It's been 10 days since a gunman shot his way into a queer nightclub in Orlando, Florida, where he massacred 49 people and injured dozens of others. And while much of the nation has been trying to heal or push for action to prevent future mass shootings, very few people have been willing to focus on another disturbing trend rearing its head in the U.S. In fact, nobody seems willing to call this menace by its true name. But we will.
What you see below is radical Christianity.
Hardly a day has gone by without a new headline about a pastor, preacher or church somewhere around the nation condoning the anti-queer brutality that sent a shockwave through the LGBT community earlier this month.
In the face of this troubling strain of Christian extremism, the political conversation has instead shifted almost entirely to "radical Islam." The gunman was a Muslim, though reportedly not a very devout one. And while there are still plenty of questions about whether he was actually influenced by religion at all, the battle lines have already been drawn.
Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump and other Republicans have hammered President Barack Obama for choosing not to use the term "radical Islam," suggesting that his rhetoric reflects an unwillingness to get serious about a national security threat. They've also used the shooting to further blur the line between the tiny fraction of radical Muslims and the rest of the world's 1.6 billion followers of Islam. They say the Quran teaches that homosexuality is punishable by death, which means Muslims must be anti-gay. Yet again, the actions of a single person are being used to cast a pall over an entire community.
Christians are rarely asked to answer these questions, because nobody is rushing to confront or condemn radical Christianity. But what does the Bible say about the LGBT community, and do we assume most Christians take it literally? Does Christianity promote violent homophobia? Should we interpret one preacher's despicable anti-queer comments as the gospel of an entire religion? These have not traditionally been topics of political debate. Though to their credit, some Christian leaders have asked such questions of themselves over the past week.
There's a clear double standard in how Americans approach and interpret these stories. The Huffington Post has largely tried to avoid covering them altogether. While we have and will continue to cover some incidents of hate to show that our country has a long way to go before reaching full equality for queer people, we believe those who are spewing such hate are undeserving of a larger mouthpiece. But more importantly, we understand that their shameful words don't represent the views of the vast majority of Christians. Their hateful sermons are a twisted interpretation of a religion that has been working to foster hope and unity in the aftermath of this tragedy.