Nobody I know is celebrating the massacre of 49 by an Islamic terrorist at a gay bar in Florida. Everyone I know is disgusted by it all. Even so, followers of Jesus—those who take His Scriptures seriously—are targets for hate and blame as a result of the attack.
Here's a sampling of comments I’ve read:
• “You all are CINOs (Christians in Name Only). Paul said in Romans 13:10 that love does no harm to a neighbor.”
• “I blame you and people like you for Orlando. They’re dead because of homophobia. You and your ilk, spreading your messages of hate, directly contribute to tragedies like this.”
• “You Christians helped cause this massacre. F__k your prayers and your chaplains. How ‘bout you stop your anti-queer theology that supports our death and despair, huh?”
• “The Christian Right has introduced 200 anti-LGBT bills in the last six months and people blaming Islam for this. No.” (Posted via Twitter by an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union.)
The blame, of course, is completely ludicrous. It is the practitioners of Islam who advocate and practice the execution of homosexuals. The Florida massacre was the direct result of Islamic hate. The repeated massive and bloody violence perpetrated in the name of Islam bears its own sole responsibility. Christians obviously are fighting the forced overturning of biblical teaching on sexual sin and obvious natural law regarding relationships between men and women. Fighting by argument and persuasion the hostile overhaul of biblical values is righteous and perfectly legitimate. But many cannot tolerate the tension, resorting to blame-shifting, name-calling and hateful intolerance of the Christian's biblical worldview.
This 21st century is building into something of a mini-first century. When Rome burned in A.D. 64, Emperor Nero blamed the Christians, even though Nero likely started the fire. Christians were easy targets. Roman practices were steeped in sexual immorality and idolatry. Christians refused to take part. Nero and his followers called followers of Jesus haters of the human race. They must be disliked by all because of their anti-social attitudes. (Nero famously took the term dislike to the deepest level of understatement.) Followers of Jesus were hunted, arrested, killed. Roman senator and historian Tacitus reported that some were crucified. Bloody animal skins were sewn into the bodies of others who were then hunted down and torn apart by wild dogs. Other Christians were immersed in hot tar and burned alive, serving as living torches in the night. After all of that, Tacitus had the gall to write that followers of Jesus were notoriously depraved. Juvenal, a Roman poet, piled on by calling followers of Jesus river sewage.
The restaurant chain Chick-fil-A, (a favored target of Christian-haters) served free sandwiches and iced tea to those donating blood for the surviving victims of the Florida massacre. Caring for those victims is a perfect and precious example of loving your enemies. I wonder how those enemies will respond.