Enough With The Labels Already

The shooting in Orlando has so saddened me.

I braced myself for the onslaught on social media of inevitable vitriol centered around whatever a person’s pet bandwagon is, but even that has been minimal.

A bit about gun control, to be sure.

A few posts from people saying that they sure hoped their Bible-believing friends wouldn’t start posting things about this shooting being something that the “sinners” in the nightclub deserved (which, frankly, I didn’t think needed to be said, because those posts saying “don’t say this” were as close as my newsfeed got to that particular line of nonsense, so why not leave it alone?).

And there was some discussion of Islam and terrorism. A bit.

But most of it was civil, thoughtful and polite.  I’m pretty darned impressed with my social network and even the friends of friends whose comments I read.

Maybe it was such a heinous act, it shook everyone’s priorities into order. Or maybe, as I had suspected, I count some pretty awesome people as friends.

One thing I saw in passing, though, was an article about people being offended that the Republican Party, when it tweeted its condolences to the families of those involved in the incident, didn’t mention anything about the club being an LGBTQ club.

Okay, really? That is OFFENSIVE?  I would have thought the opposite.  I would have thought that labeling the victims with their lifestyle choice would be offensive.  It matters to the story only if it turns out that it was an inciting reason for the shooter to target that club and those particular people.

So I am shaking my head in confusion as to how leaving out an adjective would be offensive. In a tweet, anyway.  Leaving it out of an article would be bad reporting – as I said, it is important as a factor to the motive.

But a tweet of condolences for people who died?  Come on. Twitter gives you a whopping 140 characters. You can forgive people for leaving out details and focusing on the main issue in a tweet.  It’s not rocket science.

Because the thing is, I don’t have gays.  I don’t have Muslims.  I don’t have Hispanics or Asians or African-Americans or Europeans.  I don’t have vegans.  I don’t have atheists. I don’t have singles or marrieds or childlesses or large families or homeschoolers or public schoolers or anti-vaxxers or minimalists or gun-control-proponents or Messianics or Wiccans or any other lifestyle, race or adjective you can think about.

I have friends.  Period.

And if any of my friends had been in that nightclub, I would be devastated.  So my heart goes out to the friends and families of those people who were there.  Not those lesbians, those gays, those bisexuals, those transsexuals, those queers. Those people.

Those people who died, and who should not have died.

And without hesitation I can state that God also grieves for them.  Those people that He made in His image, those people that He loves.

So enough with the adjectives.  Enough with the labels.  Labels are the thing that get us into trouble in the first place – that dehumanize, that objectify. That somehow give permission for people to say things they would never say to the person’s face.

Because people were never meant to be objects.



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