In Response to the Mass Shooting at The Pulse Nightclub in Orlando
June 13, 2016
Rev Dr Petra Weldes
In the face of shooting of gays in Orlando and on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the shooting of blacks in Charleston, once again, we are faced with the reality – fear and hate or love and inclusion.
Today, as we grieve, feeling the sorrow of loss and the bewilderment of repeated history, and the anger of “it’s finally enough!” We ask ourselves questions to which we simply don’t know the answers.
We can say it’s not the guns, and we can say it’s not the religions, we can say it’s not the politics, and we can say it’s not race, but we can not say it’s not the climate of hate and fear that continues to be built in our country and around the world. Ancient fear of the other, fear of the different, is embedded in our cultural, religious and political systems in the US, and around the world, continuing to be used today to create hate, violence, and separation.
Yet every day we are coming closer together, more globally connected, seeing that no matter where you live, how you worship, or who you love, the basic needs and wants of every human being are the same. Peace, love, connection, family and work, creative contribution, fair compensation, opportunity, care for the elderly and those less fortunate, and a desire to pray in the manner that most aligns with our inner being. We are not so different after all.
Today I stand for LOVE and INCLUSIVITY, recognizing the divine spark within each and every human being. I refuse to allow fear and hate drive me to hate and fear in return. I stand with those in religion and politics, in journalism and sports, at home and in the work place who refuse to cower from fear or give in to hate. I do not support any extremism in politics, religion, or cultural status quo that overtly or covertly supports, promotes or allows hatred and violence against another human being. In this I stand, and I shall not be moved.
Let us meet hate with inclusivity and fear with love in our rhetoric, our actions, and in our prayers. Today I pray and I affirm that each person who loses their life to hatred and violence, whether gay or straight, man or women, no matter the color of skin or their religion of practice, is a beacon of light, a harbinger of hope, a power and a force for a change in consciousness and a change of heart that will not be denied. Each life lost is a candle added to the light of Truth, that we are all one human family, all under ONE divine authority, living on one beautiful planet that we share, together.
May love prevail in the hearts and minds of preachers, politicians and leaders – as well as those individuals who have lost sight of the LOVE that is another name for GOD. May they be awakened to the consequences of their ideas, and the actions their words inspire. May the recognition that we – loving, truth-seeking, spiritual people – will not be swayed from our course of human rights and decency for all, the life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that our Declaration of Independence demands and that we claim for each and every human being. No matter what the difference, Love is spoken here.