A Statement on the Mass Shooting in Orlando
They lurk in ambush in public squares
and in secret places they murder the innocent;
they spy out the helpless.
I write to you again in response to yet another mass shooting in America. Elementary schools, high schools, movie theaters, shopping malls, office buildings, churches and gay bars. No place is safe. No one is safe. Not as long as assault weapons are legally available to the one who hates, to the one who is ill, or to the one who wants to bring terror.
More death. More words. And no action.
The public health crisis that is gun violence just claimed 50 more lives. Add this to the 91 per day that die in the United States through gun violence. Just ten days ago Bishops United Against Gun Violence co-sponsored the #WearOrange campaign. Episcopalians all over the country wore orange and took over social media for the entire day. When will we wake up? When will our elected officials show some courage? In the wake of the slaughter and wounding of 100 LGBTQ people in Orlando, we must acknowledge that homophobia and racism are also at the heart of our dis-ease.
They say in their heart, ‘God has forgotten; he hides his face; he will never notice (Psalm 10:11).’ But God sees. God needs us to break the cycle of fear, hatred and scapegoating with a love that defies the darkness. Yes, our laws must change. Our elected leaders must bear responsibility for the state of gun safety legislation. But we must speak love to those who mourn, to those feeling a wave of justifiable anger. In time and with grace, we must speak love even to the one who brings death.
Our hearts are broken for Orlando and for LGBTQ people who are absorbing the reality of this violence. Our love surrounds all who bear the weight of this tragedy.
Rise up, O Lord;
Lift up your hand, O God;
Do not forget the afflicted.
The Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher
IX Bishop of Western Massachusetts