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(LifeSiteNews) — Twenty-five years after the murder of Matthew Shepard, the press, the politicians, and the president of the United States came out to repeat a propagandistic lie that has long been used to push for the criminalization of dissent from the LGBT agenda. As the Guardian put it: “Shepard’s death has long been memorialized as a hate crime that helped fuel the LGBTQ+ movement.” 

To commemorate the anniversary, President Joe Biden stated that Shepard was killed “simply for being himself” and called the murder “a brutal act of hate and violence that shocked our nation and the world.” According to Biden: “Matthew’s tragic and senseless murder shook the conscience of the American people. And his courageous parents, Judy and Dennis Shepard, turned Matthew’s memory into a movement, galvanizing millions to combat the scourge of anti-LGBTQ+ hate and violence in America.” 

Also according to Biden, Shepard is a martyr – and the anniversary of his death should provide an impetus for further enshrining the LGBT agenda into law: “I once again call on Congress to send the Equality Act to my desk so that we can ensure LGBTQ+ Americans have full civil rights protections under our laws – because every American is worthy of dignity, acceptance, and respect.” 

Matthew’s mother Judy echoed Biden’s sentiments in an interview with Katie Couric on NBC’s Today show, claiming that in America – eight years after same-sex “marriage” was imposed on all 50 states by the Supreme Court – it is still no better for LGBT people.  

Condemning GOP bills aimed at protecting children from the transgender medical industry, Shepard stated: “They’re still being denied basic rights, the community is, and the absolute outward showing of hate again, it’s just infuriating to me. All those who were fighting against the gay community, this is their last gasp. They know they’ve lost the war, but this battle is just the last, most vicious attack on the community … It’s already over. That’s what they don’t understand. They’re fighting a losing battle.” 

The problem with this politically potent narrative is that it is not true, and we have known that it is not true for years already. John Stonestreet detailed actual facts of the tragic story at LifeSiteNews ten years ago; the libertarian outlet Reason magazine also reviewed the details of Matthew Shepard’s murder for the anniversary in an essay titled “Matthew Shepard’s Murder Was Almost Certainly Not an Anti-Gay Hate Crime.” 

Shepard was murdered in 1998. The 22-year-old University of Wyoming student was brutally beaten and left to die sometime during the night of October 6, and his killing was trumpeted by gay rights activists as evidence of the brutality that gays and lesbians experienced as a matter of course. They demanded that federal hate crime legislation be expanded to include the gay community, and Barack Obama signed The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law in 2009. (James Byrd Jr. was a black man murdered by three white supremacists, and tying Shepard’s murder to the Byrd killing connected the LGBT movement with the civil rights movement.) 

However, a 2013 book by gay author Stephen Jimenez called The Book of Matt: The Truth About the Murder of Matthew Shepard told a much different story. Jimenez, no foe of the gay “rights” cause, lays out in convincing evidence that Shepard was not murdered for being gay, but that the killing was the result of a drug deal gone bad. Shepard, it turns out, was a meth dealer who actually knew his murderers. This book was largely ignored by the mainstream press. 

Why does this matter? It matters because the alleged martyrdom of Matthew Shepard has been used as a political weapon to accomplish the LGBT agenda. Shepard’s family and the sympathetic journalists putting microphones in their faces almost certainly know the truth – that Shepard was a drug dealer who met his tragic end at the hands of men who were not targeting him for his sexuality. They know the truth, but they repeat the lie – and they do so in order to smear those seeking to protect children from an insidious ideology.  

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.