It’s been almost a week since the devastating massacre in Orlando. What emotions this has stirred up across the globe and especially on social media. I have Facebook friends on all sections of the political and spiritual spectrum, so that leads to an array of posts on the issues that stem from such an awful event…guns, Muslims, radical Islam, LGBT community, Obama, Trump, etc. It can make your head spin and cause us to lose focus on what has really occurred. Human beings, hated for their sexual preferences and lifestyle and/or race, were blatantly murdered by an angry, distorted man. It is wrong in every single direction and no one, regardless of their personal beliefs and personal choices, deserves such hatred.
The other night I watched a bit of “I Am Jazz”, a show about a young child struggling with gender-identity and her journey through the transitional period that started at a very young age with hormone-altering drugs, etc. It was disturbing to see, but an additional takeaway for me was the honest portrayal they gave of the backlash and straight-up bullying this and other trans kids endure as a result of their decision. I don’t agree with such extreme measures at that young age, but no matter what decision they and their parents have made, NOTHING is deserving of ugly, hateful, judgmental words.
With SO much information coming from many different directions and sources, it is confusing to know truth. What news channels or websites are accurately and responsibly sending out information and opinions? Should I be for or against gun control? Does it really matter if Obama refers to it as “Radical Islam” or not? It’s what keeps me from regularly really diving into the political arena or keeping up with the news. It’s why I generally play devil’s advocate to a great deal of my husband’s conservative perspective on issues (and I’m a touch stubborn). Another social issue that this recent trauma has brought up again that I continue to struggle with is my personal opinion on homosexuality. I go back and forth on what I think. My faith plays a major part in my thoughts on this matter. I read about it. I have asked questions of people on both sides. I’ve prayed about it. No matter where I fall on it at any given moment, it will always be my personal opinion. I am allowed to still have that, right?
There are obviously way too many people, some claiming to be followers of Christ, that are plain ol’ ugly, mean, judgmental, and critical of others that they deem sinful (forgetting the log in their own eye! Matthew 7:3). But not everyone feels and acts that way! There are Christians who may not agree with someone’s lifestyle, but still show love. I don’t hate someone because they have a different lifestyle than me. I know many people that don’t speak aggressively or ugly towards others that have different beliefs. I would certainly never think someone, like a person in the LGBT community, would ever be deserving of brutal murder for their lifestyle. I feel terribly that anyone would feel threatened, bullied, or in fear of their life for a lifestyle preference. YET, even though I feel heavy-hearted over how they must be feeling and want to support them as they recover from the Orlando massacre, I’ve somehow been led to feel that I’m not allowed to still disagree with their lifestyle. Why would I not be able to hold a personal belief that stems from my own personal faith? There are articles like these that imply Christians are inadvertently being held accountable for the Orlando massacre and that is very disheartening to me.
If I do decide that I don’t believe homosexuality is what God intended for his creation, then I could be “de-friended” on Facebook and thrown into the pit, like Florida State Attorney Pam Bondi was during her interview with Anderson Cooper. On my newsfeed I saw friends thrilled that he tore into her, implying she is a hypocrite for now supporting the LGBT community when previously, she adamantly fought against their right to marry in the state of Florida. Remember when I said I don’t often engage in politics or tune in to the news? Please hear me say that I know zilch about Pam Bondi, besides her job title and from the interview I watched yesterday, it’s obvious she fought against gay marriage to, as she said,”uphold the constitution for the state of Florida”. I have no clue if she’s a Christian. I have no idea if she’s a big Meany-pants in real life. However, what I did hear her saying in that interview is that she was appalled by the atrocity that happened in Orlando and that she supports human life and wants to help the LGBT community. I do not personally feel strongly opposed to gay marriage or civil unions, but this lady is entitled to her opinion (and her designated career responsibilities) and that does not automatically discredit her seemingly heartfelt efforts to support the LGBT community after such a scary event. I believe someone should be able to sympathize and support another, even if they may not agree with their lifestyle.
Like I said, emotions can reach an all-time high at times like these. With folks on polar opposite sides of political and social issues, it can lead to aggressive words. What I want is the freedom to respectfully hold my personal beliefs and I currently don’t feel like that’s the case. This does not mean I have the right to belittle and aggressively torment those that don’t hold the same beliefs. It would also mean that just because I may not agree with you, it does not mean I should be treated as ignorant or heartless. I believe living in this country affords us the right to hold our own opinions, whilst still respecting mankind and being able to gently encourage and love other human beings through such painful times as these.