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Jun13

Don’t jump to conclusions on The Orlando massacre says Toronto queer activist Richard Elliott

Monday, 13 June 2016 Written by // Guest Authors - Revolving Door Categories // Activism, Gay Men, Current Affairs, International , Opinion Pieces, Revolving Door, Guest Authors

“We must absolutely decry the inevitable, despicable attempts to use this latest horror to fan the flames of Islamophobia. We must make the connections between bigotry and hate of various kinds”

Don’t jump to conclusions on The Orlando massacre says Toronto queer activist Richard Elliott

We need more facts but . . .

Aren't more facts needed before claims are made about the apparent homophobia of the Orlando mass shooter not being rooted in religion in any way?

The patriarchal monotheisms of Judaism, Islam and Christianity -- and indeed plenty of other religions -- all have centuries of blood in their hands against people engaged in what the bigoted zealots of those institutions have characterized as the sin, deviance, etc. of those of us who have sex they deem unacceptable. And plenty of their leaders and adherents continue to espouse and enact hate every day against us as queer people (and against women, non-believers, etc.) What were the roots of this man's hatred?

We must absolutely decry the inevitable, despicable attempts to use this latest horror to fan the flames of Islamophobia. We must make the connections between bigotry and hate of various kinds. And we must make the connections between the ways in which dehumanization of various kinds of people enables mass slaughter, whether by the individual psychopath with an assault rifle or by governments that bomb entire countries and populations to advance their geopolitical interests (usually the interests of capital) or their own short-term interests in power.

But in doing so let's not fall into the facile trap - unless and until the facts show this - of assuming it "has nothing to do with religion." There's a very decent chance, given the world we live in and the pervasiveness of bigotry espoused by many religious leaders and adherents - that it does, at least in part. Let's see what emerges. We do the victims of such hatred a profound dishonour if we ignore this reality and instantly jump to professing that religion had no role here. If it did, then even as we resist Islamophobia, we cannot give religion a free pass - since it continues to destroy and warp billions of lives around the planet every day, particularly in those places where it continues to dictate or influence significantly the laws under which people live and love, often at great risk and in very real fear.

You can follow Richard Elliot on Facebook here

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