Elegy for St. Matthew Shepard

(1976-1998, martyred by criminal bigots blinded by hate)


Matthew, dear brother, sweet kid, a slip of a lad, 5’ 2”, effeminate youth,

your parents loved you and knew you were gay and were born that way like

children all over the world in all countries, all times, barely visible in a

child though predestined in puberty. Jesus never condemned you. But the

Church hasn’t heard the Good News: Love is no crime. It’s a force of attract-

tion beyond choice or will. For this you were killed, lashed to a fence like

a scarecrow, stripped, savagely beaten and left to die.


Crucified like Jesus who also looked like a scarecrow nailed to a cross, who

most likely was not blue-eyes and pink-skinned with Breck-shampooed

hair, who was also perhaps 5’2” – but awesome and wondrously gentle and

holy. Jesus Christ didn’t wear a white collar, preach sermons of hate crimes

of violence versus the innocent. Perhaps he was always high on the mind-

blowing sacred mushroom in his saintly Essene youth. He did not get

uptight about sex. He preached charity, decency, love.


A poor Jew born in a manger, a stable on the outskirts of Bethlehem, he

taught that each life was sacred, more precious than gold; and although he

may have had dirty feet, long hair, hippie sandals, he made the ultimate sac-

rifice for his merciful teachings that conquered the pagan religion of Rome.

O false Christians. You do not love Jesus, you love to exploit him, to sell him,

for profit, get rich in his name. “No queers or dykes welcome in church!”

You laugh and you mock as you murder Jesus, Matthew and Dr. King.

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