Secular Humanists Grieve with the LGBTQ Community of Orlando, FLA
Centre for Inquiry Canada (CFIC) is deeply grieved and horrified by the terrible events at the Pulse night club of Orlando, FLA. CFIC wishes to express its grief and condolences to the families and friends of the people who lost their lives this week in these terrible acts of violence and our support and solidarity with the many people who were injured or terrorized by the actions of a single gunman.
In the earliest moments of shock, confusion and horror, it can be dangerously tempting to draw conclusions and offer condemnations of individuals and groups assumed to be involved. CFIC urges secular humanists and all Canadians to consider relevant information and evidence that is gathered and made available to the public regarding this attack so that such events may be properly understood. Without clear information and validated evidence, we cannot anticipate and prevent other such acts in the future.
As an organization, CFI Canada has consistently studied and condemned acts of faith-based bigotry for many years – whether perpetrated by governments, organized non-state groups or by radical individuals. In the case of this attack on Orlando’s gay community, it must absolutely be understood that anti-gay bigotry has been observed in a wide-range of faiths and has been perpetrated by fanatical individuals, endorsed by hateful organizations and excused by many governments and cultures around the world. Despite the sparse evidence specific to the killer’s motivations or state of mind, it is reasonable to include religious and cultural perspectives as a factor; it is not reasonable to ascribe those perspectives to all Muslims or all religious people.
The LGBTQ community throughout the world has endured a long and sometimes despairing struggle to attain and maintain human rights and freedoms. Violent oppressors and their dogmatic ideologies must be condemned at every step and at every atrocity in the defense of human rights. It is not only reasonable, but essential that any motivations of this killer, and where their roots may be found be closely examined and publicly challenged. Where those motivations, whether religious, psychological, political or of some other source may be shared across groups, they must be exposed and ended. Any individual, group or government which condemns the victims of this attack or discourages full investigation of the motivations must also share in condemnation and culpability for creating an environment where such crimes are possible.
It has been reported that the victims of June 12, 2016 were diverse in their character, their religion, their political views, their socio-economic backgrounds and on many other details – but they shared a common victimization in having been targeted by their presence in a community gathering place of supportive love and friendship. The diversity and individuality of the victims of this crime, when compared to the singular and consistent hatred of murderers like Omar Mateen, must be a reminder to all people that fanatical bigotries eventually make victims of us all. CFIC encourages Canadians to participate in local Pride activities in solidarity with the LGBTQ community.