The Wrong Argument
In the wake of the Orlando massacre, I’ve been fraught with nearly every emotion imaginable. As a gay man, I have felt incredible sadness, fear, anger, and frustration. I have also felt immense love, compassion, and support from many different people.
But there is one aspect to this story as it’s played out in national politics that has been particularly upsetting. Specifically, I’m upset by people like Trump who are trying to turn the events in Orlando into a Muslim witch hunt.
Yes, the man who perpetrated the terrible act considered himself Muslim. Yes, he swore allegiance to ISIS during his massacre of innocent lives. And yes, he seems to have been inspired by the rhetoric of these horrible groups and their twisted interpretation of Islamic teachings, which includes the killing of LGBT individuals.
But in case you are swayed by Trump to believe that because the Orlando tragedy was carried out by someone claiming to be inspired by Islam, that we should be particularly critical of all Muslims, here is my argument.
Consider the YouTube video in which an Orthodox Jew celebrates the massacre because “God hates sin,” and “They deserved to die.”
Or the Sacramento Baptist pastor who praised the death of the victims, who he calls pedophiles and predators, saying that “I think Orlando, Florida, is a little safer tonight.”
And then there’s the Westboro Baptist Church, which has been calling for the deaths of LGBT people for decades, and who created a song in response to the Orlando shooting that includes the words, “Much blood flowing in the streets bringing God’s wrath from above.”
I don’t point out these disgusting religious leaders to say that this is the norm. They definitely do not represent the majority of people of Jewish or Christian faiths — but that’s the point. “Radical Islamists” and the twisted people inspired by them do not represent the majority of the Muslim faith, either.
To cast aspersions upon an entire religion, insinuating that they are all somehow culpable for these deaths is ridiculous and dangerous. If we’re not ready to do the same for Orthodox Jews or Christians, we cannot do the same for Muslims.