People have been sending me links to various statements and responses, from a wide range of organizations, to the killings in Orlando on June 12. I have been struck by the honesty and bluntness of many of these statements. They name the killings as acts of hate against the LGBTQ community. And they own the source of the hatred as being rooted in our faith tradition. This is, of course, an uncomfortable truth…but it is the truth.
Neil MacDonald of the CBC wrote a post in which he said, essentially, churches should no longer be able to hide behind religious freedom to justify their institutional hatred of the LGBTQ community. His words surprised me and made me feel defensive for a few moments but then their truth sunk in. It is absurd that Christians cling to a few verses of scripture to justify discrimination and hate when they have moved on from other passages that justify sexism, misogyny, slavery, and war. It is the worst of hypocrisy to speak of grace and oneness in Christ while denying members of the LGBTQ community an equal place in our faith community.
The moderator of the United Church of Canada, Jordan Cantwell, chose this scripture in her reflection on the shooting:
“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!” – Jeremiah 9:1
A wise choice, an honest choice. Amen.