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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash

Showing our gay pride.
I see a sad disconnect in the coverage of the Orlando massacre. I see worse coming.

When jihadists—good term; call them jihadists; although it is wrong to think that “jihad” per se is the problem—slammed two large planes into the Twin Towers, Jerry Falwell said this was because we had endorsed homosexuality and feminism. Almost everyone took him to task over this as a terrible thing to say. Yet to me, his comment was overwhelmingly likely to be correct. Plain good sense. Why does anyone else think they ran those planes into those towers? Because America supports Israel? Just because they hate anyone who is not Muslim?

I was married for a time to a Muslim woman from Pakistan. She referred to Europe and North America as “the wicked West.” I did not particularly appreciate this; but she was apparently expressing the common Muslim view. We were and are wicked, because we have gone all in for sexual immorality—notably, feminism and homosexuality. Loose women, gay men. Not a problem for her, from one perspective. Heck, she was here for the sexual immorality. She just wanted a piece of it. I, on the other hand, was not deeply interested in being wicked. And so, eventually, we parted company. Divergent interests.

But I digress. Given that you think promiscuous sex is genuinely immoral, she—and the plane bombers—were of course right. The West is wicked. We are wicked. 

It would not be so disturbign, either, if we kept it to ourselves. But instesd, we make insistent demands that the rest of the world, including the Muslim world, becomee as immoral as we are: that they endorse feminism, end the segregation of the sexes, allow women to bare much of their flesh, and end “disccrimination” against gays. That's being aggressively evil, and a declaration of war.

President Obama, in his speech in reaction to the Orlando mass shooting, did not mention Islam. Although the killer took the trouble to phone 911 and say that he was doing this in the name of ISIS, Obama explained earnestly “I've directed that we must spare no effort to determine what—if any—inspiration or association this killer may have had with terrorist groups.” But he did say, in reaction to events, that we all need “the strength and courage to change.” I'm guessing he did not mean to convert to Islam, but to double down on our public endorsement and support of the gay lifestyle. Especially since he described the gay nightclub as “more than a nightclub—it is a place of solidarity and empowerment where people have come together to raise awareness, to speak their minds, and to advocate for their civil rights.”

An author in the National Review—more or less at the opposite end of the Amerian political spectrum—is less inclined to avoid mentioning Islam. He points out that a popular and influential sharia manual, Reliance of the Traveller, says “Kill the one who sodomizes and the one who lets it be done to him.”

Seems to me we have a bit of a problem here. It is not just a case of two ships passing in the night, completely oblivious to the other's concerns. It is more a case of two locomotives heading full tilt towards each other on the same tracks.

Obama does not mention the religion, for good reason. He is effectively saying that nobody has a right to be a Muslim. He is condemning a tenet of sharia law as beyond the pale in American society, in liberal democracy, in the land of civil rights. Doesn't sound so good when stated baldly.

From the Muslim point of view, whose advice are you going to take on proper morality: God's, or the US President's? The necessary answer is that Obama and all Western secularists speak for Satan.

The voices on the right are at least a little better; they do at least acknowledge the issue. Thats a start. But they do it only to target Islam as the enemy. They do not appreciate that Muslims might have a case. They are simply the Other, and must be defeated.

But if you are an honourable Muslim man, and Satan personified comes knocking at your door making demands, what is the moral reaction?

Christians might be inclind to simply prepare for martyrdom. Islam does mot share that ethic.

In all of this, from the Muslim perspective, I'm afraid the West, and not ISIS or Al-Qaeda, has been the aggressor. I mentioned the demands—going far back—that Saudi Arabia, for example, change its attitudes towards women. There were many calls—have others forgotten?—well before 9-11 for American and the US to intervene in Afghanistan, to overthrow the Taliban government, in the name of rights for women. Demands by international organizations claiming some sort of jurisdiction, as well.

If being homosexual is declared a human right, as it now has been in the US and Canada, that must mean, by the logic of human rights, that no country or government can legitimately act against it. For if they can, they can also act against the human rights of Jews, say, or against freedom of speech, and so forth. The entire concept of human rights is then violated—among other things, the legal basis for the existence of the United States. In principle, any laws anywhere against sodomy now cannot be tolerated.

Problem here for liberal democracy, even without Islam in the picture. By the doctrine of human rights, one already has the right to freedom of conscience, and of religion. It is right there in the First Amendment, in American terms. That means one has the prior right to believe that sodomy is immoral, and even that those who commit sodomy ouught to be put to death. Given the new notion that any word spoken against homosexuality is hate speech directed against an identifiable group, one no longer haas a right to freedom of religion. Any religion: sodomy is understood to be immoral not just by Islam, and Christianity, but also Judiams, Buddhism, and, I expect, any known moral code.

We already, then, have two locomotives heading towards eachother down the track. We have total war to the death already declared. Gun bans would do nothing, or worse than nothing. Trump's plan to ban all Muslims from entering the US might offer a kind of temporary, partial relief. But even if this seems honourable, what about Americans who are already Muslim?

There are over a billion Muslims I n the world, even leaving aside Christians or Buddhists. We are going to have to live together. Time to deal with it.

It does not seem to me to be desirable, in any case that either side be wiped out. We need both religion, and liberalism. In fact, we need religion even to have liberalism: that's the fountain from which it sprang. Liberalism, conversely, is there to protect our freedom to have religion.

We need to stop both trains. Unfortunately, the Orlndo massacre and Obama's speech following it both instead turned up the throttle.

At base, this is a mistake made by the libdem side. By the doctrines of liberal democracy, as well as of Christiainty, where it came from, crime and sin are two very different things. Recall, if you will, that Jesus was executed as a criminal. By libdem principles, a state is justified in making a thing a crime if and only if it is a violation of another human party's rights. Outside this sphere, society has no say. Therefore, by liberal democratic doctrine, society has no obvious justification for making sodomy illegal. Sin is a different matter. One can sin against nature, or against God.

This is already difficult for Islam to accept. It does not see the same distinction between sin and crime that Christianity makes. In Islam, government is there to enforce the moral law. If it is not doing so, government is not doing its job.

But liberal democracy has now gone much further, by itself confusing legality with morality, encouraging Muslim misunderstanding. Rather than just being content to remove laws against sodomy, they have decided to declare being homosexual a human right, giving it a moral standing. They have allowed gay marriage, a public and civil endorsement of a sin. They have legally required recognition of gay marriage; nobody is allowed, then, to dissent from the practice. Or refuse to cater it. It is possibly illegal now for anyone to speak against sodomy.

Instead we have Gay Pride parades: two deadly sins for the price of one. Sodomy is not only legal: it is publicly celebrated. Talk about sending a message to Muslims in the Middle East.

Now we even have mandatory unisex washrooms. That obviously requires a violation of conscience for any Muslim woman. And asking everyone to use the washroom designated for their biological sex, given that the washroom facilities are comparable, is not even an inconvenience to anyone. It sure looks like deliberate provocation towards anyone with conventional moral beliefs on sexual matters of any sort.

Female promiscuity is another, parallel, and older issue here. We would say “feminism”; but the real issue, as Muslims would rightly see it, is female promiscuity. It is one thing, and perhaps tolerable, to have no laws against it. It is something else to celebrate it, and make it a crime to speak against it. That is making it a crime to be a good Muslim.

Before the Sixties, there was no Islamic terrorism to speak of, because there was no conflict between Islam and the West and these moral issues.

The West changed, Islam did not.

Of course, now I am going to be charged with discrimination against homosexuals. I adamantly reject the charge, on the initial grounds that there is no such thing as a homosexual. It is profoundly dehumanizing to identify people by their sexual preferences. “Homosexuals” were invented towards the end of the nineteenth century. Very Victorian concept, too. Before thet, there were just people, and they could freely choose to indulge or not indulge in this or that particular sexual act with this or that person. Has that really changed? Let us grant that not everybody is even inclined to indulge in homosexual sex. Most of us would reject it if offered. So it is a sin attractive to only a few. Is that unfair? God knows. It does not obviously lead to a moral right to homosexual sex. Some of us are also more inclined than others to steal things—kleptomania, to use the common term. That does not give them the moral right to steal. Some are inclined to have sex with the boss's wife. That does not give us a right to it. Even if she is willing.

The calculation is simple. If sodomy harms no one, then there is no need to make it illegal. At the same time, there is no need to elevate or to advertise the act.

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