Violence Toward LGBTQ: A Pastor’s Reflection

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It was seventeenth century Lutheran theologian, Rupertus Meldenius, who first coined the famous words:

In essentials, unity;
in non-essentials, liberty;
in all things, charity.

Today, and especially in light of the horrendous massacre in Orlando, in which forty nine souls had their lives cut short by a shooting spree at a gay night club, I would like to focus on the third of Meldenius’ three statements. For the purposes of this reflection, I will add the words, “and toward all people and all people groups” to the charity part.

Because of the way that Jesus came to us in love—not while we were at our best but while we were at our worst, not when we were treating him as a friend but when we were treating him as an enemy—we Christians of all people should find creative and consistent ways to love, listen to, and serve all kinds of people…especially in their days of need and loss and sorrow.

In light of the Orlando tragedy, I am especially moved to highlight this basic gospel imperative, to love your neighbor as yourself. This is not a time to be silent about the horrible injustice that occurred in Orlando last weekend. And it is not a time for preaching one’s views about right and wrong when it comes to sexuality. This is a time to love. This is a time for compassion. This is a time for tears, to enter into the sorrow and the loss, not with answers but with presence.

And, whatever one’s beliefs may be about sexuality, silence is never an option where abuse and injustice are perpetrated. Because, as Dr. King once said, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Furthermore, Jesus never seemed too concerned about sending “mixed messages.” He welcomed sinners of every kind—religious sinners and irreligious sinners, sexual sinners and pious sinners, bottom of the barrel and holier-than-thou sinners—and ate with them. Without caveats. And he took a lot of criticism for it from pious religious folk. But he didn’t seem to care.

A day or two after the Orlando shooting, I came across a tweet by an LGBTQ advocate named Tamara Lunardo, retweeted by Rachel Held Evans, which said the following:

Straight friends,
especially you Christians,
please know:
We hear your silence so loud.

According to Ms. Lundardo, most of the outcries about Orlando seemed to be coming from everyone except those who identify as followers of Jesus. It’s as if she was saying, “Hey you Christians, they are hurting down there in Orlando. So then, you Christians, where are your tears? Where are your outcries? Where is your compassion? If it’s there, let us see it and feel it and experience it. If you have a light, you Christians, this is most certainly not the time to be hiding it beneath a bushel.”

There are exceptions to Ms. Lunardo’s concern, like this thoughtful piece about weeping and mourning together over lives and loved ones lost from the Southern Baptist leader, and a relatively new friend of mine, Russell Moore. Or one tweet and then another from another friend of mine, pastor Matt Chandler, to his sizable number of followers:

What a horrific act of evil. Christians your Muslim friends & neighbors woke up this morning wondering how they will be viewed. Love them. Also consider the fear and pain this will have in the LGBT community. Let’s be the people of God in this heinous and awful violence.

But, responses like these notwithstanding, to whatever degree Ms. Lunardo is right in her concern, that is, to whatever degree Christians do choose to remain silent about such violence done to any person or people group created in the Image of God, is the degree to which the gospel’s humanitarian pulse and ethic must be revisited.

In the spirit of loving deeply in the midst of having differences, I am especially struck by the following excerpt from an essay written by a former chaplain at Harvard:

The divide between Christians and atheists is deep…I’m dedicated to bridging that divide—to working with…atheists, Christians, and people of all different beliefs and backgrounds on building a more cooperative world. We have a lot of work to do…My hope is that these tips can help foster better dialogue between Christians and atheists and that, together, we can work to see a world in which people are able to have honest, challenging, and loving conversations across lines of difference.

The former Harvard chaplain’s name is Chris Stedman.

Chris is an atheist, who also identifies as “queer.”

Is it possible to disagree with each other on sensitive subjects, and still maintain meaningful and even loving friendships with each other? And, as Russell Moore suggests, is it not only possible but imperative and right to weep and mourn across such lines…and in such a way that the lines become transformed into bridges?

As an atheist and member of the LGBTQ community, Chris Stedman believes it is possible.

As a follower of Jesus, I believe it is not only possible, but is an essential part of Christian discipleship. It is morally imperative for the people of Jesus to weep with all of our neighbors who weep, and mourn with all of our neighbors who mourn.

“Who is my neighbor?” the teacher of the law asked Jesus.

Your neighbor, O child of God and heir of the Kingdom, is anyone who is near and anyone who has a need.

In the spirit of neighbor love, Kate Shellnutt from Christianity Today posted this on Twitter, in response to Orlando:

Looking for churches volunteering
or offering security for Pride events
in light of the Orlando massacre.
#lovethyneighbor

I don’t know about you, but to me this provocative comment from Kate feels like something Jesus would affirm. You know, Jesus…the same Jesus who healed ten lepers even though only one of them would say thank you, the same Jesus who made a Samaritan the hero of his story about neighbor-love right in the face of the reality that Jews hated Samaritans and Samaritans hated Jews, the same Jesus who commended Rahab for providing refuge for Israel’s spies even though she was still, at the time, an active prostitute, the same Jesus who went after Peter in love when Peter had denied him three times, before Peter ever repented or said that he was sorry, the same Jesus who looked a prostitute dead in the eye, while she was still dressed like a prostitute and had come to him straight off the streets to kiss his feet with her prostitute’s lips and douse his skin with her prostitute’s perfume, and praised her for her expression of love, regardless of how unorthodox it may have been to the cultural norms of the day.

Kate Shellnutt’s tweet sounds to me like what Chick Fil-A, a Christian owned and operated restaurant, did in response to the Orlando shootings. On Sunday, the day that Chick Fil-A is always closed so its employees can worship God at their churches and observe a Sabbath rest, they decided instead to brew gallons of tea and prepare hundreds of their sandwiches, and then they handed them out free of charge to people who were donating blood for the LGBTQ shooting victims.

This is the same company who, because of its President/CEO’s belief in the Bible and, on that basis, the historic Judeo-Christian sex ethic, got boycotted by a gay activist and then reached out and ended up becoming good friends with the same gay activist (you can read the full story, from the perspective of the gay activist, Shane Windemeyer, here).

The truest disciples of Jesus, not in spite of their Christian beliefs but because of them, take initiative to love, listen to, and serve those who don’t share their beliefs.

Chick Fil-A’s response to Orlando is merely an attempt to mirror the action God has taken toward everyone who believes, and the reason why anybody ever believes in the first place…

It is God’s kindness that leads us to repent.

It is not our repentance that leads God to be kind.

Let’s make sure that God’s kindness is tasted not only on the pages of Scripture, but through our lives and through our loving. Because the more we are into Jesus, the more conservative we are in our belief that every single word of the Bible is right and good and true, the more liberal we will be in the ways that we love.

Jesus said to the adulteress, “I do not condemn you. Now go leave your life of sin.” Reverse the order of these two sentences, and you lose Christianity. Reverse the order of these two sentences, and you lose Jesus.

This is the faithful response. Yes, this. To seek with all of our hearts to love our LGBTQ neighbors in ways that our LGBTQ neighbors themselves would recognize as love. The response that makes us suspect in the eyes of those who are religiously smug and relationally scared, the response that leads some to even accuse us of being soft on law because we are so heavy on grace. The response that causes onlookers, especially the more pious ones, to mischaracterize us as “gluttons and drunks” because of the aroma of Jesus, who was similarly accused, that seeps out of us.

In theory this sounds reasonable, but in real life it is messy. As Dostoevsky wrote in The Brothers Karamazov, love in practice is a dreadful thing compared to the love in dreams. But the real and messy love—the kind that leads us to maintain conviction while communicating love and compassion and empathy to those who might not agree with our convictions—is better than the love in dreams, which is a sentimental love that has no roots. The real and messy love, not the love in dreams, is the love that Jesus entered into. And we must follow.

And so I ask again, is it possible to profoundly disagree with someone and love them deeply at the same time? Is it possible to hold deep convictions and embrace people who reject your deep convictions simultaneously?

Yes, it is.

Do you remember Jesus’ encounter with the rich young man (Mark 10:17-27)? Do you remember how Jesus told the man to sell all of his possessions, give to the poor, and then follow him? Do you remember how the man then turned away from Jesus because he had great wealth? If you do remember the encounter, did you catch these two incredibly significant details?

First, Jesus looked at the man and loved him.

Second, the man walked away from Jesus feeling sad. Not judged. Not ticked off. Not feeling bullied or dismissed or excluded or marginalized. Not saying to Jesus and his followers, “I hear your silence so loud.” No. Not this. But SAD. The man walked away in the tension of paradox—held captive by the chains of his money idol, yet sensing a forfeiture of a different and perhaps more life-giving form of wealth.

So let’s ask ourselves, what will matter more to us in the end—that we successfully put others in their place, that we took a “moral stand” regardless of who we alienated and whose fragile spirits we crushed in the process…or that we loved well enough for lines to turn into bridges? God have mercy on us if we do not love well because all that matters to us is being right and winning culture wars and taking moral stands that put people in their place but don’t win any people’s hearts. I want to contend that truth and love can go together. I want to contend that truth and love must go together.

Into a climate in which Christians were routinely made fun of, maligned, and persecuted for their convictions, Peter wrote these words:

In your hearts honor Christ as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame (1 Peter 3:15-16).

Critics turned to friends, lines turned to bridges…through gentleness and respectCan you imagine it?

So then, as for the dear souls lost in Orlando…

Look at your neighbors with compassion, and lean into love. Listen to the cries and the sorrows. And take to heart these words put to song by Charlie Peacock:

Don’t speak. Save your words.
Silence the lips
of the people with all of the answers.
Gently show them
that now is the time for tears.

Because Jesus wept.

——————————

This reflection is a partial adaptation from Jesus Outside the Lines.
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41 responses to “Violence Toward LGBTQ: A Pastor’s Reflection”

  1. RallyMonkey says:

    “Straight friends,
    especially you Christians,
    please know:
    We hear your silence so loud.” What silence? I think this is a case of Lunardo and Evans hearing what they want to hear. http://wjbf.com/2016/06/14/chick-fil-a-opens-on-sunday-to-donate-food-to-orlando-blood-donors/

    http://www.usatoday.com/videos/news/nation/2016/06/14/85858550/?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=usatodaycomnation-topstories

    And, the BBC or NPR, I forget which was interviewing church groups that had set up tents and brought food and water to the site of the attack. If Lunardo and Evans are hearing silence, it’s because that’s what they want to hear.

    • Marty says:

      I feel that just because I didn’t respond publicly to this tragedy doesn’t mean I’m not outraged by this horrible situation. I like many are praying for those who lost loved ones and for justice in this situation.

    • MamaBear says:

      Who are you to tell these people what they are hearing? I have talked to MANY MANY people in the community, not just gay people but parents of gay people, other family members of gay people, straight allies, who have said the same thing. People whose churches to this moment have not even made a mention, called for prayer, offered to open their doors to those who are in need of comfort. NOTHING. Our social media feeds that blew up for Paris, and Newtown, and the SC church shooting were strangely absent of comment or posts from our non-LGBT affiliated friends. Your comment is astoundingly condescending and exactly what the problem is here – people trying to tell us what our own experience is. “Rally Monkey”, whoever you are, I pray you get better at listening.

      • Patti Peters says:

        Mama Bear, are you in the Orlando area? What can my church do to help? We have several people ready! First Christian Church Kissimmee FL

        • Customartist says:

          Patti,
          Allow me to answer “What can we do?”
          You can be proactive in preventing the NEXT attack on LGBT people, by teaching others that is it not OK to attack LGBT people – a message that is missing not only on churches, but in schools, and in homes, etc. The absence of this lesson has caused such attacks. It’s called “silent approval”. Thank you for your concern

    • Matt says:

      I think by silence, they must mean not attending LGBT pride events. Yet, as Christians, it would be sinful for us to attend this events because it would give the impression that we supported homosexuality and 1 Thessalonians 5:22 says “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” No one deserves to be huddled up and shot by a terrorist, and I’m as angry as the next guy about this mass murder. But, Christians do need to be careful in our response so as not to embrace this sin while trying to comfort those that are hurting. Yes Jesus hung out with prostitutes, but not in brothels and he certainly didn’t go to any “prostitute pride” events. We need to preach grace and mercy for every sin, but let’s not forget that God instituted the same punishment for homosexuality as he does for murder. So, in conclusion, we must help those that are hurting without embracing their sin. Embrace the person, but disdain the sin. Waving rainbow flags in a parade, or even helping that parade to take place, would be embracing the sin. Churches are helping by donating blood (homosexuals are not allowed to donate blood because over 98% of HIV positive people are homosexual), giving food and water to victims, praying with them, and condemning the violence. I’m sure many Christians would be willing to go and fight ISIS. So, if all of this is considered silence by the LGBT community because we are not embracing their sin, then that has to fall on them. It is not righteous to deny the teachings of Christ to love others. It is not loving to imply that a sin that will send people to hell if they do not repent (1 Cor. 6:9-10). That is hatred that will make you feel better about doing it.

      • Jesse says:

        Jesus didn’t avoid the appearance of sin… His reputation, from his own mouth was this: “and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.”

        I’m sorry but you are absolutely wrong, and unfortunately your response is typical of the American Christian… Rooted in fear rather than love and grace. Jesus said to love your neighbor, we don’t get to insert caveats after the fact.

      • LucidDreams says:

        I cannot even believe how ignorant you are. Silence does not mean that you’re not going to a Pride event. Its churches that have reputations to make sure gays are ostracized and made to feel that being gay is the greatest sin of all,which its not. Gays not being able to donate blood is NOT supported by the American Red Cross because the ban is not supported by science,only uneducated stupid bigots like you believe in the ban.75% of all the people in this world who have AIDS are straight- go research it. You’re are the perfect example of why so many gays DONT go to church. Vile with a stupid tongue.Thank you for reinforcing my point!

      • Customartist says:

        Matt,
        So then Allowing people to be in danger of attack is the correct Christian way?
        I think not.

    • Pat Arrano says:

      I think this is the kind of tone-deaf response that makes people not see the compassion many Christians have shown in this tragedy. Don’t assume motives for feelings you don’t empathize with or understand. Remember, we still have plenty of evil faux-Christians like Westboro “Baptist Church” and the loathsome fundamentalist “Baptist pastor in California telling his congregants that they should be celebrating the shootings not mourning them. Chik-Fil-A did the Christ-like thing by sharing with those affected, but let’s not get up on our high horse. It’s going to take a whole lot more sandwiches and sweet tea and compassion to even begin to address the hurt some alleged Christians have caused LGBT people.

      • Customartist says:

        Chick-fil-A did the financially advantageous thing. Their showy conduct is false contrition. Their initial conduct, of donating to the oppression of LGBT people, showed their true selves.

  2. Duska says:

    A good word, brother. Thank you.

  3. Marylou Martin says:

    I am moved to tears with the reminders in your message above. Thank you VERY much.

  4. […] Violence toward LGBTQ: a pastors perspective… […]

  5. […] Violence Toward LGBTQ: A Pastor’s Reflection – Scott Sauls Everyone needs to read this article. __________________ I believe, O Lord, and I confess, that You are truly the Christ, the Son of the Living God, who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief… […]

  6. Brandy Miller says:

    Scott, I love your writing and the voice God has given you in the Christian Community. This article is no exception. I appreciate your words very much. However, I do want you to know that there has been a huge response from believers in Orlando. My husband and I both grew up there and our entire family is still there. The outpouring from churches has been tremendous. My sister is a critical care nurse at ORMC and she has shared numerous ways Christians have served. It has been remarkable actually.

    Thanks for reading this and may God continue to use you to challenge and convict and encourage His disciples.

  7. Eloise says:

    So thankful for clarity like this. Love your neighbor.. ❤️

  8. […] team party a couple years ago when I served as team mom. Heartfelt statements like this one and this one, from Christ-following pastors urging Christians to minister from hearts of love, compassion, and a […]

  9. Robert says:

    A lot of truth here. However, it seems to me that he may confuse love and enablement. We are not called to enable those who do not know Christ to continue in their sins. That’s not love.

    • Customartist says:

      Did Jesus “enable” the sinners who crossed his path, by simply NOT maligning them, as so many modern Christians surely do to LBGT people?

  10. Abigaile Lee says:

    Personally speaking. my first line of defense was to go to prayer for the survivors and families of all involved. I did not care who it was that was killed and maimed they was human beings. I asked my Father for justice for these people and then prayed for all who are as this shooter was. to live in a self-made world of hate and no hope and compassion is hideous and brings forth the fruit of violence and death. I pray for inner peace and strength to cope with and be healed from this insidious attack and it’s memories.

  11. Goodness…the goodness of Jesus…

    *Thank You* for this, as a married follower of Jesus who happens to be a woman of transgender experience, I thank you…

    …I had not thought of myself, a queer woman, to be part of a “people group,” a term I have not thought about since God led me to the door of World Missions and Bible translation, and then closed it. But *somehow* in His wisdom, I have found myself serving along side Jesus here in the LGBTQ community; somehow, His healing made me a member of this people group. And that is what we are, like others in our surrounding culture, and yet with much in common with our queer siblings throughout the world. And Jesus is here also, among us and in us, though many believers outside deny this…

    …I have for years had the pervasive sense that God will bring about a special bit of healing in the straight majority, the straight part of the Church, through the oft despised members of the queer community, both believers and pre-believers. His love through us to others will come through the sweat and tears, and yes blood, God put into us also as bearers of His image. And as of old, the rainbow is a symbol of hope. Dear Lord, our Love: Father, Jesus and Spirit, glorify Yourself in us.

  12. Brandon says:

    Funny to see this posted on my ex teachers fb, I’l leave a small fact dear Mr Befus. To bring into this discussion your personal religious belifies, it is disrepectful to the ones affected by this. But of couse, you’re mind has been sealed a long way now. It is nonsense to bring this to your attention, since it won’t have any virtual effect.

  13. Michael Thomson says:

    I’m a bit confused and would some clarification on one of your comments in the piece. You seemed to imply that Jesus would “affirm” the idea that good Christians should “provide security” at a Gay Pride rally. What other events driven entirely by shared pride over unrepentant sexual immorality would Jesus affirm? I’m not trying to be glib. I don’t doubt that we’re called to protect one another. Christ did exactly that when he saved the prostitute from being stoned. But he didn’t do so without noting that her behavior was sinful, hence his command to sin no more. Should Christians use the opportunity of protecting these people at the rally to preach the gospel of repentance and redemption? Or should they offer silent assent of the main thrust of the event–the celebration of one’s sinfulness–by refusing to even address it? Should our goal be to make others accept us, or should it be to lead them to accept Christ and everything he preaches? Do you want LGBT readers who come across the post to think more of you, or more of Christ?

    • Vince says:

      Tendered heart toward all that has happened, but I am gonna have to agree with you. Had the same confusion myself. Thanks for bringing it to attention in a respectful way.

    • ML says:

      As a former member of the LGBTQ community, Christ calls us to love, not to encourage or enable others in what the Bible calls sin.
      Overall, this is a fantastic article that encourages us believer to continue to love our neighbors through humble service, practical charity, and fervent prayer. The redemption of the Gospel of Christ saved me and points me towards the cross each day. It can and will do the same for each person who hears it. Thank you for these words for everyday living as a follower of Christ, not just in times of great trial.

    • Customartist says:

      Michael,
      Haven’t Christians already afforded an abundantly generous amount of condemnation to LGBT people as compared to protections for them? I think so. I think you have that covered.

  14. Kim says:

    I thank you for writing this. I know that you will suffer much criticism on behalf of us in the LGBTQ family and believe me, we appreciate it so much. Like so many people, we live this everyday. And a lot of us love God, we love the Bible, AND we love our child. No one has done more praying, more digging into the few passages on homosexuality, more wailing before God, more study of history – than the mother of an LGBTQ child who is conservative in background. We have been in the conservative church all our life. It sure looks different from another perspective. All we really want is for our worth, our spiritual journey to be treated as equally valid as others. The majority of us do not ask for people to agree with us. One of my favorites that you said was to “love us in ways that we would recognize as love.” Again, I know you took a great risk in publicizing, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Each time you are pierced with hateful comments, we feel pain with you.

  15. […] Violence Toward LGBTQ: A Pastor’s Reflection […]

  16. […] Violence Toward LGBTQ: A Pastor’s Reflection […]

  17. Michael Hill says:

    I suspect this pastor would snuggle up to homosexuals but would run from white supremacists and KKK members if they were in the same boat. It is “safe,” indeed profitable, in today’s world to “virtue signal” in favor of perverts, and the church is taking full advantage of it. They are sell-outs to the world, the flesh, and the devil. I want no part of this modern “Churchianity” which the world leads around by the nose.

    • LucidDreams says:

      Well then Michael, why don’t you leave this page and never come back .Too bad I can’t call you the piece of trash you are to your face.

  18. Rightgirl says:

    Christians Where Are Your Tears?
    This was posted by a former friend who grew up in a Christian home and everyone “thought” she was a Christian but then “came out” a few years ago, who’s unfriended every Christian she knows over the last few years. They think we want them dead :'(
    KILLING US SLOWLY
    In the wee hours of Sunday morning, while listening to the slow motion horror unfolding on the Orlando fire rescue scanner, I sent out a tweet saying that I didn’t want conservative tears because they want us dead, this guy just followed through.
    I could wrap this piece in flowery language, beat around the bush and put things gently to carefully convey my emotions about what happened at Pulse, but instead I want to take the façade off and focus on that single concentrated expression of pain that came from my heart as my heart was breaking.
    You’re killing us.
    Just as surely as the shooter whose name I will not utter, you’re taking our lives. You haven’t loaded up an AR-15 and started mowing people down, you didn’t have to. The hatred in your hearts—and make no mistake. Jesus said that if you hate someone it is as if you murdered them in your heart—that hatred is killing us slowly.
    To the PCA pastor who told me that he was still going to keep preaching that our lives and our loves are a sin, even knowing that it was a message that drove kids to suicide, because to do otherwise would compromise the gospel, you’re killing us.
    To the PCA elder and now retired county attorney for a Florida county that shall remain unnamed, when you declared that it would be more merciful if God would just call gay people home because then they couldn’t keep sinning, you’re killing us. Under the logic of that brand of theology, the shooter at Pulse was an agent of God’s mercy, snuffing out lives before they could sin any more. That’s a theology that’s killing us.
    To the politicians who campaign on a platform of denying us civil rights, you’re killing us.
    To the people sitting in your churches nodding along as your pastors preach that we’re abominations, that our marriages are destroying marriage, that using the bathroom is a danger to women and children, you’re killing us.
    To the politicians sharing the stage with Kevin Swanson as he preaches that after giving us time to repent, the government should start executing us, you’re killing us.
    To the denominations, the pastors, the churches, the Christian magazines who remain silent when men like Kevin Swanson call for our deaths—I’m looking at you OPC, and you, WORLD Magazine—who treat it as a mere theological disagreement, you’re killing us.
    To the leadership at my alma mater, Covenant College, who decided that having freshmen spend a day of class debating whether R.J. Rushdoony was right and we should stone queer people and rebellious children, you’re killing us.
    To all the pastors who teach that God fried Sodom and Gomorrah because of the “sin” of homosexuality, thinking nothing of, or maybe especially thinking of, the vulnerable children sitting in your pews, you’re killing us.
    To Steve Taylor, the Christian artist whose music was the soundtrack of my teen years, and who has never publicly repudiated the lyrics, “I heard the reverend say/gay is probably normal in the good Lord’s sight/well if the Lord don’t care and he chooses to ignore ya/tell it to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah,” lyrics I can still recite by heart, your failure to publicly apologize for those words is killing us. The fact that I can go and buy that song for $1.29 from the Play Store right now is killing us. I’ve told myself that my hurt over that song is unwarranted because you probably don’t believe it anymore, but you’ve still never apologized for it, and that’s killing us.
    To the homeschool leaders who told parents to homeschool because it was a way to shelter their children from the “homosexual agenda,” you’re killing us.
    To all the churches and all the Christians who spent the ‘80s and the better part of the ‘90s declaring that AIDS was a judgment from God that we should welcome, you killed us then and you’re killing us now. It was only just this afternoon, as Pat Robertson and the two bit nobodies who I won’t name because I won’t make them famous, all got their two cents in about how this shooting was killing all the right people that I realized that I carry the deep scars and trauma of a childhood spent hearing that we’re so loathsome that God sent a plague. In more ways than one, you’re killing us.
    To the churches that excommunicate us, that let us in the door but refuse us full participation, that say they love us while doing everything to show they hate us, you’re killing us.
    To all the individuals of any faith or no faith who call us slurs, who call us pedophiles, who go to the ballot box to take away our rights, you’re killing us.
    To the churches who hold vigils for dead queer people who you would never allow to join your church, you’re killing us.
    To every person who has ever said that queer people are wrong, mentally ill, broken, sick, abnormal, dangerous, predatory, who has in big ways and small ways shown that we’re lesser and not fully human, you’re killing us.
    To the Christian colleges who fight for the right to discriminate against their LGBT students, you’re killing us.
    To the schools and businesses and government agencies and churches that ban trans people from bathrooms, you’re killing us.
    This is just the list that’s come to my head in the fifteen minutes that I’ve sat here writing, and it’s no way an exhaustive list of all the ways that homophobia, transphobia, and queerphobia in our society is killing us. Every single queer person in this country grows up in a culture that, to one degree or another, tells us that our lives are not worth living, a culture that wants us dead.
    So no, I don’t want your tears. Your actions have spoken for you. You’re killing us and you don’t care. Instead of your tears, show me you’ve changed. Because until you do, the only difference between you and the Pulse shooter is one of time. The blood of the Pulse victims is on your hands for creating a climate of homophobia and hatred. The blood of all the queer people who have committed suicide because they could not bear the weight of the hatred is on your hands. The blood of all the queer people who have been murdered over the years for who they are—queer people who are disproportionately trans women of color, mind you—is on your hands. In big ways and small you’ve shown that you want us dead, the Pulse shooter just did your dirty work for you.
    We’re not going to go away that easily though. The last few days have made it clear that coming out is still an act of defiance in the face of a world that wants us dead. Pride is still subversive, defiant, standing firm against the idea that we should hate ourselves as much as they hate us.
    We’re not going away.
    We’re here, we’re queer, and it’s way past time you got used to it.

  19. […] “Violence Toward LGBTQ: A Pastor’s Reflection” by Scott Sauls […]

  20. Gozza says:

    Brilliant article. Christians who condem gays, are the same type of Christians who said dancing & movies was a sin 50 years ago. Jesus never spoke about the gay community which was very prevalent during the roman era; he spoke against the judgemental religious leaders – who still to this today completely miss the point of what it means to ‘love you neighbour’. Christians who condemn gay people are just modern day pharisees. They are a cancer which is destroying the body of christ. Half of them are addicted to porn on the internet (read the surveys), and the other half have divorced their wives (Jesus did speak against this) which is quite ironic.

  21. […] authentic compassion and care in Jesus’ name (which Scott Sauls articulates so poignantly in his blog), vital in this time of profound grief in the LGBTQ community, and long-standing cherished […]

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