Will the Club Shooting Be Used as a Club?

club_batMany people are responding to the June 12 shooting in Orlando just the way a reasonable person might expect: with general grief and mourning at the senseless loss of lives. They haven’t concerned themselves all that much with who the victims were, besides the fact that they were sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, friends, etc.

But there has been a lot of emphasis in the media that, since the shooting was at a gay nightclub, most (though not all) of the victims seem to have been gay. The news coverage has given a platform to a long line of spokespersons from LGBT organizations, and there has been the strong implication that everyone should not only stand with the victims’ loved ones, but in solidarity — and even agreement — with the whole LGBT community.

Now think about this: since it was Latin Night at the club, the vast majority of the victims were Hispanic. Why has there been virtually no media attention paid to the victims’ ethnicity? Because their ethnicity doesn’t matter? Well, it doesn’t. Because it was apparently not a factor in the shooter’s motivations? Well, it most likely wasn’t.

But let’s be honest: if the people in the media had wanted to, they could have put all the focus on the ethnicity of the victims. They could have trotted out a long line of spokespersons from Hispanic organizations, and urged people everywhere to stand in solidarity with the Hispanic community. Why would they not do so? Probably not so much because the victims’ ethnicity doesn’t matter, as because it doesn’t matter politically.

What would be the public response, the media response, the presidential response, if the shooting had taken place in a Baptist church with mostly white attendees? A black church? A mosque? A Jewish temple? An NRA meeting? What if the victims were the employees and clients of an abortion clinic? What if they were abortion protesters?

Would some of these be reacted to differently by the public than others? Would some get less emphasis in the media than others? Would some inspire a presidential visit like the Orlando shootings, and others fail to do so? I honestly don’t know, but I have a strong suspicion that the media response, and the presidential response, would be very different for some of these, and not so different for others, from the response to what happened on June 12.

Woodrow Wilcox


Since I first heard about the shooting, I have been wondering how it was going to be used politically. Thus far, my concerns seem to have been justified. As anyone might have expected (at least if they’ve been paying attention), the shooting has not been used much in the media to turn sympathies against the “radical Islamic” (or just plain “Islamic”) influences behind it, but has been used heavily to turn sympathies toward LGBT causes.

It’s true that LGBT people have often received unjust treatment. They have often been judged harshly and misunderstood. Nonetheless, genuine hate toward them is not nearly as common as it’s portrayed to be; there are not huge numbers of people who seek to harm or kill them (well, besides those who seek to harm a lot of other people as well). Very often, they are much more likely to be harmed in the long run by their own actions than by any outside people.

Us conservative Christians may oppose laws that favor LGBT people, not out of “hate” but because of the genuine injustices such laws can create. We recognize that truly equal rights have to do with equal opportunity and equal standards, not with special exemptions made for what are inescapably unequal efforts.

More to the point, we recognize that homosexuality, bisexuality and gender confusion are issues with unhealthy roots and unhealthy results. Ultimately, we do not hate LGBT people, and certainly do not seek to harm them, but merely desire for them to find healing and wholeness through Christ. Frankly, the expression of these things is as strongly fought against, if not more so, than any actual hate or unjust treatment.

There is already a common, and outrageously misguided, perception that the convictions of conservative Christians are somehow just as harmful to LGBT people as the murderous “radical” Islamic influences behind this shooting — influences that could not be further removed from what the teachings of Christ are about.

People who recognize the unhealthy nature of homosexuality, and desire to see people get away from it, already receive a lot of ugly, baseless accusations of being “haters” and worse. Will the shooting at the club be used as a “club” to beat them down even more?



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David Mann is a Christian who lives in Florida.
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