Tuesday, March 03, 2009


Imams -- and priests and pastors and monks -- are mostly just a bunch of power-hungry goats, and I better say it while I can. Our right to speak freely about religion is disappearing almost as quickly as chances the world will pull out of this "recession" any time soon.

This week, the UN will consider resolution 62/154, on "Combating defamation of religions," an annual motion supported by the Organization of the Islamic Conference which wants to put limits on speech "necessary for respect of the rights or reputations of others, protection of national security or of public order, public health or morals and respect for religions and beliefs."

What it really means is that feminists, LGBT people, and political dissenters can be squashed like flies and nobody can say anything, least of all us.

The resolution is nonbinding, but every year I feel it closing in. This year more than ever with surging faith-based programs in the U.S. matched only in idiocy by the politically correct left which censors selectively when it comes to religion.

Cartoonists can make fun of Rick Warren, but not of jihadists like in Denmark. For that, multiculturalist fascists are much more likely to pillory the cartoonists from one end of the pathetic Western world to the other than condemn the death threats. After all, sensibilities were offended.

The problem is that only the sensibilities of certain people count. Mostly heterosexual men. Who cares if I, for instance, am offended when straight people sit next to me on the subway and start sucking on each others faces? Who cares if girls cry their eyes out in Pakistan's Swat Valley because they're locked up at home when their brothers head off to school?

I remember the leader of one international gay group refusing to condemn the execution of gay men in Iran because the government said they were pedophiles, and conditioned by all that multiculturalist kowtowing, that was good enough for her.

This false cultural and religious tolerance distorts our priorities and erodes our common sense.

What's most worrying to me lately is how the UN's Rapporteur on Human Rights has been totally undermined. Once, they used to defend free speech. After a decade or so of pressure from a coalition of Islamist fundamentalists led by Saudi Arabia, the job description was recently changed to force the rapporteur to pursue "abuses of free expression" including "defamation of religions and prophets."

Americans usually ignore the U.N., unless they are blasting it, but the rest of the world relies on them to guarantee free speech. And if the Rapporteur is forced to privilege conservative religious ideas, how can anybody speak out against genital mutilation, child-brides, slavery, the electroshocking of lesbians, the executions of gay men? Now, any liberation movement can be seen as defaming a religion, or contradicting a prophet.

A journalist for Britain's Independent, Johann Hari wrote, "Instead of condemning the people who wanted to murder Salman Rushdie, they will be condemning Salman Rushdie himself ... Today, whenever a religious belief is criticised, its adherents immediately claim they are the victims of "prejudice" – and their outrage is increasingly being backed by laws."

As global protections fall, and the Church - State divide crumbles in the United States, I'm beginning to have zero tolerance for believers, even queers.

When I was editing The Gully, I would solicit articles by queer Catholics, queer Muslims. It seemed important that the LGBT community get a look at our diversity. And in terms of sheer political logistics, I thought we needed to support them as activists. Better if we had a finger in every pie, forces for change in every camp than to concede such important ground to the enemy.

I wouldn't do it again. They put a sheen on something that doesn't have one, and in the gay community, especially, there's almost nobody answering back when they join so-called religious moderates claiming, "Islam's a religion of peace," "Christianity's all about love."

While religious queers can certainly find texts to support their claims, what about all the other sections that support the contrary? When we're talking about knowing the unknowable mind of God, you can say the bigots are wrong, but you certainly can't prove it. Religious texts aren't wills, with codicils revoking all previous statements, and witnesses prepared to swear the author was sound in mind and body at the time of the change.

And with so much homophobia out there, so much misogyny, and the currency of god rising faster than the national debt, queers should keep a sledgehammer in one hand knocking down religion, and a trowel in the other building up the wall between Church and State.

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