With all United Methodists across the nation, we mourn the death of the 49 victims in the Orlando terrorist attack. Whether they were gay, straight, bisexual, or transgender, they were the children of parents who will never again be able to hug and kiss them and assure them of their love. In a news cycle of press statements and polemical political discussions, we are reminded of the very simple common humanity that we share with the victims in Orlando.
United Methodists condemn the murder and injury of those loved by God whether they occur in a church building or a gay nightclub. With God as our Creator, whatever our theological difference may be, we resonate with Florida Bishop Ken Carter’s hope that “we can discover creative, pastoral and grace-filled ways to bear witness to all — including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons — that together we are God’s beloved children.”
Our hearts and prayers are with those who lost their lives, the wounded, the families, and the emergency personnel who are all dealing with this horrific situation.
We believe this tragedy should unite all Americans in prayer for the victims and in reasoned study and conversation about what can be done to prevent terrorist attacks. No Christian can condone hate filled forms of violence against any person, regardless of sexual orientation or practice, race, ethnicity, or gender.
Responses of fear, hatred, or violence do not embody the holy boldness and sacrificial love that Jesus demonstrated and calls his followers to imitate. As Christians we must work together to counteract hatred and violence directed at LGBTQ people. May the Holy Spirit guide our thoughts and prayers and empower our actions over the coming days.
“Our world needs the good news – let us be people of good news! Our world needs Jesus – let us be people who invite others to know the One we know,” writes Bishop Mark J. Webb of the Upper New York Annual Conference. “In the midst of violence, let us not shrink from the hope we have in the one we call Savior. May we not shrink from offering the hope of Jesus to a world in desperate need. Spiritual forces of darkness will not have victory – the victory has been won in Jesus the Christ!”
With Bishop Webb, our prayer is for comfort and peace for the families of the victims. “Lord, in your mercy comfort those who mourn, touch those who need your healing and provide peace in the midst of fear,” he writes. “Lord, in your mercy allow goodness to overcome evil and light to pierce the darkness.”
Good News has been an independent, evangelical ministry and magazine within The United Methodist Church since 1967.