Monday, June 12, 2017

A terribly sad anniversary

Today marks the first anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida. It is a sobering reality and memory. The carnage — 49 murdered, 53 injured — is too great for us to properly process. While the scale of the slaughter is difficult to adequately appreciate, it is all too easy to assign blame to one deranged individual.

The Pulse massacre reminds us that we are "fair game" in the minds of some people. Our vulnerability is supposedly divinely inspired. The underlying motive for the deadliest mass shooting in this country by a lone gunman is that it was sanctioned by some deity as detailed in ancient scrolls written by human beings.

In precisely two weeks, June 26, we can celebrate the second anniversary of the ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges and the fourth anniversary of United States v. Windsor but first we must deal with the sad reality of the Pulse massacre.

On a daily basis, numerous hate groups motivate people to violence on behalf of their god. Last Friday, for example, I received an email from Alliance Defending Freedom. ADF claims that laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity are unfair to Christians who apparently have a "right" to discriminate granted by ancient texts. That manufactured right supercedes the certain rights of LGBT citizens to live life unafraid and to be treated fairly and equally.

If religious conservatives have a right to discriminate then we are second class citizens. If they are denied that right by laws and ordinances then they have "justified" anger towards lawmakers and the LGBT people that they chose to protect. What are the limits of that anger? We do not know but we do know that people do violence to LGBT people on a regular basis. Rather than 102 casualties, as at Pulse, it is one at a time and it does not receive the same attention. The cumulative carnage is appalling.

Two or three times every week, Brian S. Brown uses inflammatory language regarding his personal opposition to same-sex marriage. While, after two years nationally, it has no effect on him or anyone other than the gay couples thus betrothed, Brown frames marriage equality as a grave injustice. The basis for Brown's ire is the fact that the Catholic Church does not appove of gay people and their marriages. Could Brown's untethered polemics anger someone to the point of violence? Perhaps. Do they inspire people to treat us uncivilly. You bet! Although he is a cynic trying to raise money, Brown motivates and excuses discrimination; perhaps violence.

According to the teachings of the Catholic Church we are "objectively disordered." Trans folks are "gender confused." Do they not comprehend that their defiance of medical science comes at a cost to LGBT people? What behavior towards LGBT people are they excusing or even motivating?

The unhinged Tony Perkins at Family Research Council reminds us several times each week that LGBT people are not the equal of cisgender heterosexuals. The seemingly deranged Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel seems to think that he had the right to abet a custodial kidnapping in order to frustrate the court-ordered visitation rights of a lesbian parent. Staver also thought that it was perfectly appropriate recently to publicly assail a dedicated teacher whose only real offense was being a lesbian. Priests who write for LifeSiteNews relate the outrage du jour to their constituents. They are routinely incensed over some measure of decency afforded LGBT people.

All of this salacious hyperbole comes at a cost. What happened at Pulse has not served as a deterent. How much blood will be sufficient to at least motivate some introspection? Some of these holier-than-thou moralists are sociopaths who project their visceral hatred of LGBT people. These same people have created enough human sacrifice to sate any god. LGBT people are victims of violence every day. Yet, when will the next Pulse massacre occur? When it does happen it will be at the hands of people like Brown, Perkins, Staver and some folks at the Vatican. The butcher's bill continues to grow. An ocean of blood does not engender moderation.

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