As a whole, we are a society that needs to find reason and place blame. Our history bears this out. In the U.S. alone, there is centuries worth of finger pointing. We have blamed and punished Native Americans and African Americans. During the late 19th century, and early 20th century it was Anarchist and Socialist. During WWI it was the Germans. During WWII it was the Japanese and Germans. During the 50’s through the late 80’s it was the Communist. Since 9/11 it’s been the Muslims. The point is that every time we face a period of crisis, someone must bear the brunt of the blame, just or unjust. We are a wary and suspicious society. Mistrusting and mistreating the square pegs who do not fit into our round holes.
In the case of Omar Mateen, I see no proof that his actions were representative of his religious beliefs. There are no manifestos created by Mateen, there are no social media rants that we know of. He supposedly declared allegiance to ISIS, but the FBI claims there is no proof of that. There is no indication what so ever that he killed in the name of his god. Yes, Islam does condemn homosexuality, but so do many Christian religions. If Catholic John Smith committed this atrocity, he would simply be another homophobic asshole with no regard for life. We would be attacking the man, not the religion or any other group he happened to fit into. Furthermore, if Mateen was a radical Islam terrorist, why target one specific group of Americans?
This man, Grady Mateen was a monster pure and simple. He was violent, as his ex wife will attest t. He mistreated and beat her regularly. He hated those who were LGBTQ. His disdain for two men kissing in public months before would bear witness to that. He was a misogynist and a homophobe. He was mentally ill. He was a product of a society that routinely denigrates women and hates those of same sex orientation. If you don’t believe me, go on Twitter, where you’ll find many tweets from so called Christians who are cheering Mateen for his actions. It’s sickeningly ironic that the same people who would rage against people of Islam, are now holding a Muslim up as a hero for slaying so many gay and transgendered in one fell swoop. These internet bullies are as grotesque as the man who seemingly did their dirty work for them.
In conclusion, blame the man who committed the act, not the religion. Place shame on a person who would be so filled with malevolence, that he drove 5 hours to massacre those who were born different than he. Furthermore, blame a society that marginalizes and castigates the LGBTQ populace. Blame a public mindset that places more value on guns than people. Blame a government that protects assault weapons instead of human beings.
It’s ok to point fingers. In fact, go ahead and point fingers as if you were in a doughnut shop.
Just be mindful to point the finger at the right doughnut when you do.
This is a great post by the folks over at Dead Wild Roses concerning cultural relativism and religion. They also touch on how religion is nothing more than a tool to reinforce misogyny and patriarchy. DWR is a blog that I was recently introduced to, and I’m really digging what they’re putting out in the blogosphere. If you get a chance, check them out!
via Dead Wild Roses
- What is religion? [Thoughts from Kansas] (scienceblogs.com)
- Author Interview: Breaking their Will (new.exchristian.net)
- Putting the violence of religious fundamentalists into perspective (iflizwerequeen.com)