Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I am writing to you from the Church Divinity School in Berkeley, California, where I have just started teaching a two-week intensive course in Anglican moral theology. But I write with a heavy heart, as I know we are all grieving the Orlando attack. Once again we confront our seeming inability to confront and address the scourge of gun violence in our land. We mourn with the families of the victims. We mourn with the LGBTQ community as it continues to bear the burden of intolerance and disapprobation.
Nor should we forget to pray for the American Muslim community, which has been deeply shocked by this crime and yet again faces the threat of increased violence against its institutions and places of worship. This morning in my class, one of my students told us about the conversation he had when he went across the street at 7 am to buy a cup of coffee. The clerk asked him why he was up so early. “I’m on my way to Morning Prayer,” was the student’s reply. The clerk said, “Then pray for me. I am a Muslim who has been in this country for thirty years. I feel pain in my stomach about what has happened. I believe in tolerance.”
We are all neighbors, even of those who hate us. Love is the only way through, as Jesus constantly reminds us. To love let us add clear thinking, sound policy, and effective neighboring. May we all take up our authority and our obligation as baptized persons to act as responsible moral agents in a frightened world.