Putting Matthew Shepard into Focus (1998)
by John Patrick Michael Murphy
This is an open letter to tell Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, and his claque at the Family Research Council, that their right to spread hatred, veiled or blatant, will not be impaired if Colorado makes gays and lesbians eligible to be victims of hate crimes. Your chums produced TV ads telling us that homosexuality is a synonym for ungodly; and everyone knows ungodly is a synonym for wicked. The ads say if homosexuals would just pray to your god, they would turn from bad to good. That's what your ads say. They imply that gays and lesbians are no good the way they are, and that's hateful. They have to be messed with - rousted out of their sinful state. Millions of them-they all made bad choices. Not a one of them could lead a fine, good admirable life the way they are. God's mad at them, and you can get them out of trouble. That's what your ads say when you take away the fluff and puff.
The truth is Dr. Dobson, the Rev. Fred Phelps, the funeral crasher, is your echo. You both have the same message: Gays and lesbians are not to be tolerated in our society. Society must do something about them. They can't be left alone to pursue happiness as best they can. That's what you both say. They are not to be treated as equals - for we have respect enough for our equals to leave them the hell alone.
I want to assure you that if Colorado allows our sexuality to be protected along with our ethnicity, everyone will still have the right to engage in hate thought, hate speech, and hate promotion. It is settled law. This is America. You may speak your mind even if it disgusts others. America employs the "hecklers' veto" in putting down ideas of no worth. All ideas are allowed to be stated, and stated strongly. Diverse views have the same right as entrenched dogma to compete in the marketplace of the mind. Rev. Phelps may intrude on funerals and you may continue to say one's sexuality is a "choice." But that opens the door to you. How about yours? Just how did you go about "choosing" your sexuality, Dr. Dobson? Was it only after prayer and meditation that you were attracted to the feminine form? Did you stop eyeing crotches and start noticing the bumps in the sweaters during a church service? Were you tempted to be one or the other? Didn't it just happen, weren't you compelled? Was there ever any doubt? Just who do you think you are telling other parents that their kids "made poor choices" when, for all you, or anyone else knows, they had no choice but to grow with, and go with, the body they were issued?
So back off - live and let live. Matthew Shepard was grand enough to be himself and love himself. Who are you to criticize him for it? Did it ever occur to you that he may have been just fine the way he was? Have you ever entertained the idea that you and yours may be the ones who made a "poor choice?" You choose to demean people because they are different, and you use the Bible to do it. Peck, peck, peck. That's what you do.
Science tell us that deep within our brains we have a fish brain. Above and around it is a reptile brain-and, in turn, a mammalian brain, and finally, the cerebral cortex, which allows humans to deal in abstracts such as right and wrong and love and hate and tolerance and kindness. Ornithologists say a trait of the reptilian birdbrain is to peck and pester their innocent brothers and sisters who are just being themselves, just because they are different. If a spot of color is placed on a chick's head, it will be dead in no time. The term they use for this is "mobbing." Gays and lesbians have been mobbed by birdbrains for centuries and it's long since time for us to stand up and give the "hecklers' veto" to you and the rest of the mobbers.
"Putting Matthew Shepard into Focus" is copyright © 1998 by John Patrick Michael Murphy.
The electronic version is copyright © 1999 Internet Infidels with the written permission of John Patrick Michael Murphy.