orlando-main

To the extreme religious right that has introduced over 200 pieces of anti-LGBT legislation in the past six months and only NOW want to extend their heartfelt prayers and condolences to the community they can’t even mention by name: Fuck you.

I want to preface my thoughts by assuring readers I’m not anti-religion. I grew up in a Catholic church believing that people are a) inherently good and b) genuinely want a harmonious world in which humans aren’t massacred in elementary schools, movie theaters or nightclubs.

Though my personal relationship with God has changed over the years, I have continued to witness and appreciate acts of kindness and generosity from members of all creeds (or lack thereof). Religion is certainly not a precursor to morality, but if it anchors a life of acceptance, happiness and, most importantly, love, then God bless you and your faith.

We live in a society where discrimination is not only accepted, but also celebrated and validated by those in specific evangelical circles as “the word of the Lord.” This is infuriating, outrageous and, quite simply, not a reflection of the Jesus I ever worshipped.

The facet of religion that doesn’t sit well with me is the hypocrisy that often accompanies it. There are a handful of extreme politicians who have made it their personal agenda to demonize the LGBT community in the name of Christianity. This hateful rhetoric, masked by self-serving scripture, mirrors the speech and sentiments of our common enemy: the Islamic extremist.

While I’m certainly not suggesting that every radical Christian intends to commit the heinous atrocities we witnessed on Sunday, it’d be dangerous to overlook the fact that some revel in their outward and unapologetic support of violent preachers (like this guy who fancies the idea of gay concentration camps), misleading “pray the gay away” organizations (which don’t work) and law-changing campaigns that remove the government-protected civil liberties of gays, bisexuals, lesbians and transgenders can and do have a direct effect on the normalization of hate.

We live in a society where discrimination is not only accepted, but also celebrated and validated by those in specific evangelical circles as “the word of the Lord.” This is infuriating, outrageous and, quite simply, not a reflection of the Jesus I ever worshipped.

When you see these aforementioned politicians “sending prayers and condolences” on social media to a group they’ve fought so aggressively to repress, belittle and demean, it certainly gives you pause. This terrorist was able to wake up, look his innocent kid in the eyes and still believe his life would be more meaningful if he targeted and killed a specific group of people on behalf of warped religious ideologies.

These shamelessly outspoken politicians who wake up every day, perhaps also looking at their innocent children in the eyes, make the same decision to target and dehumanize this same group of people. But obviously the line is drawn between stripping human beings of dignity and murdering them in cold blood, right? Whatever makes them sleep better at night.

So again, to the extreme Christian right who have taken this moment of tragedy to bask in the religion they continuously use to judge against those who were sought after and killed: Fuck you. Stop sending your empty prayers. Your prayers won’t bring back the son, daughter, brother, sister or friend who was executed for simply being themselves. Your prayers won’t bring back the ally who stood by his or her friend’s side to support them in a society brimming with prejudice and injustice.

What we need is real change and courage from these elected officials to put their marginalizing views aside and realize that the fear-mongering and abhorrence they display around the LGBT community is simply no better than that of a deranged man who decides to put these harmful words into action.