This morning we woke up to the atrocity of the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, the worst mass shooting in the history of the United States. We mourn with the families and the loved ones of those who were murdered and injured. We are so aware of the moral injury that such an expression of hate and prejudice inflicts upon us all.
As I have prayed for the victims of this latest shooting, for the shooter and his family, for the people of Orlando, and for us, I have been struck by a concern that has penetrated my heart. Is it possible that we United Methodists with such a negative attitude and position against LGBTQI persons contribute to such a crime? When we say that those who are of a homosexual gender identity are living lives that are incompatible with Christian teaching, that they are not to be included in our ordained leadership, and that they are not important enough for us to invest resources of the Church in advocating for their well-being, in essence when we say that our LGBTQI brothers and sisters are not worthy of the fullness of life that Christ offers us all, are we not contributing to the kind of thinking that promotes doing harm to these our brothers and sisters, our children, the sacred children of God?
I want you to think and pray with me about this. We cannot just stand-by and allow what happened in Orlando, Florida to go without our deep and prayerful reflection and our repentance and conversion wherever that is necessary in the life of our Church. Standing with the people of Orlando in their shock, their despair and grief as many have called us to do starting with President Obama, is not enough. As disciples of Jesus Christ we must stand for abundant life for all God’s children including our LBTQI brothers and sisters.
Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño
Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop
The United Methodist Church