Chiang Mai Vigil


(Photo from Steve Yarnold at Chiang Mai City Life.)


Around a hundred and fifty people attend the moving vigil held last night to remember those killed and injured in the shooting in Orlando.

Some people have asked if I would post my remarks online, so they are pasted below.

We stand as both victims and perpetrators in this world of pain.

Those of us of the monotheistic faiths, whether Christian, Muslim, or Jewish, must stand in repentance and remorse for the times we have condemned those who are different, for the times we, or our leaders, have perpetuated homophobia, and have not equally valued all God’s children, gay lesbian, bi,  transgender, or straight.

For words lead to actions, and the actions of one man on an ordinary Saturday night/Sunday morning, led to the death of 49 and the devastation of the lives of so many more.

When I sent out the announcement of this vigil on Facebook, one man responded that “First and foremost, they were innocent Americans that were gunned down, I do not care their sexual preference and personally feel you could have left that off.”

My response was that “Unfortunately, the man who killed them did care about their sexual preference. That is why he killed them! That is why we should not have left that off.”

They were target for their sexuality, just as Jews, or Christians, or Muslims, have at other times been targeted for their religion or race, and we must not forget that.

But we stand here united together to say that there is a better way.  That united against evil, and prejudice, and anger, we together can say “no”!  Whoever we are, we can say “not in my name!”

We do believe that love can and does overcome, that hatred will not have the final word, that we together stand stronger than those who would do us harm.

I concluded my words with a prayer written by Rachel Mann, a priest of the Church of England:

A Prayer for Orlando

Passionate God, Fierce Indwelling Love,

whose hunger for peace and justice

extends through the heights and depths of Creation.

We cry out for peace and respect in a violent world,

we commit ourselves to unconditional love.

We stand in furious solidarity with queer people

in Orlando and around the world,

and ask, ‘How Long, O Lord?’

O Fierce Indwelling Love,

may your passion for justice, mercy and love

make us unafraid of the other within,

and joyous in our celebration of your Rainbow People.

Through the One whose Love

Knows no limit, whose mercy is unbound, Jesus Christ. Amen.


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