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Archive for the ‘violence’ Category

Connecting the Dots: U.S. Evangelicals and Ugandan Homo Death Bill

September 2nd, 2010 1 comment

Over on 365gay today, I explore the connection. Makes for interesting, yet chilling reading — as does the article from Harper’s that I link to there.

The Hunt-A-Homo Chain

May 25th, 2010 2 comments

I.

Just when you thought the hammer couldn’t hit the Anti-Homo scale any harder, this one rings the bell. Really, check out this video. It’s only fifty seconds long and will astonish you — maybe. (I can’t embed it, or I would.) Listen as Baptist pastor Owens (no first name given, oddly!) calls for us to be shot with a “scatter shot gun.” That, he confidently predicts, will send us scurrying back to the closet. Oh, he’s sorry for having said it. He was young, after all. Listen to his “flock” scream their assent.

In a possibly unrelated story, Owens’ son pleaded guilty to the sexual assault of two under-age girls, one of whom he met at…church.

II.

Mike Huckabee had this to say a few weeks ago: Gay marriages shouldn’t be accommodated any more than incest, drug abuse, and polygamy should be. The affable but dangerous Huckabee added that gay couples shouldn’t be allowed to adopt because “children aren’t puppies.”

I can see why Huckabee might have wanted gays to adopt puppies, though. Here‘s a story that you might have missed:

Two boy scout counselors, 17 year old Clayton Frady and 18 year old David litickabee [sic], the son of Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, have admitted to catching a stray dog during their summer session at Camp Pioneer in Hatfield, AR, and hanging the dog by his neck, slitting his throat and stoning him to death.

Camp officials, who did not report the crime to law enforcement officials, have admitted that the act did occur and have fired the boys from their positions. However, no charges have been filed against the young men.

III.

The two men convicted in Malawi of gross indecency and sentenced to fourteen years at hard labor will appeal their conviction.

Anti-Gay Violence in Senegal and Throughout Africa

April 12th, 2010 2 comments

There I was, listening to Kiki Dee on iTunes, when I came across this horrific story, posted by the AP this morning. Here’s how it starts:

(Thies, Senegal) Even death cannot stop the violence against gays in this corner of the world any more.

Madieye Diallo’s body had only been in the ground for a few hours when the mob descended on the weedy cemetery with shovels. They yanked out the corpse, spit on its torso, dragged it away and dumped it in front of the home of his elderly parents.

And from there the story spirals outward to describe a culture of fear and violence against the gay community, fueled by religious nuts tapping into economic uncertainty, and carried out by fearful and ignorant citizens of many African countries.

The story paints with a broad brush, and it would be helpful to know, from a population perspective, just how widespread the problem truly is. The story quotes only Brit activist Peter Tatchell’s statement that anti-gay violence is up over the past year, and I’m more than willing to believe that’s true. But I couldn’t find any evidence on Tatchell’s website (which is kind of a mess, really; if anyone can find anything useful on this point there, let me know), and it would be good to have some hard numbers.

But whether the situation is getting worse or not, it’s plenty bad enough. The lead story is about a man whose family wouldn’t tell hospital personnel that he had AIDS, and therefore hastened his death by depriving him of appropriate medical care. Read the entire story and be appalled.

Although it would be irresponsible to compare what’s going on in much of Africa with events here in the U.S., we’re no strangers to scape-goating and incitements to violence — whether it be against abortion providers; politicians who voted for health care reform; or “transgressing” people like the LGBT community. Yet accounts like this make my blood run cold:

In March 2008, Senegal hosted an international summit of Muslim nations, which prompted a nationwide crackdown on behaviors deemed un-Islamic, including homosexuality.

The crackdown also coincided with spiraling food prices. Niang says political and religious leaders saw an easy way to reach constituents through the inflammatory topic of homosexuality.

“They found a way to explain the difficulties people are facing as a deviation from religious life,” says Niang. “So if people are poor – it’s because there are prostitutes in the street. If they don’t have enough to eat, it’s because there are homosexuals.”

Imams began using Friday sermons to preach against homosexuality.

“During the time of the Prophet, anytime two men were found together, they were taken to the top of a mountain and thrown off,” says Massamba Diop, the imam of a mosque in Pikine and the head of Jamra, an Islamic lobby linked to a political party in Senegal’s parliament.

“If they didn’t die when they hit the ground, then rocks would be thrown on them until they were killed,” says Diop, whose mosque is so packed during Friday prayer that people bring their own carpets and line up outside on the asphalt.

My neighbors were Peace Corps workers in Senegal several years ago, and were unpleasantly surprised by hearing about the new intolerance there. But there will always be someone to blame, and these days “the homosexuals” are the ones with the bull’s-eye on their backs in parts of Africa.

A great deal might be said about what to do about this: Withhold aid from any nation whose government doesn’t act aggressively enough to crack down on the violence? Inhumane, given the burden of poverty and disease in many of these places. But it should be possible for the global community to strong-arm the leadership into dealing with the violence, using a “carrot” rather than a “stick” approach. I’m in favor of incentives here, although how they’d work and what would need to be shown in order to qualify would be tricky. But we can’t stand by and let this happen. The world community is much better at exerting pressure (to some effect, if still maddeningly limited) to protect women and children. Why not our LGBT brothers and sisters?

What’s Wrong with CBS, the Super Bowl, and Football

January 29th, 2010 No comments

This will be the official Grouch Post for January. One of them, anyway.

Maybe you’ve heard by now about CBS’s decisions on ads for the Super Bowl. They’ve decided to “relax” their policy against advocacy ads to allow one from Focus on the Family that uses NFL star Tim Tebow and his mother to condemn  abortion. (The message: “He wasn’t aborted! Therefore no one should be, ever!” What were you expecting in thirty seconds, sophistication?) It turns out that their policy had been evolving, but we just didn’t know it until now. Very convenient.

Meanwhile, an ad from an entity known as ManCrunch has been rejected, with the following explanation: “the creative is not within the Network’s Broadcast Standards for Super Bowl Sunday.” It might help to know what those standards are, but CBS isn’t saying.  Here’s the rejected video:

No, the Super Bowl isn’t being aired on April 1 this year. There’s a great deal that can be said about CBS’s decision. I begin with the obvious question: Would they have rejected a similar dating service ad for an opposite-sex couple? But that’s the easy observation. I’ll bet that the real reason had something to do with the way the ad brings to the surface the simmering homoeroticism in male contact sports (and here extended to the jersey-wearing couch potatoes who watch them).

I can’t say I’m sorry to see the ad go, though. I have no idea why a gay dating site would want to run this ad. The two guys don’t seem to know they’re even gay until they find their hands together in the chip bowl (yuck, btw). Worse, it closes with a pan over to the flummoxed friend who, one thinks, might be checking out other Super Bowl parties within the next few minutes. And do not get me started about the production values. I’m not the first to suggest that ManCrunch is offended like a fox, as they (never) say. They couldn’t have expected CBS to actually run this thing; but now they’re getting tons of free publicity. My tastless ad submission for this blogsite will soon follow.

As the Janet Jackson warbdrobe malfunction moment that will live forever reminds us, the Super Bowl has long been an uneasy mix of family entertainment, statement on the current culture, and — lest we forget — controlled violence.

It’s this violence that makes me so not a fan of professional football. As I’ve written before, distressing numbers of pro football players sustain long-term neurological and physical problems,  often leading to early death and disability. (One might say, uncharitably, that it’s too bad that Tim Tebow’s mom’s concerns about her son don’t seem to extend to his life after football.)  And watching the level of aggression that leads to such serious issues is itself a producer of violence: Domestic violence, fueled by alcohol and the negative emotions sustained by the fans of the losing team, spikes on Super Bowl Sunday. Enjoy the game, everyone!