Hatred is popular. Frankly, hatred has always been popular. Tragically, religious people often promote hate. The Spanish Inquisition was about hatred. The Crusades, both directions, were about hate. The conflicts in Northern Ireland were about hate. 9/11 was about hatred. Witch trials were about hatred. The Civil Rights conflicts that have taken place over the years have been mostly about hatred. Of late it has become almost chic to hate people in the gay community. Sadly much of the hatred is led by groups which claim themselves to be Christian. I won't bring myself to call them Christian because no truly Christian group can bring itself to hate. Many find great freedom by engaging in bad behavior and blaming it on God. They won't phrase it that way, but that, sadly, is often what we see.
I sense that hate is fueled by several things. Jeremiah Wright, the Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, and the Pastor of Barack Obama, has an oft stated expression, "Different is not deficient." Unfortunately, much of society does see difference as deficient. If a person, or a group of people differ from me in any way, that makes them deficient. By making someone or a group of someones deficient, it 'frees' me to hate them and to look down upon them.
Secondly, I suspect that hatred of others comes because some people have a need to find their own self esteem by comparing themselves favorably to others. If I tear another person down, it makes me stand taller. Or so goes the theory.
The great tragedy of hate is that it is so incredibly unnecessary, and frankly so incredible not of God. People abuse and misquote Scripture in attempts to justify their hatred and this is, obviously, quite disheartening. People who truly walk in the footsteps of Jesus do not hate because they cannot hate.
Sadly, hatred has always been popular and remains so. We can only hope and pray for a day when people are able to move beyond it.