Courtesty of Wikipedia
Thirteen years ago on this day, a young man of twenty-two years died alone in a Wyoming farm field. His life came to a violent and abrupt ending as a result of the hate and ignorance that had been sown into the hearts of his peers. His death, tragic and unnecessary, was the catalyst for a greater awareness of the hate and prejudice the homosexual community has had to endure from much of society. A community that has much more in common with us than differences. People that want very much the same things out of life that we do- to pursue their hopes and dreams unhindered, to create families and live lives of peace.
Not long ago I wrote an article reviewing the documentary "For the Bible Tells Me So", which explores some scholar's beliefs of what the Bible really has to say regarding homosexuality. You can find that article here: http://ascendingthehills.blogspot.com/2011/08/if-your-child-were-gaydiscussion-of.html
I posted this article in various venues on facebook in order to generate some responses and conversations to the ideas presented. The responses on one facebook page really surprised me. The level of intolerance and prejudice towards homosexuals displayed was staggering and really, I feel, in opposition to the Jesus these very people who made such comments say they love and serve.
We cannot coerce people to live the way we feel is acceptable or most comfortable. We can accept them for who they are and where they are in life and move together in the Spirit of Christ to build a more peaceful and compassionate world. To bring glimpses and revelations of God's Kingdom here on earth, to His glory.
Jesus broke bread with those who were among the most marginalized in the society of his day. Are we not expected to do the same thing? He told us not to judge and only cast a stone at another if we, ourselves , have not sinned. I know nobody, including myself, who is fit to pick up a single stone...
Religion should fuel love not hate. It should breathe light, hope and compassion into the hearts of believers and extend those attributes outwards into a world that so desperately needs them. We are known by the fruit we bear... When I think of those like Fred Phelps, whose group actually protested at the funeral of Matthew Shepard, I think of how they try to tear down the walls of peace and understanding that so many have tried to build. Where is Jesus in their message?...
Jesus came to show us a better way. To teach us compassion and love and to show us we are not the ones to judge, but we are to simply love others and help illuminate the way to him, where peace and rest can be found for the weary and lost.
I hope you take the time to watch the short tribute below that I discovered on YouTube, remembering Matthew Shepard's life and revealing a bit more of the details behind his story. May we never forget what that young man had to endure. May it be a reminder of the hate and intolerance that still exists in this world. Sometimes in our everyday lives it can be so easy to forget the prejudices that others have to endure in our society, especially when we find ourselves members of the majority, rather than minority. Let's let the love and light of God shine through us and help disperse some of this darkness that threatens to bring such pain and suffering upon others. Through God we can shatter hatred and destroy it. Love will always prevail.
Comments? I'd love to hear them! Please leave them in the Comments section. Thank you!