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It’s Not About Religion, It’s About Hate

Okay, it’s time to be honest here…

In keeping with my basic philosophy, I never use the names of mass shooters, but that will work great in this case. For the sake of this article, let’s call him Biff.

Biff was born in the United States from parents who were from Asia. He grew up here, in the United States. He wasn’t “sent here,” by anyone. He was raised in a culture that featured a strict view of “morality,” including the idea that God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. Men were supposed to be with women, not other men. He was troubled by the so-called “loosening” of morals in America and the acceptance of same-sex couples troubled him so deeply that he decided to look into a group of religious extremists who wanted to stop this rampant threat and he made overtures to them, which caught the attention of law enforcement. However, he hadn’t yet committed a crime, so there wasn’t much they could do.

This is a guy who always seemed pissed off. He smacked his girlfriend around when he wasn’t having sex with her. He wanted to become a cop but realized he didn’t like the laws as they stood, so he joined “law enforcement” by becoming a security guard. Then, he’d heard that June was Pride Month, meaning those immoral “faggots” would be kissing and touching each other all over the place. God, he hated those people. That goddamn “LGBT Mafia” needed to pay.

Can you see where I’m going with this?

Except for the mass shooting part, when you take away the knowledge that this guy had Afghan parents and was a Muslim, we have all met this asshole. He is usually white, wears a “wife beater,” can usually be seen nipping from a long-neck bottle of beer – you know, because it keeps the beer colder and doesn’t make it taste funny – as he sits around listening to Rush and Savage and watching Fox News and bitching about every group of people to whom he convinces himself he is superior, despite the lack of evidence.

Really, what difference does it make that he made overtures to Daesh/ISIL rather than the KKK?

The issue is hate, people. Well, guns and hate, but I talked about guns yesterday. We have to do something about both. Of course, we need better gun laws, but the hate is at least as important. The first thing we have to do is get rid of this idea that everyone who is not like you belongs an “other” group. Really, what’s the difference between extremist Christians and extremist Muslims when you get right down to it? These days, it seems as if extremist Muslims are more lethal, but over the last 2000 years, extremist Christians haven’t been better.  On the one hand, you have disparate groups of thugs masquerading as devout Muslims setting off bombs and killing innocent people. On the other hand, it was disparate groups of “Christian” thugs who kept slavery alive for 250 years and kept Jim Crow alive for another century. And let’s not even get into the incidents of Christian-led genocide on several continents.

Hate is hate, people.

We have come a long way over the last couple of decades when it comes to the legal acceptance of same-sex marriage and the proliferation of laws protecting LGBT people that have popped up in cities and states. However, it is not enough. It is still far too acceptable to express hatred toward gay people and to advocate for denying them their rights. A government official refusing to issue marriage licenses, claiming “religious freedom,” a baker refusing to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple because they claim the same ridiculous notion, and a guy violating gay people’s right to life are only different as a matter of degree. If you’re an anti-LGBT bigot, should you be given an award because you don’t kill them? If Biff here had only gone in and beaten some club goers for being gay, it would have been less tragic, of course, but it would have still been wrong and we have to stop enabling that. Of course, we should also realize that we do enable that.

If you refer to the gay rights movement as the “LGBT Mafia,” or you claim some sort of “religious right” to deny gay people their rights, or even if all you do it tell “fag jokes” and make fun of the stereotypes, you are enabling hate. You are feeding into the type of atmosphere that leads extremists to think it’s okay for them to do nasty things to gay people. It’s time that crap stops. Everyone is entitled to his or her rights – all of them – and they are not subject to anyone’s approval. If you advocate for laws that make it okay to deny LGBT people a job, or access to the things they need to have a good life, you enable an anti-gay bigot. And while not everyone will take out a weapon and shoot 100 people, you help make it more likely that atrocities will occur.

If America is going to live up to its promise, we have to accommodate and make sure everyone feels free, including those of whom you don’t approve. No, scratch that – especially those of whom you do not approve.

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  1. Pedantic though it may be, I really do think religion is the problem. It just doesn’t matter what the specific religion is.

    Obviously, not all Muslims and Christians are extremists, but religion does provide a convenient way of sanctifying tribalism and justifying hatred of the other. And you can’t argue or reason with religion about how this isn’t “truly” how the religion is supposed to be, because religion is authoritarian when you come down to it. You don’t question its central tenants, because the tenants are supposed be accepted without reflection or reason. The only disagreement stems from what the authority is *really* telling you to do.

  2. Great article. I agree the root of all of this is hate. The problem with this scenario here though is I also feel that this killer was himself gay and due to his upbringing could never really live in his truth thus this mess. But it’s definitely best to just agree to disagree instead of all of this hatred otherwise things like this will continue to happen.

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