Religious conservatives attempt balance in Orlando response

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, center right, and Orlando Police Chief John Mina, center left, arrive to a news conference after a fatal shooting at Pulse Orlando nightclub in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, June 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Faith leaders have overwhelmingly expressed grief over the loss of life in Orlando but it has been less common for religious conservatives to note that the gunman specifically targeted lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

LGBT advocates say the omission compounds the pain of the shooting. They say sympathetic statements that do not say gays and lesbians were targeted render LGBT people invisible.

Many conservatives argue that LGBT advocates are trying to politicize the attack by complaining about the wording of statements of prayer and concern.

Authorities are still trying to understand the motivation of gunman Omar Mateen, who had expressed hatred of gay people and sympathy for Islamic extremists before his rampage left 49 people dead at Pulse dance club last Sunday.

 

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