How long, O God, must we wait for an end to violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer people? With great lamentation, we grieve the over 50 lives taken and 53 injured in a shooting at Pulse in Orlando, Fl on Saturday night.
We grieve for the dead, for all who loved them, and for the ways in which this event will only confirm the fear of violence so many LGBTQ people already carry in our hearts. While many gains have been made for equality in the United States, we know all too well how far we have to go before violence against marginalized communities is abolished.
The feelings of vulnerability will be heightened among the LGBTQ community and we pray for God’s peace and courage to be with those who are afraid.
The tragic loss of life in Orlando is a product of political, religious, and cultural teachings which all contribute to a society that demonizes those who are different. As an organization committed to the renewal of The United Methodist Church, we are especially aware of the ways in which the denomination’s refusal to end its anti-LGBTQ theology and practices make it complicit in society’s violence towards trans and queer people. This complicity is rooted not only in the clear prejudice of the proclamation that “homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching,” but also in the inability of the largest mainline protestant denomination to say anything meaningful that would disrupt the lie that LGBTQ people are any less valuable than other children of God.
We call upon United Methodist congregations and individuals everywhere to lay down your arms against queer and trans people.
Too many have suffered. Too many lives have been lost. It’s time to put an end to this unnecessary destruction of life. If we are to be a united people in faith, that faith must be rooted in working together to build a church and society where all are welcome, where all treated with dignity and justice, where none have to fear violence based solely on who they are or who they love.
For the past 44 years, we could have been building safe worship spaces together. We could have been raising young people who understand faith to be rooted, first and foremost, in love for all people. We could have been countering a culture of violence with teachings that reflected Christ’s solidarity with the marginalized.
Instead, after one of the greatest tragedies to face the LGBTQ community in the history of the US, The United Methodist Church stands with little right to say anything at all to comfort or support those who are grieving.
Now more than ever, the spiritual leadership of the church absolutely must, without hesitation, declare in the name of God and our church that the lives of LGBTQ people are indispensable and that all spiritual and physical violence against us is incompatible with our faith and must be brought to an end.
Lay down your arms and follow Christ to those who are grieving, to those who are afraid, to those who are advancing the Kindom of God by celebrating the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer people – those still with us and those whose lives have been brought to a harrowing end.