Fifty people were dead at a gay nightclub in Orlando not long ago, and what did some of our supposedly Christian preachers say: too bad there weren’t more; the government should be killing LGBT people; they had it coming, and many more sickening and repugnant things that violate our moral sense, to say nothing of the Christian morality they claim to follow.
Donald Trump’s KKK supporters blame—well, most everything—on the Jews, whether or not Jews had anything to do with whatever they want to blame them for. Then there are those Israelis who want us to believe that they are entitled to move into Palestine, destroy what was there, build wherever they feel like it, and kill Palestinians, 10 or 20 for every Israeli killed. And the lovely imams who every week tell their followers that everyone who doesn’t follow their own particular brand of Islam to the letter should be punished with death, which of course includes maybe 98% of the world’s population.
None of this is remotely acceptable to the civilized world, but what is the best way to stifle it?
A big part of the world problem is that many who preach violence slavishly follow books that are some 18 centuries out of date. I mean, what do those books have to say about Instagram and sexting? Such books supposedly encourage love, but at the same time they prescribe death for dozens of offenses, many of which are natural manifestations of human life. Being gay, for instance, but also being left-handed.
Being gay, of course, is the “crime against nature” that gets practically everybody exercised, and is often cited as reason to murder, en mass and individually. But none who propose that remedy address the inconvenient fact that homosexual people have heterosexual parents, and not a single person in all history chose to be either gay or straight. If all gays were to suddenly vanish from the face of the Earth, in 20 years we would be well on the way to having some 250 million of them, same as now.
Now, this most recent gay-hating killer was said to become enraged by two men kissing. This sort of rage is not uncommon among people who are gay themselves, as he was. It’s similar to all the Republican Congressional members who propose law after law to punish gays for being gay, and in time prove to be gay themselves. It’s almost an axiom.
Antique religious belief is the most commonly expressed reason for the mass killings that regularly occupy the news. Even though the thinking world rejects that reason, after each mass murder there are those who wish there were more killings. These people are morally bankrupt.
The central authorities of the world’s religions are the only ones with the moral authority and the power to bring their believers into the 21st century. But they themselves must embrace liberality and modernity, and reject strict conservatism, and many do not. They may be among the authorities who believe the ancient books were actually written by God, and are therefore infallible. Given the hundreds of contradictions in each of these books, it defies reason that they should believe in their infallibility. Even the Pope says so.
But the fact remains, the central authorities are the only ones who could reasonably even try to modernize their faith. Unfortunately, some of the more important figures are also the least amenable to reason and modernization. What was true in the seventh century must be true today.
If these central religious authorities are to have any effect on those who think killing is a noble idea, they must make frequent strong statements that reject violence. Each of them, every time. They must repeatedly pound out the idea. They must strongly reject the killers, in every instance, with remarks directly addressed to the killer(s).
They need to be very public, and very angry. And brave. The utterly worthless and amoral Daesh, who regularly murder groups of people who don’t believe exactly as they do, Muslim or not, can be inspired to murder individuals who speak out. But their task becomes impossible if everyone who opposes them denounces them frequently, at least every time they commit a new atrocity.