Today we drove past a massive sign that said, “Democrats Spreading Hate in Montana.” I don’t identify with any political party. In my estimation, signs like that represent how extreme and irrational hate has become in our country, and at such great cost.

The Democrats I know believe that we should be careful with our limited natural resources. And I assure you they are limited. They believe we shouldn’t put human beings in cages and treat them with indignity. They believe all should have access to healthcare because the need for healthcare is great. They also believe in hard work and making sure that everyone has the opportunity to make a decent living. They believe the words engraved on the Statue of Liberty:

“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-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

The Republicans I know have good reasons to be wary of an overreaching government and of the potential loss of civil liberties we’ve all come to value in our relatively short stint as a country. They’re concerned about preserving and protecting life at all stages.

Patriotism is a religion. But it is not a Christian religion. I suspect that many who call themselves Christian have never read the Bible all the way through. And many who call themselves patriots have never read the Constitution all the way through.

The Bible calls for selflessness and generosity. It shatters notions of race, class, status and nationalism. It states that the last shall be first and the first shall be last. It erases the lines we draw between us and draws lines of inclusion and honor around the poor, the wretched, and the rejected, ignoring race, gender, denomination and party lines. It forms no basis for enforcing our pet hierarchies.

The Constitution lays the foundation for freedom, respect, and diversity. It identifies humans as humans and recognizes their inalienable right to be treated well and to have a voice—by virtue of their existence. It did so before many of us were acknowledged as having that right. It even recognizes that right in those we are way too quick to identify as criminals.

Evil is real. But it isn’t defined by religious or political party lines. It knows no national borders. It lurks in the quiet recesses of every human mind pointing fingers at other humans and political parties and ignoring the reflection in the mirror, Democrats and Republicans alike.

It’s dirty politics to define an entire group by its most extreme members, many of whom aren’t members at all but are opportunists looking to disrupt and divide for personal gain. Labels, including party labels, are dehumanizing. They’re used as excuses to treat others as less than intelligent and less than human. The Bible and the Constitution have things to say about that too.

Most people want the same thing—to live a safe, peaceful, abundant life that is rich with opportunity. They want the same for others as well. Hate games will not get us there.