You Can’t Change This Hatred—You Have to Outnumber It

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

There’s an old saying: “When the horse is dead—dismount.”

It’s time to stop beating that horse, America. It’s not going anywhere.

I’ve tried for three years now.
I’ve tried to understand them.
I’ve tried to listen to them.

I’ve tried not to assign motive to them, not to speculate as to why they voted the way they voted, not to believe they consented to every cruel thing their vote birthed and enabled.
I’ve tried not to caricaturize them; not to make them into one-dimensional stereotypes, not to treat them as some fictional other whose presence posed a threat.

I’ve tried appealing to their sense of decency, to their capacity for compassion, to their faith in Jesus.

I’ve quietly endured thousands of their racist outbursts and homophobic rants on Twitter and at neighborhood picnics and across the Thanksgiving dinner table—in the hopes that I could find some vulnerable place beneath their fear to access later.

I’ve tried buoying pep talks and firm tough love and expressions of kindness and straight-talking challenge and attempts at affirmation.

I’ve tried discussing theology, tried sharing stories of oppressed communities, tried to offer facts in the face of a million lies generated by their President, tried to show the lessons History has already taught us about the slope we’re currently sliding precipitously down.

They have all failed to reach fertile ground.
Nothing has worked.
It’s all been fruitless.

I think it’s time to stop saying that we need to understand these people. I think we do understand them:

We understand that they have dug in their heels so deeply, they will not be moved by anything—not facts or data or truth or their own eyes.
We understand that there is no political scandal massive enough, no tweet reckless enough, no legislation predatory enough to alter their allegiance.

We understand that the past three years of viciousness and ineptitude haven’t tempered their passions but ignited them. 

We understand that the image of an angry white, American male God is so burned into their brains, that they see no conflict with a religion devoid of love or a world absent diversity or a theology made of malice.
We understand that infidelity, dishonesty, obscenity, and cruelty are no longer liabilities to those they would have lead them.
We understand that the FoxNews poison has so fully circulated through their systems that truth is no longer necessary.

We understand that white supremacists in the Cabinet and Russian infiltration in our elections and children separated from their parents are acceptable collateral damage to winning.
We understand that their capacity to rationalize away human rights atrocities now borders on complete delusion.

People have warned that we should treat these people with kid gloves; that explicitly expressing anger or pointing out criminality or vocally opposing injustice right now will only drive them deeper into their entrenched positions. That’s a fairly dire assessment.

If adults are that fragile in the face of reality, that willing to deny country and humanity simply because they’re offended, that thin-skinned and prone to mutiny—their dispositions aren’t really a burden the rest of us should or could bear.

We don’t come to this understanding with any joy or self-satisfaction—we come to it with sober despair and the deepest grief, because we know practically speaking that right now they are unreachable.

It’s one thing to have held out hope for them on November 9th, 2016, but at this point, I’m not sure any miraculous moral awakening or conversion of the heart is possible. 

If their consciences and compassion and reason have not been accessed and unearthed by now, I’m concerned those things will never be forthcoming.

And since these people will not be moved, the rest of us need to move together.

Democrat, Republican, and Independent,
the deeply devout and the passionately irreligious,
people of every pigmentation and persuasion—we need to move in concert, to affirm our shared regard for one another, and to vote to restore balance in something we all love that is teetering wildly.

This isn’t a battle to change the minds of the few who refuse to be changed. That horse is dead.

It also isn’t a test to see if we can manufacture the same hatred and vitriol for them as they dispense toward us.

This is a golden moment for the vast, sprawling army of good people who believe in the beauty of diversity and in a fully accessible America to speak unequivocally—on our social media profiles, at family gatherings, in our church meetings—and most of all, in the voting booth.

We don’t need to convince or coddle or win over hatred, and we don’t need to outdo it either.

We need to outnumber it.
We need to outlast it.
We need to outlove it.
We need to outvote it.


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56 thoughts on “You Can’t Change This Hatred—You Have to Outnumber It

  1. “sober despair and the deepest grief”
    I have been searching for a way to describe my feelings about what is happening in our world and to our country…
    Thank you. I’m grateful that you are out there.

  2. AMEN. See PROVERBS for “reasoning with fools” & the parable in LUKE regarding “seed & the ground it falls on”…..then VOTE!

  3. I am right there with you. I am making sure that everyone I know is registered and have let them know that I will personally haunt them if they fail to vote. Kidding but some truth there. Peace and Love and everyone GO VOTE like your life depends on it because if probably does.

  4. What we need is a new heart, and only God can give that to anyone. The voting booth is for fools, and will never solve any of our problems. Keep voting morons. How has that worked for you so far? Keep spouting how bad all of those bad evil people are, and see where that gets you. It isn’t working and it never will.

    I don’t follow what’s going on anymore, but even I hear a thing here and there once in a while, and the latest protesters are calling for their supporters to being guns. Brilliant! The opposition is doing the same thing. Over what? A difference of opinion? This is all a huge con job so the government can swoop in and fix everything, but they aren’t going to fix anything except take more of your rights and freedoms away.

    A little diversity bothers a few people, but when the level of diversity is growing exponentially by the day as people desperately search to distinguish themselves from the many, it becomes a horrendous pathetic joke. I simply can’t keep track of how fast the LGBTQTZBMF+ etc. is growing or what any of it means anymore. I give up.

    No one in this sick world even knows who they are anymore, but that doesn’t stop everyone else from telling anyone who will listen who they think they are.

    Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you.

    Most of all, get out of this modern day equivalent of mystery Babylon.

  5. Wow John, I hate to be so blunt, but you are a blatant liar. All you have done in post after post after post is malign, stereotype, caricature, and assign motive and blame to all conservative evangelicals who voted for Trump. I’ve responded to you many times pleading with you to show some nuance and you never ever do. As a white, male, conservative evangelical American who is deeply opposed to Trump but who also loves my community, I can tell you that you would make a lot more progress if you did demonstrate far more understanding and nuance. But that isn’t the end game for you really is it? Despite what you say it seems painfully obvious that you are only interested in promoting your own platform and on that front you are doing a great job of that.

    • Get a life Dan. The general public does not understand nuance. It goes right over their heads. John knows that. I know that. The average man is only capable of responding to things like:

      Blow your brains out

      Going to reside in Hell

      Screwed his wife


      They understand only the quick, pow-in-the-face sound byte or well delivered phrase. Let me leave you with one:

      F-bomb off!!!

    • Based on the proportion of comments supporting John, it seems he is making quite a bit of “progress.” Could you be more specific on how you “deeply oppose Trump but also love your community”?

    • DJ.

      I find JPs posts mildly frustrating as well. They are a clear illustration of how a Christian [if not madly in love w God’s Word] falls away easily.

      Regarding JPs numerous customers (I mean ‘followers’) …. they have found their ‘kindred spirit’ in JPs accusatory list-making. (most of his posts are just a long list of grievances). That type of literary style is off-putting to Christians, as we are asked by God to ‘build up’ the brethren with encouragement.

      I can see why Atheists and Universalists /Emergents / New Agers are attracted to his writings. Their hope is in themselves & comic book ‘super heroes’, not Jesus, and they are desperate for others not to have Jesus either (sad face).

      His new book, ‘Hope and other Superpowers’… is about ‘lessons from superpower heroes’. (Cartoon characters?)

      And the main theme of the book is “…be the kind of person that the World needs…the kind that can save it.” (cough)

      • I find his posts incredibly hopeful. I could not understand how Christians came out in droves for the most vulgar, cruel, openly hateful, man that I have ever encountered. He admitted that he sexually assaults women at will. I have a daughter. Do you George? He continually insulted, and bullied, people for his personal entertainment. I have taught my children to love and care for others. I have taught them that it’s not ok to bully anyone. What do you teach yours George? This man pathologically and compulsively lies. I have taught my children that lying is unacceptable, and won’t be tolerated. What do you teach yours? I have taught my children to love their neighbors. Not just white male neighbors, but ALL neighbors. Trump spews hatred and cruelty,continually, against immigrants, brown and black people, women, veterans, disabled, news reporters, etc. What do you teach your children? How could you justify voting for this man, to your children? Could you look them in the eye and tell them that this is what Jesus would do? I couldn’t! My daughter, who used to go to church every Sunday and Wednesday, quit going after Trump’s election. She told me that everything she has been taught about God, and being a kind and loving person, does not coincide with Trump and his mean and cruel behavior. It broke my heart!!! Do you know what’s worse? I was left with no valid answer to give her as to why Christians would be his biggest supporters. I am thankful to John for speaking up. I try to share his words with her, to let her know that not all Christians harbor that kind of ugliness in their hearts and minds. I tell her that you can have a relationship with God and not have to go to church to do it. At this point, my daughter is not interested. Her love and understanding of God, the Church, and Christians, in general, has been irreparably, changed. That the majority of Christians, chose to pick one of the most vile human beings she has ever encountered, pushed her right out of the church and into a non-believer. My heart has been broken! Your frustration, with John, is a real shame. I use his writings to remind my daughter, and myself, that there are Christians out there who do choose to live, love, and practice what Jesus taught us. Thank you John! Thank you.

        • Until we are given a paper “receipt” proving how we voted, and/or have our voting record emailed to us, I fear our votes still will be thwarted.

    • dont bother answering evangelicals. They are hypocrites who behave in manners which would make jesus spin in his grave(no he didnt ressurect)

    • “As a white, male, conservative evangelical American who is deeply opposed to Trump but who also loves my community, I can tell you that you would make a lot more progress if you did demonstrate far more understanding and nuance.”
      What is the progress that would be made? Demonstrate more understanding and then what will happen? This is a black woman asking you this. What’s going to happen when one shows more understanding? Are you just speaking to your fellow white man to show understanding? I’m curious to here what you answer would be. Show understanding when clearly no MAGA fans are capable of doing the same; it is clearly not their agenda. Crickets…..

  6. Pingback: You Can’t Change Hatred—But You Can Outvote It | Just The Messenger

  7. Amen! I could understand some being duped by Trump. But now if they haven’t realized what a horrible President – and person – he is, there is no hope for them. Thank you for putting my thoughts on paper!!!

  8. Yes, indeed we do.

    Remember, remember the Sixth of November: Putting children in prison camps.

    Targeting preexisting conditions.

    Being bought & paid for by NRA.

    Cowering to a lawless president.

    — Decent Americans

    A theory I have become more convinced of its truth is that white people voted for Trump for one simple reason: fear. I think it is subconscious for the most part but we do know that by 2045 white people will be a minority group in the USA and a lotta white folks are terrified of that so they are doing everything they can to decrease the number of people of color and increase the number of white people.

    It’s why they want to reverse Roe v. Wade because white women are the largest demographic to have abortions. Yes, I know it is because there are simply more white women at the moment, but the more white women who have babies, then the more white people there are in the USA.

    It explains why politicians want to punish women for having a miscarriage or a stillborn baby. If it is a white woman, it means one less white baby. If it is a woman of color and she is in prison, she can’t have a baby of color while there.

    it explains why people are opposed to sex education in our schools because that ensures our whit teens will have white babies.

    It explains why they are opposed to health insurance paying for contraception because it means more white babies.

    It explains why they are in favor of the death penalty because more men of color are executed and while incarcerated, they can’t be making any babies of color.

    It explains why they want the Border Wall because it is their mistaken belief it will keep people of color from crossing the US-Mexican border.

    It explains why there is not a bigger outcry against the police killing people of color or why they are opposed to sensible gun control laws because it means fewer people of color when white men kill them.

    We are living through the death throes of white privilege and death throes can be quite violent.

    They are afraid, and that is why we cannot reason with them, why we cannot appeal to their sense of decency or compassion because they are overwhelmed by fear and they can’t hear anything else.

    It explains why attempts to buoying pep talks and firm tough love and expressions of kindness and straight-talking challenge and attempts at affirmation fail because they are overcome by fear and they can’t hear anything else.

    It explains why discussing theology, tried sharing stories of oppressed communities, tried to offer facts in the face of a million lies generated by their President, tried to show the lessons History has already taught us about the slope we’re currently sliding precipitously down don’t work because they are overcome by fear and they can’t hear anything else.

    The huge tragedy is that the majority of people who voted Trump and the GOP into office are white evangelicals who claim to know Jesus in a personal way and to live their lives by the Bible. Unfortunately, they chose to live by the Hebrew Scriptures, rather than the Christian because they have obviously allowed their fear to overcome them so greatly that they cannot hear the New Testament, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit telling them that perfect love casts out all fear that perfect love is God.

    They have nothing to ever be afraid of because if God knows them, then they kive their lives with God’s cupped hands and they will always be God’s which is more important than being the largest demographic.

    • Moral narcissism, thy name apparently is Gloriamarie. Or maybe John Pavlovitz.

      You don’t have as nuanced of an understanding of life as you think you do. Nor do you have all the answers. And you hate them.

      No one in America is oppressed. Your unwillingness to see this blinds you to a worldview that has completely different goalposts than your own. The world does not consist of a victim/oppressor binary, and the simplicity of this approach exposes the vacuity of Leftist thinking in 2018.

      Speaking as someone who has lived among the Left for my entire adult life (25+ years) and felt largely the same way as you until around 2015, I see the collapse of empathy among a segment of society so steeped in moral certitude that they seem to believe themselves incapable of fallibility. It was a sentiment I used to associate with the fundamentalist Right; it’s much more alarming now that it has clearly taken hold of the mainstream Left. What a relief it is that others agree with me and have chosen to #walkaway. And until the Left becomes liberal again–and not authoritarian and dogmatic–it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Let’s hope that changes soon.

  9. Well done, John. Your article is timely and, I believe, an accurate assessment of things as they are – and a good strategy of a way to defeat the hatred, and to do so without continuing to beat our heads against a wall (whether an existing one or the one that should never be built).

  10. Dear Reverend Pavlovitz:

    Yes, oh yes!!

    Thank you.

    Lawrence Prichard
    Life member of Kent United Church of Christ, Kent Ohio. an “Open And Affirming” congregation.

    Matthew 25:40.

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  12. I voted, I will again and I will love. I am not wasting time on others who do not care about people .

  13. Your post “You Can’t Change Hatred—But You Can Outvote It” is so “right on.” It is said that the election was lost to T-Rump because we did not listen to his supporters, understand their needs. You have stated eloquently is not plainly exactly who his supporters are for the most part. You did not mention those hungry for more money, more power, more more at the cost of those supporters. They continue to support T-Rump and his cronies while they loose more and more! Thanks you. I have shared your post with everyone I know!

  14. John, it has been literally months, nearly a year since I’ve read any of your bullshit! But you’re still writing it, and you will have other bullshiters like Gloria to come on and exclaim your “brilliance” because you said something she agrees with.

    I will not waste my time and energy to respond to all that you’ve written, as it simply isn’t worth it. Besides, Myself and many others will take your advice and vote your ass out of our thoughts.

    But you should know, it is not normal for one man to suck the penis of another man, and nor is it normal for one man to stick his penis inside the feces filled ass of another man! I realize your brother do all of the above, but he’s a sexual pervert and deviant as well.

    And no, I don’t hate gays, I simply speak the truth about the barbaric stuff they do. I have said before, and I’ll say it again: I believe that you’re living on the down low as well.

    • Do you seriously think anyone “that really counts” cares what people like you think?

      You forgot to mention me. I am still writing too and visitation is fairly brisk at my blog:

      Neither John, nor Gloriamarie, nor I give a flying f-bomb about changing people like you. Your heart is so hard that even God himself will not change it—just as Jesus could not change the hearts of your ancient scribe and pharisee brothers. John, Gloriamarie, and I are speaking to the 70 percent of Americans who still have soft and loving hearts and are not sold out to your Golden Calf—Trump.

      And they are listening and hearing…all across the nation and the world…listening, hearing, and responding positively.

    • Anthony Blackman,

      It’s all too common to fall for the naturalistic fallacy in this sort of discussion, which is to argue from what is to what *is* to what *ought* to be. The argument usually centers on the biological complementarity of male and female genitalia. In fact, so much of our life is unnatural that it should be clear that this is an irrelevant criterion for judging anything, and it is also dishonest and back-to-front reasoning, since such people would be the first to argue against following our natural instincts in almost any other context. Indeed, it is well for opponents of homosexuality to avoid arguments about nature and science, since it plainly exists (even if only at a few percent) and has existed for at least thousands of years, and since it is not uncommon among non-human animals.

  15. Thanks. I needed to read this right now.

    FYI. Your 9th paragraph up from end needs to start as “We don’t come to this understanding…”

  16. That was wonderfully written. In reading the comments it becomes so very apparent how much we are divided. How much hate and racisim exists more than I’ve seen in my lifetime. If you don’t agree with what’s written- why the nasty comments- move on. Yes, it goes both ways as I’ve seen. Let’s go above the name calling and disgusting comments. There’s no need. Why not compliment and agree with what our beliefs and options are. If you disagree and feel that strong with your opinion then comment on the other side. And by the way American women (all colors) were the last to be able to vote in our country. Besides young adults. Our country is such a joke to the rest of the world with our division. The absolute only way to change it is to vote. And what happened to the saying we’ve taught our children all these years? ” If you have nothing nice to say- say nothing” let’s rise above the hatred and love on another. For who they are and not their political party.

  17. Excellent way of explaining, and good paragraph to get facts on the topic of my presentation subject, which i am going to convey in university.

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