No Hate in 808

Parish Diary

Fr. Peter Daly

July 26, 2010

 

Fr. Peter Daly talks about his vacation in Hawai’i and his vision of paradise. 600 words.

 

            The decal on the rear window of the pick-up truck said, “No Room for Hate in 808.”    The window was also covered with surfing decals and Aloha stickers. It was typically Hawaiian.

            The area code for Hawai’i is 808. The very fact that Hawaiians are proud that there is “no room for hate in 808” says something wonderful about them and their culture.

            Summer travel is a teacher. When we travel we should learn. Each place we visit has a message to teach us.

            Sometimes it is expressed it in the slogans of popular culture. In the lone star state they tell you, “Don’t Mess With Texas.”  In the golden state they are, “California Dreamin’.” Delaware pokes fun at itself with an awareness of its size as a “Small Wonder.” Maryland says it is “For Crabs” and Virginia says it is “For Lovers.”

            But Hawai’i is proud of something beyond its surf and palm trees and beautiful flowers. It is proud of a spiritual ideal: racial and ethnic harmony.

            Even the fact that Hawai’i is called the “Aloha state,” says something about its self understanding. The word aloha in the native Hawaiian language is used to say hello and goodbye. But I am told that it literally means “love” in Hawaiian.  In other words, people greet each other with love. They say farewell with love. That is a good thing.

            Hawaii’s history of racial tolerance is not perfect. No place on earth has been free of racial and social tension.

            The Euro-Americans who arrived there in the 19th century as planters and missionaries quickly became the top of the social order. They stayed on top for a long time. Many workers were brought to Hawai’i to work on the plantations from Japan, Korea, China and the Philippines. They were generally poor. Portuguese fishermen and sailors arrived from Europe. Even some people arrived from Mexico and Latin America. Until World War II, from what I have read, there was an informal segregation based on class, which often coincided with race.

            But, after World War II, things began to change. Barriers began breaking down. The Euro-American whites were a minority. Many people intermarried. Military families from the mainland who had been assigned there decided to stay. People looking for a new start made their way to Hawai’i.

            A multi-racial, multi-ethnic society was born. Inter-racial marriages were common. People regarded the differences as interesting and attractive.

             In many ways Hawai’i is a “paradise”. The weather is mostly perfect. The scent of flowers fills the air in many places. The water is warm. The breezes are gentle. The vistas are spectacular.

            But measured by the Christian ideal of universal brotherhood, what makes Hawai’i a glimpse of paradise is the people.

            When I have been at mass in Hawai’i I have been struck by the thought that this is what God wants from us. All around me are people of every description. Their skin is white, brown, pink, red, yellow and black and every mixture of each hue. Their names were Hawaiian, Filipino, Japanese, Chinese, Irish and Portuguese.

            It is like the vision of the prophet Isaiah when he saw God’s holy mountain. All nations streamed toward it. There were men and women of every race and nation, people and tongue.  In God’s paradise, all men and women will be brothers and sisters.        

            Certainly, if God really is love, He would want His children to greet one another with the spirit of Aloha. In God’s paradise there will be no room for hate.