Stop the Funeral

Once again our nation and world have been rocked by news of another mass shooting. We are reeling from the horrors of another massacre that has been billed as the worst mass shooting in the history of the United States (although we know that hundreds of African-Americans were massacred in places like Tulsa and Rosewood in the early 20th century).

Nevertheless, we mourn the loss of 49 members of the LGBT community who were senselessly gunned down at a club in Orlando, FL. The city that boasts to be home to “the happiest place on earth” became a nightmare for the 49 families who lost a loved one. Regardless of our differing spiritual beliefs or political persuasions we should all be united in our despair and disdain for such despicable acts of hatred.

The Apostle Paul challenges us to weep with those who weep. Today, we weep with those families and friends who have lost a loved one. We weep with the LGBT community who even in 2016 must still live in fear. We weep with the first responders who had to witness the carnage at that club. We weep with the doctors and nurses whose emergency rooms were overflowing with the wounded. We weep with the city of Orlando who now has to try to pick up the pieces and regain its happiness.

However, our response must go a step beyond weeping alone. Our weeping must lead to watching. Jesus said that we must “watch and pray.” Far too many of these mass shootings have taken place on our watch. We must continue to advocate for sensible laws that make it next to impossible for terrorists and criminals to get their hands on these weapons of mass destruction wreaking havoc on our communities. It doesn’t matter what side of the political aisle you lean toward, no one should sit idly by and allow these tragedies to continue to happen – not on our watch!

This is one of the reasons why I started the Stop the Funeral Movement. For over a decade we have joined together and organized to end gun violence. This weekend we are celebrating “Stop the Funeral Weekend” at Cathedral International to continue to shed light on this issue and push for change. In short, we gather to watch and pray, to pray and protest. Let’s put an end to this violence. Join us in Perth Amboy, New Jersey this Father’s Day weekend and help us to Stop the Funeral!

—Donald Hilliard, Jr., D. Min