I wasn’t originally going to write about the shooting in Orlando because, well, I had nothing new or insightful to say. It was horrible and tragic, and I pray for recovery and justice. But other than that, everything I would have written had already been said. All the political angles were already being dissected. I had nothing new.
But now I’ve seen many of the arguments. And I’m appalled at one thing specifically.
We are no longer able to agree to disagree. Or more specifically, we are no longer able to see our similarities; we focus on what makes us different from the other person and use it to divide ourselves.
Us vs. Them
Many Christians have come out and said how sorry they are for the shooting, trying (for once) to empathize with the LGBT community instead of ostracize them. A Chick-fil-A in Orlando even opened its doors on Sunday to serve free food to those mourning. (source)
But apparently, many Christians are being told, “No. You can’t be sorry.” And Christians are being targeted as the source of this tragedy. Facebook, blogs, Twitter, you name it. Go search any media and you’ll find an example.
For years, Christians have ostracized the LGBT community and for the first time, I’m seeing more sympathy from Christians than “they deserved it.” But it’s being spat back out because many Christians don’t support gay marriage.
It’s all or nothing. You can’t love somebody without accepting every single facet of them. It’s not love unless it comes on their terms.
And Christians? Don’t look so smug. We have a history of not accepting each other (never mind gays) unless someone conforms to our exact beliefs, mindsets, and attitudes. Churches have split because they disagree on end-times theology. So why SHOULD the gays feel love when we tell them they have to straighten up (no pun intended) in order to receive Christ?
We can’t give or accept love unless it’s on our own terms. We can’t agree to disagree.
Rights and Wrongs
Another angle emerging from this story is gun control, but the argument is nearly as deadly as the weapon in question.
One side says guns are evil and should be banned entirely, and hates those who disagree. The other side says guns are good and should never be touched under any circumstances, and hates those who disagree.
Neither side can see that both are brokenhearted over the loss in Orlando.
The anti-gun side wishes there were no guns so this would never have happened. The pro-gun side wishes the victims had guns so they could have fought back. Both want the tragedy reversed. Both want to stop future disaster. Both are torn apart.
But who cares about similarities? Who cares about agreement? I want my way. And if I have to stop mourning over dead people to get my way, then I’ll do it.
We can’t cry on each others’ shoulders. Even now. Because we can’t agree to disagree.
On and On
They say that when tragedy strikes, you can really see the good in humanity. I see what they’re saying, but I must humbly disagree. This is the internet age. When tragedy strikes, I see people more interested in their own agendas than sympathy.
I know we’re different. I know these differences need to be addressed. I know shots have been fired on both sides and that no one side is innocent.
But this isn’t about us. This is about the people who died.
So for one moment…for once, marvelous moment…can we put down our pointed fingers? Can we put down our signs of protest? Can we stop arguing over solutions and just hold hands? For one moment? Can we cry on each other’s shoulders? Can we agree that this is terrible and stop there? For one moment?
And when we release that sacred grip, can we remember the imprint of their fingers on ours? Can we remember that they cried, too? Can we listen to their arguments and remember that they hurt as much as we do?
And when things get too heated, can we spread our arms and say, “Wait a minute, this is getting out of hand. Come, embrace me. Let’s remember why we’re both here.”?
Can we stop treating fellow mourners as enemies? Can’t we agree and disagree at the same time? Or are our hearts so shallow, so black, that we refuse to accept anyone unless they’re absolutely perfect and make us comfortable in every way?
I’m exaggerating, you say? There’s far more love and acceptance than I see? I hope so. I would genuinely love to be wrong here. But from my angle, we still have a long way to go if death makes us grow apart, not closer.