“My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Orlando.” Oh, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve read that sentence or some variation thereof in the past two days, I could fund every funeral of the lives lost in that shooting. You know what else I could buy? An assault rifle. I could probably buy 100, really. I could start my very own collection. My Guns and Me: A Memoir by Morgan Smith. Yeah, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that sentence, I could do just about anything. What can those thoughts and prayers do? Nothing.
Here’s the thing, kids, and I do apologize to the children with that reference, as they really do deserve better. God isn’t fixing this. One more time for the pews in the back? GOD ISN’T FIXING THIS. And the mere fact that any of you religious folk are even remotely outraged by this statement baffles me. God doesn’t fix this stuff. All those happy thoughts and prayers you send up in times of tragedy sure are lovely. But these mass shootings and countless, preventable deaths? God isn’t fixing them. Why? Because your God gave you a promise. Your God promised you free will. He promised you the gift of making your own decisions. He doesn’t make your choices. Everything does not, in fact, happen for “a reason.” There is no predetermined plan. God doesn’t fix this. What he does do? He gives you the brains to do it yourself. He gives you the minds and the tools and the resources and the people to figure it the fuck out. So do it. Stop making this tragedy about YOU. Stop turning murder into a soliloquy about how deeply affected you are by this incomprehensible tragedy. This is not about you. THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU. For the love of God and Jesus and Buddha and Allah and whomever else you believe in, this is not about you. Grow up. Forget about yourself for one second and remember who matters. Remember the lives lost, the people broken. Your thoughts won’t stop the next guy from buying an assault rifle. Your prayers won’t stop him from killing another mother’s child. But your voice will. Your vote will. Your time, your energy, your effort to change the policies in this country, to quell the hatred. They will. We don’t need your thoughts. We don’t need your prayers. We need you.
No one is persecuting you. No one is telling you to let go of your God. No one is asking you to stop praying. No one is telling you that you can’t be who you are. We’re asking you to be more. We’re asking you to be the person your God made you to be. We’re asking you to step the fuck up. We’re asking you to do something.