1998 NCC News Archives

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NCC Condemns Hate Crime Against Matthew Shepard

October 13, 1998, NEW YORK ---- The Rev. Dr. Rodney I. Page, serving as Acting General Secretary of the National Council of Churches while NCC General Secretary Joan B. Campbell leads a delegation visit to China, spoke out today against the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard, the gay University of Wyoming student who was strapped to a fence post, savagely beaten, and left for dead outside Laramie, Wyoming last Wednesday.

Shepard, who had lapsed into a coma, died from his injuries yesterday. "This violent act is a wake-up call to America, warning us once again that hatred still flourishes in our nation and cannot, indeed must not, be ignored," said Rev. Page.

Echoing President Clinton’s call for Congress to pass national legislation outlawing hate crimes, Dr. Page said, "Acts of hate, whether based on race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, creed, or any other factor, must be rooted out of our land, and only a national law with uniform standards and enforcement can help achieve this goal."

Urging all Americans to actively condemn crimes like the one that claimed Mr. Shepard’s life, Dr. Page said, "United States citizens, and Christian people, must collectively speak out against these crimes and work to create an atmosphere of tolerance and respect for the dignity of every human person."


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