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Matt Williams

November 1998

Hate Crimes

I first want to express my disgust and outrage at the beating of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming. Hate crimes are nothing new in this country, In June, I sat in a hotel room in Northern Idaho and watched the news about James Byrd being dragged behind a pickup truck for 2 miles in Jasper, Texas.

Next day: Guess what was on the front page of the Newspaper? This brutal attack had made front page, and I was at the local supermarket, and decided to purchase a paper. I guess the clerk had not had a chance to read the paper yet, because she took a deep interest in the one I was buying. Her comment was something along the lines of "that nigger got what he deserved". I was sickened, but being an outsider in a town with a population of 2,500, I kept my mouth shut. I think she had an internal "oh crap" when she asked for ID on the cigarettes I was buying, and I produced my New Mexico drivers license. I wonder what this same lady said about Matthew's attack?

Hate Crimes are still a big problem in this country and should be addressed immediately by the government. VOTE VOTE VOTE!

Hate Crimes are a complex issue, its not just "he was beaten, he's also gay, it's a hate crime" There is an element to the issue, would this crime have happened if the person was not gay, black, from India, disabled, etc..? The Christian Right, in my opinion, is somewhat responsible for Matthew's attack. I don't think the Christian Right condones such activities, but they create a hostile environment. This is the message which is sent: "Gay people are sinners, they are evil and will be going to hell unless they repent". Which is then translated by many as: "gay people are sick, and they should be exterminated", and gives them the feeling that its ok go to out and do "gods work" (remember: thou shall not kill, do unto others what you want done unto you).

I was glad to see that the Family Values Coalition denounced the Rev. Fred Phelps' (Reverend? He calls himself a reverend?) decision to picket Matthew's funeral. What happened to the 10 Commandments? "thou shall not kill", "love thy neighbor"???? As an atheist, I don't really care what the bible says about homosexuality, but as seen in a profile: "The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and three hundred sixty two admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision." I don't know how true this statement is, but its pretty funny on its own. I think the Christian Right needs to take a closer look at what they are doing. Maybe they need to focus on their support in Congress (the Republican Party), I know someone who had an affair with a married Republican Congressman, and I'm sure he's not the only Congressman with a mistress! Gotta do something when the wife's back home in the district and you're in DC.

Which brings me to another issue. The Republican Party. Maybe the Republican party isn't so anti-gay in other parts of the country, but it seems like every time I hear about a gay rights bill being vetoed or held up in some committee, or an anti-gay measure being signed or passed, the Republicans are the ones doing it? Am I jumping to an unfair conclusion if I call the Republican Party in General as "homophobic jerks"? There are Republicans out there, who do feel that we deserve equal treatment, and I applaud them for telling their party bosses to "suck an egg". I just got my absentee ballot, and I didn't vote a straight Democratic ticket, but I was very selective of which Republicans I voted for. Again, I stress, in the gay community we may not have a big voice, but we have one voice which can always be heard, our ballots! And yes, your ONE vote can, and does make a difference.

I thought I might add something a little different to the Oasis palette, something on politics. I can be reached by email at matwilli69@aol.com or on ICQ 20375344

Peace...

Matt Williams


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