Since the Orlando massacre at club Pulse, I have truly had my fill of "good Christians" and others who stand by and allow bad things to happen in part because of their silence and refusal to take a moral stand. Be it homophobia, anti-black racism or other forms of bigotry, if one does not subscribe to such misogyny, you have a duty to speak out and oppose these foul forces in society. Silence becomes complicity. In a piece in the National Catholic Reporter, Sr. Jeannine Gramick, a member of the Loretto Sisters, a Catholic order of nuns that has ministered to LGBT individuals - often much to the extreme displeasure and censure of of the Vatican - sums up this violence of silence. Here are some of the most powerful excerpts:
One kind of violence not often recognized is the violence of silence. After the Orlando massacre, some in our church were guilty of this kind of violence. Headlines the world over noted that the shooting took place in a gay club, but statements released by the Vatican press office, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Orlando's bishop conspicuously passed over references that the people targeted were lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Some bishops issued no statement at all.
Silence is violence when, as in this instance, it denies the existence of a whole category of people, people who have been targeted with physical violence because of who they are. If I don't acknowledge your existence, I do not need to recognize your rights; I do not see that you need added protections. Furthermore, I am unable to know you or to relate to you in a meaningful way.
"Silence=Death," the slogan of AIDS activists in the 1980s, not only questioned President Ronald Reagan's silence about the disease, it also boldly declared that, as a matter of survival, silence about the repression of LGBT people must end. The violence of silence kills.
Would more Catholics had the spine and backbone of Sr. Jeannine.