We now know that Omar Mateen, the man who attacked the gay nightclub, claiming affiliation to ISIS, was himself a regular visitor to the club and attracted by the gay scene. Not only was he driven by a hatred of gay people but also a self-hatred as he internalised the prejudice which he proclaimed. He had an extremely narrow view of God and humankind, and resorted to violence when he and others fell outside of this restrictive view. Our poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy has a very broad view of God. Because we are created in God’ image and some of us are gay, she concludes a poem with the line, “And God is gay”. It could also have been concluded with, “And God is straight/black/white/female/male…”
Another act of prejudicial violence was the killing of Jo Cox; targeted because she was a white woman MP with liberal views. Rather like the Orlando killings, her death comes amid a toxic climate of fear and prejudice, be it the anti-immigration poster launched by UKIP, hours before her death, or the scaremongering predictions of both sides in the referendum debate. Her killer is likely to be attracted by notoriety and violence, but the bitter divisions in our body politic form the background which may have given this “malignant narcissist” some warped self-justification.
St. Paul emphasised our fundamental unity and wrote, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female for all of you are one in Christ Jesus”. He could also have added there is no longer gay or straight, no longer European in or out, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus, and you are all responsible for rebuilding the body politic.