All the usual expressions of grief that pour out during a tragedy seem very inadequate as responses to the massacre at the Pulse Nightclub, a haven for the LGBTQ community in Orlando, Florida. Last year at this time it was an African American congregation in Charleston, South Carolina, that was hit. In December 2012 it was elementary children and teachers in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. Evil, cowardly men seek out the most vulnerable in our society and reek destruction with powerful military assault weapons, and Congress fails to pass gun control laws to protect our citizenry. We have been down this road so many times; the time for words is long past and the time for action is now. It reminds me of the words of Micah the prophet, that God does not want our empty offerings but what God requires is “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God”.
The refusal of the majority in Congress to take action is shameful. The second amendment to the Constitution does not confer an absolute right for private citizens to own any weapon in the arsenal of war. Any nation that holds such a view is plainly stupid and suicidal. Reasonable conditions for the safety of all must be imposed on gun ownership, just as they are imposed on automobile ownership. A complete ban on all assault weapon sales and background checks for all gun sales are two reasonable measures, but the make-up of Congress will need to change for these to be enacted. I hope you will vote accordingly and support organizations like the Brady Campaign and Everytown for Gun Safety to keep up pressure on Congress to take meaningful action. And pray for God to save our nation from the extremists in the N.R.A!
On Thursday evening June 16 at the Second Congregational Church, Attleboro, there was a service of prayer and solidarity with the victims and survivors of the Orlando Massacre and with members of the LGBTQ community. The setting sun highlighted the stained glass window with Christ as the central panel. The light was intense and breathtaking, in a way that I had never seen before in stained glass. God does not abandon his children but remains with them and bears their suffering.