The Book of Matt

Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard

The Book of Matt

“Methamphetamine was a huge part of this case . . . It was a horrible murder driven by drugs.” — Prosecutor Cal Rerucha, who convicted Matthew Shepard's killers On the night of October 6, 1998, twenty-one-year-old Matthew Shepard left a bar with two alleged “strangers,” Aaron McKin­ney and Russell Henderson. Eighteen hours later, Matthew was found tied to a log fence on the outskirts of town, unconscious and barely alive. Overnight, a politically expedient myth took the place of important facts. By the time Matthew died a few days later, his name was synonymous with anti-gay hate. The Book of Matt, first published in 2013, demonstrated that the truth was in fact far more complicated – and daunting. Stephen Jimenez’s account revealed primary documents that had been under seal, and gave voice to many with firsthand knowledge of the case who had not been heard from, including members of law enforcement. In his Introduction to this updated edition, journalist Andrew Sullivan writes: “No one wanted Steve Jimenez to report this story, let alone go back and back to Laramie, Wyoming, asking awkward questions, puzzling over strange discrepancies, re-interviewing sources, seeking a deeper, more complex truth about the ghastly killing than America, it turned out, was prepared to hear. It was worse than that, actually. Not only did no one want to hear more about it, but many were incensed that the case was being re-examined at all.” As a gay man Jimenez felt an added moral imperative to tell the story of Matthew’s murder honestly, and his reporting has been thoroughly corroborated. “I urge you to read [The Book of Matt] carefully and skeptically,” Sullivan writes, “and to see better how life rarely fits into the neat boxes we want it to inhabit. That Matthew Shepard was a meth dealer and meth user says nothing that bad about him, and in no way mitigates the hideous brutality of the crime that killed him; instead it shows how vulnerable so many are to the drug’s escapist lure and its astonishing capacity to heighten sexual pleasure so that it’s the only thing you want to live for. Shepard was a victim twice over: of meth and of a fellow meth user.”

The Legacies of Matthew Shepard

Twenty Years Later

The Legacies of Matthew Shepard

This edited collection explores the deeper contexts and consequences surrounding the murder of Matthew Shepard. This young gay man was brutally beaten and left tied to a fence on a chill Wyoming night in October 1998. Found the next morning by two cyclists, he was transported to a hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado where he died five days later. His murder was one of the most publicized and for some, most vividly remembered, instances of hate crime related violence based on sexual orientation. Twenty years after his death, Matthew Shepard’s story is at a critical turning point: memories of his murder and its meanings can either fade into the past or be reinvigorated to make up part of more meaningful investigations into LGBTQ and modern U.S. history. The multidisciplinary contributors to this book blend personal narrative with more conventional academic approaches to offer a 20-year retrospective that re-examines the subject of Shepard’s murder, whilst also bringing to light questions of historical memory, rurality, race, and public policy. Each of the disciplines and genres included contributes unique understandings of the murder and responses to it that cannot be articulated solely through traditional academic writing. This collection then not only tells the story of Matthew Shepard in the context of 2018, but also provides a compelling view of how and through which means American culture communicates painful histories of violence, bias, and death.

Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion

Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion

Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion is an annual volume offering a regular snapshot of state-of-the-art work in this longstanding area of philosophy that has seen an explosive growth of interest over the past half century. Under the guidance of a distinguished editorial board, it publishes exemplary papers in any area of philosophy of religion.

Dying to Be Normal

Gay Martyrs and the Transformation of American Sexual Politics

Dying to Be Normal

On October 14, 1998, five thousand people gathered on the steps of the U.S. Capitol to mourn the death of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student who had been murdered in Wyoming eight days earlier. Politicians and celebrities addressed the crowd and the televised national audience to share their grief with the country. Never before had a gay citizen's murder elicited such widespread outrage or concern from straight Americans. In Dying to Be Normal, Brett Krutzsch argues that gay activists memorialized people like Shepard as part of a political strategy to present gays as similar to the country's dominant class of white, straight Christians. Through an examination of publicly mourned gay deaths, Krutzsch counters the common perception that LGBT politics and religion have been oppositional and reveals how gay activists used religion to bolster the argument that gays are essentially the same as straights, and therefore deserving of equal rights. Krutzsch's analysis turns to the memorialization of Shepard, Harvey Milk, Tyler Clementi, Brandon Teena, and F. C. Martinez, to campaigns like the It Gets Better Project, and national tragedies like the Pulse nightclub shooting to illustrate how activists used prominent deaths to win acceptance, influence political debates over LGBT rights, and encourage assimilation. Throughout, Krutzsch shows how, in the fight for greater social inclusion, activists relied on Christian values and rhetoric to portray gays as upstanding Americans. As Krutzsch demonstrates, gay activists regularly reinforced a white Protestant vision of acceptable American citizenship that often excluded people of color, gender-variant individuals, non-Christians, and those who did not adhere to Protestant Christianity's sexual standards. The first book to detail how martyrdom has influenced national debates over LGBT rights, Dying to Be Normal establishes how religion has shaped gay assimilation in the United States and the mainstreaming of particular gays as "normal" Americans.

Same-Sex Marriage (Thoughtful Response)

A Thoughtful Approach to God's Design for Marriage

Same-Sex Marriage (Thoughtful Response)

Same-sex marriage is here, presenting unique challenges and opportunities. How do those who follow Christ faithfully answer the standard talking points for same-sex marriage? And how can they best articulate the case for one-man, one-woman marriage in everyday conversation? Sean McDowell and John Stonestreet believe a thoughtful approach to God's design for marriage is the answer to both questions. The key is not a contentious attitude towards those who believe in same-sex marriage, but a winsome perspective that is faithful to Christ, committed to truth, and shaped by a love for God and others. Christians need to know that because Christ has risen, there is no such thing as "all hope is lost." They are still called to engage culture even if they are viewed as wrong, illegal and intolerant.

What Do I Read Next?

What Do I Read Next?

Provides synopses for over 1,500 titles of current popular fiction and recommends other books by such criteria as authors, characters portrayed, time period, geographical setting, or genre

The Lutheran

The Lutheran


The Oxford Companion to the Bible

The Oxford Companion to the Bible

Features interpretive articles on the Bible's impact on the Western world and its influence on literature, music, art, and law, as well as entries on each book of the Bible, the major figures, important events, and life in biblical times. 60,000 first printing. $50,000 ad/promo.

The Independent

The Independent