family and race.
Pastor Hutcherson’s early years trained him to be a hater; his acceptance of Jesus turned him into a man who loved all people. This love stemmed directly from accepting Christianity as the guidepost in his life. As social mores changed in the past few years, he refused to abandon that guidepost’s teachings on homosexual behavior. He was a man who truly did hate the sin while loving the sinner.
Those of whom the Seattle Times wrote hated the man Ken Hutcherson for his ideas and beliefs, not for who he was. Had they reached out to him, they might have increased their understanding of humanity. They certainly could have come to know a special person. Instead, they tricked themselves into thinking that they alone have access to truth and projected the animosity in their hearts onto others.
There is a saying in ancient Jewish wisdom that a man should not trust himself until the day of his death. None of us should feel smug that we have battled our bad character traits or overcome temptation; tomorrow more challenges face us. My husband and I visited with Hutch and his wife, Pat, shortly before he died. No matter what those who opposed his beliefs might desperately want to believe, he was still full of love. The world would be better off with thousands of people like Ken Hutcherson, rather than with more of those who choose to hate while spouting words of tolerance.
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1 thought on “Being Hated, Don’t Give Way to Hating”
Children can be very cruel. Is it especially those in public schools, or are children cruel everywhere? A child picks up a vile epithet, perhaps at home or from the media, and hurls it at another child. Children who are the brunt of a vile epithet oft learn to defend themselves ‘philosophically’ with a pointed retort, a rejoinder remark. A first response is often the time-honored “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Of course, human speech is powerful and words can hurt very much indeed. The next rejoinder heard is something like “It takes one to know one.”
Isn’t it funny how useful this second remark has become in today’s adult politics? Devotees of a vapid dialectic cannot defend their precious policies under attack and avoid discussing issues, but resort to name-calling to smear and neutralize their opponent using ad hominem personal attacks. Logical and conscientious objections which they cannot answer they summarily label and dismiss as “hate-speech,” and their opponents as “haters.” In the Congress, on the public microphone, or in the press, just as on the dusty playground, doesn’t it “take one to know one?” Who knows best how to vomit up darkness and spread darkness, but a heart of darkness?
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