We see at the Cross the undeniable intersection of love and hate. It looked for awhile that hate had prevailed. But in the end, love rose, life conquered death and history was forever changed.
Hate comes to steal and kill and destroy; love comes that we might have life, redeemed.
When a lone gunman entered the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. early Sunday morning we have insight into what he was thinking. “Law enforcement sources told NBC News he swore allegiance to the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in a phone call to 911 moments before the rampage at the Pulse Nightclub.”
To say that we can know what’s in a person’s heart goes beyond the scope of our humanity but we can judge a person by his words and deeds. By that measure, 29 year old Omar Mateen was filled with murderous hate toward gay people. That hate ended the lives of 50 people and changed the lives of many more. His actions will also change the national conversation. The trajectory that will take is yet to be determined but how we talk about it today influences our life together from this point forward.
Christians need to take the lead in condemning violence and hate targeted at the gay community. Because the Savior whose name we bear as Christ-followers, actually died in our place for our sins so that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16) Because Jesus said he came so that we might have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10) It’s the enemy, who Jesus calls the thief, that comes to steal and kill and destroy. Does the carnage at Pulse look like life or death? Does the agenda of ISIS look to you like a promotion of life or death?
God gets dragged into all kinds of things that are not godly. And yes, God is often misrepresented by the very people charged with being His agents and ambassadors in the world today. That will mean that in response to the Orlando shootings we are going to see condemnations of all people whose sincerely held religious beliefs view homosexual acts as morally wrong. Be forewarned: if you are a conservative Christian you will be made to feel as if your position on same-sex marriage is somehow causal in this horrific crime.
The self-reflective conversation that Christians need to now have with one another is how do we live authentically as people possessed of the Spirit of the living God, full of grace and truth, representing God authentically as He is, in the face of this evil? How do we respond to the kinds of charges made by an ACLU attorney that this is the fault of conservative Christians who “created an anti-queer climate?”
#1. Listen before you speak. Unless you were there, this is not your immediate experience. Do not speculate. Do not pontificate and absolutely hold your tongue the moment you’re inclined to acerbate.
#2. Demonstrate that you are possessed of the Peace of Christ which surpasses all understanding as a witness against terrorism. Right now people are afraid. In particular, LGBT people are afraid. Their families are afraid. What they need is comfort and compassion not condemnation.
#3. When you speak, speak the truth in love: this was not of God. God has revealed Himself to be love. Love came from God as Jesus not to condemn, kill nor destroy. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. Jesus came that we might have life and have it abundantly. When things happen like this horrific mass shooting in Orlando, we need to call it what it is: the work of the Enemy. Then we need to share with people the work of the living God.
Let’s also recognize ISIS wants to inflame a religious war between jihadi-Islamism and what they see as the evil of Western liberalism and infidels. We are a pluralistic secular democracy, and there’s a theocratic death machine that wants to destroy it. It is time we wake up to the reality that this is religious, even if as a culture we’re not self-consciously aligned with a particular faith.
Nations have defining moments. One year ago a lone gunman entered a church in Charleston with hate in his heart toward black people. What he meant for evil God has used for good in raising the racial reconciliation conversation in this country to the forefront. We are talking openly about things that we were not talking about a year ago. Christians are leading that conversation.
How will the fact that last night a lone gunman entered a gay nightclub in Orlando with hate in his heart toward gay people change the national conversation? How can Christians lead and not lag in that transforming conversation? And how can we do so with compassion but without compromise?
Its going to begin with our willingness to engage in conversation with people who see us as part of the problem.
This was not about Orlando. Or Florida. Or America – it was about homosexuality.
Religion killed dozens of gay people today BECAUSE of religious beliefs, beliefs shared by most major religions. The big lie “homosexuality is wrong,” was invented by Religion. That’s what happened. Of course it’s terror and a hate crime, but why? Religion and religious beliefs.
Christians have killed millions because of their beliefs, too. Religion is the problem. Religion is the home of ancient fairy-tales, including the idea that homosexuality is wrong (among other silliness) and is the modern day home of ignorance. Religious people don’t pick their beliefs, they inherit them (94% of people are the same faith as their parents).
It’s not guns. It’s not even “radical” beliefs – Muslims believe homosexuals should be killed, Christians believe they should be treated as “defective.” Religion made up that LIE and Religion killed dozens of innocent people today, perhaps many of them religious.
Grow up. It’s time to end religion. Religion = Ignorance.
We assume many times as Americans that we are the first people or culture ever to experience religious or global terrorism. The Christian church was born and nurtured in an era of mass terror, that of the Roman state apparatus, as well the established religious orders of the day. Christ knew that full well. He knew on the road to Jerusalem Zealots, nationalists of his day waiting him and in 5 days their “hosannas”, became “give us Barnabas”. The Cross was an instrument of State terror. Paul spoke many times of the trials and tribulation, suffering of the Saints. His core message to the church time after time was a message of hope, endurance, resiliency, which produces peace and grace to face all of life’s trials and tribulations.
Veteran of 2 tour in Iraq as well as Bosnia, well acquainted with religious bases terror and violence. The attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando could have easy been carried out at a church, a military base, a shopping mall, they already have happened at those places. A lone gunman pledged to ISIS, or an organized attack as was Paris. The end result is always the same, that the evil doers seek to instill fear, anxiety, defeat, pain and suffering on the objects of their terror. What is the Christian response in 2016? Same as it was in 40AD Rome, never be afraid, have the confidence of Christ, pray for those who mourn as well as those who inflict the suffering, show mercy and grace when able. At the end the Bible gives us a pretty good idea how all this ends, we win, they lose, we go to heaven and glory, they to eternal punishment. God is just and God is merciful, as God will bring judgement upon those who do evil and murder His sheep. That sounds about right.
No, that sounds delusional.
A lone gunman went to a gay bar to kill homosexuals because he was taught they were sinners – wrong. That’s all.
What we see on display now is the attempt to paint the tragedy in either ideological, partisan, or political purposes. Comments will be made about religion/faith in general, or try to draw some moral equivalency between Islamic, Christian, and other forms of faiths, or make some points about the NRA or gun laws ,gay rights, etc.
People were killed in gay bar in Orlando for the same reasons soldiers and civilians killed at Ft. Hood, bar patrons in Tel Aviv, municipal workers in California, runners and observers in Boston, for the same reason 350 Marines died in Beirut in 1983. They were Americans, Christian, Jews, Muslin, people of all colors, people of no particular faith at well, exercising freedoms and expressions radical, political Islam find intolerable. And in their twisted logic told it is an act of their god to go and kill.
A lone gunman who happen to pledge loyalty to ISIS, and saw in that bar the essence of what is called a soft target, for the evil doer, a soldier in Uniform, a mother with a baby stroller, a policeman, two men kissing, made no difference. If there was a policeman’s ball in that bar the same attempt would likely have been made. Call it for what it is Islamic terror. And until the President is able to speak those words, far more Orlando’s or Ft. Hood may indeed be in our future. It’s war, they know its war, ISIS knows it war, do we?
And already folks like Peter Gregory are trying to deny that this was an attack on the LGBT community. Once again, we see Christians trying to erase the LGBT experience. For someone criticizing someone else for not saying the right words, I’d say you’ve got a bit of work to do in that area yourself, Mr. Gregory.
The gunmen did it because he was taught “homosexuality is wrong” by his Religion. That’s why they were targeted. This ends when those teachings end.
Peter is not denying Christians place in not loving ALL of God’s people. The first thing I thought of when I saw this on Fox my gay family member who live in a different state and this was going to be some sort of jihad against LGBT community, and I called them to let them know to be careful, and that we loved them.
With said, denying this a Islamic terrorist attack that are similar to the ones that have killed Christians, Jews, raped and murdered young girls from Syria, Peter laid it all out pretty good. Trust me I do understand what people in the LGBT community feel right now, because of this becomes a nationwide jihad on LGBT people, then I have skin in this game. But for the Prsident to get to the podium and start preaching gun control, BTW, this guy no busines even getting close to one, with that said the President can’t say what we know this is, islamic terrorism, and then he goes on to say Americans are biggoted against LGTB like we all had something to do with this attack.
Just curious as to where you get the certainty of your ethical beliefs. You clearly believe that murder is wrong, that religions are ignorant and deceitful, that homosexuality is as morally acceptable as heterosexuality. Who or what is the authority for what you believe, and why should anyone else be convinced that your views are more correct than those of “religions”? If you are appealing to nature, then “survival of the fittest” seems to be the order of the day, in which case you should approve of the jihadi who used his power to fulfill his desire. If you are appealing to “common sense,” you will quickly discover that what you think is common to all is actually disputed by many. If you appeal to utilitarianism (the greatest good for the greatest number), then you need to come up with an acceptable definition of good.
By the way, historians calculate that far more deaths are attributable to atheistic systems than to those under the reins of a Judeo-Christian worldview — just check out the numbers killed in the 20th C. under Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc. compared with those killed over 20 centuries of Christian influence. You might find your views against “religion” tempered a bit.
“until the president uses the words Islamic terror”, there will be more incidents. This is singularly stupid. It echoes the words of Trump and Cruz and makes no sense. It is not the words it is the actions.
Lots of hate floating around. Some from Islamists. Some from anti-gay bigots. Some from anti-integration folks. I see lots of confederate battle flags around the country. Real symbols of hatred and bigotry. But until someone calls the rebel flag a symbol anti-black bigotry….
The Layman has been a forum where a lot of hatred has been put forth. Hundreds of anti gay letters have been posted and called gays and lesbians perverts, pedophiles and more.
James,” The Layman has been a forum where a lot of hatred has been put forth. Hundreds of anti gay letters have been posted and called gays and lesbians perverts, pedophiles and more.”
I’ve been reading and posting on the Layamn for a very long time, I have never ever read the things you’re charging, for one Carmen would NEVER let that fly, and if she did, I would not come to this site. This is a forum for Prebyterians of all stripes to debate share each others experiences as such. While I understand your anger at what happened in Orlando, your blaming the Layman is very very much misplaced.
Bless you for your spiritual words of wisdom. We need God’s word spoken and heard to heal, to understand, and to minister to those who are broken today.
As the emotion and plurality of responses show, the terrorist attack in Orlando cuts across many lines in the polarized church and culture, LGBTQ identity, gun control, the current candidates, immigration issues, security and surveillance, privacy vs. government access to data. What it means to be at war, and how do we fight both domestic and global terror.
What is, or should be the “Christian” response to such events? I invite all to google Amish School shooting Nickle Mines PA, 2006 and contemplate that faith communities response to their children’s murderer and the family of their killer. Could we have forgiven the terrorist Manteen? Would we have taken casseroles to his father? Would we show up at Manteen’s funeral to comfort the family? WWJD? All good questions.
I do not think in the highly polarized culture of today a single or normative Christian response is possible or one that speaks to the majority of the faith. Again, Paul has much to say about the Christian’s duties and obligations to secular culture and its rulers. But does a Pope Francis speak for all, does the UU, UCC, PCUSA, EPC, Assemblies of God? There may be individual denominational responses that may or may not serve a greater good. I think in light of the Orlando events the “apology” action proposal in Portland will indeed pass, unchanged and likely by voice vote. Will that speak to the LGBTQ community and heal their wounds? Will it produce peace, unity or harmony for the PCUSA? My guess is no, only more division and rancor, but such is the denomination.
It’s very simple. Before religion homosexuality was not wrong. Jews, Christians and Muslims ALL made it wrong. That was and is a lie.
There isn’t a single Christian denomination that will formally declare “there is nothing wrong with being a homosexual,” because it is part of their core beliefs. That LIE must end for the hatred and discrimination against the LGBTQ Community to end.
Yes, James H, given your repeated snide smears about Mr. De La Rosa “sashaying around”, you’ll forgive me if I’m more than a little dubious about your concerns for the LGBT community.
Mr. Gregory wrote, “If there was a policeman’s ball in that bar the same attempt would likely have been made.”
Well, according to the latest information out there now, that appears to be completely untrue.
Care to revise your statement?
Hi James H. You wrote, “I’ve been reading and posting on the Layamn for a very long time, I have never ever read the things you’re charging, for one Carmen would NEVER let that fly, and if she did, I would not come to this site.”
I am afraid that a a 30 second simple google search proves you wrong.
A google search using the terms “layman, pedophile pcusa” will give you 9090 results, most of which are irrelevant.
However, one of the first hits is a Layman article from March 30, 2016 titled, “Will PCUSA Apology to LGBTQ/Q Create Grounds for Conservative Ministers to be Prosecuted?” In the comments, Don Mowat compares homosexuals to philanderers, pedophiles, prostitutes and killers.
A discussion of the NC Bathroom law in the Layman on March 30, 2016 devolved into a several commenters drawing what they believe is a clear link between homosexuality and pedophilia.
On June 19, 2014 in an article about the PCUSA General Assembly, in the comments, Andrew Hilla compares gay people to “rapists, murderers, pedophiles, adulterers, etc… IT’S A CHOICE THAT THEY MAKE TO PRACTICE THAT LIFESTYLE.”
While I agree with you that such language should be out of bounds for civil discussion on a supposedly Christian website, I am afraid that clearly, that sort of language is indeed something that Carmen allows.
Please tell me, when was “before religion,” and what ancient sources did you search to confirm that pre-religious cultures (of which in reality there is no such thing) approved of homosexual behavior? You obviously don’t believe in a God who reveals right and wrong. So if no one thought homosexuality was wrong before Judaism, why did the terrible human creators of this religion suddenly come up with the idea, and why did it catch on so tenaciously?
Agree with that Tom, unless you go along with the all things PCUSA are evil party line here, your comments disappear. Anything negative toward the PCUSA, even if hateful, petty, and mean spirited, will remain in perpetuity.
What a pedantic reply Mateen – lets leave religion out off it for a moment and just look at nature, human sexuality (for that matter all sexual adaptations in nature) exist on a continuum. It is not polar, black and white. Human sociology is clear that perceptions on the morality of natural human sexuality variance are generally constructed by and within a culture, often for reasons of control and conformity.
You look at me and see only broken, not sure that is what Christ sees, my friend
Pedantic? How so? I was simply using the terms provided by AndrewW’s “argument” to point out the illogical flow of his thought. You might want to leave “religion” out of it, but AndrewW wants to argue that “religion” is the source of the problem.
As for an appeal to nature and its “continuum” of shades of sexuality, I would remind you that the biblical world view is that with the fall of humanity into sin the natural world also suffered (and still does) confusion and disorientation. Looking at a fallen created order for guidance as to God’s will for human sexuality is a vicious circle.
James,you aren’t going to listen to anybody. You only come here to discuss your political beliefs. In fact, most people here come to discuss politics and attach Jesus to their way of thinking. So I’m not going to disagree with anybody, or even you for that matter. I’m just in hopes that you will agree that Jesus wins in the end. Because if you are more concerned with the rebel flag, then I’d say you are are here just to fetch an argument. So go to CNN or Fox and get your giggles there. But I will tell you this my friend, you need to shift your focus…as we all do.
Pretty sure Jesus sees the broken Jerry. That’s why He came. We’re all broken.