Monday, June 13, 2016

Just another day in America

Orlando Sentinel

I grew up queer, surrounded by the poison of conventional all-American Christianity in those days, and have seen and experienced many things since --- over the course of some 70 years. Shock is a rare commodity.

So the reported slaughter of some 20 innocents at a gay club in Orlando early Sunday didn't seem that surprising upon arising. By the time I left for church, the reported toll had increased to 50. But we live in a culture where it's a simple matter to acquire an automatic or semi-automatic weapon, hate still is preached from many pulpits and campaign podiums and politics have gone toxic. What, exactly, were we expecting?

I was surprised that the shooter was Muslim, although apparently not observant. Always figured it would be a Christian who came for us.

Driving toward church I got to wondering if the slaughter even would be mentioned in many of the places where the faithful were gathered, many prideful in the hateful purity of their doctrine. Would fundamentalist preachers be echoing Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick's early-morning tweet from Galatians: "A man reaps what he sows," shifting the blame from perpetrator to victim?

We prayed for the dead, their loved ones --- and for ourselves.

Later on Sunday, a friend posted photos from the Pride parade in Des Moines. I was proud of the marchers and of those who marched with them, including delegations from various Christian expressions that have worked hard to rise from the spiritual ashes of a bloody collective past --- United Church of Christ, ELCA Lutheran, Presbyterians, progressive United Methodists, Episcopalians, Unitarian Universalists.

As the day passed, condolences --- "thoughts and prayers" --- rolled in from the usual suspects, Ted Cruz for example, Mike Huckabee for another, those whose hypocrisy glittered in the sunlight.

And the spin shifted into high gear --- Guns don't kill, Muslims do.

Just another day in America as we wait to see who will be next.

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