Lincoln Brandenburg, CBR Project Director, Georgia

Lincoln Brandenburg, CBR Project Director, Georgia

by Lincoln Brandenburg:

I’ve debated posting my thoughts on the Orlando terrorist attack.  Like many, I was outraged and deeply saddened on Sunday morning to hear of such a senseless, cowardly act of hate.

Like many, I have strong opinions on how we should respond to such disregard for the lives of others.  There are questions and exhortations to be had in terms of public policy, ideology and (not mentioned often enough) personal responsibility.

I may hash some of those opinions out in the days to come.  But in the meantime, I’ll leave it with this:

I don’t care if you’re different than me.  I don’t care if we disagree with each other’s lifestyles, politics or religion.  You are a valuable human being with dignity.  Your life matters, simply because you are a fellow human.  And I like to think that, given the chance, I would stand up for you if your life were in danger.

When Christ reiterated the greatest commandment, “Love your neighbor,” he was asked by a sly lawyer, “and who is my neighbor?”  Christ proceeded to tell the well-known story of the Good Samaritan.  In doing so, he placed two people who were culturally, racially and religiously very different side-by-side as neighbors.  The implications are obvious.

Sadly, Mr. Mateen was devoid of this kind of love for others.  Whether you want to blame radical Islam or guns for this horrible tragedy, one thing is clear: Mr. Mateen was filled with hate for others.  By all means, let’s hash out the tough issues.  But as we do so, let’s not stoop to the level of this coward.  Let’s advocate for our positions.  But let’s also listen to each other without demonizing each other.

Lincoln Brandenburg is a Project Director for CBR and regular contributor to FAB. 

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