Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Religion gone rotten

Commenting on my previous post, Billy says: "I just dont get this singling out of homosexuals business".

It's quite simple, really. Homosexuals are, by and large, a peaceable, inoffensive lot who just wish to get on with their own lives as they choose and who are unlikely to get militantly aggressive even when viciously attacked.

An ideal target, in fact, for the pharisaical holier-than-thou "thank God/Allah we are not like THESE people" bigots of all religious stripes who seek a public platform on which to strut their superiority to the common herd.

I have been a lifelong campaigner for gay rights. Bitter experience has taught me that the "godly" are my mortal enemies. Not that I wish to have enemies, but all too often there is no choice.

In the 1950s and '60s, the most vocal opponents of decriminalising homosexual behaviour were religious. To be fair, we also received valuable support from some church people who had a more realistic sense of justice than most of their contemporaries. But they were in a minority.

In the 1970s and '80s there was a vicious backlash against gay people spearheaded by the odious Moral Re-Armament bigot Mary Whitehouse and her assorted allies. They were not in the least concerned with the truth - only with smearing those of us who worked for a more humane society with every lie they could concoct.

Now we have the African Anglican bishops who are so obsessed with fear and loathing of same-sex love that they threaten to split the Church of England over the issue, while the increasingly intimidated 'liberals' such as the pathetically casuistic Archbishop Rowan Williams bend over backwards to placate them instead of telling them to go take a running jump.

The Roman Catholics, as always, spout ignorant rubbish on the topic - see my previous post - while studiously ignoring the glaring fact that a great many of their priests are homosexual by temperament if not by practice. The Polish prime minister - presumably a devout Catholic - has said "if a person tries to infect others with homosexuality the state must intervene". Here in Britain, Catholics strive for exemption from equality legislation protecting people of homosexual temperament from discrimination.

In the United States, the paranoid, growingly strident "born again" cultural conservatives - for whom one birth was too many - use frantic opposition to gay rights to rally ignorantly pious voters in support of what they term "traditional American values". The recent success of California's 'Proposition Eight' banning gay marriage in that State was carried thanks largely to black Christians who turned out in force to vote for Obama, after a virulent campaign bankrolled by Mormons - who are dubiously Christian and most of whom don't live in California, anyway.

Homosexuality is, alas, also a burning issue - sometimes literally - in some Caribbean communities where 'rappers' incite their audiences to murderous action against "batty boys".

And now we have amongst us the Muslims, whose preachers and government ministers in Islamic countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia think nothing of advocating hanging, stoning, and torture for homosexuals, who are fiercely persecuted throughout the Arab world. The hypocrisy of all this is staggering, as in addition to their sexism and male chauvinism Arab men are notorious for their widepread indulgence in homosexual activity. In Britain, gay Muslims live in fear and are mostly unwilling to speak out about their predicament.

It is a strange paradox that a government which has passed several commendably liberalising measures favouring gay people - including the introduction of Civil Partnerships - is unwilling to stand up robustly against these various forms of anti-gay religious bigotry because of a spurious and increasingly discredited doctrine of 'multiculturalism' and 'respect' for beliefs paraded as "religious" regardless of their content and the social harm they do.

In the current uneasy climate of clashing values - a climate largely created by religious bigotry - the besetting sin of the British is a lazy toleration of intolerance.

It is time for us all to wake up and to start tackling this poison resolutely before it is too late.


Jose said...

Representatives of official religions are decidedly against reality. It seems their centuries-long adherence to spirituality compels them to forget that we live in a real world. Another aspect of their religion they have forgotten about is charity. Charity is not only giving money to the needy it is also understanding each other, not to speak of science and its findings.

Bodwyn Wook said...

The essential meaning of charity is love.

So much for the organized religions, including my own Islam.

On the other hand, when it becomes obvious that material reality on this crude molecular level is simply unpleasant and, finally, unworkable, as "Ferret" Hutsenreiter (an Augsburg College 2008 maths grad) says, you have no choice then but to dive headfirst into outright individual fantasy. And that in the end it is this personalism alone, or "solipsism," that can "save" anything....

I ain't in no position to argue that one!

"God" is of course a foul ball and a false alarm, science seems mainly to find its most popular uses on the Zyklon-B & iPod level, and so why not pursue it...wishful thinking als einem ding an sich?

zola a social thing said...

Values have always clashed. That is one of the marks of value.

Jose said...

Indeed, Zola. But I wonder how it is possible values can be different among people of a same environment. Be this geographic or religious or whatever.

Bodwyn Wook said...

jose poses a question that will be discussed (as well as very [!] often in between) fifteen hundred years from now, by Unspiek, the Baron Bodissey, in his monumental ten-volume opus, /Life/ -- and even he will be unable definitively to resolve the problem, of competitive social differentiation in the same setting.

zola a social thing said...

Fuck me Bodwyn von Wook : Since when has difference, let alone social difference been "competitive".
Sorry you used the "word" as in a kind of differentiation in the same setting.
Jesus wept.
Yet another cultural version of capitalism as "difference" as "problem".
Thank God Body Wook you made a joke here otherwise I might have returned to universals and value.

Bodwyn Wook said...

'Crass & detestable darwinism, madam, just darwinism....' to paraphrase Samuel Johnson.

(My blushes!)

Bodwyn Wook said...

Actually, I rather suspect it's what goes when charity is not actual, comprehensive?

anticant said...

Sorry, Zola, but insofar as I understand the difference between you I side with Wook about this.

Of course all differences are competitive. They are about who's OK and who's Not-OK; who is top dog and who is Bottom Dog.

Religious people mostly ignore what the Biblical Jesus is supposed to have said on these matters, and are hell-bent on proclaiming themselves Top Dogs because they believe in Him.

Old Freddie Nietzsche was right on this one.

Bodwyn Wook said...

It is the need to be better than SOMEONE, "come Hell or high water" as Mr Andersen says....

There is a smouldering on-again, off-again, drive down here in southern Minnesota:

"Out with the Mexicans!"

(Similar to the pre-Nazi yodelling in Prussia against impoverished Polish migrant workers, in the early 1930s -- see /The Fox Of Maulen/, by Hans Helmut von Kirst/.)

At any rate /I/ sent off a vernacular note to the local press, here, saying in effect:

"Out with the Mexicans? Hold on. Without them, who are WE running around loose down in here in southern Minnesota going to have left to be better than?"

THAT "pissed off [some of] the fancy sonsofbitches, you bet"

Jose said...

You're unique, Bodwyn Wook. LOL.