Guest Post by Captain Emma Scott
“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Deitrich Bonhoeffer
A week on from the Orlando shooting, in a bar where people who identify as being part of the LGBTQI community, having tweeted, retweeted, facebooked and commented on Facebook I find myself unable to not say more.
Last week Nick Coke posted about social justice, what it is and why we should be involved in it. Having read this article before I think I had not previously registered the quote he makes “We don’t do social justice – we live justly.” And yet I find myself asking whether this really is the case? Do I live my life as if justice is the only way to go? From an early age I have been fascinated by justice and equality and as an adult this has only deepened. My heart physically hurt last week as I heard about the shootings in Orlando and yet as I began reading social media it only set about causing more pain because my friends, people I love, felt unheard, they felt unrepresented in the reporting and they felt alone. What pained me even more was that my friends who are part of my faith and church felt this way too. BBC Newsbeat posted an article by Amelia Butterfly who wrote that Dr Paul Colton the “Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross…says when many religious people do not “include LGBT people” in daily life, “prayers are shallow”.
As a heterosexual female I can’t begin to understand the exclusion that many of my friends feel in the world around us, from employers, the church and general society. I can’t imagine not being able to walk down the road with the person I love and not hold their hand or have a quick kiss for fear of what a stranger might say or do. The Salvation Army has people who would identify as being part of the LGBTQI community and part of our church family, some of the most faithful Christians I know, love someone of the same gender as them and they are all passionate about God, justice and love.
A close friend of mine who no longer attends the Salvation Army but is still a fervent supporter of ours reminded me of the importance of not staying silent at a time like this because our silence speaks volumes. The omission of the term LGBT in much of the reporting of Orlando hurt, “It hurts because it’s not so different from the violence we experience every day.” John Peart I can’t remain silent while my friends and colleagues hurt, I can’t remain silent when so many experience injustice in their daily lives and I can’t remain silent while this all happens within a faith community where love is preached at every possible opportunity.
I have cried tears this week for those affected by the shootings but often when I’ve come to pray all I can manage is ‘God I’m sorry, I’m sorry that so many of your children face injustice daily and have to hide who they are for fear of retribution.’
“We don’t do justice – we live justly”. My prayer is that for those of us with friends and family who identify as LGBTQI that we will not stay silent but we will face the injustice with them and that our prayers won’t be shallow because our lives embrace people within this community.
Captain Emma Scott is a wife, a mum and a Salvation Army Officer in Mitcham with her husband Mark. She loves sharing life with others.