Today a brief article was released by the Washington Times in an attempt to point out that the LGBT community has taken to blaming Christians for the tragic mass shooting which occurred in Orlando, FL yesterday morning. The article reads:
Several prominent gay-rights activists took to social media to blame Christians for Sunday’s massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando.
Chase Strangio, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, on Sunday said the “Christian Right” is implicated in the slaughter by passing “anti-LGBT bills.”
“The Christian Right has introduced 200 anti-LGBT bills in the last six months, and people are blaming Islam for this. No,” Mr. Strangio said in a Twitter post.
The really sad part about this blame-shift is that it’s completely irrational and demonstrates a willingness to believe, literally, anything. It’s so far off base. Moreover, even if the laws represented the majority body of evangelical Christians it would be a category error to conflate the passing of laws to the destructive nature of a mass shooting in Orlando, FL. In other words, the passing of laws through our nation’s legislative system is completely legal, unlike the murder of 49 people at Pulse nightclub. There is absolutely no comparison.
The sad part about this blame-shift is that it’s irrational and demonstrates a willingness to believe anything.
For one, Mr. Strangio assumes that the bills passed represents the entirety of the Christian religion. He assumes that the posture and attitude driving national political and legal changes is properly representative of Christians as a whole. But, this is nothing more than a hasty generalization and therefore invalid.
Sally Kohn, an MSNBC contributor who is outspoken about LGBT rights, accused those who subscribe to traditional sexual mores of hypocrisy for condemning the murder of gay people.
“Always fascinating to watch conservatives who won’t support basic non-discrimination laws bash Islamic fundamentalists for being anti-gay,” Ms. Kohn said on Twitter.
What is it with people thinking that, in order to love people we must also be totally accepting of their actions or lifestyles? This is unbelievable. Ms. Kohn assumes that, in order to see others as human beings, in order to care for others, we must also agree with that which they are doing or taking part in. This is not how anyone lives their lives. In fact, Kohn demonstrates a sort of self-refutation in that while she assumes equation of care/love with acceptance of lifestyles she disapproves of the Christian lifestyle and therefore, by her standard, is discriminatory which apparently entails hate and other atrocious behaviors.
Furthermore, an objective look at a worldview involves understanding the beliefs of that worldview as a system. This is obviously something Mr. Strangio hasn’t considered. He needed to find a scapegoat that wouldn’t bite back, it seems. Understanding what the Christian believes over against the Muslim is critical at this point.
An Islamic extremist walked into a nightclub and shot almost 100 people, murdering 49 of them. This person was not a Christian, and therefore could not be a representation of what Christians believe. But, what about the shooter? Of what does his ideology consist? What drives it?
Well, before the objections begin flying, I want to make it known that I do not blanket all Muslims in the category of the Pulse shooter. I do not believe that all Muslims would do this or that all even believe in this kind of behavior. However, when a cursory look is taken at the driving force of both worldviews, Christian and Muslim, a sharp contrast is seen. In order to look at this driving force, we must turn to either’s respective “holy” book.
In the Bible we are commanded to love our enemies; to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. This is the second greatest commandment Jesus ever uttered during His earthly ministry. To go even further, Jesus commands us to pray for those who persecute us (Matt 5:43, 44). The Old Testament judgments from God, providentially using earthly armies cannot be used as an objection here, because those instances do not come to the Christian as an open-ended command. We aren’t commanded to imitate everything which occurred in the Old Testament. Those are historical documents which reveal God’s providential preservation of His people throughout covenantal history, not always instructions for the Christian.
In fact, in the Old Testament, we find the same two commands Jesus gave in the New Testament. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength (Deut 6:5).” And, “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD (Lev 19:18).” Jesus was quoting directly from the Old Testament when He spoke the two greatest commandments. They weren’t unique to the New Testament.
On the other hand, what does Islam teach? Does the Quran give commandments like these? The Bible calls the two above mentioned commandments the two greatest commands. It says that out of all the prescriptions in the biblical text, these two properly summarize all of them. However, the Quran consists of a different attitude. First, it must be mentioned that the Quran wasn’t written over a span of 1500 years with about 40 different contributing, inspired authors. It originated from one man who simply laid claim to revelation from God. The Quran was compiled within the lifetime of one individual and this does not archive history like the Bible does.
Furthermore, this Quran, which was merely authored within a lifetime, contains open ended commands like this:
"Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not (Sur 2:216).”
This is an open ended command. There is no relevant historical context in which it could be placed except for the contemporary (at that time) struggle against Christians led by the “Prophet” Muhammad. Furthermore, there is never any qualifying statements in the Quran which contradict this prescribed behavior for future participation therein. Another is in order:
“I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them (Sur 8:12).”
Does this look familiar? If it doesn’t, maybe you haven’t watched the news in the last 15 or so years.
Again, am I saying this represents the intended behavior or goal of all Muslims? No. Many do not hold to the violent tenets of their own faith, much like many Christians neglect to love their enemies. The point, however, is that the source of either worldview teaches two contradictory ideologies which are unable to be fairly compared.
Christians, in accordance with Scripture, are not seen doing the things Islamic extremists are seen doing. This is because, not only are we commanded not to murder people, but the natural inclination of man’s heart, because of what we call natural law, is to protect life, not destroy it. Murder is against the sixth commandment as written in Exodus 20. Furthermore, this is a natural disgust to the human being which, if indulged in, is a result of sinful behavior contrary to the God whom we are to worship.
Last year, an Australian news website (news.com.au) reported the execution of homosexual men by way of tossing their bound bodies off roof-tops. Again, this is Islamic extremism and has by no means been encouraged by the Christian worldview. In fact, the Christians in the middle east are harassed by Muslims precisely for not behaving, or believing, the same way they do. This is why there has been an exodus of Christians out of places like Iraq.
Again, let’s revisit the question; does Mr. Strangio’s assessment make any sense?
In light of that which has been pointed out above, concerning the acts of yesterday morning, the Christian worldview in contrast to the Islamic worldview, and other contemporary examples it would seem Strangio needs to rethink his level of integrity and, by extension, his strategy for ending atrocities like the Pulse shooting.
I want to also encourage all Christians to continue praying for the families related to those who were killed or injured in yesterday’s terror attack. There is absolutely no excuse to politicize such a tragic event such as this. Hearts are in pain, people are dead, and the lifeless bodies of those individuals haven’t even so much as smelt a funeral home yet. Please consider these things when attacking one group or another.
Along with our Lord, we desire that no one perish, but that all come to repentance, to live in the light of Christ who saves sinners like us, that we may be with Him in eternity (2 Pet 3:9).