Everyone knows now about the tragedy in Orlando. 50 dead including the murderer and 53 injured in a gay night club called Pulse.
As someone who hosts a morning radio show I've been here before. Unfortunately, even though I'm young, I've become very familiar with how to host a morning show the days after a mass murder. I know how to transition from the tragic to the trivial. I shouldn't have this much experience in this dark matter, but I do.
That being said, I'm not here to add to the noise of those who claim to be experts on how to fix this. I'm not an expert and I won't pretend to be in this post. I don't know how to keep this from happening again.
However, I do want to offer a few pieces of advice to Christians about things we need to keep in mind following this horrific tragedy.
1) Christians, we must grieve with the gay community.
The Bible tells us to weep with those who weep. Right now there are 50 moms, 50 dads, hundreds of siblings and thousands of friends who will never see their loved one again. We must weep with those people. But we must also weep with the so called L.B.G.T.Q. community as well. Right now that community is scared. That community is deeply saddened because 49 people were killed and 53 people injured and they were targeted because they were at a gay night club. Make no mistake, these people were mowed down with a gun because they were or might be gay.
Russell Moore, the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, has said this better than I can. Please read his blog post.
2) Religious liberty only exists when all religions have liberty.
This murderer, terrorist, idiot... was a Muslim who appears to have been radicalized in the vein of I.S.I.S. Because of fear of Muslims and people of Middle Eastern decent some people have rushed to violate the religious freedom of Muslims. Donald Trump has called for a ban on Muslim immigration. Some people, including a few ill advised pastors, are calling for F.B.I. surveillance of mosques and more.
Christians, we cannot support this.
Religious freedom is one of the bedrocks of our country. It is one of the sweet blessings of living here. Christians all around the world are meeting underground praying to one day obtain the religious freedom that we possess in the United States. But if we allow one religious community's religious freedoms to be infringed upon we are laying the ground for our religious freedoms to be violated.
President Bush famously said after 9/11 that "We respect your faith... the enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends."
Today President Obama said this in response to Donald Trump's plan to ban Muslim immigrants and he's on point.
Some Christians may be wondering, "But Matt, what about what the Bible says about homosexuality? And are you saying that Islam and Christianity are equal truths?" The Bible makes clear statements about homosexuality but that should never keep us from treating anyone in the L.G.B.T.Q. community as people that are made in the image of God and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. And Islam and Christianity are not equal truths. Everyone needs the Gospel; Jesus is the only way to the Father. But as American citizens we must fight for the religious liberty of all. If we treat Muslims as lesser today we will be treated as lesser one of these tomorrows.
I'm sorry for adding to the noise, but please grieve with the gay community and remember that religious liberty is a fragile ideal that must be protected today.