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James

November 1998

Stripped of dignity, beaten, abused. Tied to a post and left to die. For what? For being different? For righteousness? For God? Is this Wyoming, or Golgotha? It seems that with all the talk of the new millennium we are forgetting that the "new world order" based on peace, love and all that hooey is not a new idea.

We are forgetting that Jesus was crucified at Golgotha for preaching forgiveness, peace and love. We are forgetting that for two thousand years those teachings have fallen on deaf ears. Two thousand years and we have learned nothing. We are truly a fallen people. Most of my prayers do not go to Matt Shepard. He doesn't need them. "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (coincidentally, from the Gospel of Matthew, 5:10).

No. I am commanded by God to forgive those who do wrong. So I pray for his attackers. I pray that God help them find feelings of remorse for what they have done, for only then will God forgive them. I pray for the fundamentalist "Christians" from Topeka held an anti-gay rally at Shepard's funeral. I pray that God will teach them, and others like them, that He loves us all no matter who we may fall in love with.

I also pray for me. I know I should not feel anger, but I do. I know I should not feel malice, but I do. This is not some abstract death in a foreign land. This is the United States. This is someone like me. This isn't supposed to happen. Yes, I am angry. Yes, I am afraid. So I pray that I find the strength to forgive them. I pray that this never happens again. And if it does, I pray that it isn't me.

Peace,

James
jsammons@wlu.edu or octavius3@hotmail.com


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