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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Orlando and Beyond

I don't really know what to say at this point. A friend posted on facebook that he was surprised that more people weren't commenting on the Orlando murders and my response was simply I have no more words. I've posted on Facebook and written on my blog about gun violence in the US. And those in agreement with me, chime in with the same impassioned desire to see gun control reform in the US and those opposed ramp up the rhetoric on arming everyone so the bad guys can be stopped. Sometimes I feel like the US is the wild west where human decency and common sense have run amok.
Of course, my thoughts and prayers are with those involved, but this tweet sums things up for me.
I can't really add to the conversation that is raging around us. You know how I feel. 1. Get rid of assault rifles. They are intended for one thing and one thing alone: Assaulting human life. There is no reason why this weapon needs to be available for purchase. 2. Close glaring loopholes that allow anyone and everyone to buy a gun, regardless of stability or background. 3. Address the US thirst for violence. It's there in our sports, our games, our media. We like violence and the fruit of our cavalier attitude toward violence is a lack of respect for humanity and a carelessness about killing and wounding others. And the list goes one.
I will repeat what I've said before: The most major shift for me in moving back to the US after living in Europe for 18 or so years is feeling and fearing that getting shot is a real possibility. I feel nervous about the gun violence and know that at anytime I could get caught up in the crossfires of a situation gone off the rails. I do not want to "get a gun in order to make myself feel safer." I have no interest in killing another human being, even one who is threatening my well being. I would rather be shot than shoot but that's because I've actually considered what it might be like to have to live with perpetuating violence rather than trying to end it. I'm not a hero. I just know that I have no desire to carry a weapon with me at all times and I know that using it would be nearly impossible. I hate feeling this way. I never once in all of the time I lived in Sweden and even the year in London felt nervous about getting shot. And now, it crosses my mind whenever I'm in a crowded place, when the heat starts to get on people's nerves, when I'm stopped buying gas, etc. Sad state of affairs.
Finally, on Orlando in particular and to make clear my support for the LGTBQ community, I am horrified that a gay nightclub is the latest target. Again, the dehumanizing rhetoric around people who find themselves part of this community is very disheartening to me. Someone I love posted on Facebook a comic that showed a Dr. holding a new born and the commentary was, "Parent: What is it, a boy or a girl? Dr.: We'll have to wait a few years to let them decide." I found it so offensive and lacking in compassion and understanding for the folks for whom this is real. We have to stop dehumanizing people in order to truly value and embrace all of God's beloved creation. The pro life movement needs to move beyond the womb and into the living and begin to cultivate a whole life movement.
So to end, I feel it's important for me to state my position. I stand in full support of the LGTBQ community.
I support gay marriage. I believe that transgender people are genuinely struggling to live into an identity that doesn't match their genitals. I know the pain that this community has suffered at the hands of a church that claims to love to God but can't love them. I have many gay friends and my heart is aching for them right now because Orlando is such a blatant attack on their personhood. I love them dearly and feel their pain deeply. And I will speak out against attitudes and commentary that dehumanize these dear folks because life is hard enough without having to face proving whether or not you are deserving of one's respect, dignity and care.
It's time to stop the rhetoric about gun violence, about gay rights, about what it means to create a more moral society and instead value human life, respect each person that inhabits the earth and make changes for the good of society instead of clinging to interpretations of laws that are no longer relevant for the society in which we live.
To my gay brothers and sisters...I love you dearly and am so sorry for the lack of safety, compassion, and care you are likely feeling in the aftermath of this violent incident.