How should Christians respond to the shooting in Orlando?

Early Sunday morning, June 12, a gunman wielded an assault-type rifle and a handgun, took hostages and opened fire inside a crowded gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, reportedly shouting ““Allahu Akbar!” ” during the shooting! This apparent jihad-inspired rampage ended with 49 killed (revised downward from 50, to exclude the murderer Omar Mateen) and over 50 injured. This gay-club massacre is said to be the worst, mass-murder shooting in U.S. history.

How will the Christian community respond to this horrendous act of hatred, in Orlando—home of “the happiest place on earth”? Several leading members of the National Religious Broadcasters have offered these meaningful thoughts to this tragedy:

“My prayers are with the many victims and family members who lost loved ones in the senseless shooting—now being called an act of terrorism—at a gay nightclub in Orlando early this morning. Life is precious, and we only have one chance to live our lives here on this earth.”
–Franklin Graham, President of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

“At least fifty people—created in the image of God—were slaughtered in cold blood. Families who were waiting to see their loved ones are finding out today that they will never see them again in this life. That ought to drive us to mourn.”
–Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention

“Today, we mourn the deaths of innocent Americans who were murdered by an Islamic terrorist in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. The attack appears to be well planned and specifically targeted against the gay community.  There is no justification for this terrible act of violence.  All people, regardless of sexual orientation, have the absolute right to be secure and live safely in the United States of America. We at CBN strongly condemn this act of violence and offer our condolences to the loved ones of all those killed or injured. We also commend the Orlando Police and the FBI for their swift response, ending this nightmare and saving the lives of those they could.”
–Gordon Robertson, CEO of the Christian Broadcasting Network

As Christian believers, may we all humble ourselves, knowing that every person killed or wounded was an image-bearer of God, worthy of dignity and respect. In this very divided and politicized season in our country, let’s soften our speech, temper our tone and extend good will and grace to all.

_______

* See my complete article on this subject, “Murder in the Name of Allah,” at the secular news site: Constitution.com. Add your own thoughts and comments to each post!

 

About Along The Way with Gary Curtis

Gary Curtis served for 27 years, as part of the pastoral staff of The Church on The Way, the First Foursquare Church of Van Nuys, California. In October 2015, Gary retired from leadership of the church’s not-for-profit media outreach, Life On The Way Communications, Inc. He continues to blog at worshipontheway.wordpress.com. Gary and his wife, Alisa, live in southern California. They have two married daughters and five grandchildren.
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