How horrifying that on the eve of the annual Transgender Remembrance Day yesterday, a man with an assault rifle killed at least five people and injured 25 others at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs.
Little is yet known about the opinions of the 22-year-old Colorado Springs suspect. But much is known about the wealthy Christian nationalist group Focus on the Family, which dominates the city and made anti-LGBTQ initiatives a linchpin. Its mission is to “defend the institution of the family ordained by God”.
Transgender Day of Remembrance, which takes place every November 20, was marked by President Biden and members of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus with statements. Biden said, “There is no place for violence, hatred and bigotry in America. Yet tragically, as last night’s attack in Colorado Springs reminds us, too many LGBTQI-plus people in the United States – and around the world – continue to face unconscionable attacks. This is especially true for transgender Americans. Biden renewed his call for a federal ban on assault rifles during his public remarks on Sunday.
Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Va, also released a statement saying, “We have a crisis of violence targeting transgender people in our country, fueled by growing hatred meant to marginalize and vilify the trans community. This is unacceptable and we must fight back.
Much of this “fuel” is religiously encouraged, the Freedom From Religion Foundation points out. It comes from evangelicals, fundamentalists and the Roman Catholic hierarchy, and it is based on the Bible. In Leviticus 18:22, male homosexuality is denounced as an “abomination,” and in Leviticus 20:13, the biblical deity barbarically commands that “they shall surely be put to death; their blood will be on them.
“Without conservative churches, Christian nationalist groups, and legal organizations, there would be virtually no organized opposition and incitement to LGBTQ rights and individuals,” says Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-chair of the FFRF.
As the Respect for Marriage Act nears its expected Senate approval, the FFRF points out that its passage was based on a compromise to explicitly state that nonprofit religious organizations would not be required to provide services to celebrate or celebrate a marriage. While this guarantee was not necessary when it came to churches and pastors – who, even without this exemption, could not be forced to marry anyone – it is troubling that religious universities, which often receive huge sums of public funding, are also not held accountable.
By demanding such an exemption, religious groups openly admit that they take pride in discriminating. Their views, which lead to a culture of violence against LGBTQ people, should be condemned by all who eschew bigotry.