Global Precap: Religion and LGBT in 2015

Jan 6, 2015

By Peter Montgomery

There’s no reason to think the increasingly global culture war between advocates and opponents of LGBT equality will let up this year. In fact, the opposite is true: opponents of LGBT equality are working hard to build a stronger transnational coalition of conservative religious and political leaders whose agendas go far beyond resisting the advance of marriage equality to rolling back LGBT rights and reproductive choice and criminalizing even the advocacy of LGBT equality.

The alliance between Russian strongman Vladimir Putin and the Orthodox Church is flourishing and is funding right-wing political movements throughout Europe even as the Russian government attacks LGBT groups, civil society, and basic freedoms within Russia. In Uganda, anti-gay lawmakers are certain to try to overcome President Yoweri Museveni’s resistance to passage of a new Anti-Homosexuality Act. In Gambia, viciously anti-gay President Yahya Jammeh has portrayed his vehement anti-gay stance as a heroic effort to defend Islam and African independence from European influence. In 2015, Gambia will celebrate 50 years of independence, which will give Jammeh plenty of opportunities for anti-gay posturing. In December, the U.S. dropped the country from special trade status under the African Growth and Opportunity Act.

Here are some of the overlapping and interconnected stories we’ll be watching in 2015.

Pope Francis and the World Meeting of Families

Catholics and non-Catholics alike will be watching intensely as the papacy of Francis continues to unfold and as conservatives in the hierarchy resist even rhetorical softening in the church’s position on sexuality issues. The bishops’ fall 2014 synod on the family was the scene of high-profile sparring over language referring to gay people, which conservative forces seem to have won.


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6 comments on “Global Precap: Religion and LGBT in 2015

  • being gay myself, i have no objection to supporting gay rights. i do, however, object to what i suspect is a little bit of political correctness with an acronym which is more divisive than offering an opportunity for inclusiveness; and which not only has been introduced by self-appointed spokespeople – another crazy bit of language – who have never ever consulted me about what my views are in this regard. in my time, the label has evolved from gay to gay and lesbian, and then gone on to include the Bs, the Ts, the Is, and now Qs. Not only that, but now which letter comes first seems to have undue importance, and I think this is just petty political opportunism informed by some sort of guilt. none of this with any consultation of or election by the constituents of the so-called communities. and, finally, what letter will be added next, an dhow will you actually pronounce the every growing acronym; and what will “they” do when they run out of letters?



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  • Excellent reply, net. I agree.

    My objection is what I see as myopic western ethnocentrism practising what amounts to cultural and moral imperialism, attempting to foist alien values upon deeply conservative cultures who simply do not share our moral sensibilities. And if one considers that this issue may have been originally started, not with the intention of genuinely helping people with alternative sexualities and stopping their persecution, but rather as a deliberate and cynical attempt to create division and diversion by fomenting ‘culture wars’ within and between societies (as in the USA), then it becomes in my opinion even more morally objectionable as well as downright sinister.

    I believe that change should come from within a society and not be imposed from outside. Otherwise, trying to force other cultures to accept values familiar to us but entirely foreign to them will only engender hostility and resentment and resistance.



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  • I realize this is only related to the topic at hand, but…

    “…opponents of LGBT equality are working hard to build a stronger transnational coalition of conservative religious and political leaders whose agendas go far beyond resisting the advance of marriage equality to rolling back LGBT rights…”

    I think one of the problems stems from the somewhat intelligent / anti-intellectual nature of many of today’s modern intellects — Dawkins included. The concept of LGBT rights, women’s rights, and all other group rights advocates are pseudo rights. The only valid concept of rights is individual rights. Just as the unit of natural selection is the individual, rights go to the individual.

    All individuals, including those individuals within the claimed ” LGBT rights groups,” and others, have the same rights to take action as any other person outside of their pressure group. That action includes same-sex marriage. It would, by extension, also include the right of any qualified couple to adopt a child.

    What group “rights” actually are is pressure groups adopting the term “rights” in order to cash in on the highly valued Western concept of individual rights.

    Consider marriage. As marriage requires a license issued by the state in order to validate the marital status, there is actually no right to get married — same-sex, or sexually dimorphic. If one required a state license to participate in the First Amendment, then there would be no freedom of speech, and speech would, through a representative government, drop to the level of mediocrity, and the control of ideas based on “community standards.”

    If “LGBT” organizations would attack the requirement to obtain a marriage license as a violation of their individual right to privacy, and personal choice, they would be right on! The root cause of this issue is exactly that — requiring the state license. As their desire to formally join together would not require state permission, the (typically religious) citizens living in a representative society would have no say in their marriage, other than their opinion — which we can ignore.

    Many Christians, and other religious types, claim that their god defines the nature of marriage as between a man and a woman. All I can say is, their god must be quite incompetent, as almost 50% of heterosexual marriages end up in divorce. Some holy institution that is!

    After writing all this, I do completely agree that the blatant violation of all individual rights within the dictatorships, and authoritarian governments listed needs to be addressed. Fortunately for most people in the Western countries, a few hundred years of secular / constitutional law has, to a great extent, domesticated the Christian sects. Many of them even argue among themselves concerning these issues.



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  • So, you consider exporting the concept of individual rights –ideas as “imposing?” Do you consider that there may be an objective basis of rights, as pertaining to the nature of our species?

    “myopic western ethnocentrism practising what amounts to cultural and moral imperialism, attempting to foist alien values upon deeply conservative cultures who simply do not share our moral sensibilities.”

    Such sempiternal blather! The issue is not about moral sensibilities or ethics. It’s about dictatorships and authoritarian states using force to eliminate classes of morals and ethics, in which the practice thereof does not constitute an imposition on those who disagree with them.



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  • @OP – In fact, the opposite is true: opponents of LGBT equality are working hard to build a stronger transnational coalition of conservative religious and political leaders whose agendas go far beyond resisting the advance of marriage equality to rolling back LGBT rights and reproductive choice and criminalizing even the advocacy of LGBT equality.

    Yep! There is a prize idiot full of pseudo-science here:-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-30791795

    .There has been outrage in India after a minister in Goa said the state government was planning to set up centres to “cure” homosexuals.

    Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Ramesh Tawadkar said treatment would be offered to lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders to make them “normal”.

    Many have taken to social networking sites to criticise Mr Tawadkar’s “shocking statement”.

    India’s treatment of homosexuals has been under the spotlight recently.

    The Indian Supreme Court’s 2013 decision to reverse a lower court order striking down a 153-year-old British colonial-era law criminalising homosexual acts caused global outrage with many describing it as “disgraceful”.

    According to Section 377 of the law, a same-sex relationship is an “unnatural offence” and punishable by a 10-year jail term.

    A BBC correspondent in Delhi says although the law has rarely – if ever – been used to prosecute anyone for consensual sex, it has often been used by the police to harass homosexuals.

    “We will make LGBT [lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender] youth normal. We will have a centre for them… like Alcoholics Anonymous centres. We will train them and give them medicines too,” Mr Tawadkar said on Monday while discussing the Bharatiya Janata Party-run state government’s policy report on youth.

    .Journalist Barkha Dutt said it was the “insensitive” minister who needed treatment:



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