O that my head were a spring of water,
and my eyes a fountain of tears,
so that I might weep day and night
for the slain of my poor people!
It was with horror that I learned of the details of the attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, early Sunday morning. How my heart breaks for the victims and their families! My soul cries out—when will these killings stop? How many more must die before we learn that violence and hate are not the answer?
Yet even as I weep for the people of Orlando, I am moved by the outpouring of love and the resounding call for solidarity with both the LGBTQ and Muslim communities.
If there is a word of hope to be uttered in the face of such tragedy, this is it: When we stand together in defiance of hatred, we are stronger and we are safer. No act of violence can strip us of our humanity—particularly when we respond to homophobia, transphobia and Islamophobia with love.
May the families and friends of those who were killed or injured at the Pulse nightclub find strength in the days ahead as they grieve the unbearable loss of their loved ones or tend to the physical and psychological wounds of those who survived.
May the first responders who witnessed this horror and put their own lives on the line to save others be comforted in knowing their courage is recognized and appreciated.
In the days ahead, may our civic and political leaders rise above calls for retribution and blame and echo the wisdom and grace being demonstrated by so many attending vigils in communities near and far.
And may we all renew our commitment to walk steadfastly in the way of solidarity and peace.
As the LGBTQ communities mark this month’s Pride celebrations and Muslim neighbours observe Ramadan, may the God we worship—each in our own way—inspire us to build bridges of hope and love rather than walls of hatred and fear.