I felt it was time to share this blog post again. I wrote it just after the shooting in Orlando and almost a year after the shooting at Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston.
It is time for me to live up the title of my blog/website…Cathy’s Voice Now…and use my voice regardless of how you choose to view me. I often hold back expressing my views; You see, I want you to like me. I have written blog posts only to hide them in drafts because I was concerned about how I might be perceived.
Today, I share what I believe to be true in this post. The anniversary of Mother Emmanuel AME shooting, the ongoing story of a man who raped a young woman while a judge thinks it was “boys being boys”, and now the Orlando shooting has hurt my heart. I can’t hide behind my fear of what you might think of me; I must speak.
A Sacramento pastor responded to the Orlando shooting that killed 49 people and injured 50 more with praise, stating “they deserve what they got.” In another statement “Claiming homosexuals are a bunch of disgusting perverts” Pastor Steven Anderson celebrated the Orlando nightclub shooting.
I believe that hate is fueled when we see others as different from ourselves. We might believe they have it better than we do or that we are better than they are. We think our religious views are the only ones with merit. We believe the color of our skin, our gender, or sexual orientation makes us superior to others. When we see people as a race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, it is easier to hate because we no longer see the essence or soul of that human being.
I have many people in my circle of friends and acquaintances. What I don’t have are gay friends, straight friends, black friends, Buddhist friends, Jewish friends, handicapped friends, liberal friends, conservative friends….you get the idea. I simply have friends.
While many of my friends may identify with those labels, that isn’t who they are at the essence of their being. It doesn’t define the relationship we share. It doesn’t change their heart and soul. If I start identifying them by a label, I lose the person I know.
Here are some labels by which I am known…white, straight, Christian, old, liberal, intelligent, a writer, an actor, a student, mother, grandmother, friend, recovering alcoholic, and more. In my lifetime, I have also been labeled a drunk, a heretic, fat, irresponsible, just a woman, stupid, underachiever, worthless, and others. If you choose to know me, then know ME, not my labels.
If we continue to label people, we are contributing to an environment of hate. This time the “homosexuals” were attacked and murdered. The shooter didn’t see the mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, friends, co-workers, aunts, uncles, cousins, sports enthusiasts, teachers, lawyers, doctors, law enforcement, military, or anything else beyond the LABEL. Some hate blacks, Mexicans, Muslims, poor, rich, white, women, and a multitude of other “labels”. They do not look beyond the LABEL. All they see is “other.”
Maybe next year it will be older white women with blue eyes. Sound preposterous? Couldn’t happen? Are you sure? No one ever imaged hated so deep it could kill almost 6 million Jewish men, women, and children. No one believed a person could hate enough to walk into a church and kill nine people in prayers. No one wants to believe a single shooter hated enough to kill and injury close to 100 people in Orlando.
Hate knows no boundaries.
John 13:34-35 (NIV)
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”