Every Christian must figure out his or her own way to follow Jesus’ commandment to “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” (Luke 6:27-28). Following this commandment is one the great challenges of life.
It is easy to understand how some LGBT persons or a friends of our community might find it especially difficult to love, bless, or pray for someone like Osama bin Laden.
Homophobia is especially vicious among followers of bin Laden and some other fundamentalists. Being LGBT carried the death penalty in Afghanistan under the Taliban. According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), it still carries the death penalty in several countries, all of which are heavily influenced by Islamic fundamentalism: Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen, and parts of Nigeria and Somalia. Osama bin Laden and his ilk are filled with hatred, especially against LGBT folk.
My personal story.
I was in Washington, DC during the attacks, saw the smoldering Pentagon up-close, and visited the World Trade Center site soon after the tragedy. I still keep dusty scraps of paper from the Twin Towers in a cabinet with my religious images, as a reminder of the prayer I began to pray on September 11th and kept on repeating: “God, use me to heal this sick world, even though I don’t understand what the hell is going on here.”
I still pray that God will use me to heal this sick world, even though it’s beyond my ability to fully understand it. That’s my way of trying to love my enemies, and that’s why I’m working at Integrity.
Personally, I have been disappointed, but not surprised, to see people gloating over bin Laden’s death. I have also been annoyed, but not surprised, by a few glib statements about forgiveness from people who seem to want to ignore the monstrosity of bin Laden’s crimes, and the continuing threat to humanity (especially to the global LGBT community) posed by terrorism. I was relieved to hear that bin Laden will no longer to be able to spread his message of hate, although I know many others continue along that path. To borrow a comment recently posted on Integrity’s Facebook page, “I’m not celebrating … and not crying either” because of this week’s news.