In the wake of the November 19th, 2022, mass shooting at a queer nightclub in Colorado Springs, Welcoming Cumberland Presbyterians urges church leaders across the U.S. and around the world to pray over the tragic loss of five lives and for healing for the 18 injured victims, and for their families and loved ones.

Survivors of the Club Q shooting have pointed to the ongoing use of anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric by political leaders as a contributing factor to the violence and loss of life they experienced. It is essential that leaders in both the church and society use language and actions that promote love and understanding, rather than hate and fear.

The General Assemblies of Cumberland Presbyterian Churches have explicitly condemned hate, violence, and denigration perpetrated against any person, as well as any form of oppression based on gender or sexual expression. We call on church leaders to unconditionally denounce all forms of violence against members of the LGBTQ+ community. We believe such a message can discourage future perpetrators, and also expresses pastoral support to LGBTQ+ people in our communities.

We urge church leaders to participate in demonstrations and vigils in support of LGBTQ+ people, and for all Christians to join efforts to end discrimination against them by supporting equality initiatives and laws.

Befriending LGBTQ+ people and learning about the issues they face while eschewing stereotypes and misinformation will help end hateful attitudes and violence against them. By raising our voices now, we can provide hope in this time of tragedy and ensuring compassion and respect for LGBTQ+ people are an essential part of the church’s pastoral mission.

“In her corporate life and through her individual members, the church is an advocate for all victims of violence and all those whom the law or society treats as less than persons for whom Christ died. Such advocacy involves not only opposition to all unjust laws and forms of injustice but even more support for those attitudes and actions which embody the way of Christ, which is to overcome evil with good. God gives the message and ministry of reconciliation to the church. The church, corporately and through her individual members, seeks to promote reconciliation, love, and justice among all persons, classes, races, and nations.” (6.31-32, Confession of Faith for Cumberland Presbyterians)

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