My name is Joe Murphy, I am a father, a grandfather, a son, a brother an uncle and I am a very proud and out gay man! But I am a very angry gay man!!
Last weekend, the weekend before Matthew Shepard's brutal murder, I was at a retreat with fifty other gay men way up in Northern Maine on a beautiful lake with an Indian name that I can't pronounce or spell. The weekend is billed as a "Gay Men's" retreat and is put on twice a year. It is not a religious weekend but it is extremely spiritual and affirming for gay men. To come away from that retreat to the news of another heinous gay killing was such an extreme swing for me emotionally that I could not stop thinking about Matthew's murder all week. I just kept getting angrier and angrier. I just couldn't stop thinking about it and then I heard that there was going to be a memorial ceremony in Portland, Maine about an hour from here (I live in Wells, ME) and thought this is great, a place to go to process this anger and to talk with other gay people about how horrendous this was and to develop some kind of plan to put an end to it all!! All this hate, all this killing, simply because we love men!
What a disaster......I came home more angry than before I attended! The last time I was in Portland for any kind of memorial was in 1984 when we were protesting the murder of another man. My friend, Charlie Howard; a 23 year old gay man was murdered in Bangor, ME. He was murdered because he was GAY! Three young men threw him over a bridge, while their girlfriends watched, while he pleaded with them, saying he could not swim, he of course died. He died because he loved men. And somehow these individuals thought it was okay to kill another human being because he was different. Who taught them that it was okay. Or rather who didn't teach them about love? We vowed amid sobbing and screams of anger that this would not happen again!!
The reason I came away from the memorial today more angry than before was that there was no representation of the gay men and women who were feeling the same way I did. There was no one who apologized to Matthew's parents and loved ones and told them that our hearts were broken and bleeding for them. As a father, I cannot imagine the pain of losing a son or daughter and to lose a loved one in such a brutal, horrible act is too much to bear. My heartfelt sympathy and tears go out to all of Matthew's loved ones.
There was no screaming at the injustice of it all and demanding that this all stop. Demanding that we stop being beaten and murdered because we love someone that the rest of this society doesn't approve .
There was only one gay man that spoke with any passion........a young man named Paul from Outright (a support group for Gay youth). The other speakers, a rabbi, the assistant attorney general, a minister, a woman from the YWCA spoke well and were well intentioned. They spoke about the horror of hate and murder and brutality but everyone one of them missed the point!! No one ever acknowledged that Charlie Howard and Matthew Shepard were murdered because they loved men! No other reason, they were murdered because they loved!!
They don't get it...........in a "Christian Country", in a world that has been studying and preaching the words of Jesus Christ for two thousand years, on the brink of the millennium, two thousand years of teaching, our world religious leaders and teachers and politicians and leaders of nations still don't get it. Jesus said, "Love God and Love one another." Not a difficult concept, doesn't require a brain surgeon or rocket scientist to figure it out, does it.
Well it seems to be a major problem for individuals and organizations that the world has entrusted our spiritual nurturing to for thousands of years. Every religion, no matter who you call your God, Jehovah, Muhammad, Buddha, or whatever..... the basic concept of every religion is to honor and love the creator and his creation. They have all failed miserably!! They are liars, hypocrites, bigots, homophobes and murderers! How many men women and children over the centuries have been tortured, beaten and murdered in the name of some god or prophet. How many peoples have been enslaved and their homes and lands ravaged and raised in the name of some savior!!
LOVE IS NEVER A SIN, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER!! Jesus said: "love one another!" He did not say: except blacks, Asians, Indians, men who love men, women who love women, blacks who love whites, whites who love blacks or any one else who is different from you!! Just to clarify, he did not say ever that it was okay to hate and kill anyone who loved someone you didn't approve of.
Yet today, in this age of "enlightenment" we still have representatives of all major religions saying: " it is an abomination unto the lord for man to lie with man!" They, they who continue this lie are the abomination unto the lord and the rest of the world!! If I hear another person of the cloth say: "love the sinner not the sin" in reference to homosexuality, I will scream. They just don't get it, LOVE IS NEVER A SIN! This religious double talk is what perpetuates the idea that it is okay and necessary to kill homosexuals! How many heterosexuals have been murdered simply because they love who they love and where in the bible does it say that is okay to kill heterosexuals because they love who they love!
Yet religious leaders the world over continue to use this book as the basis for preaching love and nurturing of the human race! What about all of the other arcane and irrelevant laws in the books of the old testament? Why is polygamy not legal, many of the prophets and holy men in the bible had hundreds of wives? Why has slavery been abolished? There are numerous passages in the old testament that support a mans right to own other men? What was the stature of women in the old testament? I wonder why it is called the "old" testament? Maybe because it is OLD, very old. The old testament is a written history of an oral history that was a thousand or so years old before it was written down. The same people who said that it is a sin for man to lie with man routinely left female babies to die because they needed males to till their fields, protect their lands and to fight their wars. We are talking about people just out of the stone age who were still barbarians!!
Many religious leaders will say I just don't get it, they are talking about sex not love!! Well I say to them that sex is not ever a sin, never, never, never. Our sexuality is as much a gift from God as is our capacity to love, to have emotions, to be happy and to want to be loved. Sex is an incredible gift that allows us to express our love. It is physical, it is emotional and it is spiritual! God made us sexual beings and our expression or acting upon our sexuality is what allows us to feel and express that incredible emotion that we call love. No crime involving sex is ever about sex. It is turning away from the love and respect that the creator demands that we have for each other. The sex is not the moral or ethical transgression, it is our imposing our will and our power over someone else. And believe me, sex was never intended to be merely a mechanical act to produce male children to fight our wars or till our fields. It is much more important than that. It was meant to be enjoyed, it was meant to renew us physically when the stress around us has depleted our bodies and souls.. When it happens with someone you love it is a taste of heaven on earth. God gave us this gift and I believe he meant us to use it and enjoy it!!
To the rest of the heterosexual world, who have been subjected to these abominable teachings I would say you have been cheated and lied to, now that you know, do something about it.
Let me explain the "Homosexual Agenda", at the risk of being chastised by my gay brothers and sisters, here is the secret: THERE IS NONE, THERE HAS NEVER BEEN ONE!! It too has been a lie! Or else it has been such a secret that no gay man nor women I know can tell me what it is.
I am not gay because of a missing father, an overpowering mother, a gay scout leader, a gay priest or any other gay person! I am gay because God in his infinite wisdom and love made me that way. And when I pray, yes I do pray, I am a lover of Christ (do not, please do not ever call me a christian) I thank God for creating me who and what I am. And if God removed a gene or added a gene to make me that way, who cares? That was how he did it and who are we to question it? I, nor any other gay man or women, cannot make your sons or daughters gay, we do not have nor do we want that power. And contrary to popular belief there are many heterosexual people that we love. We love our parents and family, we love our dear friends who have been very supportive of us, we love our children (yes many of us our parents) and we love your children and we love and respect all of the parents of this world who, despite the message of hate and intolerance that come at us all from so many directions, that teach their children the real message of love...............we ALL deserve to love and be loved...........and it has never been our right to judge or impose restrictions on love!!
If all the armies of the world and all the religions of the world could look into some magical crystal ball and count all of the gay men and women that make up their ranks, they would cower in horror!! And they would pray to whatever power they believe in for forgiveness for perpetrating such horror and pain in this world for so many centuries on so many of God's children.
I challenge every human being that knows that God in his wisdom created us with one principal desire, TO LOVE AND BELOVED and believes that LOVE IS NEVER A SIN to go to your religious leaders and heads of government and tell them NO MORE, NO MORE, NO MORE BRUTALITY AND BIGOTRY AND MURDER IN THE NAME OF ANY GOD! NO MORE INTOLERANCE AND DISCRIMINATION FOR ANY PEOPLE!!
We need a new religion! Let the millennium be the turning point for all of us! We need a new religion that demands that ALL HUMAN BEINGS BE TREATED AS GOD'S CHILDREN. A RELIGION THAT NURTURES LOVE AND CELEBRATES OUR VARIOUS SEXUALITIES AS GIFTS OF GOD. WE NEED A HOLY WAR MADE UP OF LOVERS WHO WILL NOT DISRESPECT ANY OF GOD'S CREATION, HUMAN BEINGS, ALL THE CREATURES OF THE EARTH AND THE EARTH ITSELF. OUR ONE MESSAGE WILL BE: IF YOU LOVE YOU CANNOT HATE, IF YOU LOVE YOU CANNOT MURDER , IF YOU LOVE YOU CELEBRATE AND RESPECT ALL OF HUMANITY!!
DO NOT LET MATTHEW SHEPARD AND CHARLIE HOWARD AND ALL THAT WENT BEFORE THEM HAVE DIED IN VAIN!! THEIR BRUTAL MURDERS CAN BE THE CALL TO ALL OF US TO CHANGE THE WORLD!