The arrogance and hypocrisy of the moralisers and the righteous.
Why are religious leaders, fanatics and moralisers so obsessed with sexuality? Why is consensual same sex between adults such a threat to so called religious leaders and fanatics of all persuasions? We all have multiple identities many of which are not fixed and may change over time for one reason or the other yet it is only one’s sexual identity that this group of people focus on.
I sit here in rural Spain far far away from the madding crowd in tranquillity where nothing much happens and where life is centered around planting, harvesting and fiestas. In a way it is a good place, to be, as the peace and quiet allow you to observe the different parts of the world and happenings. Whenever I have the opportunity to travel to the city, other parts of Europe, Africa or America I feel my observations derived from surfing the net, talking to friends and colleagues in far off places are validated. And what I see is intolerance, hatred, self-righteousness, greed, inequality and violence of every kind imaginable. There is a world wide outcry when westerners are executed in Iraq in the name of Islam. Words like barbaric and evil spew out of the mouths of the righteous but when a woman is repeatedly raped and brutally murdered because she is an African lesbian, those same righteous are silent.
Africa’s Anglican bishops are presently meeting in Lagos to “discuss what they regard as the major challenges facing the church including AIDS, war and poverty”. However so far the main focus has been homosexuality and the ordination of a gay bishop in the US. According to various reports this issue may split the Anglican church forever. The meeting is being held in Nigeria but I don’t see the bishops or President Obasanjo, who has joined melee, in uproar over sentence to death by stoning of two women under Sharia law. Nor do I see them in uproar over the fact that 40,000 women in the past 6 years (many of the them no doubt Christians) have been repeatedly raped in the Democratic Republic of Congo and more recently the women in Darfur. Yet there is this fierce rage towards gays and lesbians, endless pronouncements about how “un African” homosexuality is, against our culture and tradition etc etc etc. These religions of dogma and control, preaching fire and damnation against all who do not submit to rules made by men but claiming to be divine.
There are so many issues that need to be addressed yet the church and the mosques continue to not only condemn homosexuality but to condone violence committed against homosexuals. Why don’t these people devote that same energy into condemning poverty, child abuse and 21st century slavery. As religious leaders there are so many tragedies in the world that they could turn their attention to and try to find solutions for. They should be standing in their mosques and churches condemning female genital mutilation and those of their ‘flock’ that enslave children as domestic servants rather than consensual sex between two adults. Is it a coincidence that it is in the most religious communities that violence against women is condoned. We are asked to hide the violence committed daily against us, to bear it and shut up. Here in Spain every village, town and city is full of statutes of virgins in white juxtaposed against statues of a bleeding suffering Christ. Blood and virgins, it is no wonder that men feel they have the right to batter their wives and lovers. On average one woman a week is murdered by her lover or husband. Last week a jilted lover burnt his girlfriend to death by setting her car on fire whilst she was in it.
The question as to why there is this virulent homophobia amongst religious leaders and religious fanatics is more to do with the male clergy/religious figures feeling personally threatened by homosexuality. It threatens their apparent heterosexuality. It threatens their religious doctrine and the control they have over their “flock” which is based on patriarchy, class and gender oppression. In northern Nigeria two POOR women are convicted of adultery and sentenced to death whilst the men they had sex with are not punished for lack of evidence. Work that one out if you can. Christianity doesn’t fare any better, punishment is delayed until death when you will be consumed by the fires of hell or your are ostracised from society in that self-righteousness that religion manages so cleverly.