C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Hate Thy Neighbor

World homosexuality laws, from Wikipedia: orange, red, and brown indicate criminal penalties for homosexuality, up to life in prison or death.

I'm not an atheist; but I am continually horrified at the many ways in which religion is used to justify the most inhuman, ungodly behavior - which to my mind suggests that men often make God in their own image.

According to a story in the New York Times,
The relative freedom of a newly democratic Iraq and the recent improvement in security have allowed a gay subculture to flourish here. The response has been swift and deadly.

In the past two months, the bodies of as many as 25 boys and men suspected of being gay have turned up in the huge Shiite enclave of Sadr City, the police and friends of the dead say. Most have been shot, some multiple times. Several have been found with the word “pervert” in Arabic on notes attached to their bodies, the police said.

Iraq remains religious, conservative — and still violent. The killers, the police say, are not just Shiite death squads, but also tribal and family members shamed by their gay relatives. (And the recent spate of violence has seemed aimed at more openly gay men, rather than homosexuality generally.) . . .

Clerics in Sadr City have urged followers to help root out homosexuality in Iraqi society, and the police have begun their own crackdown on gay men.

“Homosexuality is against the law,” said Lt. Muthana Shaad, at a police station in the Karada district, a neighborhood that has become popular with gay men. “And it’s disgusting.”

For the past four months, he said, officers have been engaged in a “campaign to clean up the streets and get the beggars and homosexuals off them.”

Gay men, he said, can be arrested only if they are seen engaging in sex, but the police try to drive them away. “These people, we make sure they can’t get together in a coffee shop or walk together in the street — we make them break up,” he said. . . .

In 2005, the country’s most influential Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, issued a religious decree that said gay men and lesbians should be “punished, in fact, killed.” He added, “The people should be killed in the worst, most severe way of killing.” The language has since been removed from his Web site.
Boston EDGE reports:
An Iraqi GLBT advocate living in exile claims that gay men in Iraq are being subject to a loathsome, and fatal, form of torture: their anuses are being glued shut, after which the victims are force-fed a mixture that induces diarrhea, leading to their deaths.

Ali Hili, the London-based leader of Iraqi LGBT, was cited as making the claims in an April 21 article appearing at

The Queerty item stated, "Buoying the theory that it’s the ’anal sex’ part of being gay that really infuriates homophobes, Iraqi militants are reportedly gluing shut the anuses of suspected gays.

"Repeat: Gluing shut their anuses. With a glue so resilient, you need surgery to remove it," the article continued.

"This is torture, and some 60 men have already been attacked with it."
An openly gay member of Congress, [Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colorado] has been investigating the treatment of gays in Iraq for several months, and last week he spoke through a translator by phone to a transgender Iraqi man who said he had been arrested, beaten and raped by Ministry of Interior security forces. Human-rights groups tracking the issue also passed Polis a letter, allegedly written from jail by a man who said he was beaten into confessing he was a member of the gay-rights group Iraqi-LGBT. The group said the man had been sentenced to death in a court in Karkh and finally executed.

"Is there anyone to help me before it is too late?" said the letter. Its author's name was being withheld to protect his family.

Polis carried some of that evidence with him to Iraq and presented State Department officials in Baghdad with a letter outlining the allegations and pressing members of the Iraqi parliament's human-rights committee.

"We will see whether the Iraqi government is serious about protecting the human rights of all Iraqis, and we can also see what role our own State Department can play in helping to protect this minority in Iraq," Polis said by phone Wednesday after leaving Iraq.

The Guardian (UK) points out the link between religious hatred and political oppression:

When human rights are undermined, those responsible sometimes claim to be defending virtue and national interests. In late 2001, as drastic measures were brought in supposedly to defeat terrorism, US attorney general John Ashcroft condemned critics: "to those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America's enemies, and pause to America's friends. They encourage people of good will to remain silent in the face of evil." Many people were convinced, or intimidated into silence. The grim consequences continue to come to light.

The rhetoric of patriotism and morality is currently being used to try to justify the same gender marriage (prohibition) bill in Nigeria. Sex between men is already illegal, but this bill could be used to imprison people of the same sex who live together "as husband and wife or for other purposes of same sexual relationship" and anyone who "witnesses, abet[s] and aids" such a relationship. Not surprisingly, it has been condemned by human rights activists in Nigeria and internationally. . . .

In a statement supporting the bill, [Anglican] Archbishop Akinola starts with his own (contested) interpretation of the Bible, and warns, "Any society or nation that approves same sex union as an acceptable life style is in an advanced stage of corruption/moral decay. This bill therefore seeks to shield Nigeria from the complete annihilation that will follow the wrath of God should this practice be accepted as normal in this land." . . . The fact that these dire predictions have not come to pass elsewhere in the world does not deter him. . . . In this apocalyptic worldview, it can be too risky to love one's neighbour as oneself.

But violating human rights ultimately damages morality and national wellbeing. According to a former judge advocate general of the US Navy, Admiral Hutson, "In dealing with detainees, the attitude at the top was that they are all just terrorists, beneath contempt and outside the law so they could be treated inhumanely . . . we had Abu Ghraib and its progeny. The self-respect of the military and the country was diminished. Our international reputation will be tarnished for generations." The Nigerian authorities should take note.

Meanwhile, back here in the land of the free and home of the brave: former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu, who was White House chief of staff under Bush 41, and is the current chair of the NH Republican Party, calls equal rights for LGBT people "garbage."

Did you catch that, God?

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails