Orlando: Solidarity in Grief and Action
Today the United Church of Christ and the Open and Affirming Coalition stand with the LGBTQ community in Orlando, Florida, and with all who are grieving for the victims of the massacre at a gay nightclub in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Their grief is our grief.
We pray for the families and friends of the 50 who were killed.
We pray for the many injured and for their doctors and care-givers.
We renew our resolve as a church to work in Florida and in communities across America for the safety, dignity and freedom of our LGBTQ members and neighbors.
We renew our resolve as a church to work for sane laws that will curb the epidemic of gun violence in this country.
We now know the assailant was a U.S. citizen and a Muslim. We join with the leaders of Muslim communities in the United States who have denounced the attack in Orlando and the unreasoning hatred that motivated it.
The time has come for churches to end the spiritual violence they perpetrate against their LGBTQ members and neighbors. Preaching hate against others because of their sexual orientation or gender identity has taken a terrible toll of lives lost to suicide, and is incompatible with the teachings of Jesus Christ. We call on every church to stand with, and not against, the LGBTQ community.
We are angry, but we will not return hate for hate. Hate will not stop the cycle of violence–not in this country, or anywhere in the world. And so we remember at this time the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.
“Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
National Officers of the United Church of Christ
Leadership Team of the UCC Open and Affirming Coalition