With Omar Mateen By Proxy

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On June 12, 2016, a mass shooting hate crime occurred inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The shooting resulted in a total of 102 casualties including 49 deaths. The massacre was deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in United States history. It was also the deadliest incident of violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex people, as well as their allies, in the history of the United States, surpassing the 1973 UpStairs Lounge arson attack. President Obama described the massacre as an “act of hate.”

This massacre didn’t happen in a vacuum. Omar Mateen was fostered by a toxic combination largely rooted in religious absolutism, self-hatred, mental issues, media illiteracy and easy access to semi automatic weapons.

In allegiance with him, by proxy, are people and organizations like:

Are you seeing pattern?

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You can believe in God and still be a tolerant individual.

It is not your responsibility to persecute in the name of God.

You can also believe in God and still be a critical thinker.

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Nick Gier, Professor Emeritus at the University of Idaho has noted that Jesus says nothing specific about the sin of homosexuality anywhere in the Gospels. Sodomy as a term for sexual sin began to be commonly used only in the 11th century. Early religious commentators attributed Sodom’s problems with God to many different causes, including idolatry, threats toward strangers and general lack of compassion for the downtrodden. Ezekiel 16:49 advocates that Sodomites “had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.”

Islam, like Judaism and Christianity, is an Abrahamic religion. Jesus is mentioned in the Qur’an as a prophet. The Qur’an provides the basis of Islamic beliefs and law, yet does not provide clear answers to questions surrounding homosexuality. Homosexuality existed in Pre-Islamic, Arab society, not unlike Ancient Greece, and played a vital role in some of the early religions. Nicole Kligerman, in the Macalester Islam Journal, noted that Islamic repression of homosexuals may not have always been prevalent and that Western influences may have created a greater social stigma against homosexuality.

William Shakespeare, in The Merchant of Venice, brilliantly noted that, “the devil can cite scripture for his purpose.” If you believe that a person is going to hell because they identify as LGBTQIA, then that is their business and let God deal with it. An infinite and all-powerful God of love should be able to protect himself and continue to thrive. Whenever religion and violence collaborate, no human being is safe.

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