"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Poor Matthew Shepard

I sincerely mean that.

When I first heard of his story, I felt horror and revulsion and deep sympathy.  I remember praying for him, that he would be saved.  It was a horrible crime.  I pray in the same way for others, such as the Indian woman who had been gang raped, her murderers now condemned to death.  Remember the black man - in Texas, I think - who had been dragged by a truck, and he was decapitated?  likewise, I prayed for the dead soldier whose body had been dragged by Somalis.  Similarly, I prayed for  Christopher Stevens, the ambassador to Libya, brutally murdered in Benghazi.  These savage tortures and murders are distressing.  Murder is especially heinous when the victim's salvation is so uncertain.  I fear the loss of heaven and the pains of Hell, for myself and my brother.

That said, Shepard's murderers were never charged with a hate crime since there was no such statute on the books in Wyoming at the time.  Though public opinion clearly perceived it as a hate crime, some people believed there was more to the story.  Since the conviction of the two perpetrators, many have speculated that drugs were involved and there may have been more to the story than what was told at trial.

The Book of Matt, by Stephen Jiminez

The new book claims to tell the true story of what happened to Matthew Shepard.
But what really happened to Matthew Shepard?
He was beaten, tortured, and killed by one or both of the men now serving life sentences. But it turns out, according to Jiminez, that Shepard was a meth dealer himself and he was friends and sex partners with the man who led in his killing. Indeed, his killer may have killed him because Shepard allegedly came into possession of a large amount of methamphetamine and refused to give it up.
The book also shows that Shepard’s killer was on a five-day meth binge at the time of the killing.
As to be expected, Matthew Shepard Inc. is rallying to denounce the new narrative that his homosexuality had little or nothing to do with his murder. - Source
To be honest, I thought everyone believed that now - at least I was convinced there was not enough evidence to prove the murder was a hate crime - since I had heard most of the other reports not too long after the trial and conviction. 
Gay journalist Aaron Hicklin, writing in The Advocate asks, "How do people sold on one version of history react to being told that the facts are slippery --- that thinking of Shepard’s murder as a hate crime does not mean it was a hate crime? And how does it color our understanding of such a crime if the perpetrator and victim not only knew each other but also had sex together, bought drugs from one another, and partied together?” -ibid

The Brietbart article concludes:
The agenda of the sexual left lives on lies. As we all know now, the back-story that brought us Roe v. Wade was a lie. And here we find the Matthew Shepard story was also a lie.
The sexual left approves of such lies because they get to what they consider to be an underlying truth. The author of The Advocate piece writes, “There are valuable reasons for telling certain stories in a certain way at pivotal times, but that doesn’t mean we have to hold on to them once they’ve outlived their usefulness.”  -ibid

As I said in the beginning, I was moved to pity by the story - not because of Matthew Shepard's sexual identity, but because a kid was brutally tortured, beaten, and left for dead - he died later, a murder victim.  Eternal salvation is so uncertain - God save us from an unprovided death.

Thinking like a Samaritan...

I once did a painting which I titled Matthew Shepard, only to retitle it, Male Figure. Not a few commenters on my art blog expressed disdain for it, as well as the fact I would dare paint him with a halo.  It's unfortunate they misunderstood the image, although it demonstrates why I'm not a successful artist - if I can't convey an  simple idea understandably - I'm not very good.

 My original subject for the painting was St. Sebastian.  While painting the piece - which in fact is more or less simply a study, I received news of an art show.  The curator of the gallery knew of my work and asked me to show what I had in a group show, which also happened to be the inaugural show of his new gallery.  I abandoned work on Sebastian, and decided to call the unfinished piece Matthew Shepard - because he was in the news at the time and the figure's face and hair reminded me of the man - and the figure in its unfinished state,* appeared a little 'scorched'.  I left the halo to suggest the goodness of all men, made in the image and likeness of God - I was not 'canonizing' the poor man. 

I wanted the figure to be viewed as a human being, tied to a fence, left by the roadside, beaten, stripped by robbers - hoping the viewer might recall the parable of the Good Samaritan.  In one sense, the politicization of the murder of Matthew Shepard caused many passers by to look the other way, some even condemning the victim.  No one stopped to help him, to nurse him, to save him - rather they exploited him for their own agendas - and continue to do so today.  Hence the painting isn't really of Matthew at all, but a roadside casualty of violence: a victim of robbery and exploitation; and worse - in death, a victim of political agenda, as well as fear and anger - culminating in hate.

*I never finished the figure - what the viewer sees is pretty much the under painting.  The figure was intended to be clothed in a transparent loin cloth as well.


  1. ...I love reading your thought processes and their clarity. I would find it mentally exhausting. Yes: the vicious cruelty of these crimes fill me with anguish. I do so firmly believe God hears our prayers for these, and is greatly consoled by our worry for their souls. It is Indeed Jesus who calls us to see this poor soul by-the-side-of-the-road..who is also us..
    This time we are in more & more calls to my mind the entire period of the reformation - the hideous cruelty, the 'church' control, et al. Particularly I think of St. Margaret Clitherow, & all the martyrs, who were called upon by God to truly bear witness. The very same 'thought control police' were out & about on behalf of those in control, at that time, too. I remember how interesting it was (is) to me when I learned the original word for prostestant..protestors...the protestant revolt. Just look at the hundreds of years of faulty teaching by These, and this the result we see today. and it is so sad, that also we see the result of faulty Catholic teaching. What a time of confusion.

  2. Left wing journalists have always had an adulterous relationship with the truth. There's a famous episode concerning Jack Reed as he was writing the Marxist classic, Ten Days That Shook The World. After Jack wrote an account of the days events during the Russian Revolution, one of his colleagues protested, "That's not the way it happened--I was there." Jack's response was, "Oh, I know, but what I've written is MORE true."


    What's more interesting is that the works of God do not need any embellishment or "adjustment", and in fact, writings suffer to the extent that they are "enhanced". Thus, compare the disappointing Golden Legend with Ignatius of Loyola's Autobiography or Augustine's Confessions.

    1. Or the way St. Therese's fellow nuns tried to 'edit' her writings after her death, thinking that their rawness would be a scandal. In fact, they help to make sense of her sanctity all the more.

  3. "The works of God do not need any embellishment or 'adjustment' . . ." Wow, Scott! You've clearly never done a biblical studies course.

    Also, I think that Terry has left out the most important quote from Hicklin's article:

    "Whether it was a hate crime, a drug crime, or a combination of the two, it’s hard to shake the suspicion that self-hate and a misguided culture of masculinity, which taught McKinney to abhor in himself what Shepard had learned to embrace, was as complicit as anything else in the murder of Matthew Shepard.

    "That is, of course, a kind of hate crime — just not as straightforward as the one we’ve embraced all these years."




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