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 that 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.