Sunday, December 13, 2009

The politics of hate

Those of us on the centre or left are told repeatedly that we mustn’t call christianist extremists “bigots” or to say they’re motivated by hatred. The underlying assumption is that “moderates” are incapable of understanding the difference between christianist extremists and real Christians. Condescension aside, the main problem with that is it lets people who practice hate off the hook when they should be called out on it.

There's no better example of the hatred of the christianist far right than their actions in Uganda, a country which looks about to enact a law mandating execution or life in prison, in some cases, for gay people. It also makes failing to report gay people to the government a crime resulting in a prison sentence. If a gay person fled Uganda, the new law will make their “crime” extraditable.

A veritable who’s who of the American christianist far right has been involved in this, including “The Family”, a secretive christianist extremist cult that includes the leading far right christianist Republicans in the US Congress. They’ve been aided and abetted by the “ex-gay” quackery industry and also the infamous “evangelist” Rick Warren.

The newsmedia, and especially the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, have been following this story relentlessly and have been asking the christianists and the Republicans who have been so involved in Ugandan politics to denounce the bill and to use their influence to stop it. While some of them did denounce the bill—within the US only—none of them did anything to try and stop the bill.

Finally, after weeks of public lobbying, Rick Warren belatedly issued a video denouncing the bill and urging Uganda to drop it. Even the White House issued a denunciation, after the GLBT The Advocate asked him to.

But The Guardian is reporting that author of the “kill the gays” bill says it will proceed intact. The far right christianists were doing in Uganda only what they want to do everywhere. Most of them will freely admit that they want homosexuality criminalised in the West, and their actions in Uganda are only an extreme version of what they want. Their US-only condemnations, with their total lack of effort whatsoever to actually stop the bill, underscores this: They want to hoodwink rational people in the US into thinking the far right doesn’t approve of the bill when, in fact, they certainly do approve.

If the bill becomes law, we’ll see Western countries wring their hands—and refuse to anything to punish Uganda. We’ll hear how deplorable the bill is, how it’s not appropriate behavior for a country in the “family of nations”, and similar words. However, the next sentence from countries around the world will begin with “But…”, and they will do nothing.

There are times when decent people are called upon to stand up to evil. This is one of those times: It’s time to end the politics of hate.


d said...

I'm not really sure how this is any different than genocide. Why is America and the rest of the world looking the other way?

Arthur Schenck said...

Much of it has to do with a general reluctance among Western nations to take the oppression of GLBT people seriously, often, like with the US, because of domestic politics.

However, there's the added factor that very often the politicians who are "friends" of GLBT people are fair-weather friends. As is often said, to many of our supposed allies, a "fag" is a homosexual gentleman who's just left the room.

Having said all that, Western politicians are welcome to prove me wrong.