Learning All the Wrong Lessons: Thoughts on the Orlando Shooting

Learning All the Wrong Lessons: Thoughts on the Orlando Shooting

If it wasn’t such a tragedy, this weekend’s events in Orlando would almost seem like a terribly inappropriate joke: an Islamic terrorist opens fire with assault weapons in a gay club, killing over 50 people. We have a trifecta of flash points in today’s culture wars: Muslims, gays, and guns. Unfortunately, it appears that too many people are refusing to learn from this incident and are instead blaming all the wrong things.


If you listened only to President Obama, you could be forgiven if you thought the Orlando shooter was a white male Christian. You definitely wouldn’t know that he was a Muslim. But make no mistake, the problem is Islam. The image of Islam perpetrated by the media and our elite class is one of tolerance, peace, and modernity. If you didn’t know any better, you would think there is no difference between your local mosque and your local Episcopal church, or between Imam Musri and Vicar Smith. Yet even a cursory understanding of Islamic sacred texts and the history of Islam makes it clear that Islam is fundamentally different than Christianity, and is at its core a violent religion.

Terrorist Handbook?

Terrorist Handbook?

Muslims of course venerate the Quran, much as Christians do the Bible. However, there are other sacred texts in Islam, including the Sirat Rasul Allah (also known simply as the “Sira”), which is an authoritative biography of Muhammad, written less than 200 years after Muhammad’s death. The importance of the Sira cannot be underestimated, as it demonstrates the “perfect life,” i.e., the life of Muhammad. Similar to the Christian attitude towards Christ, Muslims believe that Muhammad is the perfect model, one that is to be imitated as closely as possible. “What would Muhammad do?” is a legitimate way for a Muslim to live his life.

Yet if you read the Sira, you see that Muhammad was a violent warlord who spread his newfound faith through horrific means, including mass beheadings and genocide. Although “respectable” Muslims (and their supporters in the media and politics) want to pretend that ISIS and other “extremist” groups don’t represent Islam, there is no objective reason to believe that ISIS represents a deviation from Islam.

This is an important point. For example, if a Christian today were to commit the same act of violence that Omar Mateen did, it would be quite easy to condemn the act using Christian sacred texts. Just look at the Gospel reading for today:

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one to him as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand him your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go with him for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.” (Matthew 5:38-42)

Not exactly the rallying cry of a terrorist, is it? Yet if one wants to justify Mateen’s actions via the Sira, it would be hard not to trip over yourself with passages to use. And there is nothing in the Sira to speak against such violence.

That is the key difference between Christianity and Islam: while both have followers who have used violence, such violence was an essential part of Muhammad’s life, while it was rejected explicitly by Christ.


Some pundits have already tried to blame this incident on “anti-gay” Christians. The illogic needed for such a jump blows the mind. Considering Christians are the primary target of ISIS in the Middle East, I doubt their members are looking to Christian leaders for their marching orders.

Like Christianity, Islam has always rejected homosexuality, but unlike Christianity, Islam believes the solution to homosexuality is to simply kill the homosexuals. Look at the ten countries worldwide in which homosexuality can be punishable by death:

  • Yemen
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Mauritania
  • Nigeria
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • United Arab Emirates

I’ll let the reader research what is the common thread between these countries (hint: google “Sharia Law”).

I'm guessing that this picture wasn't taken in Saudia Arabia.

I’m guessing that this picture wasn’t taken in Saudia Arabia.

Christians, on the other hand, desire for homosexuals to leave their destructive lifestyle and live in conformity with God’s laws. We desire this because we want what is best for them, not because we hate them. To believe Christians hate homosexuals because they want them to leave their lifestyle would be like saying I hate an alcoholic because I want him to stop drinking. Furthermore, the desire for homosexuals to change their lifestyle does not involve force to achieve its ends, but persuasion.

Further, as Christians we mourn the loss of innocent life, and we pray for those who were violently killed in Orlando. The victims’ destructive lifestyle doesn’t mean we won’t pray for them; in fact, it makes us want to pray for them more, as such a lifestyle means they are in danger of eternal damnation. Such a fate is something Christians don’t wish on their worst enemies; we desire the salvation of all people.


The two greatest acts of terrorism in our nation’s history – 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombings – led to the loss of over 3,000 people. How many of them died by gunshot wounds? Zero. But of course whenever there is a shooting in this country, the immediate response of liberals is to blame guns, not the terrorists who wield them. As I noted on Twitter yesterday:

Calls for more gun control is a classic example of politicians not letting a crisis go to waste. Politicians don’t want to ban guns in order to protect us; they want to ban guns in order to control us. It is amazing how often the first reaction to any tragedy is to make attempts to restrict our liberty. It reveals a totalitarian streak that must be resisted. Liberals used to warn against a right-wing totalitarian state, now they want to establish their own. Ironically, if liberals had their way, the end result would be a state not unlike one under Sharia Law.

Orlando Shooting: Let’s Not Rewrite History

They say those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. In our case, it is more likely that those who rewrite history are similarly doomed. The Orlando shooting was a horrific tragedy. Unfortunately, unless we learn the real lessons from it, we will see such tragedies repeat themselves over and over.


  • Gerald Nichols Posted June 14, 2016 2:13 pm

    I heartily agree with Mr. Sammon’s post.
    My latest opinion is that there really is no defense against an ideology like Islamist Jihad
    since we cannot stop people from believing lies they are told. These people are all around us and no one knows just when or where any of them will decide to act on their beliefs.

  • Cynthia IA Posted June 28, 2016 8:29 pm

    i agree and this is a great article. I read another blog post today that addresses lessons learned as well. it is at thetorch blog.net You might like it.

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