Pulse Orlando Shootings Omar Mateen

But that, of course, is just the point. If the issue here is religiously motivated homophobia, then that’s a problem that is far from unique to Islam. It suggests the problem is not whether you read the Koran or the Bible, but whether or not you use religion as an excuse to wallow in bigotry. Which, in turn, implicates the Republican party that has spent decades stoking and exploiting Christian homophobia. You can pretend that Islam is a unique problem if the issue is violence done in the name of ISIS and their apocalyptic fantasies. Islam simply isn’t the only religion that teaches anti-gay views. There’s not a lot of wiggle room here.

Despite the very few biblical pronouncements, usually in the more obscure parts of the Bible, there is little or no justification today for regarding condemnation of all homosexual acts as a central part of Christian teaching, as many modern theologians have argued. The leadership of the church under Archbishop Welby must now stop dithering around and get on speedily with revising their official teaching on the subject if they wish their expressions of opposition to violence against LGBT people to be seen as anything more than sanctimonious bleating.

I don’t know how I could’ve handled the Orlando massacre if it hadn’t happened on a Sunday, if I hadn’t been able to go to church. My faith is hardly passable most days. I’m committed to Christ but I skip a lot of sundays, and I have a lot of theology that’s tied up in questions I can’t answer, a brain that is steeped in doubt, a rebellious heart that wanders off, and a smart mouth. But when Orlando happened, I felt like I was going to die. I needed prayer. I needed communion. I needed a hymn. I needed a pastor to speak on this and not bury it, or explain it neatly, or whitewash it, or make it all about gun violence and not about the relentless fury of Christian America’s hatred towards LGBTQ people. Thank God, my brother is a pastor.

Pastors and Rabbis and Imams took the stage and my heart leapt. Prophetic passages were read and we were reminded that we all belong together and together we will overcome. In my head, I kept hearing that line of Jesus, “where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.” And I opened my eyes and there he was.

While deranged people do senseless things, all of us observe, judge and act from some kind of religious background. Singling out people for victimization because of their religion, their sexual orientation, their nationality must be offensive to God’s ears. It has to stop also.

About PaulVK

Husband, Father of 5, Pastor
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