THE PRICE OF DISTANCE

Welcome to Roger’s Take on Religion: An Inclusive Perspective

The first anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shootings targeting the LGBT community – the worst mass shooting in U.S. history – came and went last week providing an opportunity to ask “Did we learn anything from the Orlando killing of 49 people?”

Looking at the statistics, one would say no. Not including the Pulse nightclub murders, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reports a 17 percent increase in anti-LGBT homicides last year.

Here’s My Take: Whenever any group, whether gays, Muslims or blacks, are marginalized it becomes easier to diminish their value through both words and violence.

At its worst, religion allows scripture to be interpreted void of relationships thus adding to the isolation, fear and eventual hatred of others. At its best, religion maintains communication even with those it may not fully understand.

Jesus did not lead with condemnation but with welcome as he did with the tax collector Zacchaeus: “Tonight, I must stay at your house!”

The price of distance is ignorance leading to un-God-like expressions of hatred toward others. That’s the lesson of the Pulse nightclub massacre.