I am shocked and saddened today by the violent attack yesterday at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. Knoxville is my home town; and growing up I knew well peers and families who worshipped in that congregation.
One point we need to note: according to reports today, the shooter left a letter in his vehicle before beginning his assault. In it, he expressed his rage at "the liberal movement." In an interview, the Knoxville Police Chief was asked whether the letter spoke of "the liberal movement" in general, or also specifically of GLBT persons and civil rights. His answer: "Both."
In these United States, the Unitarian Universalist Association is well associated with civil rights for all persons, including GLBT persons. So now is the Episcopal Church, if somewhat later and more slowly. It didn't happen in one of our churches; but it certainly could have.
Perhaps this is something that our Episcopal bishops can relate to other Anglican bishops in Lambeth: that while it is less unsafe to support civil rights for GLBT persons, it is not safe (much less to actually be a GLBT person; but that's something that they teach us, not something they need to learn). While some parts of the United States are more tolerant (often, I fear, in a 1960's sort of "some of my best friends are..." manner), many parts of the United States are not. Our belief that our GLBT siblings are as fully in Christ, and as fully redeemed as the rest of us, is quite countercultural in much of these United States (if not as markedly so as in their cultures).
Perhaps this is something that our Episcopal bishops can relate to other Anglican bishops in Lambeth - if any will listen....