A Christian Response

Here is an important word of advice to Christians from Matthew Vines, the founder of The Reformation Project, about how we should respond to the violence in Orlando.

...please mourn with us, and please do not erase the fact that the shooter targeted people for death because they were lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. Lamenting only gun violence or terrorism but not the homophobic hatred that fueled them dishonors the courage that each of the victims displayed in living their lives openly in a society where that can still be a death sentence. When Christians are beheaded by ISIS in the Middle East, it would be offensive and wrong not to say why they were murdered. The same is true when LGBT people are massacred in America. When people are targeted for who they are, you must name who they were to truly honor them.

Lastly, please avoid qualifying your lament in any way. To insist on saying that you “disagree” with same-sex marriage as part of your statement about murdered LGBT people is dehumanizing. It communicates that, even in our deaths, we are still an issue to be debated rather than people of inviolable dignity and worth. This is not an acceptable time to mention your opposition to marriage equality.

For my own part, in my hasty response yesterday, I did not explicitly point out that the victims were targeted because of who they were, because they were LGBT people enjoying one of the few spaces where they could fully be themselves. And they were murdered for it. Leaving that out was an unthinking oversight, but a big one. I apologize. And let me make it clear now: LGBTQ people, our brothers and sisters and friends and fellow human beings -- we see that no matter how great the strides this country has made socially and politically, you are still being attacked, battered, murdered because of who you are. We stand with you, without qualification or equivocation. We stand with you, in Love, because God does too.

- Ben

Read Matthew's article here