Contrary to popular opinion, hate for the LGBT community is quite equal among Abrahamic religions
Here we go again. In the aftermath of the Orlando shooting we are once more seeing a spike in anti-Muslim rhetoric. While it is always important to debate the questionable aspects of a religion, we should also understand that not all fundamentalism stems from Islam. Those who love to talk about the negative aspects of Islam seem to overlook or diminish the fundamentalism of Christians here at home.
This is important, because we are now seeing right-wing Christians use the Orlando shooting as a means to point out the evils of Islam. Rudy Giuliani was on Fox Noise recently and he basically said that our (Western) culture was superior to Muslim culture, and that Muslims are basically barbarians. He stated that while we argue about marriage equality and social rights here in America, we don’t hold debates on whether or not gay people should be executed.
The statement is not entirely correct, as a lot of context is left out. It is true that countries ruled by Islamic radicals do execute gay people, and at alarming rates. In no way should this be excusable. Saudi Arabia, for example, is a top US ally and it is notorious for its executions of its gay citizens. Groups like ISIS throw gay people off of roofs, yes it is true and deplorable. But, is it true that Western culture is more evolved on this issue, or that Christian fundamentalist don’t pose as near a threat? Not at all.
Giuliani is wrong that Islamic culture is the only one that debates whether gays should be executed. Christian fundamentalists debate the topic all the time, and are doing so as we speak. Many fundamentalist Christian pastors have praised the Orlando shooting, saying that the victims were all “pedophiles” and “disgusting homosexuals.”
One pastor in particular said Orlando would sleep safely knowing that there were “fifty less pedophiles” around. Another said that while he disagreed with the method of the killing, he agreed that the victims should all have been killed anyway because “that’s what the bible says.” These aren’t just isolated voices, these are pastors and religious figures with national followings, and their rhetoric is just as wicked as an ISIS member.
While we can debate the merits of which religion is more violent and why, we can still agree however that Christians here at home have a long way to go before they seem remotely acceptable on the issue of gay rights. This doesn’t speak of all Christians of course, as there are many Christians who are active supporters of gay rights and disheartened by the hateful rhetoric coming from other Christians. However, we can’t ignore the issue. Christianity is still overwhelmingly antagonistic to gay rights, and many Christians are willing to enforce execution for homosexuality if they had their way.
It’s striking that when a Muslim commits a mass shooting, such as Orlando and San Bernardino, we as a society collectively demand that all Muslims and Muslim leaders denounce the radicals in their ranks. Yet, when a Christian commits similar acts (such as the shooting at the Planned Parenthood in Colorado) Christians as a whole are not expected to denounce those radicals. Why should they be?
When a radical Christian shoots up a clinic or Sikh Temple, or a pastor says gay people should be rounded up and shot, should we expect all Christians to denounce this and claim it doesn’t speak for them? Of course not, yet it’s strange that we do not hold this standard for Muslims. It should also be noted that Muslims in America are much more liberal than the standard they are portrayed as.
We need not point fingers here. There is plenty of blame to go around for Christians and Muslims when it comes to the issue of gay rights. We should examine the nature of our Abrahamic tradition, as it is indeed true that the main source for hatred against gays comes from the religions spawned by Abraham.
Christianity has been restrained by secularism in the West, unlike much of the Islamic world. But is it true to say, however, that Christianity has evolved better on the specific issue of gay rights? Not really, and this is evident by the fact that many Christians still see execution as an acceptable punishment for being gay. If they had their way and seized complete political power, don’t think for a second that their regime wouldn’t be just as bad as ISIS.
Don’t feel comforted by the idea that you live in a superior culture with a superior religion. Monsters lurk in every corner of the world and in every culture, and hopefully the tolerant ones will realize this before they are swallowed up by those monsters.