Orlando: A Pastoral Response From A Gay Latino Priest

"I dream of a day when being different is a reason to celebrate and not to fear."

 

“A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.”

Jeremiah 31:15 (RSV)

On Sunday, we woke up to the unspeakable horror of the most devastating mass shooting in the history of our country. For the past day, I have sat silently with my husband at home, crying in the face of the impotence of a world that, despite our social progress, still hates us.

In the midst of all this, I believe that Christian clergy in particular need to face an important reality: the church has blood on its hands. From our pulpits, and in our traditions, we have been complicit in fostering the sins of misogyny, sexism, racism, and homophobia. We are responsible for tolerating in our midst a poor, ignorant and murderous scriptural interpretation that leads to death and untold suffering. As a religious leader in the Boston-Metro Latino community, I cannot remain silent about this.

The words my husband Zach spoke to me have also been heavy on my heart all night. As a thoughtful interfaith leader that works primarily with Jews, Christians and Muslims, he eloquently reflected that “this isn't simply ‘extremist Islam’, as some would like to paint it. This comes out of centuries of many religious traditions systematically demonizing and dehumanizing LGBTQ individuals. This hatred isn't out of nowhere. It is in parts of Islam, yes, but it is within parts of Christianity and Judaism, as well.” 

Facing such a reality, I feel I must apologize for the complicity and silence of the Church. I am sorry for the pain our sinful indifference and self-righteousness has caused, and continues to cause, throughout the world.

And in the midst of all this senseless suffering, I dare to do the only thing that comforts me in times like these. Here is my prayer for our communities today:

I dream of a day when being different is a reason to celebrate and not to fear.

I hope for a day when all God’s children can come together without condemnation.

I pray for a season where justice is not a matter of politics but of humanity.

I believe, like the modern psalmist proclaimed:

We Shall Overcome, We Shall Overcome, We Shall Overcome Someday
Deep In My Heart, I Do Believe, We Shall Overcome Someday

 

Amen.

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