Since the Orlando shooting, many people have chosen to point the finger at “radical Islam;” one Catholic bishop, however, has taken a different approach. According to Catholic bishop Robert Lynch, the Orlando shooting targeting the LGBT community, and other hate crimes like it, can’t be blamed solely on Islam. Rather, according to the Catholic bishop, the Orlando shooting and other violence against the LGBT community is often caused by religion in general, and the contempt many religions breed for LGBT individuals.
As Patheos reports, after the Orlando shooting, the Catholic bishop turned to his blog to share his feelings about the tragedy and to admit that religion, even his religion, “breeds contempt” for LGBT people.
“…sadly it is religion, including our own, which targets, mostly verbally, and also often breeds contempt for gays, lesbians and transgender people. Attacks today on LGBT men and women often plant the seed of contempt, then hatred, which can ultimately lead to violence.”
Following the Orlando shooting, the Catholic bishop created a blog post entitled “Orlando, Orlando We Love You.” In that post, Catholic bishop Lynch publicly acknowledges that many religions promote hatred for the LGBT community, not just Islam, and including his own faith, Catholicism. The Catholic bishop’s post-Orlando shooting blog post is also a cautionary message. In it, bishop Lynch tells religious leaders to watch their hate-filled religious rhetoric because it can fuel “deranged people” to do horrific things.
“While deranged people do senseless things, all of us observe, judge and act from some kind of religious background. Singling out people for victimization because of their religion, their sexual orientation, their nationality must be offensive to God’s ears. It has to stop also.”
Bishop Lynch has been one of the first religious leaders in the nation to publicly come out following the Orlando shooting and say that virtually all religions demonize the LGBT community. Many are calling his comments “correct,” noting that all three of the Abrahamic religions prospering in the world today preach that homosexuality is “sinful” and “evil” as part of their dogma.
Other prominent members of the (Christian) religious community in the United States have come forward to speak following the Orlando attacks, and most of what they have had to say has been the hate-filled rhetoric that the Catholic bishop warns against in his blog post. Christian pastor Steven Anderson came out publicly to praise the Orlando shooting, calling it “good news” and adding that, “homosexuals are a bunch of disgusting perverts.”
Never willing to let a good national tragedy go to waste, the Westboro Baptist Church has also gotten in on the post-Orlando shooting hate-mongering that the Catholic bishop touched on in his blog post. The self-proclaimed “Christians” of Westboro Baptist Church (which is referred to as a hate group by many) immediately began using its many social media accounts to spread messages of homophobia and hate following the Orlando shooting.
The group said that the Orlando shooter was “sent by god” because the Pulse nightclub was full of gay people. The organization is famous for its nasty attacks on the gay community and LGBT rights, often protesting with signs reading, “God hates f**s!”
The “church” also spammed social media with a hateful parody of Bastille’s “Pompeii” titled “Shooters Keep Comin’ Around,” a hate song they had already posted to YouTube prior to Sunday morning’s Orlando terrorist attack.
As of Tuesday, many hateful, religiously-motivated posts praising the Orlando shooting had been removed from several social media sites, including Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.
When it’s all said and done, most members of the LGBT community can tell you from personal experience that religious beliefs form the foundation of much of the hate they experience due to their sexual orientation. In the wake of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, it’s nice to see a Catholic bishop admit that religion (and not just Islam) plays a role in breeding contempt against the LGBT community.
What do you think? Do you agree with bishop Lynch regarding the role religion plays in homophobia? Is there anything mainstream religions can do to overcome the hate for LGBT people taught in their holy books? Did this Catholic bishop do the right thing by speaking out following the Orlando shooting?
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