Letter to the Leadership of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in the Wake of the Attack on Club Q
November 21, 2022
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, President
Archbishop William E. Lori, Vice-President
Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, Secretary
Archbishop James F. Checchio, Treasurer
Rev. Michael J. K. Fuller, General Secretary
Dear Members of the Leadership of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops,
In light of this weekend’s attack at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, that killed five children of God, injured at least eighteen, and left countless people across the country traumatized, we are calling on you to speak out strongly against this attack, to explicitly condemn violence against LGBTQ+ people, and to take other steps to help end the horrific violence being inflicted on the LGBTQ+ community and other marginalized communities in our country.
According to court filings, this particular incident has now been officially characterized as a hate crime. Rhetoric, threats, and violence against the LGBTQ+ community have increased dramatically in recent years. The shooting at Club Q has reawakened fears experienced by the LGBTQ+ community, our family members, and friends that followed the Pulse nightclub massacre of 2016, one of the largest mass murders in our nation’s history. Our community was already feeling besieged by a flurry of incidents, including the planned attack on an Idaho Pride event, and numerous rallies against Drag Story Hours and other peaceful events. We call on you, our bishops, to add your voice to those standing against hate and violence.
We further ask that USCCB call for an immediate cessation of the promulgation of diocesan policies that discriminate against LGBTQ+ people by excluding us from schools, service in liturgical or other roles in our faith communities, accessing our church’s sacraments, or being accorded the respect of being referred to by the names and pronouns that reflect our identities. These policies are harmful to individuals and are contributing to the climate in which LGBTQ+ people experience dehumanization and marginalization. Support of the USCCB and statewide bishops’ conferences for legislative and regulatory restrictions on our community, especially transgender people, must also end. It is blatantly discriminatory and is inconsistent with the beliefs of the majority of US Catholics, regardless of party affiliation. Tragically, some people believe the policies and political agenda of church officials justify violence against LGBTQ+ people. We strongly urge you to ensure that our church is not part of this growing problem.
Finally, we ask that you speak out more strongly against the discrimination, hate crimes, and violence plaguing many communities in our country, including People of Color, Jewish people, immigrants, and LGBTQ+ people. A number of Catholic religious communities have already done this. Some of their statements might provide models for the Conference.
Divisions and violence based on race, religion, or identity have deep and tragic consequences for individuals and our social fabric. We believe our church must stand in the forefront of efforts to create a climate where all are respected, safe, and have their human rights respected. Specific actions like those we have outlined are needed to achieve this goal.
We grieve the lives that were taken from their families and friends in this attack and pray for the quick and full recovery of all who are suffering. We ask that their lives and struggles spur USCCB to action that honors their memories and helps to prevent other such violence in the future.