I have been raised in a faith community that emphasizes expressions of compassion. I am proud of this heritage. I have been formed by an understanding of Christian discipleship that prioritizes striving for peace and justice. I am deeply thankful for this modelling.
So when I learned of the horrendous massacre of gay patrons at an Orlando night club, I did what I thought was only natural. I expressed mourning. I named the pain I felt for the family and friends of victims thrust into brutal grieving
I thought such discriminatory violence must be mourned. I thought that lament must be confessed. I expected many others to be quick with expressions of solidarity.
But I found an uneasiness growing within me. I felt an urge to calculate my expressions of sorrow. As though expressing support for the suffering LGBTQ community might be suspect. To feel pain for those in sorrow should be an expected reaction - especially for the People of God. But I felt it necessary to waver. I found unholy questions invade my mind: How might this be misunderstood?
I do not want the debate of morality to stifle responses of compassion. I do not want ongoing theological discernment to create a fear in expressing sorrow.
It is natural to weep with those who weep. It is normal to mourn with those who mourn. It should be a basic human tendency to moan and wail against injustice - especially for the People of God.
When faced with deep, intense sorrow for fellow humans there is no place for fear of being politically incorrect. It is not God who asks us to waver or reconsider.
I am shamed by my own misunderstanding of righteousness. I am humbled by my misdirected yearning "to keep the peace." I confess the desire to temper responses of compassion in favour of my desire to keep the peace. It is a sad commentary on ungodly influences on our expression of faith.
Compassion is a basic human response to suffering. To ask people to deny this basic impulse of humanity because of a need to be politically neutral is to ask people to deny the very image of God.