In 1965, Jimmie Lee Jackson, a resident of Marion, Alabama, was shot at close range by an Alabama State Trooper for attempting to protect his 82-year-old grandfather from the brutal swings of police bully clubs during a night march to the local courthouse. After 26-year-old Jackson was shot, he stumbled out of the diner and continued to be beaten by other State Troopers.
During Jackson’s funeral, Martin Luther King Jr. asked and answered a critical question. “Who Murdered Jimmy Lee Jackson?” King also asked the question, “What murdered Jimmie Lee Jackson?” King believed that there was more than one finger on the trigger that night in Marion, Alabama, and when we move from the who to the what, the blame is wide and the responsibility grows.
As the nation grieves over the heinous shooting in Orlando, Florida that claimed the lives of forty-nine sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, friends and loved ones, I can’t helped but wonder what murdered 50 people in Orlando?
One sick, demented, troubled man killed forty-nine people but dangerous fears and violent ideologies also pulled the trigger.
These forty-nine were murdered by the irresponsibility of every pastor and minister of the Gospel who has used scripture to advance a campaign of vitriol and hate against LGBTQ persons.
They were murdered by the irrelevancy of a Christian Church that believes it controls who has access to God.
They were murdered by the brutal demonization and rejection of every Christian person based on their status and sexual orientation.
They were murdered by the dangerous homophobia of religious zealots and pious parishioners.
But in death, they speak and they say to each one of us that we must not only be concerned about who murdered them, but the systems and beliefs which produced the murders. We must work diligently to preach and teach a responsible message of love and embrace by God and God’s creation.
Refuse to be a part of a church that does not love. Our work is to love and embrace. Our example is Christ. Our platform is the entire world.