Thoughts and Prayers: After Orlando, Rightbloggers Defend Guns, Denounce Muslims


The horrific murder of fifty people at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando was a bonanza for rightbloggers. On the one hand, the victims were gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans; on the other, the perpetrator, U.S. citizen Omar Mateen, was Muslim. So, from their perspective, it was win-win. They took their shots at both camps, and at liberals, too, because why not?

Much of the brethren’s coverage carried the strenuously concerned, “thoughts and prayers” tone all news outlets use to make their opportunism look less sleazy — but with right-wing easter eggs added.

For example, Breitbart.com skeined breathless updates, including quotes from alleged attendees of Pulse — one of whom they claimed “said she just moved out of New York City to escape violence and crime” — but also a strange report that “the only Reddit community where large-scale discussion of the jihadist angle in Orlando is still occurring is ‘The Donald,’ the subreddit for Donald Trump fans.… One user shared a screenshot of the top posts on the entire site, observing: ‘reddit without /r/The_Donald: not a single mention of the worst US terror attack since 9/11, worst shooting ever.’ ” Well, you gotta admit, that’s an angle no one else picked up on.

Weasel Zippers ran a series of sensationalistic posts on the incident (“Here comes more spin. Father claims it has nothing to do with religion, son was just upset over seeing gay men kissing recently”), pausing in the middle of them to announce, ” ‘NBC OUT’ Promotes More Transgender Propaganda All Across TV.… Can we still call TV the ‘Boob Tube’?” These people know their audience.

A few of the brethren tried to address the LGBT community, unfortunately.

At the Resurgent, Steve Berman assured LGBT people they had conservatives like him all wrong: “Gays and lesbians have been inculcated with values that place Christians in their enemy’s camp,” he said. “The Bible, Christianity, and those who seem to want to limit marriage, military service, and other things the LGBT political agenda wants to claim for themselves to traditional roles and morals have been the boogeyman for decades.”

Yeah, those are some badly misshapen sentences, but give him credit, guys — he’s trying to forgive you for making his anti-gay policies a boogeyman. (For context, here’s Berman on “the LGBT community, which thrives on gaymail,” and here he is on “the liberal dogma that LGBT-worship beats freedom to worship and serve God.”)

But though Berman “certainly” did not agree with the “LGBT political agenda,” he continued, “I do value their lives, because they are precious to God, and therefore to me. Their lives are not precious to radical Islamists. Contrary to everything the gay community believes, they will have no greater friend in this battle of ideology than American Christians.” Now give up all your rights and let Steve Berman take care of you! He even pledged to “gladly stand guard, AR-15 in hand, at any gay bar to protect these Americans, with whom I disagree, but will defend with my life.” As long as he gets to use his gun, it’s all good.

At American Thinker, Thomas Lifson couldn’t bring himself to address gays directly (or even as gays, going with the retro “homosexuals” instead), but clearly hoped they’d overhear when he said, “If the early indications of Islamic terror being the motivation for a mass slaughter of homosexuals prove to be true, jihad should become a top concern of the LGBT political movement.”

Lifson claimed to have “spoken to homosexuals about why they seem indifferent to the clear threat Islamic hostility presents to them, and the answer usually is that they are focused on their own political struggle at home, in which scripturally believing Christians are seen as the opponents.” Where’d they get such a crazy idea! Well, maybe if enough of them get killed they’ll come around. Thoughts and prayers!

Other prominent conservatives were inspired to gay wedding cake gags, because liberals were infringing their “religious liberty” so why shouldn’t they get some payback? “I bet Obama would have preferred that the #FloridaNightclub shooting was perpetrated not by a Muslim but by an angry Christian baker,” tweeted one-time non-felon Dinesh D’Souza. “One involves private business rights, the other involves the mass murder of 50 homos. See the difference?” tweeted professional comedian Steven Crowder. (I think “homos” was the punchline there, but I can’t be sure.)

“Gays Immediately Blame Christians for Muslim Terror Attack on Florida Gay Bar,” blared Warner Todd Huston, citing a couple of people on Twitter. Example: “A tweet from Hoosiers for Hillary posted that the terror attack was directed at Gay Pride month when we now know it was not.” Huston closed: “In the end, we all now know that this act of terror was committed by an ISIS-connected Muslim from Florida who is a registered Democrat voter.”

(Huston wasn’t the only one who thought, or pretended to think, that Mateen’s voter registration was significant; many rightwing sites headlined it, and Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit joked, “Democrats need to purge themselves of this anti-gay hate.” Ha ha, get it? Thoughts and prayers.)

For others, the real victims were, as they will always be, the guns. Charles C.W. Cooke of National Review spent most of the day on Twitter defending the Second Amendment, mocking people who don’t know the difference between automatic and semi-automatic weapons and thus seizing the moral high ground.

“Under Florida law, guns can’t be carried into bars,” reported John Hinderaker at Power Line. “So Pulse was a gun-free zone. That is one legal change that should be made.” Yeah, let people bring loaded AR-15s into nightclubs — that’ll make things safer!

At National Review, one-time almost-candidate for president David French called for a return to the Middle East interventions of the Bush era (“We need to crush the head of the snake”), then expressed outrage that some people disagreed with him. “[M]y feed is filled with people on the Left utterly furious at the NRA,” he marveled, “and a few who are actually tweeting against Christians for wanting to protect their own religious liberty…. The enemy is the enemy,” French closed. “Look at him — with open eyes — and your domestic political grievances will pale by comparison.… You will see the hate, and you will know that there is but one response — war.” Back to Iraq, guys — third time’s the charm!

When the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations arranged a joint press conference with the LGBT Center of Orange County, National Review’s Andrew C. McCarthy applauded the outreach. Kidding! Instead, the torture enthusiast said, “Isn’t that precious?” and claimed CAIR has an “Islamist agenda to implement Muslim law.” He wondered puckishly if CAIR would denounce a bunch of jihadists with whom he insisted CAIR shared a hatred of gays, notwithstanding that they’d just agreed to hold a joint press conference with a leading gay organization.

The news that a possible attack on the Los Angeles Pride Parade may have been thwarted also excited the brethren, at least at first; “Police say the events are unrelated, unbelievably,” said Caleb Howe at RedState. Then they found out the guy wasn’t brown. “They say this guy is white, which means nothing,” said Terresa Monroe-Hamilton, unsuccessfully hiding her disappointment at Right Wing News.

When Obama addressed the nation, there was the usual “Say the Magic Words” bullshit from people like Ben Howe of RedState (“Obama Won’t Say ‘Islam’ But Goes Right To Gun Control In Pathetic Address To Nation #Orlando”). At Breitbart.com, Patrick Howley reported that the Log Cabin Republicans wanted Obama to use the specific incantation ” ‘Radical Islamic terrorism’…the conservative gay community wants radical Islam to be confronted.” And they’re huge!

In other words, to rightbloggers, Orlando was like every other mass shooting: It had nothing to do with guns, and everything to do with people they hate (though those people were simultaneously the ones “politicizing” the event). That’s why you’re not seeing any real outreach by conservatives to gay people here, except for the painfully insincere examples I mentioned. It would never occur to them to extend the normal courtesies of citizenship to LGBT folks; all they want to offer them is all they have to offer anyone — fear. And, given the history of their relationship, even rightbloggers aren’t dumb enough to think gay people will go for it.