Responding to Orlando

Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, friends, family and community in Orlando after the shootings at the Pulse nightclub. LGBTQ folks continue to be the object of lethal hatred, prejudice and the twisted interpretation of religious tradition.

The Silicon Valley Interreligious Council (SiVIC) is a coalition of dozens of diverse faith groups, with a great diversity of cultures and practices. But we are united in our despair and outrage at the attack on an LGBTQ club.  While religious institutions have not been united in perspectives on sexuality, all of us are speaking loudly and from every corner against this horrific violence, and against any intolerance expressed on social media.

To counter this senseless hatred and violence, we seek to create a groundswell of solidarity and compassion, and hope you will add your voice here from additional faiths (you can use the comments section below).

Local Vigils | Statements Worldwide | Local Statements

Local Vigils Planned

There is no right time.
There is no right place.
But there is a call to gather.
There is a call to respond.

  • Grace Lutheran Church (3149 Waverley Street, Palo Alto, CA 94306) will have its sanctuary open Tuesday, June 14th, starting at 7PM for a time of prayer and lamentation. We pray for the LGBTQ+ community and lament the horrific shooting in Orlando. We pray for the Islamic community as they may face backlash. We pray for our AME Zion brothers and sisters in Christ as the first anniversary approaches of the Mother Emmanuel Charleston shooting. We pray for the Stanford community. We pray for the end of hate. We Stand with Orlando
  • In response to the tragic loss of lives that occurred in Orlando, FL this past weekend, the Center for Spiritual Living, 1195 Clark Street, San José will be hosting two opportunities to come together in love, prayer, peace and compassion:
    • Tuesday, June 14 – 6:00-6:45 pm – Silent Vigil
      Please join Senior Minister Dr. David Bruner for a time of silent reflection.
    • Wednesday, June 15th – 6:30-7:30 pm – Peace Prayer Vigil
      Please join Associate Minister Susan Overland for a Peace Prayer Vigil. Music provided by Michelle Jordan.
  • Tri-City Interfaith Council & Tri-City Alameda County Chapter, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence:
    Remember the Victims of Hate, Terrorism, & Gun Violence
    WHEN: Tuesday, June 14th at 7:00 pm.
    WHERE: Walnut Avenue and Paseo Padre Parkway, Fremont
    We will stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ community and vow to honor those lives taken. We also will remember the tragic event in UCLA and the two Fremont police officers who were shot in the line of duty. We will gather by the Veteran’s Memorial Park for brief interfaith prayers and remarks. We will then move to the four corners of the intersection to show our solidarity and to be a presence to the community that we will not stand for these hateful actions and this continued violence in our nation.If you wish to bring signs of support, please keep in mind that this is a peaceful event to mourn the victims of hate, terrorism, and gun violence. (Examples:  #WeAreOrlando   #Enough!    Love > Hate!     Violence is Never the Answer     90 Victims a Day, etc. )

Statements from Religious Leaders and Organizations Worldwide

“The terrible massacre that has taken place in Orlando, with its dreadfully high number of innocent victims, has caused in Pope Francis, and in all of us, the deepest feelings of horror and condemnation, of pain and turmoil before this new manifestation of homicidal folly and senseless hatred,” the Holy See Press Office said in a statement.

“No lesson is more fundamental than that which teaches that the spark of the Divine is present in every individual – gay and straight, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim.  In the face of tragedy, let us come together in a spirit of love and compassion for all and work together to create a nation that rejects violence and instead celebrates the holiness of every human being.” Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

“So let us (say) some silent prayer, OK,” the Dalai Lama said, “Although, one Buddhist monk grows quite skeptical about the effects of prayer.” Real change required serious action, he said, adding that it was important not to lose “determination or courage.”

“Today, we stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community. Your grief is our grief. Your outrage is our outrage. We are all one family,” executive director Farhana Khera said in a statement from Muslim Advocates.

“We at HAF (Hindu American Foundation) pray for the families of those lost in this senseless act of terror, along with those who are only just beginning to recover from physical and emotional wounds,” said Nikhil Joshi, Esq., HAF National Leadership Council member based in Sarasota, FL.

“We want to help any which way we can,” said Harjit Singh, a priest at Gurdwara Nanaksar Florida, which caters to the community in Orlando and the adjoining city of Kissimmee. The Sikhs have offered to raise money for food and donate blood for the injured, Singh said. And plans are afoot for a candle-light procession to demonstrate “our support to the community.”

“Such attacks wound our shared humanity and confront us with a stark choice: to mimic the hatred we see or to make a bold commitment to overcome it…the interconnected nature of our world means simply this: we must all become peace-makers now.  For, if we respond to every act of violence with a thirst for yet more violence in revenge, we will undoubtedly succeed in little more than inflicting unspeakable suffering on one another.  There must be a dedication to seeking and building a future in which the chains of suffering and violence are broken.” (Religions for Peace, USA; See additional statements at their website.)

Local Statements:

Council on American Islamic Relations, SF Bay Area
“We join our fellow Americans in expressing our deepest condolences to the victims and their families. We are horrified by this tragedy and encourage all people to donate blood, support the various victims’ funds, and attend vigils in their neighborhoods. We are stronger when we stand together against hate violence” said Executive Director Zahra Billoo.

Pacifica Institute
Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of Orlando terror and hate attack. We condemn all forms of religious and other forms of extremism that teach hatred and incite violence. However, we need to do more than merely condemning these horrific acts and proactively take steps to counter the “cancer” of extremism.

First, our society as a whole needs to deny the extremist narrative that their actions represent Muslims. It goes without saying that Muslim Americans should promote the peaceful message of Islam.

Our deeds matter more than our words.  We should build institutions and programs to cater to the needs of our youth and provide them opportunities to develop social skills to be productive members of our multicultural society. It is imperative to invest in our youth so that they are driven more by hopes and dreams, not hatred and fear of the others.

MCA Bay Area
We at the Muslim Community Association of San Francisco Bay Area express our horror over the mass shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, FL overnight. We offer our deepest and heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and pray for quick recovery for those who were injured.

We stand firmly against all forms of violence committed against any group, regardless of religious affiliation, creed, color, or sexual orientation. We condemn such heinous acts by individuals or groups who have no regard for the sanctity of human life.

The right to live free from violence, harassment or intimidation is the most basic human right and must be defended unconditionally.

One Reply to “Responding to Orlando”

  1. Berget Jelane

    Hatred never ceases through hatred, but through non-hatred alone. This is an eternal truth.
    The Buddha


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