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This Month's Scripture Verse:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Reflections On The Mass Shooting In Orlando

The most recent mass shooting will see two sets of perpetrators and  victims. The first perpetrator is the person who pulled the trigger while the first set of victims are those who were shot as well as their family members and loved ones. The second set of perpetrators consists of those who will use this atrocity to further their agenda by trying to manipulate people into accepting their viewpoints. The second set of victims are those who pay the price for the passing of that  agenda.

Regarding the first set of victims, unfortunately, this massacre stands in a long line of attacks made against the LGBT community. Physical violence has for a long time been one way by which some straights have shown hatred for gays. Another way some have shown hatred is through the laws they pass or propose. It isn't that all who support such laws do so out of hatred; but some do.  And it is time that we quit hating homosexuals.

Yes, the Scriptures speak strongly against  homosexuality. But it is the inflating of the differences of what the Bible says about heterosexuals and homosexuals which is behind how some give themselves permission to hate and hurt gays. And real people are hurt or even killed simply because of how some give themselves permission to hate. We could also note that when we attack those in the LGBT community, heteroseuxal friends and family members of those gays who are attacked become collateral damage. So it isn't just the actual gay victims who are hurt when these attacks take place.

In addition, those who inflate the differences between homosexuality and heterosexuality forget that though some are wrong on homosexuality according to the Bible, everyone in the LGBT community  is made in the Image of God as much as anyone else. In addition, they forget the many contributions that those from the LGBT community continue to make to all of our lives both as individuals and as they live in society.

Regarding the second set of victims, they could include Muslims who would never even think of practicing violence. This is because one presidential candidate might use the mass shooting as a justification for writing laws that target Muslims. Or we could consider potential victims those who feel the effects of calls for extreme gun regulations. It is difficult to identify these victims because some who take a conservative approach defending gun rights by spreading rumors causing the rest to believe that the government will now step in to confiscate all of our weapons. Such fear-mongering sabotages the writing and passing of sensible gun regulations by the elected officials. Then those who die because our nation has yet to properly respond to mass shootings could be included in the second set of victims.

Perhaps we can  reduce the number of future times violence is exercised against a group by striving to properly live and work with those with whom we strongly disagree. We need to learn how to share society with such people as equals. In particular, Christians need to learn how to share society with those in the LGBT community as equals. That despite our differences in views and practices, we need to commit ourselves to sharing society with them as equals. And that means that not only do we press our own demands when we are socially and politically active, we do the same for those from the most vulnerable groups be protected from violence and marginalization. Thus, we must press the demands for equality for the LGBT community in society. We must do that for them regardless of any disagreements we might have.

In addition, and this is a related by side note, some kinds of sharing also needs to happen in our poorer urban communities so as to reduce or even eliminate the sense of economic hopelessness that permeates certain parts of our cities. Such sharing will have beneficial effects in lowering violence and help kids in worthwhile ventures such as education.

The kind of sharing that is needed has a prerequisite of being concerned for others. And without nuturing a culture of having concern for others outside our own individual groups  we will be unable to reduce the violence and marginalization that non favored groups in society experience. And this is how we can best follow up on this latest mass shooting. Yes, we should try to comfort the victims and reexamine what could have been done to prevent this atrocity. But after that, we need to nuture a culture of having concern for others. Such a culture could not interfere with reducing gun violence in the future.

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