Justin Normand believes living his Christian faith means being Jesus to everyone, regardless of their religion.
The Texas man who recently held up a unifying sign outside a local Mosque said that he felt “compelled” to take action amidst the post-election madness.
His sign read:
We are one America.”
Normand, who is a Presbyterian and the manager of a sign shop, explained how his small act of love was meant to offer “peace” to his “Muslim neighbors”:
“My marginalized, fearful, decent, targeted, Muslim neighbors.”
Though photos of him holding the sign quickly went viral on social media, Normand took to Facebook a few days after to clarify that was never his intent:
“For me, this wasn’t about expressing agreement; I remain Presbyterian, not Muslim.
It wasn’t about demonstrating my outrage to right-wing drivers driving down Esters Road in front of the mosque. I can never, and will never, change any of the haters. It’s not about them. Not this time, and not here.
This was about binding up the wounded. About showing compassion and empathy for the hurting and fearful among us. Or, in some Christian traditions, this was about washing my brother’s feet. This was about my religion, not theirs.“
Man outside of a mosque in Texas this morning pic.twitter.com/bsbfW1PkA9
— Charles Finch (@CharlesFinch) November 26, 2016
Normand continued, saying how in an era of “haters,” finding ways to love and support “marginalized groups” will undoubtedly have a huge impact.
As he held his sign, he was presented with hugs, tears, hospitality, and even a bouquet of flowers, all of which were nice, but not the reason he decided to stand before the mosque in the first place.
“It is also in this vein that the words on the Statue of Liberty embrace, with eagerness and mercy, all who come to join us:
‘Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’
These words bespeak the America we all remember, know, love, and are still called upon to be. Especially now.”
The 53-year-old humbly told The Washington Post that it was the message of unity that made his sign viral, not the man who held it.