Meet Martin Ssempa: Uganda’s leading bigot.

July 3, 2014

Since late in 2013, Uganda’s anti-gay law and its obsession with persecuting human beings for whom they fall in love with has created an odious atmosphere leading to a rocketing increase in attacks on the LGBT community in Uganda by over 750% on the previous year, according to ‘Sexual Minorities Uganda’.

It isn’t difficult to see how that atmosphere came to be. As well as Scott Lively and Rick Warren from the US using Uganda as test ground for how far they could inject their bigotry into a society, the Ugandan Cabinet includes rather grotesque sexual predators like Simon Lokodo, Uganda’s Minister for Ethics and Integrity. Lokodo, speaking on the growing number of child abuse cases in Uganda, said:

“Ah, But it is the right kind of child rape. It is men raping girls and that is natural.”

– Here is a man in charge of “ethics”, a man that I trust none of us would want within 100 feet of our children. Lokodo isn’t the only one:

Meet Martin Ssempa.

Martin Ssempa is a Pastor in Uganda famed for playing gay porn in his Church sermons (the ‘eat the poo-poo’ guy in the video above) to highlight his distaste for homosexuality. Ssempa is not happy unless the entire country is chained to his religion, and punished according to its rules. His goal is to enshrine his particular beliefs into the social fabric, regardless of how ill-informed, and dangerous that might be (his life threatening stance on condoms is symptomatic of this). He believes that his personal religious beliefs – anchored to 1st century Palestine – must be forced upon the entire country. He is therefore a sadist, stealing the lives of others for his own gratification.

Martin Ssempa is active on social media, with which he uses to post child-like words of wisdom to gay rights activists:

ssempa1
– If this is what Uganda considers to be an intellectual powerhouse, capable of influencing their laws, they really do have a huge problem. Needless to say, Ssempa found justification for his inbuilt desire to control and harm the lives of others, in Christianity. According to Amnesty, and echoing ‘Sexual Minorities Uganda’:

“LGBTI people have faced a notable increase in arbitrary arrests, police abuse and extortion, loss of employment, evictions and homelessness, and scores have fled the country. At least one transgender person has been killed since the bill was signed, in an apparent hate crime.”

– Homelessness, abuse, extortion, frightening people into fleeing their homes, and murder; I don’t remember any of this advocated by Jesus in the Gospels or the writings of Paul. The early Christian community grew – according to Celsus – as a result of persecution drawing them closer together as a community. Today, Martin Ssempa promotes the very oppression that the early Christian community had to contend with.

On a scale comparable to the comment made by Lokodo, Ssempa – who seems to have no respect for individual liberty where it isn’t distinctly ‘Christian’ by his standards – compares intimate relationships between consenting and loving adults (a relationship that has absolutely nothing to do with him) to the enforcing of the non-consensual violation of basic human rights; female genital mutilation:

Ssempa2
– Leaving aside Martin Ssempa’s inability to understand the concept of love, in any meaningful sense, there’s an irony in his comment. Female genital mutilation is the result of the violent dictates of faith abusing the human rights of another to be free from those violent dictates, in much the same way that Uganda’s anti-gay law is the violent dictates of faith abusing the human rights of another to be free from those violent dictates. The freedom from being genitally mutilated, is the same freedom one has in order to be free from punishment and oppression if you happen to be gay. In both instances, no human being has an inherent right – including the state – to chain others to the beliefs of sex obsessed religious supremacists. Martin Ssempa and those who conduct female genital mutilation are of the exact same mindset.

He then goes on to misunderstand science (unsurprising, he’s a religious supremacist):

ssempa3
– Contrary to Ssempa’s assertion, the scientific community is fully aware that sexuality is a largely genetic natural spectrum with no single sexual orientation being “right” and another “wrong”. That isn’t how nature works. That’s how ideologies work. I wrote on the science of sexuality in response to Uganda’s rejection of basic science here and so wont go into detail again, but needless to say; Ssempa is entirely wrong. As I noted in the aforementioned article:

“The spectrum of sexuality is amoral. I have no more right to oppress the rights of a gay person, than a gay person has the right to oppress me. Heterosexual privilege is therefore not natural, it is ideological. Much like white supremacy is not natural, it is ideological.”

– Martin Ssempa would be well advised to understand how nature works (it doesn’t involve 1st century Jews rising from the dead), and how ideology works.

Ssempa then went on TV and explained in detail what he thinks gay women engage in:

“For woman what they do is they begin their sexual acts, because she does not have the equipment, they begin to use their lips… so the mouth is used to lick the other person that is number one, it creates gonorrhea. Men and lesbians have gonorrhea and oral syphilis.
“Number two, because they don’t have the equipment, they begin to use gadgets like bananas.”

– The shocking ignorance aside – and his inability to distinguish between sexuality, and having sex – one has to wonder why this man believes the sex lives of others, have anything to do with him. One has to wonder why the love lives of consenting adults, who have just as much right to enjoy their lives as the rest of us, has anything to do with this him. And that is the very essence of religious supremacy; the desire to control the private lives of others, by force. Martin Ssempa bizarrely presumes that by simply believing a certain tribal myth, he is entitled therefore to chain you and I to it. My liberty as a human, to pursue my own goals, to love according to my own conscience, and to enjoy my life, Martin Ssempa believes is his to own and control. It is the manifestation of a deeply controlling and dangerous man. His recognition in the country is the poison that creates an atmosphere in which persecution and oppression based on nothing but archaic stories, and the controlling nature of one man, flourishes. It isn’t a game. It causes hideous devastation to families and individuals.

Given the Church’s recent history of actual sex abuse, coupled with Uganda’s Christian Minister for Ethics discussing what he considers to be the “right kind of child rape”, it would seem prudent for people like Martin Ssempa – obsessed with sexual oppression – to perhaps look a little closer to home when discussing sexual ethics, before setting out to dehumanise and violently oppress those who have done no wrong, because it seems more than apparent to me that chaining sexual ethics to his faith, hasn’t worked out to well in the past.


Uganda’s ‘Red Pepper’ – defending the indefensible.

February 25, 2014

redpepperIn 2011, the unfathomably brave gay rights activist David Kato was brutally murdered in Uganda, after a newspaper in the country published his name and photograph and demanded his execution. In 2014, A day after Yoweri Museveni, the President of Uganda signed the anti-gay bill into law, the nations homophobic tabloid newspaper ‘Red Pepper’ launched a brand new witch hunt, by releasing a ‘top 200 homosexuals’ front page, designed to incite the same hate and violence toward the LGBT community in Uganda that led to the horrendous death of David Kato.

It is very difficult to reason with the mentality of people who, when asked why they care more about what two consenting adults do in their home, rather than the growing number of child abuse cases, said:

“Ah, But it is the right kind of child rape. It is men raping girls and that is natural.”

– Simon Lokodo. Uganda Minister for Ethics & Integrity. Here is a man who seeks to oppress the rights of the adult gay community, whilst championing the sexual abuse of children. That is the nature of the men who currently run Uganda. Men that shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near children. And so it is perhaps futile to reason with them, but reason can be a powerful weapon and it is worth trying.

‘Red Pepper’ in their support for the anti-gay law, posted the warped and child-like reasoning of the President on their Twitter feed here:

redpepper
– I thought I’d address both points. Both points are of course primarily hateful rather than based on reason, and so even if the claims were true, would be no excuse for oppression and hate. But I wanted to focus on the points specifically, given that this is their attempt to defend the indefensible.

The second point is the easiest to dismiss. A state has no inherent right to abuse its citizens without consequence, in much the same way that a parent – let’s call that parent ‘Simon’ – does not have an inherent right to abuse his children without consequence, or without others stepping in to stop the abuse from continuing. The gay community in Uganda should not have to live in fear for their lives, or to have to live without the basic human need to express love and enjoy happiness, and they should absolutely be protected by the international community. It is not a ‘Western value’ to not oppress others. It is a universal right to be free from such vicious oppression. It should be considered far more important to defend that right, than it is to ‘respect’ a government’s decision to abuse that right. The Ugandan government does not own those people, it is not free to abuse and oppress the fundamental human rights of anyone. The rights of all should not be at the mercy of the religious dictates of anyone else. There is no inherently supreme sexuality that has the right to command others to do as they say. The spectrum of sexuality is amoral. I have no more right to oppress the rights of a gay person, than a gay person has the right to oppress me. Heterosexual privilege is therefore not natural, it is ideological. Much like white supremacy is not natural, it is ideological. The government of Uganda and Red Pepper are the abusive parent, endangering the lives of their citizens, simply for whom they fall in love with. It is ideological and nothing more. National borders – like the four walls of the home – do not change the oppressive and abusive nature of the ‘parent’. Uganda has legalised abuse, discrimination, and oppression based on supremacist ideals of one group. Completely absurd, dangerous, and unjustifiable.

On the second point, ‘Red Pepper’ and the President promoted the line of reasoning taken up by the sponsor of the bill, Ugandan MP David Bahati, who said that homosexuality was a:

“…behaviour that can be learned and can be unlearned”.

– This is of course, not based on reality, but on an attempt to enshrine Christian ‘values’ into law. It’s simply what Christian extremists would like to be true. We should be under no illusion that ‘Red Pepper’ or those who back the anti-gay law have any justification based on anything but tribal myths. As with most enforced religious morality, if human dignity, human rights, justice or reason conflict with those tribal myths, they are considered less valuable and to be oppressed. As with all ideologies that seek state power; there are always those who are considered less than equal. Whether it be Jewish people in a Fascist state, or gay people in a Theocratic state. The powerful in an ideology-drive state, will always oppress those who do not fit its dictates. In this case, the right of Christians to oppress, is given supremacy over the right of those who don’t fit its antiquated system of moral righteousness, to not be abused. This is indefensible.

Contrary to what ‘Red Pepper’ tweeted, the scientific community is fully aware that sexuality genetic natural spectrum with no one sexual orientation being “right” and another “wrong”. That isn’t how nature works. That’s how ideologies work. We know that sexuality is a spectrum echoed throughout the natural World. Since a review by Canadian researcher and biologist Bruce Bagemihl in 1999, it has been widely understood that at least 1,500 species have been shown to exhibit homosexual tendencies. At least 10% of the population of domesticated sheep, are exclusively homosexual. A study in London by M.J Cole noted that homosexual behaviour in Giraffes tends to be more common than heterosexual behaviour. The African Lion has been noted to have homosexual tendencies.

On human sexuality, A wonderful in-depth study by Binbin Wang et al, found that allele types differed greatly between homosexual men and heterosexual men. A further study by Sven Bocklandt et al, found that mothers of gay sons, have higher rates of extreme skewing of X-Chromosome inactivation, than those without gay sons.

Another study – and more recently – showed that a section of the X Chromosome called Xq28 influenced sexuality. The same is true of an area of chromosome 8. The theory being that genes in the region of Xq28 – passed from mother to son, and linked to sexual orientation – make women who carry them far more fertile, hence surviving the harsh realities of natural selection. Here is a further study that links genetic material passed down on the X Chromosome, to both homosexuality, and the fertility of the female. Study after study after study show that genetics plays a role in determining sexuality, that it isn’t a “behaviour”, it is a natural spectrum. To suggest otherwise, is both uneducated, and based solely on the advancement of an oppressive ideology.

Dr. Jerome Goldstein, Director of the San Francisco Clinical Research Center, says:

“Sexual orientation is not a matter of choice, it is primarily neurobiological at birth.”

– Goldstein continues:

“Using volumetric studies, there have been findings of significant cerebral amygdala size differences between homosexual and heterosexual subjects. Sex dimorphic connections were found among homosexual participants in these studies.”

In fact, there is not one reputable scientific source that will in any way suggest that sexuality is merely a ‘behaviour’ as suggested by the Theocrats in Uganda who seek to justify the unjustifiable. None. This includes:
The American Psychiatric Association, The World Health Organisation, The American Psychological Association, The American Medical Association, The Academy of Pediatrics, The UK Royal College of Psychiatrists Council on Child and Adolescent Health, The British Psychological Society, The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. All of these intensely reputable sources, with a wealth of research and evidence, will all tell you that sexuality, is part of a natural spectrum. There is no debate here. The UK Royal College of Psychiatrists released a statement to:

“…clarify that homsexuality is not a psychiatric disorder. There is no sound scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed. Furthermore, so-called treatments of homosexuality create a setting in which prejudice and discrimination flourish.”

– Further, Alfred Kinsey, the great biologist noted:

“Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories… The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects.”

– This fundamental fact of nature is only ever opposed by those who seek to harm others. I cannot imagine how terrified gay individuals in Uganda must be right now. No one deserves to be abused, everyone deserves the right to love, and to pursue their own happiness, free from supremacist oppression based on any ideology. .

Therefore, both points promoted by ‘Red Pepper’ and President Museveni do not stand up to simple scrutiny. They exist only as a smokescreen to mask the true intent; to promote the supremacy of one ideology, and abuse and oppress those who don’t fit its violent and irrational dictates. It is a weak attempt to justify the inherent desire to control others, through abuse. This is echoed in the chilling comment on child abuse, by the horrendously named Minister for ‘Ethics and Integrity’.

Like an abusive parent full of excuses, the powerful in Uganda have given themselves the ‘right’ to abuse others. The international community should work to protect the LGBT community of Uganda from the extremists that wish them harm. That is the absolute right thing to do.


The Theocracy of Arizona.

February 24, 2014

Source: Wikimedia Commons. Author: Visitor7.

Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Author: Visitor7.

One can only imagine the outrage that would grip the Christian communities of the United States if signs across the businesses of the nation started appearing that insisted “Christians will not be served here”, or perhaps firefighters refusing to serve the needs of Christians in trouble, or teachers refusing to teach kids who identified as Christian. Screams of anti-Christian discrimination would take over Fox News and the World would be treated to hour after hour of journalists asking for Sarah Palin’s vacant opinion. And yet, this same discriminatory tone is exactly what the Christian-right in Arizona is attempting to force upon the LGBT community and non-religious folk in the state.

Arizona’s now infamous SB1062/HB2153 law allowing businesses to deny services to the LGBT community, passed by both the Republican controlled Arizona State Senate, and House is proving to be a disaster for the GOP. The response from Republicans in the State Legislature and beyond, has been almost as shameful as their willingness to pass such a vicious piece of Theocratic and bigoted legislation in the first place. It isn’t the targeting and dehumanising of gay people for discrimination – in a very Jim Crow like manner – that has bothered their conscience over the past couple of days; it has been the national and international attentional the state has received for the hideous Bill.

According to the Bill, religious freedom is only fully recognised if religious folk have the legalised right to oppress those they don’t particularly like, and deny those people equal rights. During the debate, Democrats tried to amend the Bill so as to not include firefighters and police (the fact that this was even up for debate, is horrendous in itself). Republicans voted against the amendment. As it stands, the Republicans in Arizona have revoked equal protection under the secular, constitutional law, if Christians don’t like them. Creeping Theocracy, framed as ‘religious freedom’. The same horrendous argument was used to permit an Arizonan constitutional amendment in 2008, banning same-sex marriage. Christians with the right to marry, restricting the same right for same-sex couples to marry, is hard to describe as anything other than Theocratic and a belief that Christianity must be considered supreme. It is the institutionalising of Christian ‘values’ above all others. The same is true for SB1062/HB2153. Christian supremacists in Arizona are targeting an unprotected group that they take great pleasure in oppressing, for the sake of further empowering their ideology, in much the same way that white supremacists took great pleasure in protecting their privilege by oppressing the rights of anyone with darker skin. Arizona’s Christian conservatives, have publicly set fire to the United States Constitution, and replaced it with Leviticus.

Republican State Sen. Steve Pierce – a man who voted to legalise anti-gay discrimination and enshrine Christian privilege into law – has decided he now hopes Gov. Jan Brewer will veto it. You may think he’s had a change of heart? You may think he now acknowledges that there is no fundamental right to oppress that overrides the right to equal protection and citizenship under the law. Perhaps he believes it is wholly wrong to institutionalise discrimination. Perhaps he’s accepted that Christians have no privileged right to decide who should be treated as a second class citizen based on sexuality, in much the same way that white Americans had no privileged right to decide who should treated as a second class citizen based on skin tone. Maybe Republican State Sen. Steve Pierce had a change of heart. Well, no. In explaining why he now opposes the Bill, Pierce said:

“I don’t like the negative picture of Arizona, and I’m on board asking the governor to veto the bill.”

– Steve Pierce is far more concerned about looking bad, and the negative attention that comes with legalising discrimination, than he is with legalised discrimination itself. Pierce then signed a letter, along with Senators Bob Worsley, and Adam Driggs.

“While our sincere intent in voting for this bill was to create a shield for all citizens’ religious liberties, the bill has instead been mischaracterized by its opponents as a sword for religious intolerance. These allegations are causing our state immeasurable harm.”

– Yes. It’s pointing out the theocratic and bigoted nature of the Bill that is the problem. Their complaint is that they aren’t allowed to discriminate in peace. Following the line of ‘a shield’ protecting all citizens’ religious liberties; if this bill were active in Texas, it would afford the right for a business owner of a member of the congregation of the Appleby Baptist Church in Nacogdoches – who believe in racial segregation based on the ‘curse of Ham’ – to place a ‘whites only’ sign in his shop window, and claim it on ‘sincerely held religious belief’.

I’m almost certain the same Republican state representatives don’t take issue with their salaries being partly funded by LGBT taxpayers, or the roads they drive on, or the state education their children receive, or the police protection they enjoy. Conveniently, I’m sure none of that violates their ‘sincerely held religious belief’.

But the State Republicans aren’t the only ones to provide awful responses to the controversy. Kristin Jarnagin, vice president of the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association said:

“We have already lost untold amounts of tax dollars due to the negative perception that this legislation attaches to our state’s image, and the bill hasn’t even been signed into law yet.”

– Similarly, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council said:

“With major events approaching in the coming year, including Super Bowl XLIX, Arizona will be the center of the world’s stage. This legislation has the potential of subjecting the Super Bowl, and major events surrounding it, to the threats of boycotts.”

– Yes! That’s the problem! Tax dollars and the effect on a sporting event. Apparently bigotry is fine, if it doesn’t interfere with tourism. That’s what they seem to have decided is the problem. Not the further institutionalising of heterosexual privilege and legalisation of bigotry and bullying. Not the subtle message sent out that the rights of all non-Christians should be secondary to the rights of Christians, and dependent on the demands of those Christians. This legislation not only legalises discrimination against the LGBT community – and, well, anyone else that Christians decide they’re not too keen on – it tells the LGBT community and non-Christians that they are not to be considered equal citizens, will not be entitled the same rights as Christians, and that their right to equal citizenship and protection should be decided upon by Theocrats, on the basis of Biblical ‘morality’. It is the grotesque concept of the state recognising and establishing religious intolerance at the expense of equal rights. Completely anti-constitutional. It is the state placing the supremacy of the Bible, above the Constitution. It is the state creating two classes of citizen; the religious, and the non-religious, with the former to be given a privileged societal position above the latter. This is illegitimate and extremely dangerous religious (and so, Christian) supremacy, in much the same way as Jim Crow was illegitimate and extremely dangerous white supremacy.

It seems to be the case that conservative Christians struggle to identify the difference between being persecuted for their faith, and challenges to the supremacy of their faith. The latter, is not the same as the former. The Bill authorises persecution, for the sake of the supremacy of faith. A state based on the supremacy of one religion should be considered as vile and dangerous as a state based on the supremacy of one skin tone. It is vastly anti-secular, and vastly anti-American. It is a dehumanising bill that should offend all who value equality, human dignity, secular protections, and the Constitution. There is so much wrong with this Bill, and the response to it, that it’s difficult to know where to even begin.


ENDA: Civil Rights in the 21st Century.

November 6, 2013

enda, employment nondiscrimination act, usa, speaker boehner enda, house republicans enda, senate enda, politics

The importance of passing ENDA in one quote.

Two days ago, 61 Senators – including seven Republicans – voted to begin debate on the vital role of passing the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA).

ENDA; A bill that if passed in the coming days, would prevent workplace discrimination based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. In short, the Bill ensures that workers should not feel scared that they might lose their jobs if their employer finds out (yup, it’s still taboo to be gay or transgender in the land of the free) that they happen to be in love with someone of the same gender as themselves, or happen to be transgender. It is a civil rights bill, an equality bill, a bill that levels the playing field. Which is why Republicans in the House oppose it.

Predictably, a Republican House that didn’t wish to reauthorise the Violence Against Women Act if it happened to cover LGBT couples and fought hard (though, ultimately failed) to prevent it passing appear to see ENDA as an opportunity to reiterate how much they dislike anyone who happens to be LGBT. The same heterosexual, male, anti-equality NO votes appear on every Senate roll call; Cruz, Paul, Lee, Rubio. A filibuster proof majority ensured the far-right in the Senate could not hold the country to ransom again.

That being said, despite the fact that ENDA will almost certainly pass the Senate, and has widespread support from the public (60% support ENDA), Speaker Boehner refuses to bring a vote to the House floor. Insisting:

“The Speaker believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs.”

– Just analyse that quote for a second. Really take in what Boehner is saying here. The Speaker of the House has just referred to lawsuits against employers that threaten your livelihood, your income, your ability to pay your mortgage, or feed your family, or pay your bills, the heartache and bullying it perpetuates, based solely on your sexual orientation – which is absolutely none of their business, and does not affect your work – as “frivolous”. The act of firing someone based solely on their sexual orientation, the Republicans do not apparently see as “frivolous”, and in fact consider perfectly reasonable and legitimate. To take this logic to its ultimate conclusion, they must – if they are to be consistent – also support workplace discrimination when it is aimed at race, gender, and religion.

Ironically, this is the same House Speaker that has brought 48 frivolous anti-Affordable Care Act votes to the House Floor, and forced a frivolous government shutdown costing $24bn. I’m not entirely sure the Speaker of the House is in any position to be telling us what is and isn’t “frivolous”.

Not only that, but it isn’t true that litigation would increase. There is no evidence for that at all. In fact, according to the Government Accountability Office there are currently 22 States that have their own anti-discrimination policies. The GAO report concludes that between 2007-2012, of those 22 States:

“…there were relatively few employment discrimination complaints based on sexual orientation and gender identity filed in these states during this time period.”

– In other words, anti-discrimination policies work. Whether they are designed to level the playing field by working to end white supremacy, male supremacy, or heterosexual supremacy; they are not only morally right, they work.
But that is just 22 States. Texas, New Hampshire, West Virginia and 25 more States currently do not allow for protection against discrimination in the workplace, if you happen to be gay. So, not only can same-sex couples not get marriage in Texas…. they also can’t mention their partner incase their employer finds out and fires them. This is why ENDA is vital.

That being said, ENDA is not completely equality-oriented. Under ENDA, a religious organisation, or institution; including educational, can still proscribe LGBT people from holding office. A watered down ENDA Bill enshrines institutionalised bigotry, by suggesting that that bigotry is acceptable, if it is based on religious conviction; an exemption ensured by the voice of the Christian-right minority. ENDA doesn’t go far enough, but it’s a good start.

Secondly, Boehner’s statement says unequivocally that the ENDA would cost American jobs. How so? Surely having the option to fire someone based on their sexuality orientation rather than the quality of their work, is a jobs killer. Is Boehner willing to tell the majority of Fortune 500 companies that have non-discrimination policies, that they’re killing jobs? Boehner’s comment implies that discriminating against gay people actually has a positive effect on the economy. For Boehner, the measure of your success through the quality of your work, is less important than who you fall in love with. Hard work pays, but only if you’re straight. For some odd reason, Boehner seems to saying that being able to prevent qualified and talented people from being employed simply for being gay, grows an economy. It quickly becomes easy to see past the “economy! jobs” veil that the Republicans tend to place over their faces to mask their inherent religiously motivated dislike for anyone who isn’t exactly like them. And don’t be fooled, this is just another attempt to allow religion to dictate policy and the concept of rights.

Even if the Speaker’s claims were correct – that jobs were lost, and litigation increased due to ending workplace discrimination – it would not be a legitimate argument to perpetuate oppression and workplace bullying. Speaker Boehner has no credible argument for refusing to allow a debate and vote on the Employment Nondiscrimination Act.

When recently re-elected Republican Governor of New Jersey – and potential Republican Candidate for President in 2016 – Chris Christie was asked how he would respond to the news that one of his children was gay, Christie said:

“[If] my children came to me and said that they were gay, I would grab them and hug them and tell them I loved them, just like I would do with any of my children who came to me with news that they wanted to give to me that they thought were important enough to open themselves up in that way. But what I would also tell them is that Dad believes that marriage is between one man and one woman. And that’s my position… And I know what [my child] would understand is that their father loves them, and that’s the most important thing.”

– What he essentially saying is: “I love you and everything, but I will continue to vote to uphold a system that made it difficult for you to come to me in the first place, and that will inevitably lead to discrimination and bullying against you in the future.” Whilst Christie isn’t willing to protect his children against bullying, fear and discrimination, The Employment Non-Discrimination Act currently passing through the Senate works to address those problems. It is of vital importance to the cause of civil rights and equality that a secular and democratic nation like the United States has fought since its conception to ensure.


The Blue Eyes of Saudi Arabia

September 14, 2013

Try to imagine for a second how you would react, how you would feel, and how every day would be for you and your family, if you were born with blue eyes, in a Country that not only viciously stigmatised those with blue eyes as an unforgivable perversion against nature, but that nation also tortured, and sometimes executed those caught with blue eyes.

Try to imagine, if the basis for the hate directed at you for having blue eyes, was a 7th Century book of myths. That, because that 7th century book of myths told a story of a city that God burnt to the ground for being full of people with blue eyes, even though that story has no basis in historical fact, you would forever be linked with the inhabitants of that city, and considered the enemy of God, regardless of the content of your character.

The Saudi Arabia UN Delegation made this plea to the UN earlier this year:

“Moreover, the Human Rights Council in last June condemned the Syrian regime on the violations of the Syrian people human rights. Any delay from the international community to take action means more suffering for the helpless Syrian people helpless.”

– It would seem from the rhetoric that Saudi Arabia cares deeply for applying international pressure for the sake of human rights. But it is quite simple to turn this Saudi call for action in Syria for human rights abuses, right back around to face Saudi Arabia itself. And the Delegation would be correct; any delay from the international community to take action in Saudi Arabia over its horrific record on human rights, means more suffering for the victims of the crime family that currently rules that country.

One simple paragraph from the Saudi Ministry of Education Textbooks for Islamic Studies: 2007-2008 offers a prime example of just why politically religious folk should never be allowed power over the apparatus of a State, nor over the lives of its inhabitants especially its children, in an enlightened World. The barbaric nature of their law:

“Homosexuality is one of the most disgusting sins and greatest crimes…. It is a vile perversion that goes against sound nature, and is one of the most corrupting and hideous sins…. The punishment for homosexuality is death. Both the active and passive participants are to be killed whether or not they have previously had sexual intercourse in the context of a legal marriage…. Some of the companions of the Prophet stated that [the perpetrator] is to be burned with fire. It has also been said that he should be stoned, or thrown from a high place.”

– It seems almost as if this is an attempt at an ironic art work. Because for a faith that believes their Prophet flew on a very fast magic flying horse to heaven and met Jesus, to claim to be able to speak confidently on anything pertaining to ‘sound nature’ is either an ironic art work, or the start of the most hypocritical speech in religious history. When it comes to the “unnatural”… religions have that one covered almost exclusively.

Either way, that one nasty paragraph – that completely misunderstands ‘sound nature’ – should be enough for those who profess to believe in the cause of social justice and human rights, to focus the majority of their time and efforts on freedom for Saudi Arabia. Currently, students are banned from school and university, if they are suspected of being gay. It isn’t just intense and violent homophobia today in Saudi Arabia that is the problem, it is the systematic attempts to instill into the vulnerable minds of children, that hate is acceptable. It is an attempt to poison those vulnerable minds with violent witchcraft and the acceptability of oppression rather than universal rights and biological fact.

For some odd reason, we do not treat this blatant abuse of the most fundamental rights, in the same way we would if we were to exchange the word “homosexuality” in the above, to “having blue eyes“. Both are part of a natural spectrum that we have no control over, and yet they are treated completely differently, despite being very similar. I would suggest that if the above paragraph from the Saudi Ministry of Education Textbooks were to specify punishment for those with blue eyes, instead of homosexuality, there would be far more outrage both for the country in question, and the faith that spawned it. Here:

“Having blue eyes is one of the most disgusting sins and greatest crimes…. It is a vile perversion that goes against sound nature, and is one of the most corrupting and hideous sins…. The punishment for persons with blue eyes, is death. Some of the companions of the Prophet stated that those with blue eyes are to be burned with fire. It has also been said that he should be stoned, or thrown from a high place.”

– This paragraph, if enshrined into a Nation’s law, should not shock us anymore than when it said Homosexuality, and yet I am certain that it would. The ‘companions of the Prophet’ would be ignored as a product of their time not to be taken seriously today. I am certain that the World would act to ensure that a scientifically as well as historically untrue basis for such a law, were thoroughly discredited and pressure exerted to ensure the law never made it to any statute book, as a grave abuse of basic human rights.

But, when it is applied to homosexuality, it is often dismissed as a “cultural” difference by cultural relativists whose respect for the dignity of life and individual rights, are not universally applied and must come second when considered alongside violent Theocratic considerations. Tradition seems more important than rights. As if tradition and ‘cultural differences’ are an acceptable excuse for the fact that in the year 2000, Saudi Arabia executed three Yemen men for what it deemed the:

“…obscenity of homosexuality and imitating women.”

– By ‘imitating women’, I’m guessing they don’t mean having to cover everything with the exception of hands and eyes, and another male having ‘guardianship’ rights over her, like a piece of property, nor married off to dirty old men at the age of 9.
In 2005 over 100 men were arrested and sentenced to flogging for:

“behaving like women.”

In 2002, three men were beheaded for being gay.
In 2007, two gay men were sentenced to 7000 lashes, for being gay.
– However we dress it up; this is torture and murder and it is a flagrant disregard for even the most basic of rights; to life itself. We cannot imagine the fear that gay men and women must face every day in Saudi Arabia. Religion does not prevent homosexuality, just like religion would not prevent blue eyes. Because religion has no explanation for nature. It has unsubstantiated, tribal myths, and nothing more. And when nature outgrows religious explanation, religion resorts to violently repressing nature, instead of looking inward and accepting it might be the faith that is flawed.

Gay Palestinian men often risk their lives fleeing into Israel, where they feel far safer and respected, than in the deeply illiberal, Theocratic Palestinian territories. According to a BBC World Service Outlook report, one man fled Gaza to Israel after his family found out that he was gay. The man said that police in Palestine had beat and tortured him.

In 2011, police in Afghanistan publicly humiliated a man dressed in women’s clothes. The victim is seen on film with eyes tearing up as the officers humiliate him. The man says:

“Please have mercy, don’t make fun of me.”

In 1998 in the southern town of Kandahar, the Taliban ordered three gay men buried, with their heads sticking out of the ground, and a wall pushed on top of them by a tank… for the crime of being gay.

The Iranian Constitution states:

“Sodomy is a crime, for which both partners are punished. The punishment is death if the participants are adults, of sound mind and consenting; the method of execution is for the Shari’a judge to decide.”

– Imagine the international backlash, if that Constitution noted that “having blue eyes is a crime“. This constitutional addition has lead to 4000 gay men and women stoned, hanged, beheaded, thrown alive from tall buildings, and set on fire, as legally sanctioned punishments for being gay in Iran. But, because the precedent is set in certain Hadith, for some odd reason it takes on a form of respectability and credibility that those who aren’t Muslim, seem to feel must be respected to a degree. Why? It isn’t acceptable, and the words and deeds of religious figures that give these punishments the life they have, are also completely unacceptable.
One Hadith in question is particularly grotesque and must be condemned as such:

“Narated By Abdullah ibn Abbas : The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: If you find anyone doing as Lot’s people did, kill the one who does it, and the one to whom it is done.”

– If God creates people who happen to be gay, or who have blue eyes, and then demands stigmatising and punishment for those people, it is extremely problematic to label this God anything but a being that enjoys playing violent games with human lives, like rearing ants so that eventually you can point a ray of burning light through magnifying glass at them, and still demand that those tortured ants worship you for such ‘mercy’. This is a cruel Being with no redeeming features.

Secondly, there is no Qur’anic law or rule demanding the murder or torture of gay people (A similar thing cannot be said for the Bible). We could of course point to Sodom – in both the Bible & Qur’an – but, given that no evidence has ever surfaced to suggest this story is based in fact; it’d be like using Narnia for evidence that kids and lions make excellent rulers. And so if any law comes from the (completely unsubstantiated; as all Hadith are) words or deeds of the Prophet, I’m afraid those Muslims who endorse such man made laws, that in no way relate to the Qur’an, are guilty of a sort of idol worship, which of course is a grave sin for that particular faith. It is only through completely unreliable Hadith – reflecting the prejudices and scientific, and social ignorance of the time and place, along with the imperial structure of that particular time and place in history – that gay men and women in Saudi Arabia and other Islamic nations are persecuted so horrifically.

Whilst every move Israel makes is remarked upon, condemned, and watched with an unmovable eye from both Western Muslims, and a vast portion of those on the Galloway-Left whose ‘cultural relativist’ position is strangely less active when it involves Israel; the most vile regime in Saudi Arabia quietly carries out public lashings, torture and executions of anyone who doesn’t fit its very narrow vision of what it’s 7th Century book demands, with very little real anger from the rest of the World.

My position is quite simple. If your religious text claims universal and timeless truth, upon which it advocates death for any natural trait, be it homosexuality, or blue eyes… your religious text should not be taught to children, should not be allowed to influence policy, should be criticised, shamed, and satirised at every possible opportunity, and deserves not a single shred of respect. Any Nation that puts that text into political practice, must be the focus of united international condemnation from those who claim to have even an ounce of respect for the dignity of human rights and social justice. There is no acceptable excuse for the torture, and murder of anyone with blue eyes.


Communism and Homosexuality

July 19, 2013

The gay marriage bill passed the House of Lords successfully this week, effectively legalising marriage for same-sex couples in the UK. For most of us, this is a wonderful step forward for human progress and equality. For a select melodramatic few, the World is about to end. One of the many charges against those who support same-sex marriage, is…. well… I’ll allow these people to gleefully inform you:

commie
gay
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Article here.

So, I thought I’d write on the subject of Communism, and homosexuality, in order to dispel this – easy to dispel – right winged myth, that same sex marriage, can in any way, be linked to Communism. As it turns out, a lot has been written on the Soviet Union and homosexuality, and rather in depth the subject is too. So I will briefly summarise the research here.

We must of course cast ourselves back to the very foundation of the concept of Communism, and its founders, to base our understanding of Communism and Homosexuality. The 19th century that Karl Marx inhabited was a very homophobic century, and this homophobia didn’t escape Communists of the time. Actually, much of the complaints of modern day homophobes on the Right – conspiracy against the State – can be found in the writings of early Communist. Engels himself linked homosexuality, with paedophilia – a tactic used by both Stalin in the 1930s, and today on the right wing – as a reason to discriminate heavily against the gay community. On June 22, 1869, Engels wrote to Marx:

“That is really a very odd ‘Urning’ you just sent me. Those are just unveilings being extremely against nature. The pederasts begin counting themselves and find that they are forming a power within the state. Only an organisation was missing, but according to this it seems to be already existing in the secret. And as they are counting so important men within all the old parties and even in the new ones, from Rösing to Schweitzer, their victory is inevitable. ‘Guerre aux cons, paix aux trous de cul’ it will go now. It is only a luck that we personally are too old to have to fear, this party gaining victory, to have to pay bodily tribute to the victors. But the young generation! By the way, only possible in Germany that a guy like that appears, translates the dirt into a theory and invites: introite, and so on. ”

– Here, Engels is talking about Karl Ulrichs, the early gay rights pioneer. Ulrichs sent a letter to Marx asking for support from the Communists. Marx asked Engels for his opinion. Engels writes back rather unequivocally. The word ‘urning’ in the opening sentence, is a word meaning the body of a man with the mind and lusts of a woman; a man attracted to other men. ‘Against nature’, ‘forming a power within the state’, ‘existing in secret’, ‘translates dirt into a theory’. The homophobic diatribe by Engels is reminiscent of 21st Century conservatives like the blogger above who is convinced same-sex unions are a coup by a well organised group to destroy the state as we know it.

Whilst homosexuality was technically legalised in the early Soviet Union (not purposely, but as a result of the overturning of all Tsarist laws), it only applied to Russia itself. The nations surrounding Russia, within the Soviet Union had extremely strict anti-homosexuality laws. There was no big Communist push to liberalise sexuality. There was no suggestion that homosexuality could be used to destroy Western civilisation, that it was an intrinsic materialist device to overthrow Capitalist society. In fact, homosexuality was a crime in Azerbaijan, in Turkmenistan, in Uzbekistan. In 1930, only 13 years after the founding of the Soviet Union, a Soviet medical official named Sereisky penned the Soviet’s new stance on homosexuality:

“Soviet legislation does not recognize so-called crimes against morality. Our laws proceed from the principle of protection of society and therefore countenance punishment only in those instances when juveniles and minors are the objects of homosexual interest … while recognizing the incorrectness of homosexual development … our society combines prophylactic and other therapeutic measures with all the necessary conditions for making the conflicts that afflict homosexuals as painless as possible and for resolving their typical estrangement from society within the collective.”

– The passage here officially condemns homosexuality as a crime against morality, that it is a threat to children, and that it is outside the realms of civilised society, whilst stopping short of full criminalisation. As it happens, this demonisation of homosexuality was a precursor for the next phase in Soviet sexual repression.

Three years later, in 1933, Article 121 was added to the Soviet penal code within Stalin’s Soviet Union. The Article stated that:

“sexual relations between men are punishable by prison terms of up to five years.”

– This law lasted another sixty years, with ten people imprisoned in 1992 for homosexual relations. Originally, Stalin introduced Article 121 in order to give credit to the idea that homosexuality, was actually a Fascist plot. Just before his death, Soviet cultural writer Maxim Gorky wrote:

“”In a country in which the proletariat rules courageously and successfully, homosexuality, which depraves the youth, is recognized and punished as the antisocial crime that it is, while in the so-called cultivated countries /…/ it occurs freely and unchecked. Already, a sarcastic proverb has been devised: Eradicate homosexuality and you will eliminate fascism.”

– Of course, Gorky left out the part in which upon coming to power, Hitler rounded up homosexual men and threw them into concentration camps, but it suited his narrative, and Soviet homophobic propaganda, not to mention that. Isn’t it ironic that the same arguments employed by the far right today, were used almost identically by the far left almost a century ago; both are guilty of the social abuse of a minority in order to advance their own ideological agenda.
We also see Gorky using the commonly used tactic; fear for the future of your children. We’ll come back to this a little later.

After Stalin’s death, Kruschev repealed many of the anti-liberalisation laws of the Stalin era, including anti-abortion laws, anti-divorce laws…. but he didn’t repeal the anti-homosexuality laws. Those remained in place. He was afraid that the prisoner-like sexual mentality would infect the rest of the population. Suddenly, in less than a year, the very top of the Communist regime in the Soviet Union went from mistakenly linking homosexuality to paedophilia, to linking homosexuality to forced prison-like sex. The anti-homosexuality rhetoric and action were so repulsive, it is only matched by the repulsive attitudes toward homosexuality coming from the right wing today. For example, the Stalinist (and Engels) line that homosexuality and paedophilia are linked, has been appropriated in recent times, by the US Christian Right. Here, Pat Robertson tells us that gay marriage, will lead to the legalisation of paedophilia:

“How about child molestation and paedophilia? How can we criminalise these things and at the same time have constitutional amendments allowing same sex marriage? You mark my words, this is just the beginning in a long downward slide in relation to all the things that we consider to be abhorrent.”

– Pat Robertson seems to be employing the Stalinist ‘crimes against morality’ logic with linking homosexuality to paedophilia, alongside a staggering slippery slope fallacy. It is exactly the arguments put forth by Communists within the Soviet Union, in the 1930s.

Similarly, Michael Savage, US Radio DJ said:

“You’ve got to explain to the children … why God told people this was wrong. You have to explain this to them in this time of mental rape that’s going on. The children’s minds are being raped by the homosexual mafia, that’s my position. They’re raping our children’s minds.”

– The protection of children, as mentioned above, has been a key rhetorical device used by the homophobic for decades. You must fear for your child’s future if homosexuality is allowed to persist… is the cry of the bigot. Not only did Stalin, Sereisky, and Gorky dubiously tie homosexuality with child molestation, but the right wing now appears to have taken that argument and made it their own. Like the ‘crimes against morality’ line that links both Soviet Communists, and modern day conservatives, the argument that we must fear for our children’s safety, because of homosexuality, is also a direct link between Soviet Communists, and modern day conservatives.

Whilst homosexuality was criminalised in 1933 between two men, it wasn’t criminalised between two women. Instead, gay women were referred to psychiatrists, who in turn, had then committed for three months. During that time, drugs were often tested on young gay women, followed by the forced signing of the mentally ill register, rendering any possibility of a good career, a driving licence, and happy life, almost impossible. This practice ended, as late as 1988, though still proceeded in many provinces.

One only has to look at the repression of homosexuality in Russia today, to understand the development historically of a very homophobic nation.

In fact, Homosexuality was only removed from the list of Russian mental disorders, in 1999. Homosexuality, in Communist China was not decriminalised until 1997, and considered a mental illness until 2002.
In the USA, the great gay rights activist Harry Hay was thrown out of the Communist Party, because the Communist Party did not allow gay people to be members.
Nepal’s Maoists are still very anti-homosexuality, and repression of Nepals LGBT rights advocates, is widespread.
Dev Gurung, the Maoist Minister of Justice for the Communist Party in Nepal, offered a mirrored image of right winged insistences that Communism and Homosexuality are intrinsically linked, with this little gem of melodrama:

“Under Soviet rule there were no homosexuals in the Soviet Union. Now that they are moving towards capitalism, homosexuals may have arisen there as well. So homosexuality is a product of capitalism. Under socialism this kind of problem doesn’t exist.”

– So you see, the same tired arguments are thrown from the fringes of the right and left, putridly degrading a minority, perpetuating discrimination and hate based on nothing of any substance, to promote an ideological standpoint.

Communists regimes were among the most repressive in history, toward homosexuality.

The repression of homosexuality throughout the Soviet Union, and by Communists in general was widespread throughout its history. Thousands were imprisoned for decades, many more were brutally beaten and murdered simply for being gay. This is what happens when you not only criminalise and work hard to stigmatise a biological trait (be it sexuality, gender, or race) but you base an entire social system upon patriarchy, or Theocracy, or the supremacy of one race above all others. A system of privilege for those who wrongfully think themselves the rightful rulers of civilised society based on no valid reasoning, develops into a system of repression against those who don’t fit its narrow band of what is decent and correct. To defend this system, the same fallacious arguments are thrown around, usually in an attempt to induce fear within a population. Defend homophobic, racist, patriarchy… otherwise God will punish you, and your children will be in danger! They scream ‘agenda!’ at every possible turn; the ‘abolitionist agenda’, the ‘feminist agenda!’, the ‘gay rights agenda!’, as if those are to be viewed negatively, rather than positive strides toward equality and an end to discriminatory, regressive consciousness. They insist the government is under attack, they play on the fears of danger to children. And it is the same today. 21st Century Conservatives; in a show of intense irony, those who claim the mantle of freedom and individual liberty, are the most repressive defenders of systems of privilege in the 21st century.


A leopard cannot change its spots.

May 14, 2010

The day before I was elected leader, Mr Cameron suggested we join them. He talked about a “progressive alliance”. This talk of alliances comes up a lot, doesn’t it? Everyone wants to be in our gang. So I want to make something very clear today.
Will I ever join a Conservative government?
No.

Nick Clegg’s speech to the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference 2008.

This pains me to say, but I fully support the new Government’s immediate scrapping of the third runway at Heathrow, and the I.D Card Scheme. Both were huge mistakes by Labour. To claim to be committed to carbon reduction, whilst planning a third runway at Heathrow, was political bullshit of its most nonsensical kind.

Now that’s out of the way, there are a few initial problems I have with this new coalition Government.

Firstly, as mentioned previously, the three main Lib Dem negotiating team that worked tirelessly to strike a deal with the Tories after the General Election caused a hung Parliament; Chris Huhne, Danny Alexander, and David Laws, are the only three members of the Lib Dems (other than the leader, and his No.2, obviously) to be given a place in cabinet. Which stinks. Chris Huhne is at Climate and Energy, David Laws is Treasury Secretary, and Danny Alexander is Scottish Secretary. What a lovely little negotiation that must have been.

Secondly, David Cameron, the New Prime Minister (I shuddered, writing that) said this would be a “new kind of politics” with “new people, and new ideas”. Interesting. Let’s look at the cabinet shall we?

  • Work and Pensions Secretary: Iain Duncan Smith. Ex-leader of the Tory Party. Very anti-European. Had a post in William Hague’s shadow cabinet. William Hague said he only promoted people to his shadow cabinet, if they had a full commitment to financial deregulation. You know, the issue that caused the problems we face now economically. Oh how wonderful. Voted for the Iraq war. Voted strongly against all gay rights legislation and against the ban on fox hunting.
  • Secretary of State for Justice: Kenneth Clarke. Has been alive since the beginning of time. Served in Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet. Voted against gay rights legislation. Voted against a more transparent Parliament. Voted against the ban on fox hunting. Voted against foundation hospitals.
  • Communities Secretary: Eric Pickles. Been in Parliament for 18 years. Ex-Chairman of the Tory Party. Voted against all gay rights legislation. Voted against removing hereditary peers from the Lords. But then voted for an all elected chamber. But then voted again for a partially elected chamber. Voted against foundation hospitals. Voted for the Iraq war. Voted against the ban on fox hunting.
    Voted against IVF treatment for lesbian couples arguing the need for “a father and a mother”.

  • Foreign Secretary: William Hague. Been in Parliament for over 20 years. Keen Thatcherite. Ex-leader of the Tory Party. Lost the 2001 general election to Blair’s Labour Party. Voted strongly against removing hereditary peers from the Lords. Voted against foundation hospitals. Voted against gay rights legislation. Voted against the smoking ban. Voted against the ban on fox hunting. Voted for the Iraq war.
  • Home Secretary and Equalities Minister: Theresa May. This is my favourite of the lot. Being Minister for Equality, she has to deal with raising the standard of equality across the board. This includes gay rights. Theresa May has voted against every piece of gay rights legislation, and said of the repeal of that nasty little piece of Tory legislation “Section 28” which forbade anything positive being said about homosexuality in schools; “There is a real danger that the abolition of section 28 will lead to the promotion of a homosexual lifestyle as morally equivalent to marriage.“. She then voted against the right of Gay people to adopt. This is our new equalities minister. A bigot, is our new equalities minister. It’s like the Republican Party of America just won the election.

    The list goes on…and on….and on. New people, with new ideas. Which, happen to be the same old people, with the same old ideas. Interesting.

    The final thing that has annoyed me already about these utter bastards, is the way in which they have locked themselves into a fixed term. Of course it was ridiculous to allow the PM to dissolve Parliament and call an election. It meant any time within a five year period, he could go to the polls.Cameron has waivered that right, and good on him for doing so. But, he then found a new novel way of getting around that issue. For a vote of no confidence to bring down a Government, a majority of 50% plus one, of the members of Parliament must back a vote of no confidence. It is the mechanism that brought down the Labour Callaghan minority government in the ’70s. Cameron currently has 47% of MPs in the House, and so there was enough at any time during the next five years, to enact a vote of no confidence, because the other parties hold exactly 53% of the MPs. The new government has increased that threshold to 55%, which means there now is absolutely no chance of a vote of no confidence. He has locked in his government. Which means if the coalition were to fail, and Cameron run a minority government, there is no way for the Conservatives to dissolve Parliament on their own, nor is there any way for Labour, the Liberals and the other parties to dissolve the Parliament. It is now institutionally impossible to muster up the 55% needed. Dangerous politics. And they had the fucking nerve to suggest that Gordon Brown was “clinging to power”.

    It’ll be interesting to see what comes next….