The American Taliban in Idaho

Matthew Shepard Observance Day speech at the Idaho Anne Frank Memorial

OPINION

Twelve years ago, a brutal murder ended the life of our young brother Matthew, but it did NOT kill his spirit which calls out to each of us to denounce those who promote violence against us as they hide behind an extremist ideology.

It is this extremist ideology that is at the very foundation of the violence that lead to the deaths of Matthew Shepard, Tyler Clementi, and so many others. For decades the American conservative movements’ fringe elements, have been sowing the seeds of hatred that have taken root in the right-wing media.

The soul intent of their daily barrage of messages is to vilify and dehumanize LGBT people in order justify their inhumanity toward us. Who are these extremists and where are they?

They are operating within the modern conservative movement. They are the promoters of an anti-gay industry described by Daily Kos founder, Marcos Moulitsas, as the American Taliban.

These American religious extremists share many similarities and tactics with the Afghan Taliban.

Moulitsas describes them this way:

“Their contempt for nontraditional lifestyles, their mania for militaristic solutions, their fascistic efforts to impose their narrow worldview on the rest of society,” and their disdain for, “woman’s rights, their outright hatred of gays, their aversion to science and modernity, and their staunch anti-intellectualism.”

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Matthew Shepard Observance in Boise Sat. Oct. 9

Matthew Shepard Hate Crime In the early morning hours of October 7, 1998 Matthew Shepard was savagely beaten and tortured for no other reason than he was gay. Left naked out in a field and tied to a fence, 21 year-old Matthew endured the cold Laramie Wyoming night until he was found the next day. Matthew was taken to the hospital where he died 5 days later.

Matthew has become a national symbol of anti-gay bullying and hate crime violence in our country. This 12th anniversary of his death is even more somber and poignant with the recent five gay youth suicides as a result of anti-gay bullying and homophobia.

Please join us as we gather to remember Matthew, grieve and re-energize our fight for equality in his name. Saturday October 9, 2010 3:00 PM at the Idaho Anne Frank Memorial. I will be speaking with a great line up of other community leaders.

Hate Crimes Act to hit Obama’s Desk

Matthew Sheppard
Matthew Shepard

Thursday the Human Rights Commission and the Matthew Shepard Foundation announced the passage of the The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The act, named to honor Matthew Shepard as well as James Byrd, an African-American resident of Texas brutally dragged to death in 1998 in a notorious hate crime. as a provision of the Defense Authorization Conference Report in 68 to 29 vote.

“Dennis and I are extremely proud of the Senate for once again passing this historic measure of protection for victims of these brutal crimes,” said Judy Shepard, president of the Matthew Shepard Foundation Board. “Knowing that the president will sign it, Continue reading