Dear Eliot Members and Friends,
Like many of you, I have been upset and angry about the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. This act of mass murder directed against members of the LGBTQIA community once again reveals a darker side to our national culture. Once again, we are forced to recognize the ever-present forces of homophobia and discrimination. We are forced to acknowledge the high comfort level our society has with violence. We must also once again question the ease with which a private individual can acquire weapons of war.
These are hard issues to deal with. It is enough to make us fear each other. Certainly—since the perpetrator this particular time was Muslim—it is enough to make us lift up that word “terrorism” once again. However, we need to be better than that. There are extremists in all faiths and of no faith in particular. Our tradition teaches us to be open to difference and to engage with the world in ways that promote understanding and acceptance of difference.
I believe that even in the aftermath of an event as horrendous as the one we saw last Sunday, we must find ways to think and act from a place of love. On that same Sunday, during her faith statement, one of our confirmands quoted those lines from the Universalist Hosea Ballou, “If we agree in love, no disagreement can do us any injury.” This seems to be a good place to start.
In this spirit, the members of the Natick Interfaith Clergy Association are hosting a vigil this Sunday at 7pm, and you are all invited! We will be gathering a Natick Common. We wish to gather to offer our support to the LGBTQIA community as well as to our Muslim friends and neighbors. The Clergy Association is also taking a position in favor of banning assault-type weapons both locally and nationally. If you are interested in attending all or some of the vigil we—and I—would love to see you. It is good for progressive people of all religions to be together and to speak from our shared convictions.
Yours in Faith and Hope,