Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando, Fla., police headquarters during the investigation of the deadly shooting at the Pulse nightclub, June 12, 2016. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Steve Nesius

#PrayforOrlando lifts thoughts, prayers for shooting victims

(RNS) Minutes after a gunman opened fire on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., early Sunday (June 12) in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, social media platforms were swamped with prayers for the victims:

Police identified the gunman, slain at the site, as Omar Saddiqui Mateen, an American citizen living in Port St. Lucie, Fla. That prompted a round of posts commenting on the shooter's religion and nationality.

Islamic groups, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Florida chapter, were quick to condemn the attack, which occurred during the holy month of Ramadan:

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., one of only two Muslims who serve in Congress, also expressed sadness:

But while many asked for prayers, others used the #PrayforOrlando hashtag to express frustration, resistance and, in some cases, calls to action.


  1. http://www.patheos dot com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2016/06/12/heres-what-you-can-do-to-help-after-the-orlando-massacre-since-prayers-alone-wont-do-anything/

    Rather than just pray for Orlando (which does nothing) here are some things to do. (See linked article for hyperlinks to resources mentioned)

    1) Donate blood.

    OneBlood in Florida says they’re especially in need of O Negative, O Positive and AB Plasma donors.
    You can also donate through you local Red Cross.

    2) Contact your local representatives and urge them to take action on gun safety measures

    It’s been said already, but if the Sandy Hook shootings weren’t enough to make Republicans budge on gun safety measures, dozens of dead gay people probably won’t grow their hearts and minds either. Still, it’s more important than ever before to enact sensible gun safety measures.

    Even if they wouldn’t apply in this particular situation, they may prevent future acts of mass violence. We need better background checks, bans on sales to mentally ill individuals or criminals, bans on certain types of automatic weapons, a way to better track these weapons as they go from person to person, etc. There’s no limit to what we could do, but a tremendous lack of courage by elected officials to do anything.

    3) Do anything you can to promote LGBT equality.

    If the reports are correct that the shooter acted after seeing two gay men kissing each other, it’s a reminder of how much bigotry still exists against LGBT people. Seeing a straight couple kiss in the U.S. would likely never lead to a massacre.

    It’s hard to imagine anyone who would condone the shooter’s actions, even conservative Christian bigots, but it’s easy to imagine that the same crowd will continue to treat LGBT people as second-class citizens, working to deny them the same rights and privileges as everyone else.

    Don’t let them get away with it. It’s that kind of bigotry, that sort of mindset, that leads to acts of violence against those individuals.

    4) Make a donation to help victims and their families.

    Equality Florida has set up a GoFundMe page to collect money that will presumably go toward helping victims pay hospital bills and things of that nature.

  2. To those who believe their faith requires them to heap suffering onto other people’s lives:

    I hope I’m not stepping out of bounds by pointing out the questionable morality of treating some people worse than others (e.g., by disparaging their stated or putative personal beliefs, speaking out against their supposed private lives, or denying them rightful public services), based entirely upon your human, imperfect, incomplete knowledge of — and unverifiable conclusions about — those people, their circumstances, their beliefs and values, their unknown and unknowable private lives, even what your God may or may not be doing with them — or with you, for that matter (e.g., testing your humility, compassion, mercy, recognition of your own inability to competently judge strangers, and realization of the folly and harm in treating others according to what you simply presume to “know” about them). These are critical concerns, how you treat strangers; and, as I recall from my good Christian upbringing, you will ultimately have to justify how you treated “the least of these” to your God.

    Speaking only for myself, given the importance of these issues, it seems far more desirable and defensible to err on the side of humility, compassion, and mercy than to risk erring on the side of hubris, contempt, and malice.

  3. Satan lands another crushing blow…

    In fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do these things because they have not known the Father or Me. But I have told you these things so that when their hour comes, you will remember that I told you about them………..Jesus

  4. You are NOT stepping out of bounds by pointing out the questionable morality of treating some people worse than others…

  5. I believe the single most productive thing we could do in the wake of Orlando is to ban all Muslim so-called refugees from entering the U.S. . . . unless they are gay. Some may say that Muslims might claim to be gay to enter the U.S., but given the prevailing Islamic view of gays, I doubt it.

  6. I normally agree with you on a lot of subjects. But this isn’t going to be one of them. ISIS is deliberately trying to make it difficult for people to flee and find sanctuary so they have more civilians under their thumb. They are trying to encourage refugees to be demonized. Plus these are the people fleeing ISIS.

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