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Est. April 5, 2002
June 16, 2016 - Issue 658

Targeted Act of a Terrorist’s Hate

"Sadly, we can’t change the hearts of people,
like Mateen, as quickly as we would like to.
However, we can change his behavior or, at
least, make him accountable for his behavior
with laws in place to protect not only himself
but also the American citizenry."

June is LGBTQ pride month and parades and festivities abound month-long. Pride 2016 is particularly important because it marks the one-year anniversary of “Obergefell v. Hodges,” the historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

Boston Pride was last week with its signature Pride Parade extravaganza on Saturday. Come Sunday morning I woke up to the devastating news of the Orlando club massacre where the gunman, Omar Mateen, killed 49, and injured 53 LGBTQ revelers and allies who just happened to be patrons at Pulse on its most popular club night, which is Latin Night.

Pulse, like most LGBTQ nightclubs across the country, was more than just a place to dance and drink. Nightclubs functions as multiple sites for the LGBTQ community where we can communion and have community away from the glaring and disapproving eyes of family, church and society, even in 2016.

When an act of violence is targeted toward the LGBTQ community it usually  happens by an  individual or several assailants like in Matthew Shepard’s case that has come back to haunt and/or hurt us. And the person could be “gay curious,” meaning he or she is questioning his or her sexuality, but is doing it in the most inappropriate  and self-loathing way by gay bashing or in this case killing gays. This person can also “gay cruise”  by going to gay clubs or use gay dating apps like Mateen did to gay bash  for his pleasure or for an organization like Isis.

In explaining the probable reason for the carnage his son created, Mateen’s father, Mir Seddique, shared with news media an incident in Miami months before the nightclub shooting where his son witnessed two gay males kissing that repulsed and outraged him, especially since it was done in the presence of both his wife and son.

Also, in trying to deflect attention away from Islamophobes who easily blame everything disapproving a Muslim does on the religion Mir Seddique flat out stated that his son’s attack had nothing to do with religion. And, Muslim groups worldwide followed suit in condemning the act.

Anti-gay theology is not particular to Islam. While the Quran has scriptures condemning homosexuality so, too, does the Christian Bible.

For example, although the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of marriage equality many Republicans still think marriage should be between one woman and one man, because somewhere in their scriptures or holy imagination it says marriage is between “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” And their opposition to last June’s SCOUS decision wasn’t as hatefully demonstrative and obstructively cynical as that of Kim Davis - the now infamous Kentucky County clerk who not only refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples but she also forbade her co-workers to do so, too.

As a born again Christian, Davis cited that her First Amendment rights protected her actions. And with a movement afoot with bills called “Religious Freedom Restoration Acts’ (RFRA) looking to codify LGBTQ discrimination Christianity doesn’t get a pass, either.

“There’s such a cognitive dissonance for me when public officials ask us to pray when the majority of world religions promote anti-LGBT theology,” said Eliel Cruz, executive director of Faith in America, an organization that attempts to end the harm to LBGT youths it says is caused by religious teachings. “This isn’t isolated to Muslim beliefs. It’s seen in Christianity and it’s just as deadly,” added Cruz, a former RNS columnist.

There’s a sundry of intersectional and confounding factors that appear to attribute to Mateen’s murderous act- mental illness, homophobia, fear of coming out, anti-gay theology, and no doubt his allegiance to Isis, to name a few. Sadly, we can’t change the hearts of people, like Mateen, as quickly as we would like to. However, we can change his behavior or, at least, make him accountable for his behavior with laws in place to protect not only himself but also the American citizenry.

G.O.P. presidential hopeful Donald Trump calls for a ban on Muslims entering the US in the wake of this recent shooting, which is absurd, especially in light of the fact that Mateen was born here.

Gun reform continues to be that hot button issue as a country we can’t seem to budge on. And, recent polling suggests support for reform continues to decline.

Aside from the two handguns Mateen had on his person he also had an AR-15, the same semiautomatic rifle used during the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in 2012, and the December holiday party in San Bernardino in 2015.

Recent gun data illustrates there are 88 guns per 100 people. And, a country like Yemen deemed as a terrorist county the data shows there are 55 guns per 100 people. Just one day after the Orlando shooting, Smith & Wesson, one of the largest gun manufacturers in the country founded in 1852 in Springfield,MA had a 7 percent rise in their stock shares.

Obama has attended nineteen of these mass shootings since his tenure as president. His twentieth was aborted the same day as the Orlando shooting when Santa Monica police stopped a man with weapons heading to L.A. gay pride parade. Editorial Board member and Columnist, The Rev. Irene Monroe, is a religion columnist, theologian, and public speaker. She is the Coordinator of the African-American Roundtable of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (CLGS) at the Pacific School of Religion. A native of Brooklyn, Rev. Monroe is a graduate from Wellesley College and Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University, and served as a pastor at an African-American church before coming to Harvard Divinity School for her doctorate as a Ford Fellow. She was recently named to MSNBC’s list of 10 Black Women You Should Know. Reverend Monroe is the author of Let Your Light Shine Like a Rainbow Always: Meditations on Bible Prayers for Not’So’Everyday Moments. As an African-American feminist theologian, she speaks for a sector of society that is frequently invisible. Her website is  Contact the Rev. Monroe and BC. 




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Executive Editor:
David A. Love, JD
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Peter Gamble

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