Orlando, “Homophobia”, Terrorism, & Slander

Orlando, “Homophobia”, Terrorism, & Slander June 13, 2016

MateenOmar

Omar Mateen: the jihadi / ISIS terrorist who killed 50 and wounded 53 in Orlando [You Tube video / Creative Commons You Tube license]

***

The mass murder in Orlando was detestable, outrageous, and abominable: unthinkably wicked: from the very pit of hell. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the victims and as Catholics, we can still pray for the dead victims, too.  May God comfort all of those who have been tragically affected by this evil act.

I knew as soon as I heard about the incident, that there would be the usual rumblings, trying to politicize it and make out that somehow, evil wicked “homophobic” (Christian) conservatives somehow were behind it. So I set out to find an article on the Patheos Atheist Channel that made that sort of a case. It didn’t take long (about half a second) to find one: “Orlando” by Callie Wright, of the Gaytheist Manifesto blog. Words from this piece will be in blue. I will interact with them as a Catholic Christian conservative / distributist, who upholds all of Catholic social teaching.

*****

Edit: Please read all the way through the end of this post. I posted this while angry and didn’t take the time to be as thoughtful as I should have, and in response to some of the fair criticism of the post, I’ve written an addendum at the end. I’m leaving the original for context

Fair enough, and understandable. I ask my readers to remember this, while reading, although the addendum doesn’t change things that much. If the original thoughts are now being at all rejected, then they should be edited and modified (or removed altogether): not merely left for “context”: with a relatively weak, clarifying addendum. But I do truly appreciate even this qualification, given the vitriolic nature of the piece.

50 people are dead, and 53 people have had their lives (probably) forever changed because some &%^$#@% got mad over two guys kissing.

This is ridiculously simplistic. The evil was perpetrated, not merely because someone didn’t like gay sex, but because of an evil terrorist ideology that seeks to kill anyone that disagrees with any of its planks. This time the target was homosexuals, because (one can argue) there are many Muslim countries that have death penalties for homosexual activities (e.g., Yemen, Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, some portions of Nigeria and Somalia), and that is a tie-in with the extremist jihadi Islamist terrorism (not representative of all Muslims!) that is plaguing the world. In other words, this is not fundamentally an act of one who “hates gays” but rather, of one who is a terrorist and hates anyone who has a different worldview. Hence, gays may have been the target in this instance, as a sub-group that is hated. But in virtually all of the other terrorist incidents, the target was simply Christians, or Jews, or Muslims who disagree with terrorism and its plank (Syrians or Iraqis or whomever). Those who have already been raped, tortured, beheaded, sold into slavery, or murdered by ISIS have been, I submit, overwhelmingly heterosexual.

this was an anti-gay hate crime driven at least partially by religious fundamentalism.

I would say it is an anti-gay hate crime in part (i.e., hatred of homosexuals is an important aspect of it), but that it was fundamentally driven by extremist jihadi terrorist views. The same sort of terrorism just occurred in Tel Aviv. There the target was simply people of Jewish ethnicity.

Before we jump on the Islam hate bandwagon, I want it to be made clear that this sort of thing is not even close to uniquely Islamic.

I have consistently maintained forever, that jihadi “Islamist” terrorism is not mainstream Islam, or properly described as “Muslim.” Rather, it is a fanatical, extremist corruption of Islam, just as the Jim Jones cult or other wackos are fanatical, extremist corruptions of Christianity. Thus, when something like this happens, my reaction has nothing to do with “hating Muslims or Islam.” I hate murder and terrorism. I do concede, however, that many are now equating Islam itself and jihadi terrorism in a way that is not helpful. I myself have not done this.

In fact, in the United States, the Christian right basically invented homophobia. Regardless of the shooter’s faith and whether or not his motivations we partially or even mostly religious, it is at the feet of the Christian right that I lay the blame for this tragedy.

Now here is where we go off into left field. Granted, there are people who hate homosexuals (as opposed to simply disagreeing with the practices) and/or wish them harm, but they are a tiny minority: not to be described in these ludicrous broad-brushed fashion as “the Christian right.” So the numbers are one thing. It’s also true that anyone who merely disagrees with homosexuality as normative, permissible behavior (according to Christianity and the Bible) is immediately branded as a hater and bigot by that fact alone. I know, from firsthand experience, and so do many others.

It remains true that one can disagree with what one regards as sinful behavior without at all “hating” the persons involved. Indeed, if that were not true, most Christian parents or siblings would “hate” their own family members (including even spouses) who don’t hold to all of Christian teachings, whether it is a question of cohabitation, or divorce, or contraception, or abortion, or disagreement with any number of things in Catholic or general Christian teaching: anything that goes against Christian teachings. But we don’t hate people for that. Only a small, extremist sector of so-called Christians actually hate people. But it’s an easy slogan to spout again and again. I wrote just three days ago on my blog:

[N]ot only has the definition of marriage been suddenly changed, but anyone who dares even object to that is immediately classed as a bigot. No one can disagree with the notion of unbounded homosexual practice without being accused as a hater and “homophobe.” This is beyond absurd: bizarrely ridiculous. I oppose the practices and redefinition of marriage but don’t have the slightest personal animosity towards any given homosexual person. To the contrary, I’ve always found them quite congenial and amiable and likable. . . . the coercion is in being essentially forced to accept these laws, or else be classified en masse as a bigot and hateful person.

Moreover, again, the fundamental motivating factor in play here is jihadi terrorism, period. One can always note a partial overlap with other views (hence, there is, with extremist “Christian” anti-homosexual types), but that doesn’t mean that the ones who share some trait are solely or primarily to blame. The writer later concedes this, it should be noted.

We can say (and rightfully so) that most people, regardless of their faith or lack thereof abhor the kind of violence we saw this morning.

This is the truest statement in the whole piece.

If you have ever publicly given credence to the idea that me using the same bathroom as you makes you less safe, I’m looking at you.

You can “look” at me all you like. It doesn’t change the fact of the argument currently being made against these ludicrous laws. To try to connect this with a supposed acceptance of mass murder is absolutely outrageous and brain-dead. I posted about the bathroom laws just three days ago. I explained how the resistance of, I think, many (if not most), to these laws, is not primarily to gay or even transgender people, but rather, to heterosexual child molesters and sex addicts etc.: potential exploiters of the law:

The objection to the bathroom nonsense is, of course, that it will be exploited by perverts, pretending to be transgender, so they can see naked women. So that is a violation of the right to privacy of our daughters, mothers, sisters, and wives, and girlfriends and female friends. . . . The main reply will likely be that we are exaggerating instances of exploitation of the law by perverts and child molesters, etc. Perhaps. Time will tell. But right now, I could say that I feel like I am a woman today and go to a woman’s locker room to watch all the naked women and girls, and according to this insane pseudo-law, no one could do anything about that.

Now how can this be classed as “homophobic” when my entire objection was focused on heterosexual men who want to look at naked women and use these ludicrous laws as an opportunity to do so?

If you’ve ever given credence to the idea that the gay agenda is harmful to our children, I’m looking at you.

For the most part, no, but I would note that there is such a group as NAMBLA: The North American Man-Boy Love Association. This is the extremist wing of the homosexual rights movement, just as there are extremist wacko groups claiming to be “Christian” which are not in fact Christian. And I would argue that when children are raised with parents of only one gender, it is harmful to their development, just as it is for children in one-parent homes, due to divorce or death. They need the role models of both biological genders. If that makes me a hater and a bigot, so be it (in terms of the false charges). I am not. This is simply Christian teaching, and backed up by secular sociological studies. If I’m a bigot, then so are President Obama and Hillary Clinton: both of whom opposed same-sex “marriage” just a few years ago. Once they saw that it was politically expedient to suddenly be in favor of it, they switched on a dime, as liberals always do.

If you’ve ever called being transgender a “delusion” that’s harmful to feed into, I’m looking at you.

I don’t believe that gender is subjectively fluid, but that it is determined by genetics and biology. This has nothing whatever to do with supposed necessary hatred of “transgender people” let alone some alleged condoning of the diabolical violence of Orlando. I had a perfectly amiable dialogue with a transgender person (also self-described atheist and Satanist!) on my blog, last August. I wrote in the introduction:

We disagreed about everything, but it’s supremely important to keep the lines of communication open and to be loving towards all human beings; always exercising charity. I tried my best to do that, and the entire discussion remained civil and congenial.

I summarized my view as follows:

1. I don’t hate anyone, and love all persons. Christians are called to love everyone as Christ loved us. If I met you, you would be as welcome in my home as anyone else, and treated no differently.

2. I profoundly disagree with the trans-gender / trans-sexual concepts.

3. #1 and #2 are not mutually exclusive.

4. Some Christians and moral traditionalists, unfortunately, do harbor hatred or prejudice towards various groups of people. I heartily condemn that.

5. I also condemn bigotry and prejudice coming our way from various groups of people. No one has a lock on hostility and bigotry.

We live in a culture where we condone hateful attitudes and then wash our hands when that hate inevitably leads to violence.

The only “hate” that directly led to mass murder here was jihadi terrorism.

We debate what can be done as a society and then do NOTHING.

A Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex “marriage” is hardly “NOTHING.” In one day, 2000 years of consistent Christian moral teaching about marriage was legally overthrown.

I don’t want my elected leader’s thoughts or their prayers. I want their vote. I want their action. I want them to do the job they were elected to do and act to keep me safe.

Then you better vote for Donald Trump this November. He has vowed to annihilate ISIS: who was behind this grisly murder. That’s been my position for as long as this group was known. I’ve read about their massacres of Christians over and over (on conservative sites), while the mainstream (liberal) media mostly ignored it. I’ve read about homosexuals being thrown off of buildings in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, on conservative news sites: all the while, the Clinton Foundation has made millions of dollars from countries that have these laws, and treat women abominably. In Saudi Arabia, women can’t drive, and have to have four male witnesses to prove that they have been raped.

ISIS arose because we left Iraq, leaving it wide open for this sort of thing, and because we refused to intervene in Syria before it was too late. President Obama and Hillary Clinton have been trying to deny the reality of this terrorism for the entire time. Hillary Clinton is at least partially responsible for four American deaths in Benghazi, and she lied (we know this beyond all doubt!) about the cause supposedly being a video, when in fact it was a planned terrorist incident. These lies were politically necessary because Obama at the time was pretending that his policy had led to a great decrease in terrorism in the Middle East. So they had to pretend it wasn’t terrorism at first, but instead, evil wicked Americans making fun of Islam in a video.

So if Callie or anyone reading this who may self-classify as gay or transgender wants to feel more safe from such attacks in the future, vote for Donald Trump, who will actually solve the problem (the cancer, the poison) at its roots. It’s manifest now, that Obama and liberal approaches to terrorism are not solving the problem. All of a sudden we’ve got Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino, and Orlando. The causes are the same for all four events. Trump will blow these terrorists off the face of the earth. Hillary may talk like that now, because (once again) it is politically expedient, but with politicians, we must always look at what they do and have done, not just what they say.

I will not be cowed by threats of violence or hateful bigots spouting bible verses at me from the side of the street.

It’s not Christians (real or alleged) who have just killed 50 gay people.

In defiance of their hate and in defiance of their theology, I WILL exist, and I will exist visibly.

This implies (typically) that any Christian who simply holds to traditional, biblical sexual morality is a hateful bigot. By this same “logic” I could just as easily hold that all atheists or all active homosexuals hate Christians and Christianity and are bigots. It’s clearly not true. That has to be judged on a case-by-case basis.

My life and the lives of those in the queer and trans community are precious, and I will not rest until they are treated as such.

Yes they are. I wish the lives of preborn babies were also regarded as precious by atheists and liberals: the vast majority of whom favor the torture and slaughter of these innocent children.

[the following is the Addendum potion of Callie’s article]

I say above that I lay the blame for this tragedy squarely at the feet of the American religious right. After taking a deep breath and doing some thinking, I realize that sort of misses the point.

Yes it does: by 100 miles. If any American faction is to blame for this, it is the American political left: for being apathetic and cowardly and hypocritically with regard to the alarming rise of global terrorism.

The fact is, this guy was a Muslim, and was apparently motivated by his faith to take the actions he did.

He was motivated by a corrupt perversion of the Islamic faith, to commit these outrages.

That fact has to be a part of this conversation. The homophobia and transphobia that exists in large swaths of Muslim communities, and indeed the violence they perpetrate against members of their own communities who are queer and/or trans must be a part of the conversation. We must be willing to call this what it is.

Congratulations! That’s more than Obama and Hillary Clinton have ever done. It’s Donald Trump who has sounded the alarm and raised questions against unchecked Muslim immigration: knowing that ISIS has infiltrated immigrants (as it has openly stated). And ISIS is actively recruiting American-born Muslims, to radicalize them, as was apparently the case again, with this crazed monster. Now, how do we find out about and prevent such things? Well, Trump was calling for a monitoring of mosques. That’s one way. But of course, in simply saying that, he was immediately trounced and denounced as “anti-Muslim” and “anti-Arab.” This is the culture we live in: the fruit of (well-meaning) liberal inanity and intellectual bankruptcy. We can’t fight crime at its roots because invariably there are absurd accusations of hatred, racism, Islamophobia, etc.

The broader point that I was trying to make, and I realize now I did a poor job of making it in typing furiously while angry as opposed to taking the time to think things through,

It’s never wise to write anything for public consumption while angry.

is that we live in a culture where the American religious right does allow and encourage these things to happen.

Really? So all Republicans and conservatives encourage the murder of 50 people? We’re all gung-ho about jihadi terrorism and egg it on? And this is supposed to be the Addendum that ratchets the rhetoric down and takes a calmer, more reasonable tone?

We MUST speak of this person and his motivations, and be willing to call them what they are. What we can’t afford to let slide is the fact that the religious right in our country has created a climate that is permissive, and even passive in these situations.

The first statement is true. The second is ludicrous. At best, only a tiny, tiny faction and fringe of the “right” has ever encouraged hatred, let alone murder. It’s like saying all white people are represented in spirit by the KKK. Even most who might actually be reasonably classified as “prejudiced” or “racist” would oppose their evil tactics and actions. This ridiculous broad-brushing is what makes things worse than they already are.

It’s the Christian right who has made guns so incredibly easy to obtain and fought tooth and nail against any attempt to address that.

That’s a completely separate issue, but again, it is patently obvious that if there was a good guy with a gun in this instance, he could have taken out the murderer and save potentially 40 or more lives. The guns ain’t the issue: it’s the people using them. If such a person had been there, he would have been proclaimed as a hero today. But the discourse in our society is so idiotic, that we keep talking in terms of banning guns, as if that would solve any of these problems. Is anyone so naive as to think that this monster could not have obtained a weapon, even if they were illegal? He could devise other ways to kill, anyway, like the (often self-constructed) bombs most terrorists use, or poisonous gas, etc. But heaven forbid that a liberal ever consider the root causes of things. No; every time an act of terror occurs, we have to talk about gun laws, rather than resolve to wipe these people off the face of the earth.

It is the Christian religious right that has made our culture so averse to criticizing bad religious ideas.

That is true in many cases, because people don’t know how to talk about religion constructively or intelligently, since so many Christians have a poor understanding of their own ostensible beliefs and how to defend their views. That is my field: apologetics (defense of Christianity and specifically Catholicism), and I’ve devoted my life to bringing about positive change in that area. I’ve defended atheists against stupid, bogus accusations from Christians and argued that they can possibly be saved. On the other hand, I’ve noted the obvious annoying phenomenon of the “irrationally angry and anti-Christian atheist.” It works both ways. Many of us say stupid stuff about atheists, and (very much) vice versa.

I grant that this criticism applies to Christians in sadly too many cases, but it is also true that no one dare criticize atheist ideas in atheist environments. To do so is to subject oneself to an avalanche of personal attacks and lame-brained “arguments” against Christianity (real or so-called; i.e., the straw man that so many atheists attack). Any Christian can visit an atheist page at Patheos to learn firsthand that this is true. In other words, I think it is a general human failing — not confined to Christians at all — for a group or worldview to not take kindly to outside criticism. Most people are too personally insecure for that. I know this very well, due to my experiences of 35 years of Christian apologetics and talking to thousands of people of many different views.

I think part of the disconnect here may be that I can’t see this as an isolated incident. As a member of the LGBTQ community, I can’t help but see this in the broader context of the violence perpetrated against us all too often by Christian religious extremists.

How many such incidents have occurred? How many have been killed? We desperately need to have a sense of proportion here. A few incidents, compared to one fanatic killing 50 people? Meanwhile, 3000 innocent human babies are being murdered legally every day in the US, and liberals keep talking about violence against everyone except the preborn baby . . . It’s just as bad being murdered if you are a baby in your mother’s womb, as it is being in a bar or a bus station or an airplane . . .

I am thankful, at least, that the word “extremist” is applied in this instance.

And I also can’t help but notice the people who are ready to dogpile when a Muslim does it, who were largely silent when it’s someone with other motivations.

I didn’t notice any difference when it was a far right extremist nut, Timothy McVeigh, doing the Oklahoma City bombing. He got the death penalty. The guy who dragged a black man with his car, till the poor victim died, also received the death penalty in Texas, under Governor George W. Bush. The legitimate political right is consistent about terrorism and hate crimes (decrying all such instances, no matter whom the victims may be). The political left is not.

I can’t help but wonder, though if simply the opportunity to jump on Islam is the reason people are speaking out so voraciously in this case when other violence against us goes so largely ignored in broader society.

In my case, as noted, it is not a matter of an opportunity to rail against Islam, since I believe this is a gross perversion of Islam. I’m against all violence and murder. I am in favor of taking strong action against those who commit such crimes. Police action and self-defense and just war are not unethical acts of murder, but rather, ethical use of force.

I think, at the end of the day, what I blame the Christian right in the US for is not this specific situation, but the fact that I was not shocked or surprised by any of this.

That’s because you see it as merely another example of “ant-gay hatred.” I wasn’t surprised in the least, either, but I see it as primarily an example and result of evil terrorist hatred, directed towards anyone who disagrees with it: one sub-group of which is gay people.

I blame the Christian right for the fact that we can’t just call this a horrible tragedy and move on.

Only extremist nuts would deny that it is a horrible tragedy. But here we have this broad-brushing of every Christian who is a political conservative. This is what causes further division and rancor, when one insists on making things worse than they actually are, and calling people names and saying false things about them.

This attack was spectacular in its scope, but it is far from an isolated incident. I blame the Christian right for the fact that I know there will be more of these, and that it won’t just be Muslims committing these acts of violence.

Well, this is what we always hear. It’s almost as if the radical gay activists wish some supposedly “Christian” or “right-wing” nut will do something like this, so that they can use the example forever as a way to tar all Christians with responsibility. It hasn’t happened. this is the mass murder against gay people, and it came from a radical jihadist, not a Christian. The danger to gay people as people (i.e., danger to their very lives), comes from this quarter, not from Christianity.

ADDENDUM

Now news reports are saying that the murderer was gay. That puts a new twist on it. So he wasn’t a Christian, right-wing homophobe; he was a Muslim gay person. What is it, then: self-hatred? Once he went fanatical jihadi he had to “diss” this aspect of himself? This flips all the politically correct spin and talking points about homophobia on its head, to say the least. See:

Ex-wife’s bombshell claim: Club shooter was gay (New York Post, 6-13-16)

Orlando shooter Omar Mateen was gay, former classmate says (Palm Beach Post, 6-14-16)

Orlando gunman had used gay dating app and visited LGBT nightclub on other occasions, witnesses say (Los Angeles Times, 6-14-16)

Witness: Omar Mateen had been at Orlando gay nightclub many times (Orlando Sentinel, 6-14-16)

*****

Meta Description: Critique of an article from a transgender atheist & gay activist, that sought to blame right-wing Christianity for the massacre in Orlando.

Meta Keywords: Gay & lesbian issues, gay rights, LGBT, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, bathroom laws, Orlando massacre, Orlando terrorist incident, homophobia, right-wing hatred, sex change, gender, transgender, ISIS, terrorism, Donald Trump, jihadi terrorism, Islamist terrorism

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