Churches Send Mixed Message About Love and Peace

Last weekend, like so many other people in so many cities and towns across the country, I attended a vigil to remember the murdered victims of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and to add my voice to the other voices raised against hate and bigotry. The program was filled with more than twenty speakers: leaders from different faiths from all over our region stood to offer support and share their thoughts on the tragic event: leaders of the Muslim faith, Jewish faith, and Catholics, and Christians of many different denominations. They shared stories. They read from scripture. They asked us to pray for the victims and their families. And they asked us to pray for healing and for peace.

And as I sat and listened to them speak, I honestly found no solace in their words. I heard no hope. Reverend Steve from the Episcopal Church told us that he (of course) prays every day. In the last few years, he said, he has added “Please let there be no mass shooting today” to his daily litany of prayer. “Most days, God answers my prayers” he said. “But not every day.”

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