On the day after the massacre in Orlando: June 13, 2016
To the Calvary community--family, friends, and neighbors:
Just one week ago, the Episcopal Bishops urged us to wear orange as a sign of our commitment to reduce gun violence in our communities. The Rev. Mark Beckwith, who convened the meeting in the Diocese of Newark, said, "In the gospel for [that Sunday], we read about Jesus restoring life to a widowed mother's only son. We don't have the power to raise people from the dead, but sometimes we do have the power to keep them alive."
Only one week later, we are shocked by yet another eruption of mass gun violence. But for all the shock and grief and anger that we feel today, we need to realize that the atrocities perpetuated by private U.S. citizens holding weapons of mass destruction, in the form of guns intended to kill humans, have become, in a perverse way, a "new normal."
We cannot let this environment continue, sending us through the downward spiral into division, hatred, and violence toward one another. Our heartfelt prayers go out to the victims of this latest tragedy, and to their families and friends. But we can no longer stand by idly and believe that our prayers and thoughts alone will stop the carnage that is becoming a regular feature in the daily news.
In addition, the targeting of the LGBT community at the Pulse gay nightclub adds a more frightful dimension to an already frightful situation. As that community continues to struggle for basic respect and dignity, fulfillment of their true identity, and affirmation of a common humanity, we, as fellow children of God, need to stand up for their struggle and against the forces that seek to deny them that basic humanity.
In our Baptismal Covenant, we are asked, "Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?" We respond, "We will, with God's help." It is time for us to make concrete our sacred vow. As the President said this week about our response to the massacre, "To actively do nothing is a decision as well." We are also called, as faithful followers of God, to oppose the scapegoating of the LGBT community and of any community. As the Very Rev. Gail Greenwell, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Cincinnati, said in her pastoral letter sent to her community, "Scapegoating leads inextricably to the crucifixion of the innocent. We know this all too well, given the Savior we follow was likewise a scapegoat of national anxiety."
Christ Church Cathedral will host a requiem service this Wednesday evening, June 15, at 6:00 p.m.
I rejoice that they are taking a lead in bringing us together during this difficult time. I will be there, and I hope that you can join us as we come together in solidarity with our Cincinnati neighbors to show our support for the victims in Orlando, for all victims of violence, and for the building of God's community of peace, justice, and compassion toward all.
Grace and peace to you all,