Monday, October 26, 2009

Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill Passes In The Senate

There are some crimes that are so monstrous that they leave an indelible stain on the national conscience. The savage killing of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming back in 1998 was one. Shepard a 21-year-old gay college student, made the fatal mistake of accepting a ride with two men he'd met at a bar.

The men kidnapped Shepard, pistol whipped him, tortured him and left him for dead at a Laramie ranch. They strung the dying young man to a fence in frigid temperatures, where he was later discovered by someone who at first thought he was a scarecrow. Shepard later died from his injuries.

The authorities theorized that Shepard's killers set out at first to rob him. But, after learning he was gay, they decided to teach him a lesson.

The murder was a defining moment in the struggle for gay rights.

You might even say that Shepard was the gay movement's Emmett Till — the 14-year-old Chicago boy who was killed and mutilated in Mississippi in 1955, ostensibly for whistling at a white woman.

In both cases, we as a nation got an up close and personal look at the sickness that intense hatred and prejudice wreaks — a hatred based on someone else's perceived otherness, be it the color of their skin, religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation. It is a hatred that fuels a violence that terrorizes not only the victim, but others who may share similar characteristics.

After Shepard's murder, here were calls to expand federal hate crimes legislation to include those who are victims of violent crimes because of their sexual orientation.

Now, 11 years after Shepard's murder, Congress has finally done the right thing.

Not surprisingly, there are those misguided individuals who view the Matthew Shepard Act as a plot to spread homosexuality.

"It's part of a radical social agenda that ultimately could silence Christians and use the force of government to marginalize anyone whose faith is at odds with homosexuality," says Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.

Let's be clear. There is nothing in the law that impinges on anyone's free speech.

Those who want to preach against the evils of gay marriage may continue to do so. The law applies only to the commission of violent acts—not to speech.

There have been more than 118,000 hate crimes documented by the FBI since 1991. In 2007 alone there were 7,634. It's estimated that 16 percent of victims were targeted because of their sexual orientation.

There is no question this law has been a long-time coming. "It was nearly 11 years ago that Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered," said Nancy Pelosi D-San Francisco. "The time for debate is over."




    Go ahead, Mr. President. Sign the "hate" bill. By doing so you will help to fulfill the predicted repeat of the "days of Lot" in Luke 17 - days which today seem anxious to outperform their ancient counterparts! You have already been helping to fulfill the predicted repeat of the "days of Noah" in the same chapter - that is, violence towards the unborn which presently is matching, if not surpassing, the violence that forced God in Genesis 6 to announce that He would soon destroy everyone except Noah and his family. Mr. President, by helping to fulfill both of the above "days" you will discover that God has His Almighty veto over what you say and do!

  2. In the future, please refrain from anonymously (spinelessly) posting religious propaganda on this blog. I'm not going to delete you because I want to use this comment as an example.