Last Friday, June 10th the memorial service of the late great Muhammad Ali was televised and streamed live. It was an interfaith service filled with love. The memorial was planned 10 years ago under the guidance of Ali. Friends from across many faiths including Muslim, Christian, Mormon, Jewish, Native American just to name a few gave reflections on one of the world’s greatest humanitarians. Throughout each message there was the underlying theme of love & kindness.
During the early hours of Sunday, June 12th a gay club in Orlando, Florida was attacked by a man now known to have pledged allegiance with ISIL. 50 people were killed and 53 wounded in the attack. This attack has caused some to say inappropriate and hateful things about choices and the LGBTQ community. This includes the Lt. Governor of Texas who tweeted a Bible verse “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” – Galatians 6:7 NIV , he has since deleted it. I am not a Bible scholar; I am however a Christian who believes in the golden rule. “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” – Luke 6:31 NIV and “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” Matthew 7:1 NIV
Having friends within the LGBTQ community makes the massacre in Orlando, Florida more real. It could have happened anywhere . It could have involved friends who’ve been in committed relationships over 20 years and just recently able to legally marry. These are not people following a free lifestyle…they are in monogamous relationships. For those who would remove their judgement glasses and really look they would see regular ordinary people. They are lawyers, doctors, teachers, law enforcement officers, fireman, military personal, bakers, and every other profession. Most importantly, they are mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, cousins, brothers, sons, fathers, uncles, and friends.
Whether it is religion, race, gender, or sexual orientation judging others to the extent where you believe it is your duty to kill or hurt them is wrong. Hating someone for their beliefs is illogical to me. I have stayed silent for longer than I should have. I didn’t publicly speak up during the same sex marriage nor during the bathroom debates. I have not posted anything during various pride events. But the hateful murder of people enjoying themselves regardless of if you agree with their life choices is wrong.
With this post I stand as an ally to those who seek to love whom they choose. Two consenting adults seeking the love of each other or the same with two young people I choose not to judge. Ultimately love is the answer and will shine through hate. The aftermath from acts of terrorism usually bring love. It rises above the devastation and gives all those accepting of others hope. We will never always agree but let’s stop judging each other.
Finally, this Friday will mark the 1st year anniversary of the Charleston, SC nine massacre. Nine Christians were murdered after Bible study in their church. This included the pastor of Mother Emmanuel AME Church who also was a Senator. With quick effort Dillon Ruff was found and charged with the murders. During the initial hearing the families of the nine victims forgave him. I confuse, I don’t know if I would have been able to do that so soon. They allowed Christian love to overcome what I imagine was a numbing grief to say the words, “I forgive you and may God have mercy on your soul.” These family members and the example of Muhammad Ali who embraced all faiths and beliefs, should be a constant reminder of agape love. Love will always, always, always overcome hate.
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