Earlier this evening, I attended a vigil at Boston City Hall Plaza in honor of those who died during the ISIS jihadist attack in Orlando.
Given the heinous nature of this act which specifically targeted the LGBT community, it is only natural that community would want to gather to pay their respects. On a personal level, I felt the need to express my own sorrow as I did when I attended rallies on the Boston Common following the Charlie Hebdo & Hyper Cacher attacks in Paris in January 2015 and again after the ISIS attacks in Paris last November.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh spoke first. Aside from a brief reference to “gun violence” (re: gun control), his remarks were fine. He announced that at sunset that City Hall would be lit in the rainbow flag. Standing alongside Walsh was Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, but he did not speak. Why? Because he’s a Republican? Was there fear he would have been booed notwithstanding his support for same sex marriage and his opposition to Donald Trump? Whatever the reason, it was odd that the Governor wasn’t invited to say a few words.
The rest of the vigil was set aside for various clergy members. Reverend Laura Ruth Jarrett of the Hope Central Church stood out for her praise of the Boston Police Department. But she also admonished the crowd not to give into hatred of Muslims (as if such a thing would happen). But what if the perpetrator had been an Evangelical Christian or a Catholic? Would there have been such an admonition? I have my doubts.
At one point, Jarrett quoted from Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda’s sonnet during his acceptance speech at last night’s Tonys. “Love is love is love is love is love…”
But love is love is love is love is love is love….isn’t enough.
Don’t get me wrong. It is our duty to love our neighbor. But there are some people in the world who are incapable of love. There are ideologues, religious and otherwise, for whom love is anathema. Many of these ideologues are adherents of Islam and are willing to commit violence in its name.
It is worth remembering Omar Mateen referred to the Tsarnaev brothers as his “homeboys”. One of those homeboys placed a knapsack of explosives next to an 8-year old boy who gave the world his love when he pleaded, “No More Hurting People”.
Yes, it was great to see signs and t-shirts which reads “Muslims Against Homophobia”. But those gathered at tonight’s vigil must be prepared to ask themselves why Muslims are homophobic in the first place. Those who attended tonight’s vigil must be equally prepared to ask why a critical mass of Muslims are prepared to murder innocent American civilians be they inside the World Trade Center, spectators at the Boston Marathon, co-workers celebrating at a Christmas party in San Bernardino or people dancing the night away at a LGBT nightclub in Orlando?
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