I have truly struggled these past several days to put into words what I am feeling about the recent club shooting in Orlando. It is incomprehensible on so many different levels. How someone could hate any group of people so much as to indiscriminately kill them is just beyond my understanding. And though this most recent shooting was directed at the LBGTQ community, let us not lose track of an increasingly frequent pattern of mass murder in our country, stretching from Denver to San Bernardino, Oregon to Connecticut, and now .... Florida. None of us are beyond the reach of this insanity and all of us share in the loss - not just of life - but of our liberty and unity, peace and true freedom. And it's got to END!
But this ending will not occur as long as we accept as normal, and irreversible, the current course of our culture. The sale and purchase of assault weapons must honestly be examined. They are designed for one thing-- assault. Throughout the country we have dealt with the sale of fireworks because they start fires, but can't figure out how to deal with weapons that are designed for taking mass lives. Similarly, it is time get a better handle on how we care for people struggling with mental illness. But these things alone will not matter if all of us don't work for a general change of heart, especially as people of faith. We must be those witnesses for peace and unity that speak out against all forms of hate, prejudice, and violence recognizing that we kill and maim others, not just with guns and bombs, but with our words and our silence, as well.
I was appalled by the hate spewed from the pulpit of a Baptist preacher in Sacramento, California who declared the killings
in Orlando as "great" grieving only that more gay people didn't die. WHO SAYS THIS KIND OF THING? But even worse,
WHO SAYS THIS IN THE NAME OF CHRIST?" And shame on us if, as Christians, we allow allow such distorted voices of
our Christian faith to go unchallenged, thus seen as speaking for all of us.
Yes, I am struggling with all of this, and I wish I had a solution that was good and amenable for us all, but alas, I do not.
What I do have is the invitation and challenge for us all to speak out, get involved and do something, wherever we can.
Because none this will stop on its own and God has no hands or voices other than ours!
In faith and humbleness yours,
Rev. Dr. Keith Haemmelmann