As a minister, however, I also have a responsibility not to keep silent forever, because my silence might imply my endorsement or approval of the actions of the man who shot and killed/wounded over a hundred members of the Latinx LGBTQ community.
Let me be clear: it is not the will or desire of God (whom I call Thea) that LGBTQ people should be targets of violence. It is not Thea's will that LGBTQ people should in any way change or hide or be ashamed of their sexual identity. Individuals and communities that intentionally marginalize/persecute the LGBTQ community for their sexuality are absolutely wrong to do so, full-stop. These persecutors are the ones who need to change, not the ones they persecute.
I mourn for the precious lives lost and those that were forever changed in this mass shooting. I also mourn for the shooter, whose life was lost fighting the wrong fight. I pray for peace, solace, and love to envelop the LGBTQ community so they might heal and be strengthened to be who they are with enormous pride, and I pray for compassion, a desire for mutual understanding, and forgiveness among all of us, because we could all use much more of that. As for me, I have spent this week letting my LGBTQ friends know that I love them and I'm thinking of them, and I've also spent this week lovingly communicating with those who would promote marginalization of another group, those who follow Islam, in order to show that fundamentalist extremism does not equate or speak for religion as a whole. I've spent this week lifting up those in politics who can make a difference in keeping guns out of the wrong hands. I've done what I could, and I will continue to do what I can to ensure that a tragedy like this is forever a thing of the past. I pray that you and all of us will do the same--not just pray, but take tangible steps to prevent this kind of tragedy from ever taking place again.
I came across this psalm in my prayer today, and it seems to fit:
O Thea, those who do evil have come among us;
they have made Creation a pile of rubble.
They have shed blood like water throughout all of Creation,
and there was no one to bury their victims.
Help them and us, O Thea! Change their hearts and ours;
let your compassion be swift to meet us all and spread among us.
Help us, O Thea;
deliver us and teach us your forgiveness,
that we may taste and see the sweetness of your mercy.
O Thea, let the sorrowful sighing of those in chains come before you,
and by your great might give hope to those who are condemned to die.
We will give you thanks forever
and show forth your praise from age to age.