It has been a few days since the Orlando terrorist (we won’t use his name here) walked into a gay club and shot 102 innocent men and women, killing at least 49, in the most deadly shooting in American history. Immediate reactions have been varied and predictable. With a few days to consider this senseless act of inhumanity, I see five ways in which to respond as Proud Americans.
1. Our first response can only be shock, grief, outrage, and prayer.
It shouldn’t matter to us whether these people were in a gay club, an office building, or a church Sunday School party. Terrorism against some of us is terrorism against all of us. The Christian who points to Scriptural condemnation of the gay lifestyle needs to also consider its condemnation of the accepted sins of the church: gossip and envy (Romans 1:29-32). It is natural and right for us to respond with shock, grief, and outrage – but also prayer. We must pray for the survivors, our leaders, and a national revival.
2. We must condemn Muslim terrorism without condemning all Muslims.
At Muhammad Ali’s memorial service, leftist rabbi Michael Lerner said, “We will not tolerate politicians or anyone else putting down Muslims and blaming Muslims for the actions of a few people.” I’m not sure how rabbi Lerner defines “few.” Military experts extimate that 200 million Muslims worldwide are at least sympathetic to the attacks of 9/11. Why did the FBI find the Orlando killer to be a person of interest, but later closed the case? Because they found nothing to warrant further investigation. The same was true of the killers of San Bernardino. The problem is that there are so many other Muslims against whom the FBI has more evidence of bad intentions. The problem is clearly not with just “a few” Muslims.
But our response must be measured. It is true that the Muslim’s holy book calls for the killing of all “infidels,” which, for them, includes gays. But it is also true that most Muslims do not abide by that standard, nor call for such action. We must condemn Muslim terrorism, but not all Muslims.
3. Rhetoric that leads to violence must end, but not freedom of speech.
This is a fine line to walk, for sure. Donald Trump condemned the action of Orlando, as did everyone else with a microphone or a pen. Part of Trump’s plan is to ban new Muslims from crossing our borders. President Obama responded with high-pitched condemnation, indicating more anger toward Trump than he did toward the terrorist. Blaming the LGBT community is insane and needs to be condemned. But we must be careful to not silence all rhetoric, just because it doesn’t match our own worldview. Tolerance is a cornerstone on which this nation was founded.
4. We have a gun problem, but gun-free zones are not the solution.
I doubt our founding fathers foresaw the war zones in the inner cities that exist today, when they passed the Second Amendment. I find it hard to defend the ownership of the kind of assault weapon that was used in Orlando. I’m not a gun owner, but I don’t think that military weapons are needed to hunt squirrels. Having said that, one need look no further than our most gun-restricted city, Chicago, to see that gun restrictions do not curb this sort of insanity. You don’t see the kind of thing that keeps happening in Chicago happening in Texas. There is a reason for that. Not to be callous, but if the killer in Orlando had done that in a place where guns are not banned, he wouldn’t have lasted two minutes. It is the height of naivety to think that terrorists are going to obey our new guns laws if they ignore the ones already in place.
5. We must share the Gospel with Muslims.
Have you heard of Global Media Outreach? This ministry has shared the gospel more than 1.5 billion times and registered more than 167 million decisions for Christ in the last 12 years. They are doing it with the Internet. They are reaching thousands of Muslims every day with the good news of God’s love. God’s word is being proclaimed “throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations” (Matthew 24:14). We “ought to always pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1). More Muslims are coming to Christ than ever before. I’m not saying we don’t need to fight radical Islamic terrorists and ISIS on the battlefield. I’m just saying the real victories are victories of the heart.