Last Saturday night, just a block from my house, a gay neighbor was stabbed multiple times in what is appearing to be a hate crime.
The Spokesman Review reported, "A knife attack that nearly killed a man early Saturday began after the victim described himself as gay, according to Spokane police. The 28-year-old victim was drinking with a friend at a home in the 400 block of South Fiske Street when a man approached them on the porch and began talking. The victim said he was gay, “and an argument ensued about him being gay,” according to court documents."
In the fight, his lung was punctured and his heart stopped but he was revived by hospital staff. My friend who lives across the street from where the fight and stabbing took place said the fire department had to hose down the street because of all the blood. I visited with a woman neighbor who was also hurt in the attack and found out the victim is recovering well and will be released today.
Needless to say, I've been a little troubled by this latest crime in our neighborhood and particularly because it revolves around someone being gay. This issue is deeply troubling to me and the religious conversations and positions I've taken on this issue are feeling more and more problematic to me as I see this type of ugliness manifesting itself out of ignorance, hate and violence. Conservative Christians, like myself, have to figure out how to represent Christ and human dignity in ways that disarm this type of bigotry instead of inflaming the flawed rhetoric and dangerous ignorance that undergirds such prejudice.
"...Homosexuals are 2.4 times more likely to suffer a violent hate crime attack than Jews (8.3 divided by 3.5). In the same way, gays are 2.6 times more likely to be attacked than blacks; 4.4 times more likely than Muslims; 13.8 times more likely than Latinos; and 41.5 times more likely than whites according to FBI figures. The basic pattern holds by years as well as across the years. The bottom line: Homosexuals are far more likely than any other minority group in the United States to be victimized by violent hate crime," according to Anti-Gay Hate Crimes: Doing the Math | Southern Poverty Law Center.
I hope this act of violence and hate will open the door to building a safer neighborhood in my corner of Spokane and will help us all learn to foster greater civility, acceptance and love. Learning to be a peacemaker is taking on dimensions I never would of imagined before moving into East Central Spokane.