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Religious Tolerance logo

Religiously-inspired violence.
2016-JUN: The Orlando, FL mass
murder at The Pulse LGBT nightclub:


Additional reactions to the massacre.

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This topic is continued here from Part 2.

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  • Reaction by the Westboro Baptist Church (Cont'd): 7

At a typical Westboro Church demonstration, church members display signs like:

  • "Same-sex dooms nations."
  • "God H8S fag marriage."
  • "FAG Court." -- a reference to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to legalize same-sex-marriage in the U.S.
  • "Death penalty 4 fags."
  • "Christians" caused fag marriage."
Unfortunately, none of the photos and videos of the Orlando demonstration/counter-demonstration that we could find showed any of the Church signs.

The Orlando Police Department reported that both the protestors and counter-protestors acted in a safe and calm manner. The Police tweeted:

"Westboro protesters have left the state & have no plans to return. Thank  you to those who met protests with grace & love." 7

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  • Reaction by a Bishop of the Catholic Church:

On JUN-13, Bishop Robert Nugent Lynch wrote about the Orlando tragedy in his personal blog . He heads the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg, FL. It includes the cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater, on the west coast of the State, south-west of Orlando.

Bishop Lynch has recently reached the age of 75 which is the manditory age limit for Bishops to retire. This might have facilitated his public criticism of the Catholic Church. He wrote, in part:

"... sadly it is religion, including our own, which targets, mostly verbally, and also 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. ... While deranged people do senseless things, all of us observe, 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 also." 10

B.A. Robinson, this site's webmaster, added a comment to Bishop Lynch's blog on JUN-24. It is currently awaiting moderation. He wrote, in part:

"I totally agree with Bishop Lynch’s comment that victimizing people because of their 'religion, their sexual orientation, their nationality' is offensive and must stop. I would also add gender identity. But I suspect that the roots of the Orlando tragedy are to be found more in the Muslim rejection of the LGBT community that the rejection by the Catholic Church, or Evangelical Churches. The shooter was raised in a family with roots in Afghanistan. That is one of many predominately Muslim countries in the world where same-gender sexual behavior is a crime punishable by the death penalty." 10

On JUN-22, Fr. Mark A Pilon wrote a response for The Catholic World Report, saying:

"The bishop of St. Petersburg, Florida, has both slandered the Catholic Faith and completely misrepresented what the Church teaches about homosexuality and homosexuals. ..."

"Note that Bishop Lynch does not say that 'some Christians' or 'some Catholics' target homosexuals for hate, but specifically that 'it is religion, including our own..' that does so, which in this context can only mean the Catholic Church. Thus a bishop of the Catholic Church accuses his own religion of targeting homosexuals in such a way as to breed contempt for such people, which can lead to such violence.

Of course, the bishop offers not a single shred of evidence that the Catholic Church targets homosexuals and breeds such contempt, not a single Church document, not a single article in some publication, not a single example of preaching such contempt. He seems to simply assume that this is all too well known to require any actual evidence, and so he blithely goes on to incite contempt for the Catholic religion and Catholics in general for being unconscionable bigots who hate homosexuals and breed contempt for such folks." 11

This webmaster's comment (bias alert):

Fr. Pilon may be unaware of, or have forgotten, the contents of Section 2358 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church which states:

2358: "The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition."  12 [Emphasis not in original]

The church's use of the term "homosexual tendencies" seems to correspond with other groups' usage of the term "homosexual orientation."

By recommending that "unjust discrimination" be avoided, the Catechism seems to imply that forms of just discrimination against those with a homosexual orientation is acceptable.

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  • Reaction by Pastor Dave Bever of the CrossLink Community Church in Grove City OH:

On JUN-16, he said that the news from Orlando:

    "... punched him in the soul. ... The senseless act of terrorism ... the hate of terrorism, strikes once again. ... I've read some really ignorant and I've listened to some really ignorant church people, Christians, and pastors say some very hateful and horrible things that are biblically untrue."


Within four days, his Facebook video had received over 10 million views and received more than 365,000 likes.

"" responded to the article about Dave Bever with a comment:

"... The "brother" from Ohio got it wrong, also.

He needs to preach the Gospel, the only power available from God for salvation. The idea that God winks at sin and is always smiling no matter what humans do is false teaching; not in the Bible.

Jesus Christ said, 'What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul? ...'

BTW: contrary to most American propaganda, truth is not hate." 9

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This topic continues in Part 4.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Lucy Bayly, "As Donations Flood in for Orlando Victims, Where's the Money Going?," NBC News, 2016-JUN-17, at:
  2. Buddy Dyer, "Orlando's Mayor Dyer announces the formation of OneOrlando Fund," Better Business Bureau of Central Florida, 2016, at:
  3. "We will be Defined by How we Respond, How we Treat Each Other," City of Orlando, 2016-JUN-13, at:
  4. "Verity Baptist Church," at:
  5. , "Sacramento pastor, amid backlash, defends sermon praising Orlando killings," Los Angeles Times, 2016-JUN-14, at:
  6. Julieta Chiquillo, "Fort Worth pastor calls Orlando shooting victims ‘the scum of the earth’," Dallas News, 2016-JUN-20, at:
  7. " 'Angels' protect Orlando from Westboro protestors," Fox 35, Orlando, 2016-JUN-18, at:
  8. Reneé LaSalle, "Pagan and evangelical ministers agree: Orlando shootings were not ‘God’s wrath’," WCMH-TV, 2016-JUN-16, at:
  9. Hemant Mehta, "Westboro Baptist Church: Gay Victims of Nightclub Massacre Brought Death Upon Themselves," Patheos, The Friendly Atheist blog, 2016-JUN-12, at:
  10. Bishop Robert Lynch, "Orlando, Orlando, we love you," Diocese of St. Petersburg, 2016-JUN-13, at:
  11. Fr. Mark A. Pilon, "Bishop Lynch should be forced to resign his office," The Catholic World Report, 2016-JUN-22, at:
  12. Section 2358, Catechism of the Catholic Church, The Vatican, undated, at:

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Copyright © 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2016-JUN-17
Latest update : 2016-JUN-25
Author: B.A. Robinson

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