Saturday, June 25, 2016

Running for cover

In an insanely angry and bitter polemic, Steve Weatherbe, a Canadian, floats the notion (at LifeSiteNews.com of course) that the Orlando shooting was the result of the shooter having had bad sex with a Latino?
Now that Orlando mass killer Omar Mateen’s alleged homosexual lover has come forward to claim Mateen was taking vengeance against Hispanic gays after being badly treated in carnal relations, we can have a new place to categorize the shocking event: gay-on-gay violence.
This stems from some anonymous guy who made an appearance on Univision wearing a disguise using the pseudonym Miguel, who claims to have had an affair with the shooter. According to the story, the shooter thought that he had been infected with HIV by someone else, a Puerto Rican who did not reveal his HIV status. Mateen tested negative for HIV but was still worried that it might show up in a few months. He was so pissed off that he purchased an assault rifle and planned what became an enormous massacre in which he would probably die. Sure.

The FBI has found absolutely no evidence to support any of this. They searched the shooter's computer and phone and they traced his whereabouts using cell tower pings. The FBI has concluded that the shooter was not leading a double life of some sort. Weatherbe is embracing an unsupported theory because it is a narrative that he likes. I will get back to Weatherbe in a moment but there are, in my mind, three elements to the Orlando shooting:
  1. Jihad: The shooter claimed allegiance to ISIS which is an Islamic death cult.
  2. Homophobia: Gay lives have been significantly devalued. Since LifeSiteNews (a conservative Catholic outlet) is at issue, I will note that the Catholic Church is the world's largest purveyor of anti-gay mythology. Conservative Islamists are wed to similar beliefs about gay people. In both cases they are slaves to ancient chronicles of dubious provenance. Whether or not the Orlando incident involved self-hate we will never know but the instigators remain the same. The Church makes it easier to murder people who are “objectively disordered.” In the mind of a fanatic he might even be doing society a favor by eliminating some gay people—including himself if he “struggles with same-sex attraction.” We already know that a great deal of homophobia (in the true sense of the word) resides in people who are insecure regarding their sexual orientation. Where does that insecurity come from?
  3. Guns—WMD: We permit people to purchase weaponry that was designed for the military. Moreover, we allow people to arm those weapons with large capacity magazines, vastly increasing their killing ability. Orlando demonstrates just how lethal these things are.
En Masse conservative Christians and gun rights advocates are loudly proclaiming their total innocence. On the floor of the House yesterday Rep. Louie Gohmert (yeah, Crazy Louie) was screaming, literally yelling, at the gun control advocates that guns had nothing to do with the Orlando massacre. According to Gohmert it was just an act of radical Islamic terrorism. That brings me back to Mr. Weatherbe who no longer has a working kitchen sink:
Now we have gay-on-gay violence as an explanation. Gays are supposed to be the victims here, of course, and in that vein we were treated in cities and towns across America, the world and here in my home town in Canada to candlelight memorials where homosexuals and their supporters played the victim card to the nth degree.
Weatherbe is clearly not very fond of gay people. This is not an explanation, it is just a conspiracy theory without substance. Even if the shooter was bisexual, what difference does it make? Hate and self-hate are the result of the same homophobia.
We are all sorry for their loss but we are not all feeling guilty for something a Muslim jihadist with unresolved homosexual appetites did in a jilted lover’s rage.
This guy doesn't sound very sorry and he is only adding to the problem with this kind of homophobic rhetoric about “unresolved homosexual appetites.” Moreover, at least stick to the crazy conspiracy theory which does not posit a “jilted lover's rage.” For that matter, stating unproven theory as fact is downright idiotic. The tirade of hate continues:
Meanwhile we look in vain for examples of Christians blowing up Muslim buses, or bombing gay clubs. LifeSiteNews recently ran a piece on how homosexuals were being killed by their fellow gays inadvertently by infecting them with fatal diseases through unprotected sex.
Gays are just terrible, unclean perverts. We get it. And it continues ad nauseum:
But there is intentional injury too, as revealed in the National Violence Against Women survey, and reported in The Advocate in 2014: “21.5 percent of men and 35.4 percent of women living with a same-sex partner experienced intimate-partner physical violence in their lifetimes, compared with 7.1 percent and 20.4 percent for men and women, respectively, with a history of only opposite-sex cohabitation. Transgender respondents had an incidence of 34.6 percent [of intimate partner violence] over a lifetime according to a Massachusetts survey.”
Oh those gays are just terrible. In the same article the CDC’s 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, released again in 2013 with new analysis, reports … the lifetime prevalence of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner was 43.8 percent for lesbians, 61.1 percent for bisexual women, and 35 percent for heterosexual women, while it was 26 percent for gay men, 37.3 percent for bisexual men, and 29 percent for heterosexual men (this study did not include gender identity or expression). According to the CDC gay men experience less violence than heterosexual men (presumably being attacked by women). Domestic violence is a serious problem for all.

And what does any of this have to do with Orlando? It goes further adrift:
You can well imagine that there are plenty of people willing to blame this all on heterosexuals. Gays are violent, say some scholars, because they are internalizing the loathing of the dominant “heteronormative” culture, then turning this outward on those nearest and dearest—their same sex paramours. Similarly the high rates of violence shown by women towards children is blamed by doctrinaire feminists on male oppression while modern day jihadists blame their actions on Christian crusaders of the 11th century and Marxists blame all violence on the alienation of the worker from the products of his labour.
But gays aren't violent, at least not provably more violent than their heterosexual counterparts. The continuing day-to-day homophobia that gay people experience from people like Weatherbe is somehow comparable to Jihadists blaming the Crusades? It is absurd. Weatherbe eventually concludes:
The Christian is called to overcome the Fall as best we can, first by admitting our own responsibility for creating it and then by trying to follow God’s design for our lives. Using the Orlando massacre as an opportunity to target a group for partisan advantage takes us dangerously close to casting the first stone.
This has nothing to do with “partisan advantage” which suggests an effort to exploit the tragedy. Whether or not this is “dangerously close to casting the first stone” is entirely irrelevant. In the Christian context of that expression gay people (those who are believers) are not suggesting that they are sinless. It is irrelevant.

There are two things that we can, and should, do in response to the Orlando massacre:

1. We would suggest to people of all faiths that they consider some of the rhetoric that they use regarding gay people. At least one Catholic Bishop (Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg) has expressed this sentiment. He concludes with:
While deranged people do senseless things, all of us observe, judge and act from some kind of religious background. Singling out people for victimization because of their religion, their sexual orientation, their nationality must be offensive to God’s ears. It has to stop…
I have no problem with the Catholic Church expecting adherents to refrain from gay sex. People can make a decision. However, I think it is irresponsible for the Church to teach that gay people are objectively disordered. This teaching comes not from social or medical scientists but from theologians who lack the erudition to arrive at that conclusion which, in point of fact, is contrary to scientific research. The Church is subjecting a minority group to loathing and, in some cases, self-loathing. This is where faith and superstition become inseparable.

Frankly we have gotten just the opposite from those who should engage in the most introspection. In an effort to avoid any responsibility for Orlando they have engaged in a torrent of anti-gay bombast just like Mr. Weatherbe. LGBT people in this country experience an extraordinary level of violence just because they are gay or transgender.Where is all of that hate coming from?

2. We need to have a serious discussion in this country about our own WMD. Unfortunately we have a number of people in Congress who are employees of the NRA and the NRA has become irrational. We are not going to have a constructive conversation until we change the composition of Congress.

One of the problems with outlets like LifeSiteNews.com is that they don't offer counterpoint. When people are not required to defend their points of view they become easily unhinged (at least in their writing).  In the final analysis Weatherbe's piece (and I have no idea who this guy is) is highly inflammatory. It is the precise opposite of his intended purpose. This is the kind of hyperbole that leads people to believe that their gay neighbors are less as people. I think we have seen what that can lead to.

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