My state witnessed an unmitigated tragedy on Nov. 19 when a gunman opened fire in a gay club in Colorado Springs, killing five and wounding 25. Unfortunately, the reaction has thus far fostered more vitriol and division than peace and unity as the press has blamed religious communities, including the Catholic Church, to which the shooter has no apparent connection.
“Anti-LGBTQ rhetoric leads to violence,” read the headline of a recent Denver Post report. The piece asserted that “hateful rhetoric directed toward transgender people and the broader LGBTQ community” has been aired from “church pulpits” to “school board debates and libraries.” It cited the Archdiocese of Denver’s school-admission guidance on transgender and same-sex-attracted students to substantiate its claim. The archdiocese’s policy allows schools to discern whether they can admit those who actively live or encourage sexual expression contrary to church teaching. The New York Times has followed a similar script against the city’s evangelical community, casting the incident as reminiscent of the faith’s long-held opposition to same-sex marriage.
This type of irresponsible commentary is increasingly common. Anyone who spends time online can find it among social-media celebrities and trolls. The thinking goes something like this: You don’t accept what I believe, therefore you are not only wrong but hateful.