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People are not problems

Archbishop Wenski's remarks at interfaith rally against anti-Semitism

Archbishop Thomas Wenski delivered these remarks during an interfaith rally against anti-Semitism held June 3, 2021 at the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach. He was one of a number of speakers at the rally.

Today, at a time of a global pandemic that has unmasked some of the inequities in our world, at a time of societal unrest and economic uncertainty for too many, we need to remind ourselves that we are neighbors but more importantly, we are in fact all brothers and sisters created in the image and likeness of our God.

If we remember this, we can resist the reductive language that would reduce a fellow human being to being just a problem. When we reduce a human being to be a problem, we in effect “dehumanize” him or her. And we then too easily give into the temptation to look for solutions to these “problems” – even “final solutions” as the tragic history of the Shoah reminds us. People might have problems – and certainly there are complex and maddening problems in the Middle East and elsewhere – but people are not problems.

Our hatred must be directed to the disease, not towards the sick; our anger must be directed to poverty, and not to the poor. The diversity of the human family – its languages, nationalities, and races – are gifts that enrich us all. We must move beyond a mentality of “us versus them” and, overcoming all divisions and exclusions, see ourselves as part of an ever “wider we.

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