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We will be adding statements to this post throughout the day.

Anger, shock, and deep sadness – those seem to be the prevailing sentiments expressed over the mass shooting in Orlando by the public, and they have been echoed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and a number of Bishops in the Episcopal Church.

From the Archbishops of Canterbury and York,

Archbishops of Canterbury and York call for solidarity with LGBTI people after the attack in Orlando.

“After Sunday’s attack in Orlando as Christians we must speak out in support of LGBTI people, who have become the latest group to be so brutally targeted by the forces of evil. We must pray, weep with those affected, support the bereaved, and love without qualification.

“The obligation to object to these acts of persecution, and to support those LGBTI people who are wickedly and cruelly killed and wounded, bereaved and traumatised, whether in Orlando or elsewhere, is an absolute call on our Christian discipleship. It arises from the unshakeable certainty of the gracious love of God for every human being.

“Now, in this time of heartbreak and grief, is a time for solidarity. May God our Father give grace and comfort to all who mourn, and divine compassion to us all.”

The Rt. Reverend Gregory O. Brewer, Bishop of the Diocese of Central Florida issued a statement calling for prayers and love.

I had to work to take it in. My natural reaction was to keep the horror of this event at a distance- keeping my heart safe from grief and outrage. But slowly, and as an answer to prayer, the sadness, the weariness, the empty silence of mourning poured in. Someone said that the deeper the grief, the fewer the words. That’s how I feel. Words of condolence have little value in the face of this carnage. For right now, all we can do is grieve, pray and support the families of those who have died the best we can.

I will leave it to others to look for someone to blame. Instead – right now – all I want to do is to stand beside, pray, and love as best I can. There will be time later raise questions about security, gun violence, and homophobic rage. There is no justification for this atrocity. I categorically condemn what has happened. Better solutions must be found.

What I do believe is that love is stronger than death. The promise of resurrection brings courage, and the promise of “a new heaven and a new earth” should fuel all of God’s people to help build a better world.

“Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Other Bishops, many who are members of Bishops Against Gun Violence have offered their support.  The Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, Bishop of Maryland and The Rt. Rev. Chilton R. Knudsen, Assistant Bishop stated

hate has erupted into unspeakable violence.

and added the shooter

targeted…American values of freedom for all citizens and our Christian duty to respect the dignity of every human being were under attack as well.

The Rt. Rev. Mariann Budde, Bishop of Washington, D.C., offered support to the Muslim community, stating

To our Muslim sisters and brothers, know that our support for you remains strong. We know that the hatred that fuels such violence is a perversion of the Muslim faith, and we remain your friends and interfaith partners.

The Bishop of San Diego, The Rt. Rev. James R. Mathes called for support for the LGBT community, saying that

We must all stand in solidarity with, and openly affirm, the right to safety for all gay, lesbian, transgendered, queer and inquiring people. These are our brothers, sisters, children, parents, friends and loved ones. Let us speak as one voice acknowledging the deep pain of the entire grieving LGBTQI community and say we are with you and we are praying for you.

The Rt. Rev. Scott B. Hayashi, Bishop of Utah called for action.

And today, as we pray, let us also dig deep into our souls that indeed were given to God’s service in baptism to help define who we want to be — not who we allow politicians to keep us confined to baby steps…In this season of Pentecost, we follow the Lord’s ministry on earth. It was not only a call to social justice, it was a call to doing something NOW. Let us decide to be the kind of country where parents do not have to worry when their children walk out the door in the morning or we as old, young, women, men, LGBT, or of any religion walk out that door too. Let us be the kind of country where we do not have to be afraid to go to a theatre, a nightclub. Let us be the kind of country where all people are respected and valued regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or religious tradition. Let us work to end the epidemic of hate, intolerance, terror and prejudice. Let us dedicate ourselves to stopping gun violence. Until we decide to do this things will remain the same and tomorrow, next week, next month we will be reading about another massacre of our brothers and sisters – of those whom we are joined with in Christ.

The Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher, Western Massachusetts:

More death.  More words. And no action.

The public health crisis that is gun violence just claimed 50 more lives. Add this to the 91 per day that die in the United States through gun violence. Just ten days ago Bishops United Against Gun Violence co-sponsored the #WearOrange campaign. Episcopalians all over the country wore orange and took over social media for the entire day. When will we wake up? When will our elected officials show some courage? In the wake of the slaughter and wounding of 100 LGBTQ people in Orlando, we must acknowledge that homophobia and racism are also at the heart of our dis-ease.

An overview of statements can be found on the ENS blog.

Photo at top: Vigil at Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center; photo by Cara Modisett


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Paul Woodrum

The more information that becomes available, the more I’m beginning to think the Orlando shooting is the case of a self-hating gay man who found it more respectable to justify his actions by associating them with Islam and terrorists than acknowledging his own sexual confusion that can be traced, in good part, to systemic Islamic homophobia, especially as exemplified by his father.

We’re wasting a lot of time and money trying to link this incident to ISIS or any of those other, crazy little sects in the Middle East. But of course that’s the drill and it does support a huge spy and police/military complex.

The gay and women’s communities have had incredible success in challenging scientifically and morally unsustainable Christian sexual purity codes. Now they face the far more complex issue of challenging Islam, especially as its numbers grow in the West.

Frederick Schmidt

Good to have these thoughts in one place. Some thoughts on the leadership challenges that lie ahead:

Rod Gillis

What a horrific event. Words fail. Today Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s (CBC) Radio 2 program ‘Shift’ has been playing classical music by composers/arrangers from the GLBTQ communities.

A more assertive approach has been taken by one of CBC’s top journalists for whom words don’t fail. Neil MacDonald was formerly CBC TV’s Washington corespondent, and previously Middle East corespondent. His piece is titled: After Orlando, time to recognize that anti-gay bigotry is not religious freedom. I’ve attached a link to his online piece on the CBC website. It should be accessible to readers outside Canada.

MacDonald writes in part:

“Islam may be more overt about its homophobia than the other major religions — anyone who’s worked in the Middle East has heard some fool in high office declaring that there are no gays in Islam, and therefore no AIDS — but the fact is, conservative iterations of all the monotheistic faiths are deeply and actively and systemically anti-gay.

The sacred monotheistic texts contain prohibitions that would by just about any legal definition be considered hate speech in the modern secular world.”

Paul Woodrum

One of the things Bishop Brewer of Central Florida could do is take a hard look at the anti-gay bigotry fostered in his own diocese where the children of gay parents are denied baptism, gay couples cannot be married in Episcopal churches. gay clergy are not welcome and gay laity are treated as second class.

Edited. Please leave out unfounded and disrespectful personal characterizations. The Editor

Ric Schopke

My first reaction to your comment was indignation and frustration that this tragedy would be politicized. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I pray God’s love and peace both in your heart and surrounding you.

As a resident of the Orlando community and a part of the Diocese of Central Florida, let me assure you that our, and our Bishop’s, hurt is genuine and our tears are very real.

In Christ,

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