Forty-nine people died and scores were wounded in an Orlando terrorist shooting. The bloodbath reminds us of the hatred in the world and the church’s muddled ambivalence toward the LGBT community. On the one hand we are opposed to homosexual sex acts, but at the same time we have trouble declaring loudly that we love people like Edward Sotomayor and Jean C. Nieves Rodriquez, two of the Orlando fatalities. We often freak out at the idea of personally extending love and respect toward these people. After all the excuses are made it is simply true that a lot of homophobia is still around.
But we have hypocritically made our peace with our own heterosexual immoral sex carnival. I do not know of anyone opening fire with an assault weapon inside any of the thousands of nightclubs all over the U.S. where the “crooked” straights gather to immorally “hook up” every night. Though we so called straights are mired in unprecedented sexual sin we mingle sex discrimination against the LGBT community with a subliminal homophobia.
The loudest and most powerful Church response to Orlando over the last two weeks were straightforward assertions coming from preachers from one end of the country to the other declaring that the terrorist in Orlando was doing God’s will when he slaughtered 49 people and wounded 55 more in that Nightclub. These “preachers” advocating Christian terrorism represent a lingering Christian theocratic vision in the minds of millions of muddled angry Christians who cannot give up assault rifles for the sake of Christ’s peace initiative.
We still somehow think The white protestant United States is the New Israel and her righteousness must be defended by violent acts. This violent caricature of Jesus is as deadly and ungodly in its actions as any violent Muslim theocracy. Muslim and Christian theocrats are not clear that the government, any government, is no longer in the Kingdom of God business.
These “preachers” do not understand that the U.S. is not a theocracy-but a constitutional democracy for those who do not confess Jesus as Lord and those who do. The Church does not enforce the scripture’s moral vision with bullets; we do not advance the kingdom with guns; the early 17th century Puritan vision which had no theological or political mercy for non-Calvinistic theology is dead. It was rejected by the founders vision embodied in the Second American Revolution, the Constitution of 1787 with her Bill of Rights.
The Christian white man’s Christian theocracy has justified untold evil and still does because we are not clear about the first amendments rights for everybody here and we are not clear about what it means to wage the Messiah’s war. Our anger is so great that our eyes often see ourselves spilling the blood of the infidel-sometimes the LGBT community. Our eyes often cannot see ourselves waging the peace of the Cross. Defeating God’s enemies by the blood of Jesus and the word of our testimony is difficult for us to imagine. In our anger we use Leviticus as a gay bashing homophobic book, ignoring the fact that Leviticus also makes committing adultery with another man’s wife an offense punishable by death.
Because the Church is often not protecting gay people, much less loving them I am grateful for the constitutional rulings and for laws that protect gay people. Without the Constitution the LGBT community would be at risk all the time among a so-called “Christian” community. it would not be protected by the current level of righteousness within the Christian community. This is a constitutional democracy and is designed to protect the powerless and the minorities. That is the moral and political genius within our constitutional vision.
It was also the moral and spiritual genius of Jesus the Messiah. But his church often misrepresents him. God help us!
It is time to declare that God loves Edward, Stanley, Juan, Peter, Shane, Kimberly and many, many others who are with us no more.