Our Interfaith Response to the Mass Shooting in Orlando

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Friends,

We are a people in mourning as the deep wounds of hate confront us again. Tragically, in the midst of a month designated for unity—throughout which the LGBTQ community comes together to celebrate the historic contributions of LGTBQ persons and the Muslim community comes together to celebrate the first revelation of the Quran and its call to hold all life sacred—violence has been used once again to try to tear us apart. We mourn those persons who lost their lives and pray for those who were wounded or lost loved ones in this act of terrorism.

And yet, our mourning does not lead us to despair, but to solidarity. Our response to this tragedy is not to see those things that separate us from one another, but to name our continued commitment to our unity in the midst of our diversity that we believe gives us our strength. Together as a community of many different religious traditions that supports our LGBTQ members, we find solace and comfort in our religious and Georgetown identities.

As a Catholic and Jesuit institution founded as a positive response to religious persecution, we affirm our continued commitment to be people for others. We stand together with our LGBTQ and Muslim communities. We unite ourselves behind the statement the National Muslim Student Association recently wrote in response to the Orlando shootings:

All human beings deserve the right to live their lives without fear of being targeted because of who they are. As Muslims, our experience with Islamophobia and hate crimes reinforces our commitment to utterly reject all forms of hate and prejudice. The LGBTQ community has stood in solidarity with the American Muslim community in challenging Islamophobia, on college campuses and beyond, and today we stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community. 

We must stand in solidarity with one another. In the midst of our sorrow, we are called again to make our world a gentler place. As Pope Francis reflected at the 9/11 memorial, “In this way, the lives of our dear ones will not be lives which will one day be forgotten. Instead, they will be present whenever we strive to be prophets not of tearing down but of building up, prophets of reconciliation, prophets of peace.”

We pray for comfort. We pray for hope. We pray for peace.

Rabbi Rachel Gartner
Director for Jewish Life

Imam Yahya Hendi
Director for Muslim Life

Rev. Bryant Oskvig
Director of the Protestant Chaplaincy

Rev. Greg Schenden, S.J.
Roman Catholic Chaplain

V. Rev. Constantine White
Director of the Orthodox Chaplaincy

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