Omdahl: A season for ceasefires and love


The era of good feeling between Thanksgiving and Christmas is an excellent time to take a serious look at a country muddled in violence, bigotry, intolerance, polarization and hatred.

Polls show that the polarized Republicans and Democrats hate each other more than ever before. Polarization is trickling down into the citizenry more and more. And as long as we join in demonstrating intolerance, anger and hate, there is no hope for moderation in the years ahead.

Many of us look to churches to champion love in these turbulent times but churches are having a difficult time fighting off secularization of their faith and moral values. In the period of 1999-2001 and 2017-18 masses of church members quit the faith and cut their financial support. With less funding churches are less able to share. Love is in short supply.

There is little generous love in the public domain because there is little generous love in the private domain. The public domain is what it is because we are who we are – and most of us are not wise enough to shed our grudges and hatreds. We want to hate President Trump; we love to despise Speaker Pelosi. Decency and love are on the run and we are a part of it.

In this Thanksgiving-Christmas season when people are caught in the holiday spirit we need to launch an armistice on hate, a ceasefire on intolerance, a moratorium on selfishness and a suspension of violence and make Thanksgiving-Christmas a special season of love and charity. If we try it for a season, maybe some of it will stick.


In "Moral Man and Immoral Society," Reinhold Niebuhr predicts hard rowing for love beyond the front door – and he has no confidence in social engineering, religion, education or wealth for reaching out to those in need. He says that we are lucky to get action at the local level, let alone think about the starving and needy beyond the city limits.


  • Brickner: 'They weren't real Christians'
  • Letter: 'The greatest commandment is to love one another'
  • Omdahl: We can’t love God and hate Muslims
  • Omdahl: American churches are in big trouble
  • Letter: We need to bring God back into our government and our public schools

Niebuhr needs to be proved wrong – for at least one month. Here we are the richest, richest, richest country in the world while thousands of human beings in North Dakota, the nation and the world are being tossed about without compassion or care. We have the resources to share but not the love to share them.
We now have an increasing number of Muslims in North Dakota, many of them appearing in public jobs exposed to continual outbursts of intolerance. In that hijab is a human being who has feelings just as we do and probably goes home in tears after a day of slurs and intolerance in a strange land.

Hundreds of children in North Dakota get nothing but a Tiny Tim meal at Christmas and few gifts under the tree. The same is true about elderly folks who are fearful in their fragile days.

So we have plenty of prospects upon whom we can shower generous love. Hugs, treats, gifts, meals, and acts of kindness will do us better than hate, anger and intolerance.

“But now abide faith, hope and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

What To Read Next
Get Local