It’s the day after 50 human beings were slaughtered at an LGBT bar in Orlando, Fla., USA, and predictably, a lot of words have already been written. Here are mine:
There’s a famous football coach whose pithy remarks are often quoted, and one of my favorites is, “You are what you are.” NFL coaching icon Bill Parcells said it, and for context, the words are often used to refute a claim that a football team is somehow better than its record indicates. “You are what you are,” Parcells would say, meaning that fans of a 7-9 team are fools for saying their team would be 12-4, except for a few bad breaks.
I’ve written about gun control before, and it didn’t do any good. My words cost me at least one friendship, and probably further strained ties with a few relatives. Ultimately, writing that piece was a waste of my time because too many Americans don’t care if innocent people are killed with assault weapons. As a nation, our record speaks for itself: We are what we are.
Indeed, I believe that gun control would be a fine thing, but it would not have stopped Orlando. I’m convinced that in cases like this, any religious nut with hate in his heart will find a way to murder innocent people. Gun control might effectively stop the spur-of-the-moment moron who shoots in anger. Gun control might also keep a child from finding Mama’s gun and blowing off her sweet little head. But Orlando? No, if not an assault rifle, it would have been a bomb, and if not a bomb, then something else.
Orlando, I’m afraid, is not so much about gun control as it’s about a hateful, blood-drenched god who whispers into the ears of his many disciples who stand ready, willing and able to carry out his violent bidding.
They are what they are.
After every outrage, good Christians or good Muslims will go on television and apologize for the latest atrocity committed in the name of their god, which is the same god. It’s like clockwork:
“Islam is a religion of peace. No true Muslim would do what this man did!”
“Christianity teaches peace. No true Christian would blow up that clinic!”
I have no doubt these people believe what they’re saying, but in fact, none of it is true. History tells us that Muslims and Christians have been doing exactly these things and worse since before the Crusades, which is used as a convenient framing point to approximate the beginning of the carnage. Muslims and Christians have been cracking down on their own notions of what constitutes an apostate for thousands of years, and not always with guns. They’ve used knives, swords, bombs, boiling oil … you name it.
These religions talk of peace, but their record is not so good. Maybe they are what they are.
This time it was an LGBT club in Orlando, but which apostates will die today for merely trying to live their own lives and go about their own business? I’ll bet someone, somewhere, died today for the Desert God. Maybe it wasn’t 50 this time, but someone surely died in his name.
How can you fight a bloody god with mere words? I suppose you can’t, and maybe that’s why I’m growing so tired of hearing the apologies and protestations about how the words of your peaceful god were misconstrued — again.
Maybe it’s time for a new god, and make mine an unambiguous god that doesn’t leave room for misinterpretation of words like jihad, washing in blood, or casting souls into fiery lakes of eternal damnation.
Be mindful of what you say and what you believe. Because in the final analysis, we are what we are, and someone else’s life might depend on it.