“I’ve had enough of this, I’m going home,” thundered British columnist Owen Jones. Jones, who is gay, stormed off the set of a British talk show when the host and a fellow guest continued to view the atrocity at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub as an act of terror directed at humanity in general. Jones had argued it was also a hate crime.
“At the end of the day, this was a homophobic crime, as well as terrorism,” Jones said. Moments before his abrupt departure, Jones added, “You don’t understand this because you’re not gay.”
But what was there to understand? Omar Mateen went into a nightclub, massacred innocents, and pledged allegiance to ISIS. Exhibiting signs of a radicalized Muslim, there is no doubt Mateen was acting out of hatred, but does Jones believe his hatred is limited to just the LGBT community?
One does not have to be gay to understand the brutality that is radical Islamic terrorism, just as one did not have to be Parisian to understand the horror of the Bataclan attack. Islamic jihad has one goal and one goal only: Destroy the infidels. The LGBT community, like most others, are deemed infidels.
And even as Jones was storming off the Sky News set, evidence was surfacing that Mateen was gay. His ex-wife has made the claim, as did a former male classmate. But who cares whether Mateen was gay or straight because evidence strongly suggests that he was a radicalized U.S. citizen who recognized Pulse was a soft target.
What happened early Sunday morning was a hate crime, but not in the sense that we have come to view the term. Radical Islam has a foundation of hate in which it targets those who do not share its narrow belief system. Gays, women, atheists, and, yes, Christians, are all in the crosshairs.
But as Americans were absorbing the fact that a radicalized citizen committed the largest mass shooting in the nation’s history, many left-leaning activists used this atrocity to further divide a mourning nation. It is further evidence that America’s cultural divide is so deep that an act of war is unable to bridge it.
“You know what is gross — your thoughts and prayers and Islamophobia after you created this anti-queer climate,” Chase Strangio, an ACLU staff attorney tweeted Sunday. Strangio was likely reacting to the condolences and prayers being offered by political adversaries of LGBT rights. In Strangio’s world, political foes are inhuman an incapable of mourning those with whom they disagree. It is a sick worldview.
Thus, it is clear that the hatred the left holds towards the Christian right is so great that there could be no truce in a time of war. But that Twitter-inspired outrage was not enough as many rushed to put the blame on the Christian right in lieu of radical Islam.
“Radical right-wing Christians must recognize the part their anti-gay rhetoric, legislation, hate speech and repeated attacks on the LGBT community played in the slaughter at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando,” Andy Kopsa wrote for Raw Story. To Kopsa Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis — who got five minutes of fame for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses — was the same as Mateen. In what world is that sane logic?
Make no mistake — the behavior, attitudes, and policies of the Christian right have left little to be desired over the years. I know because, prior to coming out, I worked for some of the organizations waging the fight against same-sex marriage.
But the Christian right in 2016 is deflated. Marriage equality is the law of the land. Mississippi was the last state to allow same-sex adoption. LGBT values permeate all factions of our culture, and the LGBT community has a whole month of pride that is recognized and respected. Clearly, to the victor goes the spoils.
To suggest that those on the Christian right — a segment of the Republican Party that clearly placed social values on the back burner to overwhelming support the only presidential candidate who will protect LGBT Americans from radical Islam — are comparable to radical Islam is not just disingenuous, it is demeaning. In the Arab world, gays are being tossed off rooftops, while in America, the biggest LGBT threat is an unconstitutional Mississippi statute allowing shop owners the right to refuse service to gays.
Can we really say an unconstitutional statute that will be overturned by the courts is the same as an execution in which due process was a rabid mob? Can we really say that political Christians pose the same threat as radical Muslims?
The Pulse attack was a national atrocity that impacted all Americans, gay and straight alike. It was an act of war that reminds us that the enemy we are fighting wants to see us divided and defeated. And though the left does not want to see it, it was radical Islam, not Christian conservatism, which created an environment where a young Muslim man questioning his sexuality would rather kill to exercise his demons rather than admit who he is.
In the wake of the Pulse shooting, the nation should come together to mourn those lost and fight those who wish to cause harm. Rather than unify, we are seeing our divisions widen. The residual disdain the LGBT community holds towards a defeated Christian right is preventing it from realizing the pure hatred a rising radical Islam holds for it — holds for America. Such a mentality is more dangerous than any rural Kentucky clerk.