If you don't know what to say about Orlando, aren't gay or a minority, and haven't read up on the issue of gun violence, that’s okay. Not knowing is an okay place to start. It’s just not an okay place to stay. What happened in Orlando has a few complex pieces. Here are three below, along with some response options.
1) Gun Violence:
I’ve been largely ignorant of this. Here’s a basic summary from my privileged awakening: This is an American problem, and it’s our problem. I don’t know the in’s and out’s of gun laws. But I agree with a few simple propositions:
- Suspected terrorists shouldn’t be able to purchase guns, just like they shouldn't be able to fly in planes.
- Background checks should be extended to private gun sales.
This isn’t one of those “If you give the liberals one gun, they’ll take ‘em all”; this is one of those “Take guns from the terrorists, idiot," and "those buying guns should be mentally healthy.”
Ted Cruz spoke on the Senate floor today. He said that the Democrats’ 15 hour filibuster was a “political distraction [and] political gamesmanship”. I find his comments offensive. Advocates against gun violence aren’t trying to infringe on an American’s right to bear arms; they are trying to prevent a terrorist’s hate to cause harm. We cannot regulate hate in human hearts; we can regulate guns in human hands.
Maybe you’re irritated that your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram has gotten “gayer” lately. A bit more political, or fiery. Maybe you’re uncomfortable by the openness of certain comments or emotions.
I remember feeling the same way almost a year ago, when Baltimore happened. I was not black, I was not in Baltimore, and I was ignorant of most of the conversations happening; so initially, I felt nothing, and knew of nothing to say.
But I lived in a house with three black men. They were numb; enraged; protest-ready; helpless. This wasn’t someone else’s problem, or weight; it had to be mine too. So I started to read. I acknowledged that character and drive and goodness weren’t unique to skin color, but many prisons and mansions were. My privilege started to show.
If you’re not gay or a minority, or you find yourself religiously conflicted, try this for the LGBTQ community: For starters, stop using the words “agenda” or “lifestyle”. DC Pride was the same weekend as the Orlando shooting; a rainbow flag was burned in front of Bourbon bar on Saturday, and in Dupont, someone spray painted “Stop with the gay agenda”.
Is “Pride” merely an agenda, or a coercive “bullhorn”?
Pride celebrations run deep in purpose. LGBTQ Pride represents a calling out of shame, fear, and social and spiritual rejection that LGBTQ people have felt most of their lives; it is a call for empowerment and freedom. Pride is a peacemaking contract with oneself; it is the process of a kind of inner crucifixion and inner resurrection. It is not salvation, but it is a part of a holistic redemption process. Stand with us in this, and learn more about us in this.
3) Responses to Injustice:
You can love us without mentioning politics, or religion. In fact, the way you do love us—in suffering—is by not mentioning politics or religion (in terms of disagreement or division). Call out the good in our hearts; tells us we’re important and here for a reason; assure us that our humanity and worth isn’t based on the sin you can’t seem to un-see in our faces.
Along with this, we (all of us) must also address the problems--both policy wise, and socially. People of faith: the governor of Florida said “all we can do is pray”. That is a lie. "Faith without works is dead,” and if tragedies like this keep happening—and we do nothing—our faith becomes its own unspoken massacre.
Prayer is not the solution, it is the jumping point.
Overall, you and I are seeing each other quite rawly. And this is good.
Because I know you want to love, and I know that concept may seem complicated right now. But in deep suffering, love must always be simple. In the dark, love doesn’t say much. In the dark, people only follow “I love you’s”. Because everything else gets lost in the echo of pain.
So help me find my way out. I hear whispers, and I see your shadows. I know there has to be more than this darkness.
“I Love You”? Are you there?
We’re tired, and we want to go home now.
We’re ready to rest now.