#PrayforOrlando Is Not Enough

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I woke up this morning and cried. I do not know exactly why, though; I cannot fully articulate it right now. But I feel sorrow. I feel loss. I feel anger.

I think of my friends, my family, and all of those that would rather make this about Obama "coming after their guns." I think about those that will use this tragedy as further means to incriminate the Muslim community. I detest the conspiracy theorists who try to deny or question for the sake of their agendas. What is most disheartening is to realize that all of this is being done instead of weeping with those that feel the searing loss of 49 dead, 53 injured. (of the injured, their bodies may recover, but will they ever be whole again?)

Today, the world seems dark, cold, hopeless.

Because the thought that some would use 49 deaths as a means to perpetuate more hate, more violence, more guns, more division, sickens me. It shakes me beyond my piety. It crushes my soul and my spirit. That a presidential candidate would use a massacre to say "told you so." That religious leaders would be silent or claim that the shooting was an act of God. That news agencies and politicians would gloss over the real reason for the violence. All of it sickens me, bringing to mind Nietzsche's declaration that "God is dead."

When I see the billboard, #PrayForOrlando, I cringe. When people speak in recycled political jargon, offering "prayers and thoughts" with the slain, but do not acknowledge that they were killed at a gay bar because they were queer, it affirms the shooter and condemns the victims. It is further action to marginalize and silence the voices of the LGBTQIA community. Do not disgrace these beautiful people by refusing to acknowledge them, even in death.

You do not get to #PrayForOrlando if you cannot accept and affirm these people or acknowledge the real reason they were killed. You do not get to #PrayForOrlando if you are against the LGBTQIA community in words and action (because this was a hate crime against that community!). When you say "love the sinner; hate the sin," this is what it looks like. The world does not need you to pray more; we need you to prayerfully act. So I will not let you silence their voices with your "prayers." I will not let you forget why they were killed or who they were. Do something or stop praying.

To the victims at Pulse will have to relive the horror, I acknowledge you. For the horrible final moments that you had to experience -- the sounds, the screams, the smell, the site of over 100 bodies on the ground -- I acknowledge you. I will tell your stories. I will remember you, your whole self, in my words and actions. I will not let politics or media dictate which parts of you they can pick and choose for their own benefit.

Today, I realized that, not only do I cry for the victims, but I also cry for the ones that try to silence and hide who they were. Because prayer has failed us. Religion has failed us. It is ironic that we look to blame radical jihadists or others for harming our way of life when it is our own doing.

America, we have created this hateful, shameful society and now we have to live with and in it. Before you bow your head in prayer, today, remember that your prayers mean nothing if they are not followed by action.