The killings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando are deeply painful at many levels and bring up deep emotions: sorrow for the lives lost; anger at the perpetrator; empathy with our GLBTQ sisters and brothers; despair at the realization that we live in a culture of prejudice and violence and a society drowning in firearms.
And frustration: Just two weeks ago the Ridgewood Village Council voted to join communities across the nation in marking June 2nd as Gun Violence Awareness Day. Surely the 91 firearms deaths that occur each day (on average) continued in spite of this effort. But I sensed in Ridgewood and elsewhere that week a wider and less ideologically fraught awareness of the dangers of living in an over-armed society and the need to change the culture. These may still exist. But these are overwhelmed by the sheer agony of 49 deaths in one place and the politically obtuse or manipulative responses of politicians.
There are vigils planned around New Jersey. You may learn about these at
The Ridgewood Interfaith Clergy will hold a vigil Saturday evening at 9:00 PM at Van Neste Park in the center of Ridgewood.
Finally, Ron Levy and I will incorporate into this Sunday’s service a time of remembrance for those who died in the attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando last Sunday.
To quote the funeral service:
“Our voices may be the voices of grief. But the language after which grief gropes is the language of love.”
Yours in faith,
The Rev. Dr. Anthony P. Johnson