ORLANDO, Fla.--- Seventh-day Adventists are joining millions across America professing massive love and support for the LGBTQ community after the horrible loss of human life in the mass shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub.
More than at any other time in Adventist history, members from every walk of life are standing in support of a community with which they have frequently been at odds.
Adventist leaders quickly condemned the shooting and reminded members of the importance of loving even those who "don't believe, live or love like us."
Regular members interviewed by Adventist media for a special report on the tragedy shared their views:
"I'm not saying that I'm suddenly going to start listening to Elton John or go join Kinship, but what happened to those homos--- er, sexuals, was horrible, just horrible," said lifelong Adventist Stu Straightson from Des Moines, Iowa.
Ny Eve, a retired Adventist grade school teacher from Nashville, Tennessee, said that although she had so far succeeded in having no gay friends, she would now take it upon herself to "compliment the next person I see waving a rainbow flag and tell them it's really pretty. Maybe I can share the story of the first rainbow while I'm at it."
Asked for her take on her faith community's reaction to the Orlando tragedy, Miami, Florida-based Adventist college student Miel Enielle sighed. "Better late than never, I guess.
"But it's a tragedy that it took a tragedy for Adventists to love gays."