The shooting in Orlando, Florida in the early morning hours on Sunday was a horrible tragedy. It was a horrific mass shooting that was both a terrorist shooting by someone who identified himself with Isis, and an act of domestic terrorism by someone born here who bought an assault rifle and decided to use it in an act of hate and violence. It was the act of a coward.
How do we view this act of violence?
A few have unfortunately already begun to drink from the cup of condemnation. They view it as “divine retribution for sins.” They have forgotten their First Love and have become like the Pharisees; grasping at law, yet compassionless for their brothers and sisters in the human race God created.
Some have latched onto and drink from the cup of politics. Instead of focusing on sympathy for the grieving families, and allowing time to mourn, they jump immediately on the bandwagon of gun control. While I may entirely agree with your position, now is not the time; now is the time for lamentation.
Others may choose to drink from the cup of hatred: all Muslims are alike. If Omar Mateen’s family had been banned from coming into this country, this never would have happened. We forget the Pilgrims came to this country to have religious freedom.
I prefer to drink from the cup of unity and compassion; I thirst right now for unity and compassion in our country and with my Christian brothers and sisters.
As President Obama said yesterday,
“This was an act of terror and an act of hate; this is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American — regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation — is an attack on all of us and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country. And no act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us Americans.
“Today marks the most deadly shooting in American history.
“In the coming hours and days, we’ll learn about the victims of this tragedy. Their names. Their faces. Who they were. The joy that they brought to families and to friends, and the difference that they made in this world. Say a prayer for them and say a prayer for their families—that God give them the strength to bear the unbearable. And that He give us all the strength to be there for them, and the strength and courage to change.
“In the face of hate and violence, we will love one another. We will not give in to fear or turn against each other. Instead, we will stand united, as Americans, to protect our people, and defend our nation, and to take action against those who threaten us.”
It should not matter this terrorist took out his hate upon people in a gay bar. It should matter that he took out his hate upon 103 human beings, 50 of whom died on American soil.
I pray with all my heart God plants a thirst in us for unity, grace and love. I pray as a nation we unite in compassion, we reach for dignity for all people He has created. I pray for those of us who are Christians, God please help us lay down our need to accuse and condemn, and pick up Jesus’ yoke of love and grace.
I pray with all my strength we see this as a horrible act of hatred, of terror, of one person’s twisted mind taking out his twisted logic on 103 people, 50 of whom are dead. Let us pray in grace, and be united in love.