Faith Matters Network Statement on the Shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida

In an age when violence has become a norm: Sandy Hook, San Bernadino, Aurora Movie Theater, and countless others, we find ourselves in stark silence at the inevitable. In the midst of the midnight darkness in Orlando, FL at the Pulse nightclub on 12 June 2016, we acknowledge the overwhelming sadness that has terrorized the LGBTQ community. We cling to the stories of our faith that tells us that violence in any form is death-bringing. We also hold space for the story of the one who perpetrated this violence. We cannot hold the same hatred for the one who killed our siblings, and we refuse to continue this path into islamophobic rhetoric that continues to cause more violence. 

We find ourselves in a culture of violence, a particular pathology that has institutionalized radical hate, materialized in the very real death-bringing realities of a fear of difference. As people of many faiths, we reject the overwhelming spirit of fear and cling to a prophetic spirit found in radical hope. This orientation found in radical hope motivates new contours of becoming community. While we embrace these moments of queer lament, this prophetic hope is found in that the Orlando shooting has garnered significant press, whereas the 1973 arson that ensued while a local MCC church met in the upper room of a local bar singing hymns and enjoying fellowship in New Orleans garnered no press. We know that because marriage equality has become law in this country, there is significant visibility of the LGBTQ community and we also know that radical hate motivates an expression of violence against the active acknowledgement to an orientation of difference. We know our days are numbered and nothing here on earth is promised to last. Our hope, though, is that by holding vigil for those who have been killed for their gender and sexual expression at Pulse and acknowledging the senseless violence that stems from an attitude of indifference, we reach toward our future horizon that is rooted in a hope that transcends our creeds and scriptures and expressed in our orientation of community.

Names of those murdered:
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34.
Stanley Almodovar III, 23.
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20.
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22.
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36.
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22.
Luis S. Vielma, 22.
Kimberly Morris, 37.
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30.
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29.
Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32.
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21.
Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25.
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35.
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50.
Amanda Alvear, 25.
Martin Benitez Torres, 33.
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37.
Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26.
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35.
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25.
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31.
Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26.
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32
Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19
Cory James Connell, 21
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37
Luis Daniel Conde, 39
Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33
Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29
Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21
Jerald Arthur Wright, 31
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25
Tevin Eugene Crosby
...and to those not yet identified


To those who mourn know that we are with you accompanying you in this painful journey. You are not alone. -The Faith Matters Network