Letters to the Editor
We have seen many statements condemning the littering of hateful propaganda as well the arson attack on an Austin synagogue. It is easy for us as a community to denounce such actions. But denouncing hatred is not enough. As a pastor in a tradition that has had to grapple with a history of antisemitism and reject some of the writings of our founder who was at times hateful, we have to recognize that hate exists mostly where there are no relationships with those who are not like us.
There is more to rejecting antisemitism than just making a statement. It is not enough to say we are against hate. We must also make positive action to declare what we are FOR. We must stand WITH our neighbors who are the targets of that hate. But we must do more than just say we accept those neighbors or even that we stand with them. We must SUPPORT and APPRECIATE them, and we EMBRACE what is special about them. We must CELEBRATE who they are.
When I learned about the propaganda that was being spread in our community, I immediately contacted Rabbi Ari Weingarten of Chabad San Marcos to express my support for his community as a fellow religious leader. As we talked about what had happened, Rabbi Weingarten shared with me a quote from the Lubavichter Rebbe that “We counter darkness with even more light”.
To do that, and to honor our Jewish neighbors, I call on people of all faiths, or no faith at all, to honor our Jewish neighbor’s invitation to be part of the public Menorah lighting on Dec. 1. This takes place on the Hays County Courthouse Lawn at 5:30 p.m. This invitation that they have extended is an opportunity to learn about our neighbors, to support them in their traditions, and to celebrate with them a festival that focuses on bringing light to places of fear and hatred.
It takes more than statements to defeat hate. It takes action and it takes effort to know and understand our neighbor. We need more light, we need more connection. And this time of year, with many traditions celebrating holy days, is an opportunity to do just that. We have told whoever spread those vile flyers that we don’t want that here. Will we stand with our neighbors who bring light and peace and say that we DO want them?
Rev. Tim Bauerkemper
Pastor, First Lutheran Church San Marcos
Member of Corridor Interfaith Alliance for Families
The death of Anita Miller Byley is a deep loss not only to her family, friends, admirers, entire San Marcos Community and beyond but to the journalistic community as well.
Anita’s warm, inviting style of writing, rich with atmosphere and place breathed life into the characters expressing themselves and compelled readers to follow the story she was telling.
Her insightful reporting provided residents with a local source of well vetted information about the most important environmental, criminal justice, civil rights, free speech, civil disobedience, economic development and political issues of the day establishing an honorable forum for civil discourse.
Anita was multidimensional and really shined sharing human interest stories reflecting the diverse artistic and cultural elements of our town while also reminding us of harder times we have overcome and celebrating victories, big and small.
I am proud that Anita felt my words were of public interest. She made me feel that I was engaged in a fair, free market of ideas only to be judged based on the validity of the argument.
She granted me a space to share the positions I shared with a hefty chunk of the community alongside the ideas and arguments of the best people to be involved in a debate limited to the issues on the table. She facilitated an honest examination of the truth, evidence, reason, impacts and the emotional aspects of all the legitimate sides of an issue she could find.
I can attest that I was fairly portrayed in her reporting and will always cherish the thought of living among all the wonderful articles she has written over the years with the other lucky souls she chose to turn her pen upon. They will be read.
I do not just miss Anita, I miss the kind of journalist she was.