A Burning Bush Moment

Blog by Sr. Judy Morris, OP
Blog by Sr. Judy Morris, OP

Since the massacre in Orlando, tributes, memorial events, banners and rainbow flags have captured the attention of millions.  The Empire State Building, Eiffel Tower, bridges and buildings around the world have honored victims with multi-colored lights.  I do not want to minimize the heartfelt desire to show sympathy and support, but hope that our attention will also be captured by the need to address bigotry wherever it happens.

The Southern Poverty Law Center noted that there are 892 hate groups in the United States in 2016, and many are anti LGBT groups.  This is a 14 percent increase since 2014.  The Westboro Baptist Church serves as one example of hatred in action, travelling to military funerals, celebrity funerals and other public events, claiming that these deaths are the wrath of God because of the existence of gays in the United States.  Their history of hatred includes anti- Muslim, anti-Catholic and anti-Jewish statements.  They could be considered equal opportunity haters.

A recent New York Times editorial stated:  “The killer was driven by hatred toward gays and lesbians.  Hate crimes don’t happen in a vacuum.  They occur where bigotry is allowed to fester, where minorities are vilified and where people are scapegoated for political gain.”

Pulse was a “safe place” for the LGBT community.  There they could relax, dance, share stories and not worry about being spat on, ridiculed or threatened.  This was true until June 12th.  It is important to remember these are victims of a society where hate has deep roots.

Does a safe place for gays and lesbians exist in the United States?  In churches, workplaces, on college campuses?  I believe leadership begins with us as individuals, as a community, as church.  Often we hear the mantra regarding a potential terrorist threat – “If you see something, say something.”  We need to say something when homophobia rears its ugly head.  If we wait for institutional leaders to speak up, it will be a long wait.

A few days ago church leadership was at its best when five Baptist ministers and a Muslim lay leader brought flowers to three gay bars in Louisville.  They hugged, cried and shared grief.  The church was truly present in an hour of greatest need.  Someone noted, there was a burning bush.  God was present and we needed to take off our sandals.

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

5 responses to “A Burning Bush Moment

  1. Thank you, Judy, for sharing this beautiful action of compassion and love. Jesus prayed before he died, “That all may be ONE as you and I Father are ONE”. This was truly a Oneness event.
    Peace, Joy and Love,
    Jolene

  2. Thank you, Judy for a beautiful, moving, and thought-provoking (and I hope ACTION provoking) reflection!

    Peace!
    Pat

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