U.S. Notes & Quotes

Is It a Hate Crime to Be a Christian?

CABLE NEWS NETWORK, Oct. 18-The ugly and tragic death of Matthew Shepard, a homosexual who was tortured and murdered in a Wyoming robbery, drew criticism from every commentator who mentioned it. But some, not content with criticizing the killers, blamed Christians as well.

At least one even charged that Catholics become complicit in such violence simply by criticizing the notorious New York play, Corpus Christi, which depicts its main character as a homosexual who sodomizes his disciples.

“If it's blasphemous for the image of Jesus Christ to be gay, then they're saying that it's blasphemous for anyone to be gay,” Chris Quinn, director of the New York City Anti-Gay and Lesbian Violence Unit, told the Oct. 17 Philadelphia Inquirer. “That's a dangerous message to send out, in light of the kind of violence against gays we've seen recently.”

Gary Bauer, president of the Family Research Council, has been particularly targeted by such charges because his organization has sponsored high-profile advertisements featuring homosexuals who say their lives were improved by changing their sexual orientation and who invite others to do the same.

Bauer defended himself recently on the program Late Edition. “It's not just that I was attacked this week,” he said. “Any believer in this country… Catholic, evangelical, Orthodox — all of them were smeared this week. Those two men in Wyoming were not Christians — they were thugs. And if they were a sign of anything they're a sign of the breakdown of values, not the growth of the Christian faith.”

Bauer also said he opposes “hate crimes” legislation that many have proposed. “Look, every murder is a hate crime,” he said. “The idea that somehow having additional penalties in Wyoming would have made any difference in this case is absurd. These two thugs ought to have the books thrown at them, but they ought to have the book thrown at them if they had murdered a 70-year-old woman. It doesn't matter who the victim is; a murder is a murder … and they ought to be punished to the full extent of the law.”

Oklahoma City Victim's Father Opposes Execution

SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER, Oct. 18-It is easy to be against the death penalty — until it's your daughter who was murdered. That's what Bud Welch told the San Francisco Examiner in a story reprinted in the Detroit News Oct. 18.

Welch lost his 23-year-old daughter, Julie Marie Welch, when Tim McVeigh bombed the Oklahoma City Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. “I was filled with so much rage, revenge, and hate. Once [McVeigh and Terry Nichols] were identified and charged, all I thought was, ‘Fry ‘em,’” Welch told the paper.

Later, he reconsidered. “I wanted to know: After they were tried and executed, how was that going to help me? I struggled with that question for two or three weeks. And I finally realized … [execution] won't bring Julie Marie back. Revenge, hatred, and rage — that's why Julie Marie is dead today.”

A Catholic nun whom the paper didn't identify later helped him set up a lengthy meeting with Tim McVeigh's father and sister, Bill and Jennifer McVeigh at their home, said the report. “When I got ready to leave, Jennifer hugged me and then she just took to sobbing,” Welch told the paper. “I … said, ‘Honey, the three of us are in this together for the rest of our lives…. I don't want your brother to die, and I'll do what I can to help.’”

Now, Welch is speaking publicly against McVeigh's death sentence. “I go to Mass every week, but I'm not an overly religious person,” he is quoted saying. “I'm not a born-again Christian…. But I've somehow felt closer to God than I ever have since I met with Bill and Jennifer. It was the most satisfying thing I've done in my life.”

Saint for the Next Millennium Gets National Shrine

DETROIT NEWS, Oct. 17-"It's official,” begins the report from Royal Oak, Michigan. The Shrine of the Little Flower there has been named a national shrine by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, which makes it a national pilgrimage site for St. Therese of Lisieux, also known as the Little Flower for her desire to be a small, unassuming creature that quietly delights God.

The report quoted the Shrine's pastor Father William Easton about St. Therese, who last year was named a doctor of the Church. “Pope John Paul II has often spoke of St. Therese as the saint for the next millennium,” he told the paper.

The paper described the Shrine building's 1933 architecture as “notable,” saying, “it soars four balconies high and seats 3,000.”

President Donald Trump during his speech at a "Thank You" Tour rally held at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa.

President Trump: ‘Faith in God’ Helps Unite Nation

In an apparent reference to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and months of demonstrations and civil unrest across several U.S. cities over racial justice issues, Trump said that faith was an important support for civil and national unity.

President Donald Trump during his speech at a "Thank You" Tour rally held at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa.

President Trump: ‘Faith in God’ Helps Unite Nation

In an apparent reference to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and months of demonstrations and civil unrest across several U.S. cities over racial justice issues, Trump said that faith was an important support for civil and national unity.