In the wake of the horrific terrorist hate crime perpetrated in Orlando last weekend, I have felt overcome, broken, outraged, and sometimes numb. I have been stunned by the silence from some who have failed to acknowledge this massacre for what it is. But I have also been uplifted by the outpouring of love for this community, both from inside its ranks and from outside. Heroes of mine have stood up in recent days, spreading love, promoting inclusion, AND relentlessly calling for change. People like Glennon Doyle Melton, Sen. Cory Booker, Diana Butler Bass, President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and many others have spoken up, not just for gun control, but for LGBTQIA people everywhere who have been violated by the blood that was shed in their place of sanctuary.
As far as I know, I have never met any of the precious lives we lost that night, yet in some ways, I feel almost as heartbroken as if I had. These good human beings were sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, friends and family. They were our brothers and sisters through this beautiful, terrible life.
They loved and were loved. They did not deserve this. No one deserves this.
They were killed because they loved differently than some people want to understand. They were killed for the hatred bandied about by so-called faith leaders over the centuries they’ve spent misreading religious texts and spreading exclusion and persecution of the LGBTQIA community.
They were killed by a society that puts guns before the lives of its citizens. They were killed by a radicalized follower of an extremely hateful sect of an otherwise peaceful religious community.
They were killed in their place of sanctuary–a place this community has relied on as a safe space for a very long time.
They were killed while celebrating their love and affection for their fellow human beings.
So tell me, America:
How have we gotten so far gone that we fight for the “armed militia” part of the second amendment, but disregard the “well regulated” piece?
How have we gotten to the point where the right to own a weapon outweighs preserving HUMAN lives?
When did we decide that we would fight for the lives of unborn babies, but would do nothing to protect them from mass killings after they’re born?
When did we decide that protecting the right to own a tool of death overrules the right to LIFE?
These questions are rhetorical, of course.
My fifth grade teacher was very clear about the importance of learning COMMON SENSE. She would call you out in front of the entire class for failing to display it. I was called out a few times because my head was in the books instead of in the classroom. She was right to call me out. She was right to instill in us the ability to think critically and show common sense.
So I’m calling out the Congress of the United States of America on their lack of common sense: Get your collective shit together and do something. Ban assault weapons AND/OR stop allowing people suspected of terrorism to buy weapons AND/OR require stringent background checks. DO SOMETHING.
Okay, fine, this is a “heart problem” (whatever that means), but make no mistake: it’s ALSO a gun problem. This is BOTH/AND, not either/or. DO SOMETHING meaningful to help prevent another Pulse, Mother Emmanuel, Sandy Hook, or any of the other hundreds upon hundreds of U.S. based mass shootings in recent years that have stolen precious life from this Earth.
And before you start thumping your bible at me, please recall that Christ loved ALL THE PEOPLE.
Let me repeat that because it is crucial: Jesus Christ loved ALL. THE. PEOPLE.
Recall that Jesus commanded us above all else to love God and love our neighbors (even if they’re our enemies). He loved his neighbors and enemies so much that he DIED a horrifying death for them.
Recall that Christ reached out to those on the margins of society, consistently going against popular religious wisdom, including scripture.
Recall that one of the last things he told his disciples was to put their weapons away. He reminded them that, “All those who live by the sword will die by the sword.”
Well, as usual, he’s right, except that now it’s assault rifles—tools expressly created to kill—which can do a hell of a lot more damage in a fraction of the time.
And while we’re at it: God did not promise you a gun at your conception. That is not one of your rights as a human. It just isn’t. It was a right thought up by a group of white men who had LITERALLY just fought for their lives and independence in a bloody war that took place hundreds of years ago.
If you value your guns more than you value the lives of your fellow human beings, I implore you to do some serious soul searching.
There is nothing more important than our call to love.Literally nothing. Not religion. Not doctrine. Not philosophy. Not race. Not sexual orientation. Not gender. Not class. Not ethnicity. And certainly not guns. Love crosses all boundaries. Love bears all things. Love hopes all things. Love is our highest, noblest call. How will they know that we are Christians? Say it with me: They will know us by our LOVE.
If your brand of love doesn’t extend to all the people, ask yourself why.
Perhaps you disagree. That’s cool. Well-meaning people can disagree. But in the meantime: I’ll just be over here loving all the people–including you–because love wins.
Grace and peace.
And if you want to know what to do, Glennon has covered that very well over here. Go! Join us! Write your elected officials! Get involved in the push to end gun violence. Enough is enough.