Matthew Shephard: Fourteen years ago tomorrow

From the blog Talk About Equality:

On October 7, 1998, Aaron Kreifels was riding his bike through a field in Wyoming. He wasn’t expecting that day to be different from any other beautiful sunny afternoon in the vast plains surrounding Laramie, but that day would change many lives.

Aaron spotted what he initially thought was a scarecrow next to a fence. Then he noticed a glisten of blood. The sun sparkled on what he barely recognized as a face. What Aaron had discovered was the 22 year-old Matthew Shepard, clinging to life.

Most of you know what happened next. Matthew held on for five more days and as his parents held his hand and prayed, Matthew slipped away quietly on October 12th, leaving in his wake a new movement for equality.

In a poignant bit of irony, I once attended the Eucharist of a community that had been forced out of its church due to the anti-gay politics of its former bishop. They are now meeting in playhouse, where they have services every week on the stage, in front of the set of whatever play is running. The week I attended, the play was The Laramie Project, and the theater lighting caught the gold cross that stood beside the altar and threw its shadow in triplicate on the vast, blue Wyoming sky.

Comments (2)

Fourteen years ago in Pittsburgh a couple of us from the Dignity Community and from the Episcopal Church got together a city-wide prayer service for Matthew and his family as well as anyone who had ever been the victim of hate crimes and violence. At that service there was a priceless moment in which Bob Duncan (then still the Episcopal bishop of Pittsburgh) received a bear hug from a drag queen in full drag. It was a priceless moment and one which I wished I had photographed.

My prayer is that this fear- based hatred will soon end and that love will prevail.

Matthew Shepherd, pray for us.

Remembering Matthew and Jose Luis

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