It remains to be discovered whether the primary motive behind the worst mass shooting in American history -- not counting the battles fought on American soil -- was personal or religious, but the shooter's choice of target, an Orlando gay bar, makes his amoklauf an act of terrorism that makes the "hate crime" label seem redundant. What seems indisputable is that whether the shooter's motive was religious or personal -- he was a native-born American citizen of Afghan descent, his parents coming here at a time when Afghans were seen as anti-communist freedom fighters -- his crime was a homophobic act. His father has cited homophobic statements from the son, but investigators are pursuing hints at a broader radicalization. And yet while I expect to hear the usual calls for cracking down on guns and the currently popular calls for rounding up the Muslims, I doubt whether we'll hear many calls for cracking down on or rounding up the homophobes. That idea just doesn't fit into most people's compartments, because a lot of us still consider homophobia to be legitimate on some level. Few may deem gays worthy of death here and now, but many still believe they will have to pay for their sins somewhere. Many -- and obviously not only Muslims -- consider homophobia a constitutional right as a religious imperative. The moral revolution of our time is an assertion that there is no good reason to disapprove of homosexuality and no right to act on that disapproval or base public policy on it. Islamic objections to this idea are only a small part of the counterrevolution, though they may prove the most violent objectors. So go for the Muslims if you want, go for the guns if you must, but don't let homophobia as a whole off the hook.
Update: The shooter reportedly called 911 to pledge allegiance to the self-styled Islamic State just before opening fire at the niteclub, and an IS news service acknowledged him as one of their fighters. During the afternoon we've seen a parade of American Muslim spokesmen repudiating the shooting, denouncing the IS and trying to keep alive a common opposition to homophobia and Islamophobia. It is odd to note that the gay-rights movement still sees Christians as their main enemy. It's true that Christian activism drives efforts to limit equal rights and equal access to services, but for all that gays anticipate physical attacks from Christians the more immediate threat of violence clearly comes from radicalized Muslims, given their feeling of entitlement to violence. The gay-rights community shouldn't fall for the idea that the struggle in this country pits all the Others as allies against straight-white-male-Christian aggression. Homophobia is no more justified among other religions, and no more to be defended on multicultural grounds, than it is among Christians. There's no denying that the gay-rights revolution must inevitably conflict with all traditional religions and cultures, and no dodging an accounting with Islam along the way. It is not Islamophobia to call out the religion and its believers when they are self-evidently wrong. Some may want to say gays and Muslims have a common struggle against a tyranny of the majority but today reminds us that that's not necessarily so.