There is a direct correlation to the anti-LGBT theology shared by religious leaders to the violence LGBT people face. This theology -- which dehumanizes, ostracizes, and demonizes LGBT people -- does not happen in a vacuum.
Just over a week ago, forty-nine members of the LGBT community, overwhelmingly Latinx, were slaughtered at a gay nightclub. The shooter, as many speculated, had ties to ISIS and it was his radicalized religious ideology that led him to massacre dozens of LGBT people. This ISIS connection, which has been dismissed by the FBI, prompted others to condemn Islam as an inherently violent religion - especially to those in the LGBT community.
Indeed, ISIS promotes anti-LGBT ideologies and have targeted the queer community in beheadings and other obscene forms of murder. These acts are extreme representations of what it looks like to take the words in the Quran to the letter of the law. Even those who are not radicalized in their Islamic beliefs perpetuate beliefs against the LGBT community that are harmful. Still Islam is not the only religion that encourages violence against LGBT bodies. Christianity, in its most traditionalist understanding of sexuality, where sexuality is only holy between a man and a woman, can be just as violent.
Its sermons preached from our pulpits that allow parents to throw their LGBT kids on the streets and their counselors that encourage us to unsuccessfully pray our queerness away. Christians may not be throwing us off buildings but it's their theology that leads us to the bridge. It's their voices on our backs that encourage us it's better to jump than to live life as a proud queer person.
In Belgium, a gay man has requested to be euthanized for his sexuality. After 17 years of therapy, and unable to change his sexual orientation, this Belgium gay man is unable to reconcile his sexuality and traditional catholic faith. The messaged he has received from his church has made him believe it is better he die than be a gay man.
It's internalizing this anti-LGBT theology that has many LGBT people depressed and suicidal. The harm is not only self-inflicted but also by those around us. This traditional theology creates an environment fertile for violence. The dehumanization of LGBT persons from the pulpit create the very environment in which 17 Trans women, primarily women of color, have been murdered this year alone. LGBT people are most likely to face hate crimes than any other minority group and our chances for violence doubles if we're people of color.
Not only is the evangelical right's theology influencing harm on LGBT people in the United States but also abroad. The Christian right's anti-LGBT theology has extended far past our boarders influencing legislation in multiple countries in Africa as well as Russia. These laws, which are motivated by the same evangelical theology here, require hard labor, anal exams, decades in prison, or are sometimes carried out in street justice.
Recognizing the long reaching effects of this anti-LGBT theology makes the Christian right's response to the Orlando massacre incredibly hypocritical. The statements and tweets, which erased the LGBT community, claiming to grieve with the LGBT community are reprehensible when those same individuals work tirelessly to limit LGBT civil rights. Politician Pam Bondi claimed to be a supporter of the LGBT community only to have Anderson Cooper remind her of her anti-LGBT record. Dr. Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention claimed to grieve for Orlando, without mentioning the LGBT community, and with a history of anti-LGBT statements.
The Evangelical right has political capital in the United States that is unparalleled. When those who heavily influence our policies and culture espouse the very rhetoric that causes LGBT people violence, they must be held accountable. They cannot encourage this traditional theology and wash their hands of the harmful, and even deadly, effects.
As a bisexual Christian living in the United States, I'm far more concerned with anti-LGBT animus from the evangelical right here at home. That is not to say that I do not mourn with my LGBT siblings abroad whose lives are being taken by ISIS in the most heinous ways. It is atrocious and ISIS must be stopped. But we must also call upon those here at home who do damage to LGBT persons to stop.
The Christian right cannot point to ISIS as the murderous homophobes without reflecting on the way their own theology has cause LGBT deaths.