Sunday, June 12, 2016

Florida Shootings

In the modern history of mass shootings in America, Orlando is the deadliest - Hate engendered violence leading to more hatred. This shooting, its shooter, and victims, will be politically used to create more hate that will lead to more violence. The shooting is caused by hate for those who are different and it will expand hatred for still others. Availability of weapons that can cause this level will be defended due to the hate. All of which is unjustifiable. We live in a nation that pretends civility and Christian values while rejecting the core and central tenets of Christian faith: love God and love neighbor and help create a peaceable kingdom. We live in a country that is revealing its underbelly of death, hate, and love of violence.

I pray for the victims of hatred, I pray for those who use fear and hatred to inspire further violence towards others, I pray for our country.

Our Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, or a staff member on his behalf, posted a piece in the wake of the shootings, it is from Galatians 6:7: "Do not be deceived. God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows." He now states it was a mistake and planned before the shooting. It was taken down. Maybe it was taken down because it was in poor taste and timing.

The shooter is now believed to be a radical terrorist of Isis. The shooter was on a watch list but able to purchase an assault rifle because of our sad state of gun laws in the US.

The Internet is already full of unchristian, disrespectful, and horrific responses supporting the shooting and demonizing Islam.

The reality is that we in this country are responsible for creating a place where hate speech is glorified, unnecessary weapons of mass destruction are freely accessible, and violence is cheered. All of this came to bear on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community in Orlando. It is the same deadly mix that fell upon the African Americans in Charleston. As in Charleston there will be a clamoring to scapegoat Islam for Orlando - our newly appointed "other". The choosing of particular communities who have been our scapegoats in this society is no accident. As a society of violence we will have to perpetuate this in one fashion or another.

JoAnne and I pondered that it has been 18 years since Matthew Shepard. And, how in that time our fears for our LGBT friends has only increased. This nightclub attack will bring back to mind the violence in 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, or the Upstairs Lounge in 1973, or the Otherside Lounge 1997, or the New Beford attack in 2006 plus the countless beatings and deaths of individuals. (You can read the history of violence against the GLBT community here:

Today I weep with my brothers and sisters in the LGBT community just as I wept with those in the African American community. And, I fear I will weep with future victims of American violence most of which will come via a shooter with a high powered rifle of some kind. I wonder how many more will it take? How many more of the least, the lost, the scapegoats, and the voiceless will have to be killed before we as a country have had enough?

Yes America, we are reaping what we sow.

Violence and hatred shall beget only more violence and hatred. Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.

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  • "Christianity is not a theory or speculation, but a life; not a philosophy of life, but a life and a living process." Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • "Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer." Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • "Perfection, in a Christian sense, means becoming mature enough to give ourselves to others." Kathleen Norris
  • "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can." John Wesley
  • "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried." G. K. Chesterton
  • "One of our great allies at present is the Church itself. Do not misunderstand me. I do not mean the Church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners. That, I confess, is a spectacle which makes our boldest tempters uneasy. But fortunately it is quite invisible to these humans." C. S. Lewis
  • "When we say, 'I love Jesus, but I hate the Church,' we end up losing not only the Church but Jesus too. The challenge is to forgive the Church. This challenge is especially great because the church seldom asks us for forgiveness." Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey
  • "Christians are hard to tolerate; I don't know how Jesus does it." Bono
  • "It's too easy to get caught in our little church subcultures, and the result is that the only younger people we might know are Christians who are already inside the church." Dan Kimball