Ulster reflects on US atrocity

DUP's Lord Mayor of Belfast Brian Kingston (front left) opens a Book of Condolences for those killed in the massacre in Orlando yesterday
DUP's Lord Mayor of Belfast Brian Kingston (front left) opens a Book of Condolences for those killed in the massacre in Orlando yesterday

A single candle has been lit at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast as a mark of respect to those murdered in the weekend mass shooting in Orlando.

Prayers for the 49 victims were said throughout the day yesterday, and specially written prayers have also been made available where visitors have been reflecting on the atrocity.

Rev Mark Niblock, the Dean’s vicar, said: “In view of the atrocities that continue to be perpetrated by terrorists in our world today, and particularly the Orlando attack [on Saturday night], a space for reflection and prayer is once again being established in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit in St Anne’s Cathedral.”

Rev Niblock added: “A single candle will burn all day and throughout the coming days, and visitors are invited to light their own candles around it to show solidarity with those who suffer at this time.

“Prayers have been prepared for the use of those who come to sit or kneel as we think of all victims of violence.”

In Belfast City Hall, a book of condolence was opened by Lord Mayor Alderman Brian Kingston.

Meanwhile, an MP has said those who “wince” when they see two men kissing are complicit in creating a climate of “poisonous intolerance”.

John Nicolson also criticised those who have ever “muttered loathing” after witnessing two women holding hands or use God as a justification for their prejudice.

The SNP’s culture spokesman warned against the continued teaching of homophobia in some schools, homes and places of worship, adding that love and tolerance should be the epitaph for the 49 people killed in the Pulse nightclub.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Nicolson told Home Secretary Theresa May: “I’m a gay man and let us all say unambiguously that what happened in Orlando yesterday was a premeditated slaughter of gay people because they were gay, by a man who we’re told had been outraged because he recently saw two men kissing.

“Would you agree with me that homophobia is not intrinsic to the human condition? It is too often taught in homes, in school classrooms and playgrounds and in places of worship.

“So anyone who has ever winced when they saw two men kissing... is complicit in creating a climate of poisonous intolerance.”