The Nazi party was not Christian, as such, but used religion to further its ends by controlling the masses. So, when Hitler in 1922 said: “My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Saviour … who … recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them …”, he was being manipulative; legitimising his policies with religious text.
History is full of religious justification of murder. Consider: Christian Crusaders who slaughtered Muslims. The Spanish Inquisition, which justified the murder of ‘heretics’. Politicians of the Bush/Blair tendency, and their military stooges, who quoted biblical text to claim wars to be moral, with an F-16 bomber in the Gulf War having ‘Isaiah 21:9’ written on its bombs – pertaining to the destruction of Babylon. Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian PakistanI and Minister for Minority Affairs, who was shot dead in Islamabad by ‘the organization of al-Qaeda and the Punjabi Taliban’. Manipulators of all kinds take advantage of ignorance in order to consolidate or gain power. The gay community are one of their targets.
Uganda adopted an anti-gay Bill in 2013, which potentially jails for life those repeatedly engaging in gay sex, with evangelical Christian lawmakers hailing it as a victory against ‘evil’, a supporter threatening: ‘We will get hold of all those encouraging others to become homosexuals or lesbians. Anybody we find recruiting or using materials to promote homosexuality, we will arrest’. Such an insight into the mind of the persecutor! – being gay is not a natural proclivity, people become gay through encouragement and recruitment, rather like witches being lured to the covens of Salem by servants of Satan. In 2011, Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato was beaten to death at his home after a newspaper revealed his address under a yellow banner reading ‘Hang Them’. Ugandan pastors have been filmed inciting murder of gays, as their flock cheer and volunteer to kill. Although Uganda is one 40 African countries which outlaw gay sex, it is a particular target of American evangelists, whose American tv outporings, in between regular exhortations to the faithful to send them cash, promise to ‘save’ gays through prayer, and ‘lead them back to Jesus’.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a gay like me.
I once was lost but now are found,
Was gay, but now am straight as can be.
Russian billionaires, who profess a Christian Orthodox faith, give financial support to the World Congress of Families – an American evangelical organisation which as strong ties to other groups in America’s religious right. The WCF sent a representative to the first national conference of Russia’s Sanctity of Motherhood organization at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral. They return regularly to support their Russian billionaire friends, who control Russian government officials in charge of anti-gay legislation. WCF supports anti-gay legislation throughout Eastern Europe, but its most powerful influence is in Russia. There have been 13 new anti-gay laws in Russia since the WCF first joined with its Russian counterparts, which ban the promotion of ‘non-traditional sexual relationships’ among minors. It is against this backdrop that Russian thugs attacked Dutch diplomat Onno Elderenbosch in his Moscow home. Thugs of the Occupy Belgorod group sent a video to the Russian social media site VK, which shows a South african student in Russia being humiliated by shaving his head, smashing a watermelon in his face, and forcing him to perform fellatio on a beer bottle.
Hatred of gays is not a Christian perogative, of course. A Saudi Arabian man who dressed like a cop and sent out videos of himself performing ‘inappropriate acts’ was sentenced to a year in jail, 1,000 lashes, and a fine of $1,335. Two gay Iranian teens were flogged over a period of months, then, noose around their necks, were stood on a truck which drove slowly away, to bring about death by suffocation, as a large crowd cheered.
Lesbians face similar persecution. The majority of documented ‘punitive’ rape is associated with South Africa, though cases have been reported in Uganda, Zimbabwe and Jamaica. Rapists tell their victims that they are teaching them ‘a lesson’, or ‘treating’ them for the ‘disease of lesbianism’. A 13 year-old girl was raped in Atteridgeville, near Pretoria, the rapist boasting that he would ‘cure’ her of lesbianism. A 17 year old Indian college student, Sonali Mukherjee, rejected the advances of three male students, who retaliated by throwing acid in her face, blinding and muting her. They received a two year jail sentence. Lesbians in the Middle East who spurn sexual advances by their male boss are often sacked. A young Lebanese lesbian was sent to a psychiatrist, who recommended shock therapy. The Iranian penal code stipulates 100 lashes for ‘acts of lesbianism’, which, if repeated for a fourth time, attract the death penalty.
Back to Russia. A petition, by the Union of Orthodox Brotherhoods, referred to planned gig by Elton John as an ‘amoral sabbath’, calling Sir Elton’s ‘support for gays and other perverts’ an ‘insult to all Russian citizens’. Sir Elton responded: “I would welcome the opportunity to introduce President Putin to some Russians who deserve to be heard, and who deserve to be treated in their own country with the same respect and warm welcome that I received on my last visit’. Such a laudible sentiment, but anti-gay legislation does not arise from any one politician, or any one religion. Politicians merely represent powerful elites within their society, which use interpretations of religion to shape and control the bigotry of the masses, in order to consolidate or increase their power.
Anti-gay bigotry, I suggest, is most prevalent in ‘traditional societies’ – ones that feel increasingly isolated in a generally more ‘liberal’ world. These societies, whether of the American Bible Belt, Africa, India, the Middle East, or the Russian Federation, are male dominated, and when mens’authority over their children and wives is threatened by ‘liberal’ ideas they are prey to those who feed their prejudice, for, as every manipulator knows, insecure people take their anger out on others, that is, every office boy must have a cat to kick, and what better than a gay cat?, especially as gay rights is not high on the agenda of politicians more concerned with their rights to the oil, gas, minerals, and strategic importance of countries which encourage homophobia.
Gay rights can not be an apolitical issue.
In memory of David.