As our country asks how to protect itself from the terror of more mass shootings, elected leaders who call themselves Christian might look to the LGBTQ community for inspiration. Queer people have a weapon in our arsenal that no gun will ever defeat.
We were away at a family funeral when the news broke about the shooting at Pulse in Orlando. We went through the motions of our last day in Maine—visiting the beach, eating dinner with loved ones—but we carried with us the rising number of deaths we saw in news alerts on our phones.
When we got home the next day, I started doing laundry.
I’m in Greenwood, Mississippi today for a rally to commemorate the 50th anniversary of an event that marked a major turning point in the civil rights movement: a speech by Stokely Carmichael in which he called on his fellow African Americans to demand and achieve “Black Power.”
When I parked the minivan in the church lot, it still sounded like the type of horror we have had no choice but to become stoic about: 20 dead in a bar, as many more wounded, a dead shooter and a thicket of questions. By the time I returned it had become something different.
The satisfaction theory of the atonement centers on debt, humanity’s debt to God. It’s often criticized for its gruesome picture of God. But it also paints a weird picture of Jesus: Christ the Debt Buyer.
Plato, it is said, confronted Diogenes as the great Cynic philosopher washed his greens for dinner. “If you had humored Dionysius”—the tyrant of Syracuse who had called Plato as an adviser—”you wouldn’t be rinsing greens now.”
Diogenes answered him, “And if you rinsed greens, you wouldn’t have been a slave to Dionysius.”
Here in Connecticut, we have learned about remembering those who have lost their lives because of senseless gun violence. An image, a phrase, a chance meeting, or a date on the calendar so easily brings back the profound tragedy of December 14, 2012, when Adam Lanza shot and killed first his mother, and then 20 school children, six adults, and finally himself at Sandy Hook Elementary School.