The same day 49 people were killed by a gunman in the Orlando nightclub shooting, a California pastor said he didn’t think Christians should be mourning.
It does not surprise me to learn a pastor out there somewhere might have been at least secretly happy to hear about a shooting in a gay nightclub. After all, the way some church people treat homosexuals, it certainly shouldn’t be a surprise.
It does not surprise me, I’m sorry to tell you, that a pastor might have come right out and said on the pulpit he didn’t think Christians shouldn’t be mourning those deaths.
Perhaps the only thing that really surprised me was that in this case, the pastor made the comments that same day.
The pastor, in Northern California, reportedly said this according to the Washington Post:
“The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die. The tragedy is — I’m kind of upset that he didn’t finish the job!”
More of them?
I’ve never set foot inside a gay nightclub. I’ve only been in a handful of straight nightclubs. I don’t like nightclubs. I don’t care for drinking that much, so being in a nightclub is not exactly what I call a pleasant experience.
I am reliably informed, however, that straight people visit gay nightclubs. I’m told straight women see gay clubs as places where they can feel “safer” because they know they’re not going to be hit on by the majority of men who are there. I’m also told couples sometimes attend because of the comedy shows or the dancing that goes on there.
Not all of the people you might find inside a gay nightclub at any given moment, then, are gay. Not all of the people you might find there could be called “sodomites.”
The pastor also uses the tired comparison of homosexuals to pedophiles, which any intelligent, educated person should be well aware are two different things. There are straight pedophiles, and research has refuted claims that homosexual men are more likely to attack underage victims than heterosexual men.
But hey, when we’re engaging in hatespeak, why would we bother letting facts get in the way?
Yes, I said hatespeak.
Does that seem too strong to you? Well, you have to consider that the video of the pastor’s message was removed from YouTube and here’s the reason it gives:
This video has been removed for violating YouTube’s policy on hate speech.
The pastor would not have known at the time of the message the sexual orientation, or even the gender, of the victims. For all he would have known, there might even have been a Christian or two there trying to covertly minister to those around them.
But, as usual, the homosexual community is just an “easy target” for some Christians who are more interested in attacking others they feel don’t deserve God’s grace.
I’m not ashamed to be a Christian. Never have been.
But I’m sad there are Christians who are so eager to “celebrate” the deaths of people who were just trying to live their life in what they’ve come to regard as a “safe” place free from the very kind of hatespeak and discrimination that was apparently on display at the church.
I don’t hope Christians who speak of others this way “get what they deserve” either.
I believe we are called to love by Jesus Christ.
Sometimes, that’s a hard thing to do.
Maybe what we should start praying for — for ourselves first, and for those around us second — is that we find ourselves in a God moment some day in which we experience, even if for just a second or two, what we actually deserve.
Maybe then we could all learn to get along with each other. Maybe then, we’d have a better realization of what it meant when Jesus Christ said we should love our neighbors as ourselves.