The “Say Yes to Love” Garden Ornaments

 

After two synagogue shootings, a local Episcopalian priest joined forces with the Rabbi and other left-to-moderate clergy to encourage solidarity in spite of differences in beliefs. Soon campaign size white signs appeared upon the lawns of many in our little mountain community that say “Say No To Hate. Say Yes To Love. Love God. Love Your Neighbor.” After much thought and a couple of revisions, here are my thoughts that will likely be a letter to the editor:

The recent proliferation of the “Say Yes to Love Say No to Hate” signs are controversial because we are at a cultural moment where the various factions of our society no longer agree on what love and hate, or good and evil, consists of. A conspiratorial reading of the signs may be that love means “accept all narratives of LGBT advocacy groups without question” while hate means “voting for Donald Trump” or “robbing a woman of the same autonomy men have by advocating for the unborn.”

Such a reading might be excused due to the way political parties have historically used euphemistic phrases that obscure specifics for political gain – love wins, women’s health, build the wall. But, in fairness, the signs say nothing of the sort.

Herein lies the problem. The first two lines of the signs don’t really say much of anything at all – at least nothing anyone would disagree since the vast majority of people don’t consider themselves haters. If it is pointed towards mass shooters, it seems futile to see “yes to love, no to hate” Facebook memes as a meaningful strategy to recover isolated young men lost in their own heads of poisonous ideology or nihilism.

Further, the signs provide no specific message against what prompted the campaign in the first place: the antisemitic sympathies denying Jews’ rights to exist and worship that resulted in synagogue shootings. Rather we are left with words more akin to a pious garden ornament keeping company with “Blessed!” and “Believe!”

Nevertheless, there is weight behind the second half of the sign “Love God, Love Your Neighbor” only if one is willing to delve into the context.

Love in a Christian sense is less of an emotion or a political ideology but the “willing the good of the other” — even those who are violently on the other side. It is less focused on affirming the beliefs and virtues of one’s own tribe but actively seeking the good for those who withstand you – your enemy.

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” says Jesus and, to our perplexion, teaches, “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?”

If we truly understood the import of the Law quoted at the end of those little white signs, it would cut against our tribal boasting and demeaning of the other side, it would dissipate our Twitter outrage and humble us towards seeing others created in the image of God; it would pull the rug out of the need for our side to win and replace it with the willingness to serve; it would force us to pray with earnestness for grace to change our hearts and grant us the capacity to live rightly and unnaturally in this very odd and contrary Kingdom Jesus speaks about.

But if the sign is easy to pluck onto the lawn without much turmoil of heart and the troubling need to change oneself, we’ve spectacularly missed Jesus’ point. The signs then become nothing more than pious garden ornaments set out in Pharisaical hopes that the other tribe can learn to think more like us when they drive by.

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  1. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    There is nothing on that sign I could ever disagree with. Still, SJW have so diluted the language to where you are not sure what even “love” and “hate” mean to some, so seeing that makes me suspicious. Sad to admit that. Of course, taken at face value, that is a life changing message. 

    • #1
  2. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    There is something perverse in our society that conservatives and classical liberals have to worry about totally decent expressions of loving the other because of the corruption of the language. We should have room for nonpolitical hatred of anti-semitism. 

    • #2
  3. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Man, I really HATE  people who don’t say YES to love. 

    • #3
  4. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    DavidBSable:

    But if the sign is easy to pluck onto the lawn without much turmoil of heart and the troubling need to change oneself then we’ve spectacularly missed Jesus’ point. The signs then become nothing more than pious garden ornament set out in Pharisaical hopes that the other tribe can learn to think more like us when they drive by.

     

    This comes to mind too when we slap decals on our cars:

    https://babylonbee.com/news/retractable-christian-fish-decal-now-available

    • #4
  5. DavidBSable Inactive
    DavidBSable
    @DavidBSable

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    DavidBSable:

    But if the sign is easy to pluck onto the lawn without much turmoil of heart and the troubling need to change oneself then we’ve spectacularly missed Jesus’ point. The signs then become nothing more than pious garden ornament set out in Pharisaical hopes that the other tribe can learn to think more like us when they drive by.

     

    This comes to mind too when we slap decals on our cars:

    https://babylonbee.com/news/retractable-christian-fish-decal-now-available

    I remember Pastor Jon Courson in Oregon talk about “the flying fish” – Christians with fish decal speeding through the two lane highway.

    But yeah, to your point.  In the early 1970’s Jesus movement I remember wearing a Jesus pin and it was a bit of an act of courage to identify – more that I was a shy kid and my parents weren’t believers, not that I was actually persecuted.  Signs and Scriptures and pictures definitely help remind us around the home and our children.  But, yeah I’m less prone to put up a “this is what I believe” bumper stickers.  

    Maybe I should get one that says, “Your Bumper Stickers Bore Me.”  (:>)

    • #5
  6. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    It is very annoying that our present political climate makes me suspicious of message urging us to “say no to hate and yes to love.”

     

    • #6
  7. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    It is very annoying that our present political climate makes me suspicious of message urging us to “say no to hate and yes to love.”

     

    I’d consider that message terrifying in any political climate because such messaging is always propaganda.  Love and Hate are strong emotions, who is trying to direct them in me, and to what end?

    • #7
  8. Eustace C. Scrubb Member
    Eustace C. Scrubb
    @EustaceCScrubb

    I recently saw a t-shirt that said “Truth & Justice”. It bothered me, as someone who is both pro-truth and pro-justice, that I didn’t know if I could “support” the shirt in my mind. Because I’m wondering, “How does that person define ‘Truth’ and ‘Justice’?”

    • #8
  9. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    What’s terrifying about the Left is the deadly combo of will-to-power and self-righteousness.  The two together are hard to overcome with reason and logic.

    Or, as Joe Biden would say, “we prefer truth to facts!” Whose truth? Yours or mine?

    • #9
  10. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Eustace C. Scrubb (View Comment):

    I recently saw a t-shirt that said “Truth & Justice”. It bothered me, as someone who is both pro-truth and pro-justice, that I didn’t know if I could “support” the shirt in my mind. Because I’m wondering, “How does that person define ‘Truth’ and ‘Justice’?”

    I imagine you are being arch. I’ve done that sort of thing myself from time to time. 

    Still, if the ‘Truth’ is of the Personal Truth variety – Tawana Brawley’s for instance – and the ‘Justice’ is specifically social justice, I would have a hard time supporting this lousy t-shirt. 

    • #10
  11. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    TBA (View Comment):

    Eustace C. Scrubb (View Comment):

    I recently saw a t-shirt that said “Truth & Justice”. It bothered me, as someone who is both pro-truth and pro-justice, that I didn’t know if I could “support” the shirt in my mind. Because I’m wondering, “How does that person define ‘Truth’ and ‘Justice’?”

    I imagine you are being arch. I’ve done that sort of thing myself from time to time.

    Still, if the ‘Truth’ is of the Personal Truth variety – Tawana Brawley’s for instance – and the ‘Justice’ is specifically social justice, I would have a hard time supporting this lousy t-shirt.

     The English translation of “Truth and Justice” is “The Killing Fields.”

    • #11
  12. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    I recently had to step around some rainbow colored  “Love is Love” signs in between sidewalk and street in order to get photos of a building across the street. It reminded me to tell the IRS that money is money, and to tell the FDA that spinach is spinach. It isn’t right to make distinctions. 

    • #12
  13. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Don’t overthink it. Clergy coming together and walking for peace with a few homemade signs? Just go with it. That’s their job and they should do it more often.

    • #13
  14. Songwriter Inactive
    Songwriter
    @user_19450

    The last slogan I can recall that took hold and made a difference might have been “Every Litter Bit Hurts.” (1960s) It played a role in making Americans aware of just how much litter we were tossing out our car windows.

    Maybe some of you Ricos can think of other slogans that made a difference.  But for the most part, it seems to me such slogans primarily serve to make people the sloganeers feel better about themselves.

    • #14
  15. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Maybe the Ad Council should rerun this one:

    • #15
  16. danys Thatcher
    danys
    @danys

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    It is very annoying that our present political climate makes me suspicious of message urging us to “say no to hate and yes to love.”

     

    I’d consider that message terrifying in any political climate because such messaging is always propaganda. Love and Hate are strong emotions, who is trying to direct them in me, and to what end?

    Excellent point. I remind my students that when we feel strong emotion, we can be easily manipulated. Step back & think.

    • #16
  17. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Maybe the Ad Council should rerun this one

    We always kind of mocked that one as kids . . .

    • #17
  18. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    Yeah, well, those who have that sign [say no to hate and yes to love] are the first ones, when told You voted for President Trump, to call You a racist. 

    • #18
  19. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    Songwriter (View Comment):
    Maybe some of you Ricos can think of other slogans that made a difference.

    Don’t Mess With TEXAS

    • #19
  20. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Songwriter (View Comment):

    Maybe some of you Ricos can think of other slogans that made a difference. But for the most part, it seems to me such slogans primarily serve to make people the sloganeers feel better about themselves.

    Feel-good slogans often seem phatic in nature,

    communication which serves a social function, such as social pleasantries that don’t seek or offer information of intrinsic value but can signal willingness to observe conventional local expectations for politeness.

    An atheist I know doesn’t understand everything sermonizing is about, but he does understand something it’s about:

    A proper sermon, then, is an attempt to cultivate a network effect around a shared value

    He notes sermons often don’t give us new information about a virtue, merely raise the salience of the virtue in hearers’ minds, creating an opportunity for people who find the virtue salient to draw together:

    Having been drawn together, people will then be eager to form and strengthen relationships with others inside the sermon bubble. Friends who already know each other will be happy to learn that they share a common value, while strangers can feel good about meeting each other under the auspices of peace…
    …However large the audience, eventually it will disperse. But the boost to these relationships will linger for days or weeks, potentially even a lifetime. All of which is astonishing: with just a few choice words, a preacher can create social capital out of thin air.

    The deterioration of social capital is something conservatives tend to be concerned about. Building social capital by advertising aspirations which ought to include everyone sounds, in that sense, like a fairly conservative goal. The problem is, conservatives these days worry that the language of inclusion tends to come with an unspoken caveat: it includes everyone… but them.

    This worry is, in part, self-fulfilling. If you can take a rather vapid, but inclusive aspirational statement at face value and feel included by it, you get to be part of the social-capital building it’s supposed to accomplish. If you’re worried that the statement builds other people’s social capital at your expense, it cuts you off from building social capital with them.

    Conservatives often say patriotic aspirations ought to build social capital because they include every citizen. Black citizens of the US haven’t always been super-convinced by this. We should be able to understand why. But are they right — does bland, seemingly uncontroversial patriotism rhetoric build social capital among white citizens only at other citizens’ expense? I think most of us would say, no, it doesn’t, or at least it doesn’t have to. Similarly, inclusive, welcoming, community-building rhetoric doesn’t have to exclude us, but we worry it tacitly does.

    • #20
  21. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):

    Songwriter (View Comment):
    Maybe some of you Ricos can think of other slogans that made a difference.

    Don’t Mess With TEXAS

    I have been amused since moving to Texas a year ago to learn (and maybe this is an illustration of the issue with signs like the one in the OP) how the meaning of “Don’t Mess with TEXAS” changed from its origins as an anti-littering slogan (1985) to become (at least in the eyes of many) a declaration of the resilience and determination of the people of Texas. 

    • #21
  22. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Maybe the Ad Council should rerun this one:

    It is a striking image, but I think it overstates the case; an overstated case is dangerous because the person who makes the case believes it to be much stronger than his intended audience does. 

    The problem with a lot of governmental anti-drug messages is that if they are too bumper-stickery in their claims, our government educated youth will dismiss them out of hand when they discover weaknesses in the arguments (marijuana does not fry the brain as promised). 

    It’s worth it if enough people will adopt the message early and not scrutinize it. But eventually most people will need more in their arsenal to defend against the herd instinct and fear of ostracization we refer to as peer pressure. 

    • #22
  23. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    TBA (View Comment):
    marijuana does not fry the brain as promised

    Maybe it didn’t back in the day, but it does now! People in the psych profession still need to complete the studies, but anecdotally they’re in agreement. The potency of today’s marijuana is causing mental illness — schizophrenia to be precise. It also affects the brain in ways that diminish ambition and capacity. Not temporarily, while you’re high, but permanently. 

    People who indulge regularly are frying their brains, I’ve seen it and I’m convinced.

    • #23
  24. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):

    Songwriter (View Comment):

    Maybe some of you Ricos can think of other slogans that made a difference. But for the most part, it seems to me such slogans primarily serve to make people the sloganeers feel better about themselves.

    Feel-good slogans often seem phatic in nature,

    communication which serves a social function, such as social pleasantries that don’t seek or offer information of intrinsic value but can signal willingness to observe conventional local expectations for politeness.

    An atheist I know doesn’t understand everything sermonizing is about, but he does understand something it’s about:

    A proper sermon, then, is an attempt to cultivate a network effect around a shared value

    He notes sermons often don’t give us new information about a virtue, merely raise the salience of the virtue in hearers’ minds, creating an opportunity for people who find the virtue salient to draw together:

    Having been drawn together, people will then be eager to form and strengthen relationships with others inside the sermon bubble. Friends who already know each other will be happy to learn that they share a common value, while strangers can feel good about meeting each other under the auspices of peace…
    …However large the audience, eventually it will disperse. But the boost to these relationships will linger for days or weeks, potentially even a lifetime. All of which is astonishing: with just a few choice words, a preacher can create social capital out of thin air.

    The deterioration of social capital is something conservatives tend to be concerned about. Building social capital by advertising aspirations which ought to include everyone sounds, in that sense, like a fairly conservative goal. The problem is, conservatives these days worry that the language of inclusion tends to come with an unspoken caveat: it includes everyone… but them.

    This worry is, in part, self-fulfilling. If you can take a rather vapid, but inclusive aspirational statement at face value and feel included by it, you get to be part of the social-capital building it’s supposed to accomplish. If you’re worried that the statement builds other people’s social capital at your expense, it cuts you off from building social capital with them.

    Conservatives often say patriotic aspirations ought to build social capital because they include every citizen. Black citizens of the US haven’t always been super-convinced by this. We should be able to understand why. But are they right — does bland, seemingly uncontroversial patriotism rhetoric build social capital among white citizens only at other citizens’ expense? I think most of us would say, no, it doesn’t, or at least it doesn’t have to. Similarly, inclusive, welcoming, community-building rhetoric doesn’t have to exclude us, but we worry it tacitly does.

    No, often there is nothing tacit about the rhetoric.  All too often the “no hate” sloganeering is coming from groups who have explicitly defined “hate” to mean “not agreeing with my politics”.  

    There is an enormous pressure, for instance, in retail space of late to put some sort of “No Hate” signage in your store where it could not be missed, and to include a rainbow flag with the signage.  The aim is clear – to side politically with the “bake the cake” side of the gay marriage argument.  By not including the signage, especially when local groups have pressured you to do so, you are risking that they will then smear you as advocating hate.  The entire point of the signage is to bully a point of view, and to note who is “in”, and who is “out” so that the out-group can then be targeted.

    This is happening in the corporate world all over too – increasing numbers of corporate supplier contracts are including various “no hate” provisions – provisions that are well beyond any federal or state employment laws.  Fly the rainbow flag and spout the bland rhetoric, or be cut off.

    • #24
  25. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    There is an enormous pressure, for instance, in retail space of late to put some sort of “No Hate” signage in your store where it could not be missed, and to include a rainbow flag with the signage. The aim is clear – to side politically with the “bake the cake” side of the gay marriage argument. By not including the signage, especially when local groups have pressured you to do so, you are risking that they will then smear you as advocating hate. The entire point of the signage is to bully a point of view, and to note who is “in”, and who is “out” so that the out-group can then be targeted.

    They should put the sign next to one that says,  “Workers of the world, unite! /s/ Vaclev Havel’s greengrocer”

    • #25
  26. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):

    Songwriter (View Comment):

    Maybe some of you Ricos can think of other slogans that made a difference. But for the most part, it seems to me such slogans primarily serve to make people the sloganeers feel better about themselves.

    Feel-good slogans often seem phatic in nature,

    communication which serves a social function, such as social pleasantries that don’t seek or offer information of intrinsic value but can signal willingness to observe conventional local expectations for politeness.

    An atheist I know doesn’t understand everything sermonizing is about, but he does understand something it’s about:

    A proper sermon, then, is an attempt to cultivate a network effect around a shared value

    He notes sermons often don’t give us new information about a virtue, merely raise the salience of the virtue in hearers’ minds, creating an opportunity for people who find the virtue salient to draw together:

    Having been drawn together, people will then be eager to form and strengthen relationships with others inside the sermon bubble. Friends who already know each other will be happy to learn that they share a common value, while strangers can feel good about meeting each other under the auspices of peace…
    …However large the audience, eventually it will disperse. But the boost to these relationships will linger for days or weeks, potentially even a lifetime. All of which is astonishing: with just a few choice words, a preacher can create social capital out of thin air.

    The deterioration of social capital is something conservatives tend to be concerned about. Building social capital by advertising aspirations which ought to include everyone sounds, in that sense, like a fairly conservative goal. The problem is, conservatives these days worry that the language of inclusion tends to come with an unspoken caveat: it includes everyone… but them.

    This worry is, in part, self-fulfilling. If you can take a rather vapid, but inclusive aspirational statement at face value and feel included by it, you get to be part of the social-capital building it’s supposed to accomplish. If you’re worried that the statement builds other people’s social capital at your expense, it cuts you off from building social capital with them.

    Conservatives often say patriotic aspirations ought to build social capital because they include every citizen. Black citizens of the US haven’t always been super-convinced by this. We should be able to understand why. But are they right — does bland, seemingly uncontroversial patriotism rhetoric build social capital among white citizens only at other citizens’ expense? I think most of us would say, no, it doesn’t, or at least it doesn’t have to. Similarly, inclusive, welcoming, community-building rhetoric doesn’t have to exclude us, but we worry it tacitly does.

    No, often there is nothing tacit about the rhetoric. All too often the “no hate” sloganeering is coming from groups who have explicitly defined “hate” to mean “not agreeing with my politics”.

    There is an enormous pressure, for instance, in retail space of late to put some sort of “No Hate” signage in your store where it could not be missed, and to include a rainbow flag with the signage. The aim is clear – to side politically with the “bake the cake” side of the gay marriage argument. By not including the signage, especially when local groups have pressured you to do so, you are risking that they will then smear you as advocating hate. The entire point of the signage is to bully a point of view, and to note who is “in”, and who is “out” so that the out-group can then be targeted.

    This is happening in the corporate world all over too – increasing numbers of corporate supplier contracts are including various “no hate” provisions – provisions that are well beyond any federal or state employment laws. Fly the rainbow flag and spout the bland rhetoric, or be cut off.

    Skipsul, this context is a buncha local clergy getting together, and making some yard signs and fliers available in the church basement for people to pick up if they want. Or at least that’s what David’s link said. That strikes me as quite different from a supplier contract, a Tumblerina social-justice shakedown, or if said clergy had invaded people’s places of business offering to put up signs (thus making the offer much harder to refuse).

    When we moved recently, the most suitable dwelling turned out to be somewhere with a lot more #BlackLiveMatter signs around it than we were expecting. Still, these signs still aren’t the norm. Sure, some signs are hung by pruny ol’ leftists always pursing their lips at the latest supposed outrage from non-leftists. But other signs seem to by hung as a genuine attempt at neighborliness in a neighborhood that’s mixed-race but predominantly white.

    There’s a fundraising event around here that does look rather like a social-justice shakedown — or did until I discovered that when I was a teen, a well-beloved member of the neighborhood was mowed down by a white supremacist on a spree simply because he was black, and this event commemorates his memory. Had the tragedy been a less politically-correct one, conservatives who believe much of what America lacks these days is small-town virtues and customs might think it was good for this tragedy to become part of neighborhood lore, since shared tragedy brings people together.

    The clergy group doing the high-country love-blanketing which prompted this thread began as a vigil group that met periodically after national tragedies. Just standing vigil, not doing anything, in a place where no-one’s directly affected, can seem a little silly. But it also seems an occupational hazard of clergying around — do we not want clergy hosting vigils and coming up with corny ways to appeal to our better natures?

    It would be simpler if everyone who participated in this kind of signaling did so in order to make non-participants feel unwelcome, but many participants don’t seem to — and why would they? Keeping score of non-participants is mental work that only a few scolds can be arsed to do, and the participants (at least where I live) seem to outnumber the pruny leftist scolds. People who aren’t terribly absorbed in politics often seem to take hard-to-disagree-with but PC-compatible sentiments at face value, as being kind, as being neighborly. Even then, they may be too abashed to go through with an ostentatious display of these sentiments, and I’d agree this bashfulness is a good thing.

    But clergy have a specific calling not to be too bashful about displays of hard-to-disagree-with virtue.

    • #26
  27. Songwriter Inactive
    Songwriter
    @user_19450

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):

    Songwriter (View Comment):
    Maybe some of you Ricos can think of other slogans that made a difference.

    Don’t Mess With TEXAS

    A great slogan.  But it doesn’t keep people from messing (or at least trying to mess) with Texas.  (See Ann Richards, Beto O’Rourke, much of the populace of Austin)

    • #27
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