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The Death of Matthew Shepard

Matthew Shepard died last Monday morning. A gay young man in the prime of his life brutally and horribly murdered. The insanity of it demands that a question be asked by every sensitive human being in America.

Who must assume responsibility for creating an environment that stimulates and promotes such ignorant and brutal violence?

Republican ‘leaders’ Trent Lott and Dick Armey proclaim on national television that they ‘believe in their bible and homosexuality is a sin against God’. Where is their responsibility?

Fundamentalist preachers degrade their pulpits with inflammatory language about gays and lesbians. Fundamentalist preachers who use radio and television, including the Rev. D. James Kennedy, Pat Robertson, and James Dobson even produce ‘special’ shows on homosexuality that lead indirectly to violence and to depression, self hatred, and suicide for sensitive young gay and lesbian human beings. They are the victims of this avalanche of hatred from ‘Christian’ pulpits and ‘Christian’ television.

They use the bible like it has been used in the past to support slavery from the pulpits and to discriminate against women. They aim isolated passages now at gays, even as Martin Luther and Hitler used the bible against Jews. To be an ‘accomplice’ or ‘accessories after the fact’ in a murder is a crime as I understand it.

The Secretary of Health under President Bush did a national study on ‘Gay and Lesbian Youth Suicide’ and they said this:

“Gay youth are three times more likely to attempt suicide than other young people. Suicide is the leading cause of death among gay and lesbian youth. Gay and Lesbian youth are strongly affected by the hostile elements of society against them. Tens of thousands of others fail at suicide attempts and will go on living lives of quiet, lonely, closeted desperation.”

This is not just a Wyoming problem. It is a cancer growing all through the bible belt, the political and religious right wing, as well as fundamentalists everywhere in America.

What heinous support are our national Republican leaders contributing to this insanity?

Matthew Shepard died last Monday. It is a truth, do with it what you will, that those who must assume some responsibility for this murder extend far, far beyond the two thugs who pounded his head into mush and left him in the freezing night tied to a fence like a scarecrow–to die.

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