Friday, October 12, 2018

Politically correct - but it ignores the facts

I note that the late Matthew Shepard is to be reinterred.

For 20 years, the ashes of Matthew Shepard have not been laid to rest.

Mr. Shepard’s killing in 1998, when he was a 21-year-old college student, led to national outrage and, almost overnight, turned him into a symbol of deadly violence against gay people.

Mourners flocked to his funeral that year in Casper, Wyo., but there were also some protesters, carrying derogatory signs. Mr. Shepard’s parents worried that if they chose a final resting place for their son, it would be at risk of desecration.

Now they have found a safe place. On Oct. 26, Mr. Shepard will be interred at the Washington National Cathedral, the neo-Gothic, Episcopal house of worship that is a fixture of American politics and religion.

“I think it’s the perfect, appropriate place,” Dennis Shepard, Matthew’s father, said in an interview on Thursday. “We are, as a family, happy and relieved that we now have a final home for Matthew, a place that he himself would love.”

Two decades ago, Matthew Shepard was robbed by two men, pistol-whipped and tied to a fence in Laramie. He hung there bleeding in near-freezing temperatures until a passing bicyclist spotted him, thinking at first that he was a scarecrow. He later died in a hospital.

“His death was a wound on our nation,” Mariann Edgar Budde, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, said in an interview on Wednesday. “We are doing our part to bring light out of that darkness and healing to those who have been so often hurt, and sometimes hurt in the name of the church.”

There's more at the link.

The only problem is, it's highly unlikely that Mr. Shepard's death had anything at all to do with his sexuality.  The Guardian (hardly a right-wing source) reported in 2013:

Shepard’s death inspired the play The Laramie Project – later turned into a television movie – countless songs, a foundation devoted to his memory and a political lobbying effort that pressed for, and eventually obtained, a new federal hate crimes statute named after him.

All this creative energy has been based on an important central premise: that Shepard was targeted solely because of his sexual orientation. According to conventional wisdom, he met his killers by chance in a bar, told them he was gay and left with them when they appeared to respond to his advances. They started attacking him almost as soon as he climbed into their pickup.

It now appears, however, that the conventional wisdom may be wrong. A new book by investigative journalist Stephen Jimenez has challenged many of the central assumptions about Shepard’s murder and argues that anti-gay hatred was not the primary motivation for his killing, if it was a factor at all.

Instead, Jimenez makes a persuasive case – based on interviews with the murderers, their former girlfriends, friends of Shepard’s, and police investigators – that Shepard was already acquainted with his killers, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson. That acquaintance hardly casts Shepard in the best light.

All three of them, Jimenez argues, were involved in Laramie’s crystal meth subculture, as users and dealers. McKinney and Shepard may also have had a casual sexual relationship.

“Shepard’s sexual preference … certainly wasn’t the motive in the homicide,” Jimenez quotes police investigator Ben Fritzen as saying. “What it came down to really is drugs and money.” A number of other sources close to the story and the protagonists confirmed much the same thing.

Again, more at the link.

Mr. Jimenez was, of course, demonized because his investigation challenged the politically correct view of Matthew Shepard as an icon of the gay rights movement.

“To understand who Matthew really was,” Jimenez said, “to alter our perception of him as a martyr and an icon, is not going to be damaging to gay rights.

“I don’t buy it. I don’t think we have anything to lose from telling the truth.”

Activists, journalists, politicians and filmmakers who, with the best of intentions, based careers on Shepard’s murder are furious. But Jimenez insists he’s willing to trade Shepard’s irreproachable image for a serious talk about drugs. Meth, he said, is haunting the gay scene, bringing with it a plague of ultra-violence, new HIV infection — and gay-bashing.

. . .

Jimenez, 60, a Brooklyn native who splits his time between New York and Santa Fe, NM, has seen his work attacked by organizations from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation to the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which helped push through a 2009 federal hate-crimes law in the name of Shepard and James Byrd Jr., the black man dragged to his death behind a pickup truck in Texas in 1998.

The New York Times Magazine commissioned, then canceled, a piece from Jimenez in 2004. (The editor claims it wasn’t any good.) But ABC’s “20/20” ran with a story Jimenez produced, which won two major broadcasting awards. Yet the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch blog recently accused Jimenez of serving as a lapdog of “right-wing pundits, radio hosts and bloggers.”

In Washington, DC, gay activists pestered bookstores to cancel Jimenez’s appearances. So much for free speech.

“It’s offensive,” said Jimenez.

More at the link.

So, even though the facts about Mr. Shepard's murder are well known, and the fallacy of his being "murdered because he was gay" has been established beyond reasonable doubt, the National Cathedral is now going to inter him within its walls;  and, according to the words of its prelates quoted in the New York Times article, it'll do so specifically as a gay icon.  Political correctness for the win, yet again - and to hell with the truth!

What happened to "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free"?  Or has the National Cathedral stopped reading inconvenient scriptures such as that verse?  Doesn't such blatant virtue-signaling just make you sick?

I have no objection whatsoever to anyone being buried in the National Cathedral for the right reasons - which should, I hope, have at least some relation to their religious beliefs - but let's not trash the truth in doing so, or allow political correctness to ride roughshod over faith in God.



Jahn said...

Jesse Dirkhising was unavailable for comment.

Tal Hartsfeld said...

Well, religions have this long-standing reputation throughout history for both exuding and embracing collective dogmatism ...

Fred said...

That helps explain why the National Cathedral removed the window with Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Politcal then, political now.

Tal Hartsfeld said...

Don't they know that a lot of history is merely the record of a country's mistakes
...when we disavow something in our past just because it's humiliating or embarrassing, we wind up denying reality.

Tal Hartsfeld said...

(Dear "3:23 P.M.":
Where is the question mark after "mistakes"?
Was that not a question you were asking?)

Joseph Mcdermott said...

There is a musical play which was just performed here in midland “what about matthew shepard” It would leave you in tears the way it presents matthews life and death. He is portrayed totally as a victim because of his sexual orientation. Of course he is a victim ofgetting beaten to death.

Steve said...

"Episcopal house of worship"

That's all you need to know to explain this.

Tregonsee said...

Steve has it. The Episcopal church had a bishop starting back in the 1970's one J Shelby Spong. He has 12 points on "Christianity". Here are three of them

The virgin birth, understood as literal biology, makes Christ's divinity, as traditionally understood, impossible.

The miracle stories of the New Testament can no longer be interpreted in a post-Newtonian world as supernatural events performed by an incarnate deity.

The view of the cross as the sacrifice for the sins of the world is a barbarian idea based on primitive concepts of God and must be dismissed

Those three points put him so far outside the historic christian faith as expressed in oh say the Nicene Creed that any decent church would have required him to repent or defrocked him. But the Episcopalians didn't.
And its not like he's uncommon for Episcopalian clergy, If anything today he's sort of middle of the road. So when they decide to treat a poor misguided meth addict murdered by a couple business compatriots as a martyr of the faith we should be too surprised

C. S. P. Schofield said...

The Gay Rights movement has always depended a good deal on masking some of the less attractive truths about the Gay Subculture. This doesn't invalidate all of their claims, but it will eventually cause a good deal of trouble for them. A cols eyes assessment of Harvey Milk, for example, shows that he was probably a serial sexual predator and general swine.

Oo course a good deal of the sordidness of the Gay Subculture can reasonably be traced to the fact that it has been , for the vast majority of its existence, an outlaw culture. This is why, despite my belief that many of the public arguments in its favor are twaddle, I am glad to see Gay Marriage being accepted. The GaySubculture is toxic, and if we want Gays to behave in a more stable and decent fashion it behooves us to make it reasonably possible for them to do so.

But if they want general acceptance they are going to have to clean up their act. That the majority of Gay Pride events descend into attempts to Shock The Squares does them no good at all. And canonizing creeps doesn't help either.