Rev. David Livingston

We continue to mourn the horrendous shooting last Sunday in Orlando. Reflecting on that day, I’m aware that the words we choose matter. It was a terrorist act, both because it was done by a person who claimed a link to a terrorist organization and because the intent was to terrify others. It was also a hate crime, defined as an attack against a group because of who that group is or what they represent. Which words do we use when we talk or think about it?

If we focus on the terror aspect we’re likely to think more about the unfortunate reality that there is a branch of Islam called Islamism that we are right to be concerned about. But focusing on that minimizes the hate directed towards the LGBT people who were targeted. If we focus on the hate crime then we may risk losing the memory that this is part of something bigger, a global concern. I hope that we can find ways to talk and remember this as both. It was a terroristic hate crime, targeted at a group of people who still have much to fear from our society that delegitimizes them through laws, religion, and common slang. We can do better than that. As members and participants of St. Paul’s we will do better than that.

~ Pastor David