Common Word, Common Lord

In the Name of God: The Extremely and Eternally Loving and Caring

I wanted to – and planned on – writing about the fast of Ramadan, and how it brings freedom to the soul. I wanted to write about the discipline the fast inspires, and the spiritual renewal that Ramadan brings each year we are blessed to observe it. I can’t do that, however. Not after the outrage and horror of Orlando.

At least 50 people were savagely murdered at a nightclub in Orlando. The gunman, who was shot and killed by police, has been identified as Omar Mateen, who was from Fort Pierce, Florida. Another 53 were injured, and I pray for their survival and full physical recovery from this tragedy. I do not know if they will ever fully get over what just happened emotionally.

It is not important that the site of the massacre, Pulse, was a “gay nightclub.” It is not important that the shooter apparently pledged allegiance to the savages of ISIS. Does it really matter? Does the sexual orientation of the victims make any difference? Does the ethnicity or religious background of the shooter make any difference? No, it does not. Hate is hate, evil is evil; no matter the criminal, no matter the victim. This shooting attack is an an attack on all of us, and I am sickened to my very core.

The coming days and weeks will be very difficult. They will be difficult for the families of those who lost their lives, who will struggle with the pain of the loss of those whom they loved. They will be difficult for the victims who are blessed to still be alive, who will be picking up the pieces of their shattered lives. They will be difficult for the great city of Orlando, which will be mourning the terrible tragedy of this horrific attack. They will be difficult for all Americans, and especially of those in the LGBT community, who will – rightfully so – take this attack in Orlando personally.

I stand with you in solidarity, in brotherhood, in peace, in friendship, and – most importantly – in love. As President Obama said in his remarks to the nation:

As we go together, we will draw inspiration from heroic and selfless acts—friends who helped friends, took care of each other and saved lives. In the face of hate and violence, we will love one another. We will not give in to fear or turn against each other. Instead, we will stand united, as Americans, to protect our people, and defend our nation, and to take action against those who threaten us.

The President also made this prayer:

May God bless the Americans we lost this morning. May He comfort their families. May God continue to watch over this country that we love.

Amen, Mr. President. Amen.


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