In the days since Omar Mateen committed his horrific massacre at the Pulse nightclub, there has been much discussion about how much of a role Mateen's Islamic faith played in motivating him to commit mass murder against a large group of gay men.
For one Florida Catholic bishop, there's no question that Mateen was influenced by his religion to hate homosexuals -- but he also says that this is a problem with many religions, including the Catholic faith.
"Sadly it is religion, including our own, which targets, mostly verbally, and also often breeds contempt for gays, lesbians and transgender people," writes Bishop Robert Lynch on his personal blog. "Attacks today on LGBT men and women often plant the seed of contempt, then hatred, which can ultimately lead to violence."
It's certainly true that many Christians in the United States preach hatred and intolerance of homosexuals -- in fact, Arizona-based preacher Steven Anderson openly celebrated the Orlando massacre on the grounds that "there’s 50 less pedophiles in this world."
Lynch goes on to say that while deranged people don't need inspiration from religion to commit atrocities, religious leaders should also be mindful that hate-filled rhetoric aimed at gay people can be enough to push some troubled people over the edge.
"While deranged people do senseless things, all of us observe, judge and act from some kind of religious background," he writes. "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."
Lynch's full essay is very worth reading and can be found at this link.