This morning I preached my last sermon before vacation at The Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion, in the greater St. Louis area. I’m going to miss this community over the next few weeks. We are a community that knows something of gun violence. Black men and women lose their lives routinely here to guns. Many families in my congregation have felt the effect of this scourge.
This morning’s news from Orlando hit home for me. As a gay man, I’ve been out dancing in clubs like Pulse. I’ve been surrounded by the throngs of other partiers. I know how hard it can be to make your way out of the club. The news was terrifying.
NPR announced that the events of this morning make the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub the deadliest in US History. My whole adult life mass shootings have been a reality. I was in high school in Colorado when Columbine happened. I was a young priest for Newtown.
I have a hope this morning that something can change. We’ve seen the staggering ability of the LGBT community to organize for change. Marriage equality came faster than any of us could have expected. We are seeing change happen fast.
It is time to unite. It is time for gay men (and everyone else in the LGBT community) to join the fight to end gun violence. It is time for some common sense reforms to our gun laws. It is time to stand up to religious bigotry in all of its forms, and work so that bigotry cannot be armed. It is time for us to build a coalition between LGBT activists, faith leaders, and black mothers and to bring the political will and know how to this fight. It is time.
I pray that today is a turning point, that we will see a real and concrete move toward reform. It is time.
I close with this prayer from All Saints Pasadena:
We pray for the victims, their families and for all victims of violence; for an end to the scourge of gun violence in our nation and for healing of the disease of homophobia that infects our nation and our world. God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.