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Sunday morning’s massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Forty-nine people died. Forty-nine precious children of God, gunned down in the prime of their lives. Forty-nine families changed forever by the actions of one ignorant coward with a gun.

The murderer in this senseless tragedy may have acted alone, but the beliefs and biases that shaped and motivated him are sadly not unique. They are pervasive toxins poisoning the people of our communities and claiming the lives of our children.

Too many of our friends and neighbors have swallowed the same nasty lie – that our LGBTQ sisters and brothers are somehow less beloved by God, that their lives are less valuable, their relationships less moral, their love less precious in God’s sight. Misguided Christian teachings have contributed as much to the development of this dangerous ideology as any other religion or cultural influence. Therefore, it is the sacred duty of every progressive Christian to actively confront and refute these lies.

We can no longer pretend that hate and prejudice are just alternative lifestyle choices that harm no one. Or that racism, sexism and homophobia are just naturally occurring variations of the norm. People aren’t born that way. The great sin to be confessed and atoned for in the United States today is not the sexual orientation of some of God’s beloved children. It is the failure of their neighbors to embrace and affirm them. It is the failure of the church to love as Jesus loved.

Rev. Meg Watson, Miami Shores United Church of Christ

A Progressive Church in Miami
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