Many of us entrenched in political and cultural fights to preserve life, marriage and family, and religious freedom join our fellow Americans as we grieve the tragic loss of life from the inconceivable horror unleashed in Orlando, Florida on Sunday. We’ve set aside our arguments and bent our knees.

We all feel the pain rip through our nation as a self-proclaimed terrorist slaughtered dozens of our fellow men and women in the name of his god.

It’s anguishing to see families torn apart, lives lost, and fear for future safety set in. Our differences aside, now is a time to pray, grieve, and offer comfort to fellow Americans made in God’s image.

But some won’t have it. They cannot see beyond the differences but instead, see an opportunity to use a horrific massacre to vilify those they see as the enemy – not the jihadist – but rather, conservative Christians.

There is a simple tactic widely used by ideologues pushing indefensible agendas – don’t debate. Demonize.

And so the New York Times editorial board politicized the worst mass shooting in American history, waving its hand at the admitted terrorist and pointing its finger squarely at religious people who stand for families and the right to live out their beliefs.

The editorial focused on hate. Not the hate of an Islamic jihadist for those he sees as infidels, but the “hate” of Americans who want to preserve the First Amendment and protect their children’s safety and privacy at school. The “hate” of Americans that simply believe that marriage should only be the union of one man and one woman – a belief held by President Obama not too long ago.

The editorial board writes, “Hate crimes don’t happen in a vacuum. They occur where bigotry is allowed to fester, where minorities are vilified and where people are scapegoated for political gain. Tragically, this is the state of American politics, driven too often by Republican politicians who see prejudice as something to exploit, not extinguish … So far this year, more than 200 anti-L.G.B.T. bills have been introduced in 34 states.”

Generally, the so-called “anti-LGBT bills” are actually bills that would protect millions of Americans of many different religious faiths from being forced to participate in ceremonies and events that are contrary to their beliefs.

But that doesn’t fit their narrative. Even local groups have reiterated this point, “There is no denying that the culture of anti-LGBTQ legislation across the country was a factor [in the shooting].”

David French of the National Review calls this slight-of-hand an “attempt to shame a community whose primary ‘sin’ is opposing the sexual revolution … The result is bigotry running two ways – an unreasoning, irrational hatred of American Christians and a comprehensive denial of Muslim moral agency. American Christians are responsible for things they don’t believe. Sharia-observant Muslims, by contrast, aren’t responsible for the things they do believe.”

Ugly attacks accusing the Florida Family Policy Council (FFPC) of justifying the shooting have filled social media the last several days, even as the Christian organization called for prayers. But John Stemberger, president of FFPC, didn’t fight back. He offered a chilling warning to fellow believers and pledged to continue the good work:

“We need to be prepared for the stunning and false narrative … The goal of gay-rights activists is to try and get Christians to stop proclaiming God’s design for marriage, gender, and human sexuality … If you disagree in any way, no matter how gentle, loving, or respectful they will call you a ‘hater’ and a ‘bigot.’ They will scream at you publicly and test how committed you are to your beliefs. Their strategy is to manipulate and bully Christians into submission to the new orthodoxy of the moral revolution. Please know that as for me and ‘our house’ at the FFPC, we will never be moved by this attempt at intimidation.”

I assure you, Center for Arizona Policy will not give up either. I will not give up advocating for Arizona families, for life, marriage, and the right to live out our beliefs. Nor will I stop praying for those who I may disagree with on fundamental issues of our time, but who are victims of America’s real enemy: those who don’t value human life.

Reminder:

We heard from you, and we are printing soon. Center for Arizona Policy’s Voter’s Guide will be out mid-summer. Place your order now for a printed copy. We will be printing fewer of these in the future and eventually moving completely to a digital version. Stay tuned for a link to the full Guide.

 

ICYMI – Latest News & Articles of Interest

  • Read the rest of the article written by David French on a new war against Christianity.
  • Click here for FFPC President John Stemberger’s full perspective.
  • Russell Moore penned a thoughtful piece on the issue Sunday morning. Read it here.
  • The National Review looks at the latest sexual revolution as a ‘new religion.” Read their take here.
  • The Arizona Business Journal did an article on a local LGBT effort to exploit the Orlando tragedy for political gain. You can read it, including my comments here.
  • Please sign the petition urging all Arizona elected officials to do everything they can to protect students. There’s also a link to download it so you can take it to church, collect signatures, and return it to CAP.

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