The Deafening Roar of Silence

Orlando. I’m struggling to process my emotions. 50 people dead. PEOPLE. 53 people injured. All at the end of an assault rifle. A rifle filled with the ammunition of hatred for people who are different. He was angered by two men kissing. And so over 100 people were shot and hundreds more affected. It very quickly became official: The worst mass shooting in recent US history. Almost assuredly every victim was LGBTQ or close with those who were. Those 50 died because they were not straight and/or cisgendered.

Gay clubs for decades have been sanctuaries, oases to those seeking refuge from hatred. But in just a few hours, a sanctuary turned into a coffin. A coffin named Pulse. A coffin IMG_20160613_025917.jpgthat so easily could have been my own. The only difference between me and those who died in Orlando is that I do not live in Orlando. I am gay. How easily that could have been my grave. And so I grieve. I grieve that my brothers and sisters died because of one man’s senseless hate. Tears seem to be the only sensible words. My pulse is one with theirs.

But I also have another identity: I am Christian. And it is towards these brothers and sisters that I feel anger. Every queer person I know has chimed up in solidarity with the Orlando victims. Many queer people have reached out to me to make sure I’m okay. Several fierce allies have made known their grief. But Christians, I hear nothing. Christians, where is your grief? I have heard only silence. And make no mistake, your silence is deafening.

I get it, you disagree with my ‘lifestyle’.  I get it, you don’t condone my ‘sexual immorality’. I get it, you refuse to celebrate my ‘depravity’. You’ve told me as much at every turn. When I came out and told people I was gay, my inbox filled up within the hour; all detailing how I was abandoning Christ and embracing a life of sin. When I said I first kissed a boy, you told me that if a man lies with another man it is an abomination. When my heart was broken by a man who cheated on me and crushed my soul, you told me that God was trying to protect me. Believe me, I get it. I get it that you don’t approve of homosexuality.

But O Christian, where is your grief? 50 people died. 50 image bearers of God were needlessly slaughtered. But you are silent.

Why are you silent? Are you scared of accidentally giving approval to same-sex marriage? Believe me, we know you are against it. You’ve told us at every turn. I thought our Messiah wept when his friend died (Jn 11), but I see no tears on your cheek.

Why do you not wail? Are you scared that queer people do not feel the brokenness of the world? Believe me, we know the world is broken. All of creation groans and aches for the restoration of all things (Rm 8), but do you think queer people are different?

Why do you not mourn? Do you fear that your sobs will validate our relationships? Believe me, we know that you think our love is an abomination. But I thought Christ commanded us to mourn with those who mourn (Rm 12), and yet my ears burn from silence.

Why do you not weep? Do you fear giving tacit approval to our notions of theology? Believe me, we know your theological nuances on same-sex relations. But I thought Christ praised the Samaritan, the hated religious group, not for his theology, but for doing what was compassionate (Lk 10), and yet we are abandoned on the roadside.

Why do you not quiver in shock? Do you fear that we might think you love us? But I thought God demanded we love our enemies (Mt 5), yet we stand alone.

Why do you not scream for justice for 50 dead LGBTQ people? Do you secretly believe that their deaths was God’s justice? Believe me, we know you think we deserve death. But I thought Jesus responded to a tragedy by saying that those victims were not worse sinners than the rest (Lk 13), so why are dead queer people any different?

Christians, I only want someone to dry my eyes.

My brothers and sisters, Christians, make no mistake, your silence is deafening. It tells us not only that you think our lives are immoral, but even worse, that we are unworthy of love. It tells us that the religion which screams “love your enemies” deems us unworthy of love.

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19 thoughts on “The Deafening Roar of Silence

  1. As a pastor who at one time was anti-gay, but who is today a supporting and fully affirming friend and ally…please know there really are a growing number in the Christian world who stand with you and beside you with sincere and unconditional love. I am so very sorry you cannot hear our voices or feel our embrace or sense our support….YET! But I pray that in short time you will. I want to be included among the ones who are anxious to dry your eyes….Much Love

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      1. I don’t think that Christians are silent. Some are – but I have heard nearly every Christian I know, some are even fundamentalist Christians, condemning this act of violence. You may not know that, but many Christians are loudly supporting you – it is a previously loud anti-gay minority that is silent now. You are who you are, and you are loved just the way you are. Your grief is our grief, and your loss is our loss. There is no difference that separates us. You are my brother, and all those innocent people murdered in Orlando were my brothers and sisters, too – that has nothing to do with being gay or straight – we all belong to the same God.

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    1. I am also a Christian who stands with you with unconditional love… Mourning for the heartbroken families… And MANY of my Christian friends have spoken out just like me. I understand what you’re saying but KNOW there isn’t silence.

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  2. I am a straight Christian, and I mourn with you. </3 My heart breaks for the victims — not only the dead and wounded and their families, but also all those in the LGBTQ community who are afraid they might be murdered simply for existing, and living honestly.

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  3. Dear Queer community.

    Shit!, and yes. I am afraid. Afraid that I will loose the one group of people that have affirmed me even though my heart screams in pain at what has happened to my queer friends; the beautiful individuals at Pulse; to the queer person after person coming into this coffee shop today sobbing; meeting with friends and shaking with grief. I choke back my own tears. I don’t know how to sit with you in this. I’m afraid I haven’t earned the right to ask to sit with you in this. I have years of fucked up theology in my head that I’m still trying unpack. And while I deeply want you to know I’m sitting with you, I’m afraid I’ll say something that will add to you’re trauma. Afraid that it is selfish of me to expect you bear my fumbling attempts to do so in this moment. I’m afraid I will not love you well enough. My heart is broken for you. I ache when I see that most of my FB feed is filled with Christians who’s main concern seems to be with their right to bare arms. I am so sorry that I have stepped over you out of fear. I’ve been wanting to tell you that I’m here; That I don’t want want to be afraid; I want to love you better than I have; that you are image bearers, that you are beautiful and fully acceptable as you are and how devastated I feel over you being gunned down in opposition to that truth. I’m so sorry for what happened and for my silence. I am sorry that you feel so alone in this and I’m sorry for my contribution to your trauma through my silence. I want you to know that I’d like to be present with you as you heal. I want you to know that I fully affirm you. And I want you to know that I expect it just might not feel safe enough right now for you to let me do so. But just know this matters to me; You matter to me and my heart breaks with you for what happened to you. I am so sorry.

    Sincerely,

    This Christian Girl who’s starting to realize she’s acceptable as she is, and has realized lots of other people are too, in the process.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nicole, thank you for being so honest and thank you for your words … they mean a lot to many of us – more than you probably know. So thank you – you don’t have to be perfect – just standing by us is enough.

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  4. I am straight, a follower of Jesus and newly affirming of my son and all his LGBTQ+ friends. My heart goes out to all the LGBTQ+ community for this senseless slaughter. I am so sorry for the church as we know it and all its blind followers. I was one of them for too many years until I was confronted with my son’s coming out. It took my getting on my face before God for Him to reveal to me what a special person my son really was. Accepting him for who he is made it easier for me to accept others like him. I share this because I want you to know that the church universal will one day accept you and your LGBTQ+ community. It may not be tomorrow or next month, or next year, but I know it will come around, because I did. Because I know there are enough of us who are starting to see the Light, who are determined to see the Light and God will not turn a deaf ear to our cries. Pray f or God’s church. Pray for their failures and believe God to change traditional beliefs that don’t honour Him. And continue to follow Jesus who loved even the man who betrayed him.

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  5. I am a composer who is collaborating with others to create a theatrical piece that deals with growing up Gay in the Bible Belt.This was very inspiring to me,as the principle force behind the project.I will follow you and hope to find a time for further discourse.
    “Everybody say LOVE”,

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  6. I am not silent, but you don’t know me, so you haven’t benefited from my sadness or my outrage at this travesty. Fear and hatred are bad enough, but to express them with violence is horrific in the name of any god. Evil done in the name of any god is still evil.

    I am a Christian minister who has rethought my ideas about same-sex relationships several times as life’s surprises have confronted my beliefs and found them wanting. I have retooled my theology as well; as I understand people better and understand life better, I read the Bible more clearly. I think I now understand God better. I now truly believe “God is love” and that the most important work God gave to me to do is “Love your neighbor.”

    Now I don’t live anywhere near Florida. I don’t even like Florida. But the way Jesus sees things, these 103 PEOPLE (and all their people) are my neighbors. They need my love, not my judgment. My God told me to love them, not judge them. Love is in my domain, judgment is not. My heart hurt with that of the mother I saw interviewed who was saying “I keep calling my son. He doesn’t answer. I don’t know where my son is…” That could be me calling my adult child. That would be my worst nightmare. I love her; I love her son, wherever he is. I love all the others, too. And I’m not concerned that I will ever run out of love, because I stand in the stream of unlimited Divine love, too; I will receive more than I can give…

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  7. I am just an ordinary mom, grandma and a believer but my heart is broken for you and for all my gay brothers and sisters. Everything you say is right. The church has to be ashamed of the way it reacts to the LGBT community. It should not be that way. I am so very sorry. With love, from Québec, Canada

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  8. I am here, I am listening. I am a fellow Christian, friend and ally to you. I hear you brother…you are not alone in this. And even though the world is staying silent and you feel your voice is falling on deaf ears…I hear you and my heart is breaking for you and for those in Orlando and around this country/world. Many prayers sent your way, God bless,

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    1. I do not know the heart of people. I speak for myself. I am queer. And I’m raging that this is being turned into a “crime against all people” and not constantly written as a crime against LGBTQ people. I am angry that while the LGBTQ community is turned inside out, many go about their day as though nothing is different.

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  9. i too am a Christian – a pastor’s wife in fact. While I may not agree with the LGBT lifestyle, the bible teaches us to love one another. Your relationship with God is between you and Him, we are not called to judge. My heart goes out to all who were affected by this tragedy and i can safely say the majority of Christians feel the same – perhaps you don’t see the posts going on in the Christian community in social media as you are not a part of that. Franklin Graham and other well known pastors and evangelists have all come out to say this was wrong and that we weep with you. it is a shame that places like westboro baptist get all the enws when there are so many more churches who do not teach hate. Love they neighbor!

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    1. I don’t want to be timid anymore .I want to sing that God made me Gay and that’s why I’m so Wonderful.As a musician ,that works in theater,my largest hope is to compile the feelings of all my gay brothers and lesbian sisters and transgendered siblings and those that feel queer and those who are intersex,and every child of Christ that loves God but questions themselves due to persecution-then with wisdom and humor and song,create a show to help the world have a change of heart.The Church has blood on its hands since Orlando. Really ,Matthew Shepherd and many others ,like in that bar in New Orleans,have been sacrificed by people who felt like they were justified in the name of God.It may be hard to find the words,but we have to find a clever way to teach an audience that includes those people who are certain that we are abominations,that we are just as full of the Holy Spirit as they are.Two people have brought me great inspiration before you.They are Del Shores(Sordid Lives,and Southern Baptist Sissies) and RuPaul Charles,whose words”Everybody Say Love” have become my mantra ,since Orlando.
      Thank You so much,
      Jon M.Kitchen.

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