Thursday, June 16, 2016

Thoughts, prayers & a link or two

Most likely, I've been spending too much time browsing in the aftermath of Sunday morning's slaughter of 49 in Orlando --- nearly all of the victims relative youngsters, nearly all of them gay.

But this cartoon, drawn by artist/commentator Patt Kelley, seemed appropriate after reading a little about a Wednesday political rally led by Franklin Graham in Madison, Wisconsin. Graham is the son of Billy Graham, evangelist of another era, widely admired; Franklin, not so much.

The younger Graham --- a darling of the Christian and political right --- opened the rally with "thoughts and prayers" for the Orlando victims and their families, terming the shooting a symptom of "godless America." Then moved on to assure those who asked that the youthful gay victims were, of course, roasting in hell. Thanks, Franklin.

Russell Moore, of the Southern Baptist Convention, asked on behalf of the Christian right in a post-shooting piece in TIME Magazine, "Can We Still Weep Together After Orlando?" No, says commentator Zack Ford in a followup at ThinkProgress.


Contrast the Graham approach to gracious remarks Monday evening by Utah's "youngish" lieutenant governor, Republican Spencer Cox --- a Mormon. Among his remarks ---
But now we are here. We are here because 49 beautiful, amazing people are gone. These are not just statistics. These were individuals. These are human beings. They each have a story. They each had dreams, goals, talents, friends, family. They are you and they are me. And one night they went out to relax, to laugh, to connect, to forget, to remember. And in a few minutes of chaos and terror, they were gone.
I believe that we can all agree we have come a long way as a society when it comes to our acceptance and understanding of the LGBTQ community (did I get that right?). However, there has been something about this tragedy that has very much troubled me. I believe that there is a question, two questions actually, that each of us needs to ask ourselves in our heart of hearts. And I am speaking now to the straight community. How did you feel when you heard that 49 people had been gunned down by a self-proclaimed terrorist? That’s the easy question. Here is the hard one: Did that feeling change when you found out the shooting was at a gay bar at 2 a.m. in the morning? If that feeling changed, then we are doing something wrong.


Finally, for today, I've been watching (because it's currently streaming on Netflix) Rory Stewart's 2012 documentary, "Afghanistan: The Great Game."

The relationship here to the Orlando massacre is tangential, although Islamic fundamentalism and the violence it fosters certainly is tangled up in the complex web of the shooter's motivation, something that never may be understood fully.

It's disconcerting, and frequently overlooked, that the arrogance of the United States and its allies as well as earlier invaders --- British and Soviet --- fostered and in some cases actively encouraged the rise of a movement that now engages us all in a global "war on terrorism."

That's a useful thing to know in circumstances like this, when the wickedness of fundamentalist Islam and the wickedness of fundamentalist Christianity converge in places like Orlando.

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