Personal Narrative: Orlando

One of my roommates in college was gay. He confided in me about his sexual preference, knowing I’d respect his confidence. Back then, gay people were openly ridiculed and rejected and attacked.

I wish I could say this was no longer true, but obviously I can’t. We’ve come a long way, but what happened in Orlando and the reaction to it provide harsh reminders of how people hate those who are different from them in some way.

Still so much hatred.

I’m the associate minister at an open and affirming UCC church. We accept everyone just as they are. I’ve heard many stories about how members of my church family have been treated horrifically by their families, by their former “Christian” churches, and by co-workers because of their sexual orientation.
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No matter where we are in the spectrum of things, none of us can take ourselves completely off the hook for what happened in Orlando. We all contribute our part. None of these horrible things happens in a …show more content…
Or we encourage it with a shrug and indifference. Or we speak out for love and justice, which can pull hatred up by the roots for a while. And we keep at it, responding to hatred with love over and over.

This is on each of us. Are we going to encourage it, hide from it, or push back against it?

And those who like to think they’re totally different from the person who pulled the trigger in Orlando need to remember that our attitudes matter just as much as our actions. Jesus said as much all the time. We’ve seen it play out so many times.

One year ago this week, a young white man walked into an historically black church in Charleston, S.C., participated in a Bible study, and killed nine of the African-American church members. The white man had gotten swept up in the deep current of racial hatred in our country, a current created by the words and attitudes of others.

What we say and how we treat others affects everyone and everything around us. That’s one of the basic tenets of religion – love one another, treat others the way you want to be treated. Do it because how you live has such a big impact on everyone else.

What we say and how we say it create the atmosphere in which we live. Just as each exhaled breath puts something into the air, so does each

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