By Bob Schneider,
The shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando is a hate crime. The LGBT community is the target. I’m not using the past tense verb was rather the present tense, because the LGBT community still is a target. A natural born American Citizen carried out the attack. ISIS taking credit for the attack does not change those fundamental facts.
This is a time we should be standing in national unity against the evil that attacked a singled out group of people just because they are different than the attacker.
Instead, we are using it for more division, and political narratives that do not address terrorism, hate, and the threat America faces from abroad that has found its way onto our own shores. Orlando is being used for the same tired old partisan politics and political hate spewing.
We have to resist allowing the narrative to be hijacked.
Why do we have to resist allowing it to be hijacked? Because a basic human right, a human dignity is at stake, the right to be who you are without fear of persecution or attack. That is getting lost in the wake of the horror, and it dishonors the victims of the attack if we allow it to get lost.
Dr. Martin Luther King wrote in his book Strength To Love, “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
We have home grown haters we need to work on. Some Christians, most notably Pastor Steven L. Anderson of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Phoenix, Arizona, took to YouTube and Twitter to applaud the murders.
He proclaimed “50 less sodomites” in the world, laced with references to pedophilia, a lie commonly told by those who are filled with hate for homosexual males.
Think about this for a moment, here is a man who says he is a loyal American, an observant Christian whose hate for people who are members of the LGBT community is greater than his hate for Islamic Terrorism. He is calling murder and terrorism God’s Judgement.
Whatever happened to Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged? Whatever happened to the Third Commandment, Thou Shalt Not Take The Lord’s Name in Vain? It appears bigots are trying to do God’s job for Him and doing it badly.
Given those kinds of statements, it’s hard to see the difference in attitude between ISIS, the Taliban, and Fundamentalists Christians like Pastor Anderson. While the Pastor may not be calling it holy if his flock kills members of the LGBT Community, he is fostering hate against them none the less.
That is the nature of those who hate, though. Hate is transformative and it warps an individual so that they start calling evil good and good evil. They celebrate the destruction of life even if they didn’t pull the trigger.
We have other hijackers.
The Hate Obama crowd is out in full force. The right-wing media has the hate machine on high speed in the wake of the tragedy.
I read one well-known writer who stated, “Obama can barely say the words Islam and Terror in the same sentence.”
Why should he?
When a Black Church was burned by the KKK in South Carolina, I didn’t read about Christian Terrorism. Those crosses the KKK burns are Christian symbols if you don’t know what the cross stands for. There is no difference between lighting up a cross, and a terrorist yelling “Allahu Akbar”.
Blaming Obama for the events in Orlando is the same thing as blaming the rooster for the sunrise.
We live in a free society. There are people who are suspicious who have dangerous beliefs and it is their right to have them. The day we have the thoughts police is the end of us being a free society. We can’t blame President Obama for behaving in a manner consistent with the Constitution of the United States which is what I see some of his critics complaining about today.
Because someone has been investigated as suspicious does not make them guilty. You have to commit a crime in a free society to have your rights taken from you. If you can have rights taken from you based on suspicion then it is no longer a free society.
This is the fear narrative, and it is exactly what ISIS wants. One of the things totalitarian regimes hate about us the most is our dedication to freedom, yet I see people yearning to hand freedom over to the government in gaining a false sense of security.
Why a false sense of security? That leads to the next group of hijackers, the gun crowd.
This is the crowd who takes the events of the day and before the bodies are removed from the scene starts calling for gun control. I don’t own guns and have no desire to own a gun. But the event in Orlando is not about guns and should not be made about guns.
It is about the murder of members of the LGBT community because they are not heterosexual. It is about hate of people and depriving them of their ultimate right and that focus is being lost with the gun debate.
This is a community that suffers discrimination and there is not one law that protects them and now they have been singled out for murder by religious zealots, and their plight is being pushed aside.
I have sympathy for the gun narrative, however, it does not address the issues at hand. To focus on the gun is to not focus on the hate, and the hate is the real issue. It is a surrender to our enemies, an “I give up”.
People also tend to want simple solutions to complex questions and this is not a simple question that a law will easily fix.
Do I think gun laws are too lax? Yes, I do. Do I detest assault rifles? I think their purpose is in their name and are a great tool for the military and the police and I am glad we have them for those two purposes.
If you think tighter gun laws would have stopped ISIS you are being naïve. ISIS will find a way, whether it is to steal them, or smuggle them to their agents inside the USA, they will find a way to put the weapons they need into their member’s hands. We have seen ISIS put weapons in the hands of their agents in Europe where gun laws are the most restrictive in the World.
To say it would have stopped the attack is wishful thinking. Should it be made harder to lay your hands on such weapons? Without question but that is not the issue for this time.
The issue is the LGBT community is targeted for hate and murder and that is being lost. America still is under the threat of terrorism from ISIS, the Taliban, and Al Qaeda and that is being lost. All these other agendas are being pushed forward and the basic agendas are getting lost.
The biggest agenda being pushed forward is hate. That is the most dangerous issue because it makes us just like them.
We need to turn the tide of hate into a tide of love. We need to put aside our hate and reach out to Orlando, and to those who live in fear even if they have a lifestyle different than us if they have a different religion than us.
I read on Facebook post after post “deport all Muslims”. That is hate talking, and ISIS wants you to say that and feel that way. It is their recruiting poster. They can use those statements and say, “see, they hate you, they want to destroy your life. You must destroy them.” They will get new recruits from your words.
There is a redemptive power in love. I noticed in the FBI Press Conference there was an Imam from an Orlando Islamic Center who condemned the act. I haven’t read much about his statement in the press who seem to be so focused on other issues.
Muslims are speaking out against terrorism, against hate, and against the perversion of their religion. We aren’t bothering to listen to them and think their silence is consent. They aren’t silent. We are deaf to their words.
ISIS, The Taliban, and Al Qaeda depend on our hate to gain new members. If we want to defeat them, deny them their recruiting tool. Curb the hate.
Love is stronger than hate. Hate will not win in the end, and history has shown it never wins in the end. Neither will force. Love is the most powerful tool we have at our disposal, and we need to put the tool to work. Stop hating; start reaching out, and we will win in the long run. It may not be tomorrow, it may not be easy, but we will win.