Bishop of Wyoming to attend signing of Hate Crimes Prevention Act

The Rt. Rev. Bruce Caldwell, Bishop of Wyoming, long time supporter of federal hate crimes legislation will be present when President Barack Obama signs the Matthew Shepard/James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law.

“I am honored to represent all the Episcopalians who have worked for this legislation,” Caldwell said.

Matthew Shepard was a member of the Episcopal Church, serving as an acolyte at St. Mark’s Church in Casper, WY before attending the University of Wyoming in Laramie where his life was cut short in a brutal hate crime.

“I go to this celebration of the signing of the Matthew Shepard/James Byrd, Jr Act remembering Matthew and all those hurt by hate,” Caldwell said. “I am hopeful this legislation will move us as a country to a place of reconciliation, peace and love toward one another.” He also commented on the fact, that although Wyoming is often viewed as conservative state, “I have felt personally supported and encouraged to work on issues of inclusion by Wyoming Episcopalians.”

h/t to Neva Rae Fox, Episcopal Church Public Affairs.

From Integrity on the occasion of the signing of hate crimes legislation:


October 27, 2009

The White House announced President Obama will sign the Matthew Shepard/James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act on Wednesday, October 28th. To mark that historic act, Integrity calls members, friends and allies to join in a moment of virtual common prayer at 4:45 p.m. EDT–the time announced for the signing.

“For over thirty years, Integrity has been committed to both prayer and political action,” said Integrity President David Norgard. “On Wednesday when President Obama signs the Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law, we will give thanks for a major milestone even as we remember those we have lost due to hate crime violence.”

The Episcopal Church has been a long-time advocate for hate crime legislation, since at least 1988 when it passed resolution D055, entitled “Condemn All Hate Crimes.” In 1998, then Integrity President Michael Hopkins attended the Wyoming funeral of hate crime victim Matthew Shepard. “At Matthew’s funeral, we experienced hate first hand in the protestors led by the Fred Phelps family. I am gratified now to have this legislation.”

A prayer to mark the signing:

Loving God,

We pray for victims of hate crimes;

for those who have been targets of violence

just because of who they are;

for their families and all who grieve for them.

We give thanks for all those who have labored, lobbied and prayed for inclusive federal hate crimes legislation and for the Hate Crime Prevention Act signed into law today.

Bless us, we pray, with the knowledge

that we are secure in your love;

that we can make a difference;

that you call us always to seek and serve Christ in all persons

and to respect the dignity of every human being.

And may the peace the world cannot give reign in our hearts always. Amen

Some history on resolutions passed by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church on hate crimes:


Title: Condemn All Hate Crimes

Resolution No. 1988-D055

Title: Decry Violence Against Homosexuals

Resolution Number: 1988-D100


Title: Condemn All Hate Crimes

Resolution Number: 2000-D009

Title: Urge Congress to Enact Hate Crimes Legislation

Resolution Number: 2000-C029

Also this 2002 report on Episcopal support for the legislation.

For further information contact:

Louise Brooks, Communication Director

Integrity USA — 626.993.4605

The Barna Group has shown that most people associate anti-gay hatred with Christianity.

The Rev. Canon Susan Russell, immediate past president of Integrity writes here.

What did I get when I Googled “prayer hate crimes?” Dozens of sites urging prayers to PREVENT the passage of hate crime legislation.

If all I knew about Christians from what I Googled on hate crimes I’d come away thinking that all they cared about was keeping gay men and lesbians, transgendered folk, women and the disabled from having the same protection from hate motivated violence as this nation has provided for those targeted because of race, religion or national origin.

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