Posts Tagged As: Pulse Night Club Massacre

Sacramento Baptist Preacher: Massacre Makes Orlando “A Little Safer Tonight”

Jim Burroway

June 14th, 2016

Sacramento’s CBS affiliate reported on a YouTube video posted by Pastor Roger Jimenez of Verity Baptist Church:

Are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today?” he said in the sermon. “Um no, I think that’s great! I think that helps society. I think Orlando, Florida is a little safer tonight.”

The remarks were delivered on Sunday morning, hours after the attack happened.

“We don’t need to do anything to help. As far as I’m concerned, Orlando is a little bit safer tonight,” he said.

Jimenez’s sermon went on to call for even more death at the hands of the government.

“If we lived in a righteous government, they should round them all up and put them up against a firing wall, and blow their brains out,” Jimenez said in the sermon.

YouTube took the video down last night due for violating the service’s hate speech policy.

Texas Lt. Gov. Patrick Defends His Tweet

Jim Burroway

June 14th, 2016


Shortly after news came out about the Orlando massacre on Sunday morning, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s Twitter account sent out the above tweet. The timestamp of precisely 5:00 a.m. suggests it was a pre-scheduled tweet, and Patrick’s office later confirmed that the tweet was scheduled the previous Thursday. Nevertheless, it’s hard to imaging a worse tweet coming from a publicly elected official at that very moment.

The Tweet was deleted late that morning, sometime after 10:20 a.m. Central Time. Apparently someone on Patrick’s staff saw the wisdom of doing that. But Patrick himself does not. Instead, he defended that tweet on his Facebook page:

The verse has nothing to do with God’s judgement on any one person or a specific group of people. If some chose to read into it what they wanted they either have never read Galatians Chapter 6 or have misread it.

Some wanted the post pulled down and others did not. Let me be clear, I didn’t pull down the FB post & tweet because God’s word is wrong. His word is never wrong. Taking down his word would be like tearing a page from the Bible because we didn’t like what God was telling us. I took it down to stop the hateful comments and the misinformation being spread of God’s message to all of us- straight or gay.

God’s message to all of us in the world is that of love and forgiveness – not hate.God says He came to prosper us – not harm us. However, Jesus was clear that the only way to the Father was through him.

We are all sinners, straight or gay, and we all fall short of heaven and eternal life unless we accept Christ as our Savior. He died on the cross for all of us. Let me repeat that. He loves us all and died for all of our sins.

In the public policy arena that are differences of opinion from many viewpoints. To often there is hate surrounding those differences. Whether it’s political parties, Presidential politics, or one of the many policy issues being debated today, our country is becoming more divided everyday.

The hateful comments today on my post of a simple scripture verse, totally unrelated to the terrible killings last night, that were directed at me and God’s word, is another example of that hate. I pray these divisions will end.

Just as we saw the nation come together after 911 we need to come together again after the largest mass shooting in our history.

If some insist on hate speech as a response that is there decision not mine. The enemy is ISIS not each other. We must come together to fight them. ISIS believes in the killing of gays. America does not and Christians do not Let’s focus on the real enemy.

More Reports: Orlando Shooter Used To Hang Out At Gay Clubs

Jim Burroway

June 13th, 2016

Omar MateenAdding to what the Orlando Sentinel published earlier, we now have this report from the Canadian Press:

A drag-dancing married couple described seeing Mateen as many as a dozen times at the gay-friendly nightclub where he’d later embark on the single worst gun massacre in modern American history.

Ty Smith and Chris Callen recalled the eventual killer being escorted drunk from the Pulse bar on multiple occasions, including one incident where he pointed a knife at a friend.

Both professed shock at seeing his face on TV: “It’s the same guy,” said Callen, who performs under the name Kristina McLaughlin. “He’s been going to this bar for at least three years.”

They expressed incredulity at the story being told by Mateen’s father in the wake of the shooting, that the gunman had once been scandalized during a visit to Miami by the sight of men kissing each other.

They say Mateen saw plenty of men kiss — and far closer to home than Miami.

“That’s bullcrap, right there. No offence. That’s straight-up crap. He’s been around us,” Smith said Monday in an interview at the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida.

Smith and Callen also describe an incident that corroborates other stories of Mateen’s explosive temper:

They said they decided to keep their distance from Mateen after he exploded in anger at a joke told by one of their friends, possibly about religion: “He ended up pulling a knife,” Callen said.

“He said if he ever messed with him again, you know how it’ll turn out.”

Another witness a local television station another detail:

Kevin West said the shooter, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, contacted him three months ago through a dating app called Jack’d.

“When he first contacted me, he was saying things like, ‘What clubs are popping and things of that sort, what are good places to go?'” West said. “And I remember telling him, ‘Oh, you can just look it up online because I don’t go out that much.”

West told the station that he turned the communications over to the FBI.

This thread seems to be picking up steam. Chris Hayes tweeted this teaser:

Couple To Have Joint Funeral

Jim Burroway

June 13th, 2016

Remember this photo of Juan Ramon Guerrero and Drew Leinonen? When I posted this last night, Juan was confirmed dead, and his boyfriend Drew was missing. Since then, he too was confirmed dead. They had been together for two years and wanted to get married. Their families now say that instead of a wedding, they will be buried side by side.

“They were honestly so in love. They were soul mates. You can tell by how they looked at each other,” (said Juan’s sister). “It’s a little comforting that they died together.”

“If it’s not a funeral, they were going to have a wedding together,” she added.

Florida Bishop: “Sadly It Is Religion, Including Our Own, That Targets LGBT People”

Jim Burroway

June 13th, 2016

Bishop Robert LynchBishop Robert Lynch of the St. Petersburg diocese penned a surprising op-ed for the Washington Post:

…sadly it is religion, including our own, that targets, mostly verbally, and often breeds contempt for gays, lesbians and transgender people. Attacks today on LGBT men and women often plant the seed of contempt, then hatred, which can ultimately lead to violence.

Those women and men who were mowed down Sunday were all made in the image and likeness of God. We teach that. We should believe that. We must stand for that.

Even before I knew who perpetrated the mass murders at Pulse, I knew that somewhere in the story there would be a search for religion as motivation. While deranged people do senseless things, all of us observe and judge and act from some kind of religious background. Singling out people for victimization because of their religion, their sexual orientation, their nationality must be offensive to God’s ears. It has to stop, too.

Bishop Lynch has reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 this year.

UN Security Council Condemns Attack “Targeting Persons as a Result Of Their Sexual Orientation”

Jim Burroway

June 13th, 2016

This is historic:

The U.N. Security Council on Monday condemned the mass shooting at a Florida gay nightclub as the United States urged dozens of United Nations member states to drop their opposition to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality.

The 15-member council denounced the attack “targeting persons as a result of their sexual orientation” in a U.S.-drafted statement, overcoming standard resistance at the U.N. to such language by African and Muslim states, as well as Russia.

…(Deputy U.S. Ambassador David Pressma) noted that there is just one General Assembly resolution referencing “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” a resolution that urges states to protect the right to life of all persons and investigate killings.

…Pressman noted that there is just one General Assembly resolution referencing “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” a resolution that urges states to protect the right to life of all persons and investigate killings. He said every year “there is a pitched fight over whether it is appropriate to include sexual orientation in that protection.”


Jim Burroway

June 13th, 2016



Trump: “Our Nation Stands Together In Solidarity With Orlando’s LGBT Community”

Jim Burroway

June 13th, 2016

In a surprising speech, Trump casts himself in solidarity with the LGBT community (as reported by Talking Points Memo):

“Our nation stands together in solidarity with the members of Orlando’s LGBT Community. A radical Islamic terrorist targeted the nightclub not only because he wanted to kill Americans, but in order to execute gay and lesbian citizens because of their sexual orientation… It is an assault on the ability of free people to live their lives, love who they want and express their identity…Radical Islam is anti-woman, anti-gay and anti-American.”

Trump also got in a dig at Hillary Clinton by maintaining that he was in fact a greater supporter of gay and women’s rights than she was: “Ask yourself, who is really the friend of women and the LGBT community, Donald Trump with his actions, or Hillary Clinton with her words? Clinton wants to allow Radical Islamic terrorists to pour into our country—they enslave women, and murder gays. I don’t want them in our country.”

(Update: This was a teleprompter’ed speech, so that explains the relative linearity of Trump’s statement. When you see the video, you’ll notice he really had to slow down with the L. G. B. T.)

Given Trump’s entire campaign history, this strikes me as being about as cynical as anything else Trump has said — which is pretty much everything Trump has said. (It also has to be considered alongside his promises before Faith and Freedom Conference last week.) His Supreme Court picks also speak volumes.

But I really have to give him props for this one. If someone really wanted to talk about “radical Islamic terrorists” in the context of the Pulse massacre, this is exactly how to do it. It also marks a radical turnaround from earlier today when he called it an attack on “our nation.” And it raises the obvious question: why is that so hard for Florida Gov. Rick Scott or other Republican political leaders to say clearly who was attacked?

But — and there’s always a “but” when talking about Trump — he wants to use our deaths, our pain and suffering, for a sinister bait and switch. He wants to offer a conditional acceptance for one group of people to advance a rejection of another group of people.

Mr. Trump vowed to give the authorities more tools to clamp down on terrorists and that, if elected, he would use his executive powers to keep foreign Muslims from entering the country for an indefinite period of time.

Indeed, Mr. Trump appeared to broaden his call for a ban on Muslim immigration, extending it to whole regions rather than applying it strictly according to religion. He said he would “suspend immigration from areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe or our allies, until we understand how to end these threats.”

He also insinuated that the majority of Muslim Americans were disloyal and subject to being singled out for increased surveillance:

“Muslim communities must cooperate with law enforcement and turn in the people who they know are bad – and they do know where they are,” Mr. Trump said.

But of course, there is a better way to talk about radical Islamic terrorists in the context of the Pulse massacre. Some (though clearly not all) chapters of the Council of American-Islamic Affairs gave taken a pretty good stab at it over the past twenty-four hours.

But we accept Trump’s bargain, if we accept an exchange of homophobia for islamophobia, then shame on all of us.

Report: Mateen Cased Pulse Before the Attack

Jim Burroway

June 13th, 2016

The East Orlando Post reported that other gay bars in the Orlando area found that Omar Mateen had been using social media to gain information prior to Sunday’s attack at Pulse. Now the Orlando Sentinel said that he had been surveilling Pulse directly:

At least four regular customers at the gay Orlando nightclub where a gunman killed 49 people Sunday morning said today that they believe they had seen the killer, Omar Mateen, there before.

“Sometimes he would go over in the corner and sit and drink by himself, and other times he would get so drunk he was loud and belligerent,” said Ty Smith, who also uses the name Aries.

He saw Mateen at the club at least a dozen times, he told the Orlando Sentinel.

“We didn’t really talk to him a lot, but I remember him saying things about his dad at times,” Smith said. “He told us he had a wife and child.

They Can’t Even Say Who Was Attacked

Jim Burroway

June 13th, 2016

They can’t even say our names. But they are perfectly happy to appropriate what happened to us.

“The nation’s prayers are with the victims and their families in the wake of this terrible tragedy. We thank the citizens and first responders who helped rescue and save lives amidst horror and chaos. We will continue to monitor developments from local law enforcement and the FBI to determine the exact nature of this crime and whether it was connected to international terrorist groups.”

— Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

It is horrifying to see so many innocent lives cut short by such cowardice. Tonight, and in the long days ahead, we will grieve with the families. We will thank the heroes. We will hope for a swift recovery for the injured.

As we heal, we need to be clear-eyed about who did this. We are a nation at war with Islamist terrorists. Theirs is a regressive hateful ideology that respects no borders. It is a threat to our people at home and abroad. Our security depends on our refusal to back down in the face of terror. We never will.

— House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI)

“This is a horrific day for America. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the victims, survivors, and those touched by this terrible tragedy. I fear this will prove to be system failure. Congress should immediately restore the budgets for our intelligence and law enforcement communities which have been suffering. My goal is to prevent future terrorist attacks, not simply respond to them. We are fighting a war against radical Islam and a hateful ideology, not a crime.”

— Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC)

To be fair, some Republicans are naming the victims directly as members of the LGBT community. (Sen. Marco Rubio,for example, has named the LGBT verbally on TV, but his official statement erases our existence.) But others treat the LGBT community as the people who they “dare not speak its name.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has got to be one of the worst offenders of this. He has been in front of every television camera in Orlando and his office has issued an avalanche of press releases — and one Executive order — without uttering even once the who the victims actually were. In this release, it was “an attack on our people… an attack on all of us.” In this one, it was “an attack on our state and entire nation.”

It’s true that it was an attack on “our state and nation,” if you mean that in a sort of an-attack-on-the-LGBT-community-is-an-attack-on-all-of-us kind of way. But if he meant it as a statement of solidarity, it should be pretty easy to do so. “The shooter targeted a nightclub where people came together to be with friends, to dance and to sing, and to live… “So this is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American — regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation — is an attack on all of us.” Obama said that, and it’s pretty clear the “all of us” line is one of solidarity.

But if it’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that when someone doesn’t want to speak clearly, then watch out. When they need to reach for euphemisms and jingoisms instead of speaking plainly, then you can bet that their intention has nothing to do with any sort of solidarity with the gay community.

And so let’s just be clear, in in case anyone is confused about what Omar Mateen did. He did not attack “all of us.” He attacked some of us. Some particular of us. He didn’t go to Disney, Universal, or to Orlando’s tourist strip packed with restaurants and nightclubs where all of us go. He didn’t go to a shopping mall or a sporting event where all of us go. No, he picked a partucalr night club where some of us go — a gay night club. A night club that was tucked away from the crowds of all of us, and to a particular crowd of some of us. A crowd that Mateen sought but too many political leaders find it uncomfortable to name.


Jim Burroway

June 13th, 2016

Photo: Ashton Woods

Photo: Ashton Woods

Photo: Ashton Woods

Photo: Ashton Woods


Jim Burroway

June 13th, 2016

Photo: Meghan Stabler

Photo: Meghan Stabler


Jim Burroway

June 13th, 2016

Photo: Robin McGehee

Photo: Robin McGehee

Photo: Robin McGehee

Photo: Robin McGehee


Jim Burroway

June 13th, 2016


Photo: Toronto Star. Over 5,000 attended.

Let’s Not Fight One Phobia By Embracing Another

Jim Burroway

June 13th, 2016

Numerous chapters of the Council on Islamic-American Relations across the country have released statements condemning yesterday’s attack on the gay night club Pulse in Orlando. The statements run the gamut from brief to, well…  some of the spokespersons “get it.” I’ve highlighted the ones who “got it” — the ones who specifically and accurately described the victims of the attack, which, as we’ve seen, a lot of people just aren’t willing to do.

For example, there was this statement that was read live on the major news networks. CNN and NBC carried it, that I know of. (Did Fox?) Nihad Awad, CAIR’s national Executive Director said this:

We offer condolences to the families and we pray for recovery of the survivors. This is a hate crime, plain and simple. We condemn it in the strongest possible terms. It violates our principles as Americans and as Muslims. Let me be perfectly clear. We have no tolerance for extremism of any kind. We must not tolerate hateful rhetoric that incites violence against minorities. Religious freedom is a cornerstone of our beliefs as Muslims and as Americans. Today, we must stand united.

For many years, members of the LGBT community have stood shoulder to shoulder with the Muslim community against any act of hate crimes, Islamophobia, marginalization and discrimination. Today, we stand with them shoulder to shoulder. The liberation of the American Muslim community is profoundly linked to the liberation of other minority groups: blacks, Latinos, gay, Jewish, trans and every other community that has faced discrimination and operation in this country.

Other chapters — I’d say about half of them that issued their own statements (some issued joint statements with local LGBT leaders) — followed suit:

Like all Americans, Ohio Muslims express their condemnation of this horrific act of violence. Our thoughts, prayers and condolences are with the families, friends and loved ones of the deceased and the injured.

As a civil rights organization that works to end bigotry and hatred, CAIR-Cleveland stands in solidarity with the Florida LGBTQ community at this time of great sorrow for our entire country.

As Americans we must come together as a people and work to build a society based on peace, mutual respect and understanding among all people. There should be no place for hate in our country.

— Julia Shearson, Executive Director of CAIR-Cleveland.

“Muslims across Ohio and the Tri-State join their fellow Americans in grief and shock to condemn Sunday’s mass shooting at a nightclub in Orlando,” said Karen Dabdoub, Executive Director of the Cincinnati chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the GLBT community over this tragedy and we offer our deepest condolences and prayers.”

The Clifton Mosque also shares its condolences with the victims and their families. “The Islamic Association of Cincinnati stands with all Americans and in particular the LGBTQ community as we denounce the senseless loss of life in Orlando yesterday. Violence has no place is our religion or in our society. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families”.

Imam Ismaeel Chartier, imam at the Islamic Association of Cincinnati is co-organizing a vigil for Orlando today (Monday) at 6:30 PM at Fountain Square with “Cincinnati in Solidarity with Orlando”.

— Various statements from CAIR-Cincinnati

“The Columbus Muslim community is shocked and appalled by this horrific hate crime against the LGBT community. There are simply no words strong enough to convey our sorrow, disgust, and deep regret that yet another misguided individual has carried out a truly heinous and unjustifiable act in the name of ISIS. The fact that this atrocity was committed during Ramadan, our most holy month, a time when Muslims are supposed to focus on prayer, charity, and acts of kindness, shows that the perpetrator cared about nothing beyond ISIS’ perverted agenda.”

— Romin Iqbal, Staff attorney of CAIR-Columbus

Minnesota Muslims condemn in the strongest possible terms the mass shooting in Orlando. We offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all those killed or injured”

The LGBTQ community has stood side by side with the American Muslim community during challenging and difficult times. We stand together against hatred, violence and demonization of entire communities.

— Jaylani Hussein, Executive Director of the CAIR-Minnesota

Just stating that our hearts go out to all who are affected and who now must try to recover from the carnage created by Omar Mateen is not enough. Truly our thoughts are with them; however, we as a nation MUST address the core issues: hatred and terror, and the warped thinking that leads one to commit such atrocities, whether it may be the murder of 20 babies and their teachers in Connecticut, or the slaughter of nine worshippers in a holy sanctuary in South Carolina, or the hundreds of other such unthinkable murderous events wrought upon this nation. We stand firm in our commitment to building a country and a world where diversity, and religious, social and ethnic differences are celebrated to unite us all.”

…Since 9/11, the LGBTQ community has time and again supported the Muslim American community against the trials of bigotry and Islamophobia. Now, the Muslim American community stands with the LGBTQ community, as we believe any Muslim who embodies true Islamic principles should do.

— Miriam Amer, Executive Director of CAIR-Iowa

“We are horrified by this atrocious hate crime and offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all those killed or injured. We also offer our support and allyship to the LGBTQ community, which has been a faithful ally against Islamophobia. The Muslim community joins our fellow Americans in repudiating anyone or any group that would claim to justify or excuse such an appalling act of violence.”

— Basim Elkarra, Executive Director of CAIR-Sacramento Valley

Following 9/11 attacks, the LGBTQ community has provided consistent and continuous support of the Muslim American community against the challenges of discrimination and Islamophobia. Now, we stand with the LGBTQ community in this great horror and injustice. We believe Muslims such as recently passed Muhammad Ali exemplify true Islamic principles of equality, while people like Omar Mateen represent the enemy of the faith and humanity.

— Sstatement from CAIR-California

American Muslims have set up a LaunchGood page to raise money for the Orlando shooting victims. LaunchGood describes itself as a platform for “crowdfunding incredible Muslims worldwide.” with a “30 days of giving” campaign for Ramada. The Pulse shooting campaign is the Ramadan Challenge for Day 8. As of noon PST today, the site has raised $44,588 out of a $50,000 goal. The page explains:


At least 50 people were killed and 50 more wounded in Orlando, Florida where a gunman went on a horrific shooting spree at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub. Gay clubs hold a significant place in LGBTQ history. They were often the only safe gathering place and this horrific act strikes directly at our sense of safety. Far too many Orlando families lost their loved ones in a deplorable act of violence. This is why a collective of American Muslim leaders and groups have united to raise funds for the victims’ families.

We wish to respond to evil with good, as our faith instructs us, and send a powerful message of compassion through action. Our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said: “Have mercy to those on earth, and the One in the Heavens (God) will have mercy upon you.” And the Quran teaches to “Repel evil by that which is better” (41:34).

Whatever anyone feels about Islam, it cannot be denied that contemporary Islam, and I would presume the vast majority of its adherents hold abhorant views about the LGBT community. (I’m guessing here; I have no polling data on hand. I pretty sure I’m not going out on a limb here.) I’m not so certain that the Qu’ran’s take on homosexuality is any worse than the Torah or the Bible. The key difference is that mainstream Christianity and Judaism no longer holds to the kill-the-gays imperative of Leviticus, but vast swaths of contemporary Islam have not arrived to a parallel conclusion. So to those who argue that fundamental Islam is, on average, worse than fundamental Christianity or Judaism, I don’t really think I can argue against that based on what little I know today.

But let’s be very clear about the limitations of what “on average” means. As we’ve done a lot of work to change attitudes among American Christians and American Jews, we now have even more work to do to change attitudes among American Muslims. Based on my interactions with devout Muslims that I got to know here in Tucson, I know that goodwill exists among some — certainly not all, and probably not a majority, but some — and that this can an opening, either for further engagement or for closing the door entirely. 

And so it seems to me we have a choice. Do we answer the drum beat of those who see this as yet another opportunity to further the passions of Islamophobia, or do we resolve not to exchange one phobia for another?

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