As I See It Opinion

Carnage and Compassion

Written by Richard Hack

The past few days have been an endurance race between raw emotions and journalist integrity. The job  of editor comes with a responsibility that requires that the “off” switch to be toggled when it feels as if very real human caring can compromise what should be unbiased reporting.

And so it was this past week as we were pressed into action on Sunday to begin what amounted to hundreds of posts and interviews regarding the carnage that took place at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando.  It was sensitive turf, to be sure. We knew 12 of the dead—an extremely high number to absorb in one sitting.

Yet, even as we coped with the grieving process, there were stories to write and guidance to be given to an LGBT community reeling from the largest massacre on US soil.  Surely, nothing could get worse. Yet, it did.

The fundamentalist Christian pastor of an Arizona church went on YouTube to vent his thoughts on the deaths of 49 individuals—some of who were gay and some who were not..

Just hours after America’s worst mass shooting came to an end, Steven Anderson, who preaches God’s goodness to the Faithful Word Baptist Church in suburban Phoenix, unleashed a sickening tirade in which he showed no compassion toward the slaughtered. Rather, downright hatred.

‘The good news is that there’s 50 less pedophiles in this world, because, you know, these homosexuals are a bunch of disgusting perverts and pedophiles,’ Anderson said in the video. “That’s who was a victim here, are a bunch of just disgusting homosexuals at a gay bar, OK?”

Disgusting homosexuals at a gay bar? We needed to pause for a sanity check. Yes, this is America 2016, and this is a very real and presumably legitimate preacher bending the truth.

Anderson, who has previously been outed for his rants against the President of the United States, transgender wonder Caitlyn Jenner and AIDS, brought out that tired book of Leviticus to justify the terror attack that took place at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub.

“The Bible says that homosexuals should be put to death… obviously it’s not right for somebody to just shoot up the place because that’s not going through the proper channels,” he said. “But these people all should have been killed anyway but they should have been killed through the proper channels as in they should have been executed by a righteous government.”

The migraine begins as the absurdity of the comments sink in and become painful. It’s not that we buy into the routine, any more than we believe telenovelas on Mexican TV. Certainly, fun to watch, but hardly real life.

Rev. Anderson, however, mean what he’s saying, and represents enough of a population base in this country to at least give us pause to reflect. Has America become so intolerant in the past decade to produce this kind of hatemongering? Sadly, the answer is yes.

But equally as powerful was the response from Christians who weren’t buying into Anderson’s act.

Anderson’s rant have now been viewed over 100,000 times and have received thousands of comments from viewers who blasted him for the absurdity of his words.

“I am a Christian and I am mourning the loss of 50 of my fellow brothers,’ one user wrote. ‘I hope that people realize not all Christians are self-righteous hatemongers like this man.

“I don’t believe anyone has the right to judge anyone else, and I’m so sorry for the murder of these people. I’m all so very sorry a man like this is representing Christians. Please know we are not all like this animal.”

Anderson said that “the bad news” after the Pulse Nightclub massacre was that there would undoubtedly be a further push for gun control where ”law-abiding, normal Americans are not gonna be allowed to have guns for self-defence.” Gee, you think?

“I’m sure that people are going to start attacking Bible-believing Christians now because of what this guy did,” he said.

IF there is good news in all that has happened in that last few days it is to be found in the vigils that have grown around the globe. All over the world, people of all faiths have joined united against the inhumanity of it all.

It also draws our attention squarely on a Congress in Washington, DC that continues to allow this kind of Wild West insanity to prevail under the name of freedom. It’s the same officials that failed to act when nine people died in a South Carolina church, and nine others died in a community college in Oregon.

The Congress did not act when 14 partiers were killed in California, or a dozen others murdered in a Naval yard in their own backyard. There were shooting sprees in a Colorado theater, an elementary school in Connecticut, another in Alabama, and still another at an Army base in Texas.

Perhaps now while the carnage in Orlando is still fresh and the smell of blood is still there; perhaps now that the world is united as one against this evil known as hate; perhaps now we will make a universal move toward compassion and gentility that all humans deserve. Perhaps now.

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