“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
The news of the shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando is simply devastating. We grieve the tragic loss of life and the devastation it brings to families and friends of the victims. Jeremiah’s painful words name the way this tragedy is felt in our very bodies and souls—a refusal to believe, to comprehend, even to seek comfort that cannot but feel shallow.
The community at Pacific School of Religion and the Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion express their deep grief to those most directly impacted, and grieve the fear that this act of violence will engender in our communities—particularly those marginalized and stereotyped by their gender identity and their faith tradition.
Our shared calling will be to resist—even in the midst of our grief—to allow the violence of this act to tear at the tensions within us. We commit ourselves to our continued work of justice that belies the dichotomy between our convictions of faith and our identity around gender, gender identity, race, and religious expression. We call on our community—students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and many partners within faith communities and communities of justice—to draw on our shared legacy and commitments to share in the leadership of this critical moment.
Capturing our communities’ sentiment, the Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion’s Latinx Roundtable stated: “Each person who was shot is a beloved child of God, deserving safety and dignity that was denied to them. This incident underlines the urgency of our task to bring understanding and peace to all people, to respect the lives of the LGBTQ community and all lives. We rededicate ourselves to that task today. And to those who in the name of religion will dare to blame the victims for their deaths, we say clearly, that is a heresy. Faith demands respect and care for all of God’s people, including those whose lives differ from your own. Please join us in praying for the victims of this horrific crime and for their families and loved ones. May God’s healing power and comforting presence be with those who are wounded in body, mind, and spirit today.”
Faculty reflections on the Pulse nightclub shooting:
Keep on Dancing, by Rev. Dr. Jay Johnson
Orlando’s Intersections: May our Differences Stretch Us to Revolutionary Love, by Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza