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A Love Worth Dying For

The American Constitution was set up, specifically, to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority. It was written in a time when in large swaths of Europe the church, primarily the Catholic Church or in our founders' case, the Church of England, dictated the daily lives of most people. If you wished to worship differently you were subjected to everything from harassment to death and this is why there is such an emphasis on the separation of church and state (even though some have forgotten why that separation was placed there to begin with).

Over time, as our country has evolved, the "minority" has gone from protecting religious minorities to different socio-economic groups to ethnic minorities to racial minorities to gender and others. There is a reason why major issues like interracial marriage and women in the workplace didn't come down to a vote. If it had been up to the will of the majority, women wouldn't serve in the military, blacks would still be slaves, all gays would stay in the closet and everything would be as it was in 1787 when only wealthy, white male landowners could cast ballots.

Sometimes the mob is wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong and wants nothing more than to bully those different from themselves. Case in point: the war against gays and Lesbians in parts of Africa.

More after the jump.

In Uganda, homosexuals are facing the likely reality that a poorly written bill will pass that would allow for the death penalty to imposed on them for daring to exist. Friends and family members could face penalties as well for not "reporting" these homosexuals. In some cases, even landlords could get in trouble for renting to them.

From The Associated Press:

Gay rights activists say the bill, which has prompted growing international opposition, promotes hatred and could set back efforts to combat HIV/AIDS. They believe the bill is part of a continentwide backlash because Africa's gay community is becoming more vocal.

"It's a question of visibility," said David Cato, who became an activist after he was beaten up four times, arrested twice, fired from his teaching job and outed in the press because he is gay. "When we come out and ask for our rights, they pass laws against us."

In South Africa, Lesbians are living in fear of "corrective rapes," meant to teach women a "lesson" on how to be women by beating and gang raping them. Women who are attacked often receive no justice in seeing those who targeted them be punished. They are mocked and laughed at. Rape is not seen as a serious offense, especially against a woman who dares to born attracted to other women.

From Sky News:

In the the township of Khayelitsha on the outskirts of Cape Town, a group of women said they live in fear for their lives. All of them claim to know someone who has been violently dragged off the street and raped because she had come out as a lesbian.

"We live in a society firstly that sees women as always having to be subservient to men, but it is even worse when you come out as a lesbian, and a butch lesbian at that. There is always that threat that you are going to be raped so you can become a 'real' woman," says Funeka Solidaat.

Ms Funeka said she had been attacked on two occasions; on the second she was raped. She said the men covered their faces with ski masks and that she had been repeatedly threatened with rape in the township.

But what shocked her even more was the attitude of the police. "I told them I needed help because I'd been raped and I was just a laughing stock, " she said. The police did not even finish taking her statement.

I don't mince words when I say that homosexuality is not a choice. You cannot say anything to convince me otherwise as I did not "choose" to be straight. I was just born this way. No one taught me to be attracted to little boys when I was 12. No one taught me to desire and long for men as a companion. No one sat down and explained to me that this was how I was supposed to be. This is simply who I am. Why people would question homosexuals and argue that somehow they "chose" to be who they are is ridiculous to me. No one "chooses" these things. This is about something deeper and more human that mere gender stereotyping.

The fact is, in the face of death and rape, gays and lesbians in Africa are still loving each other. DEATH and RAPE. They are still coming out to their families and friends. In the face of discrimination, harassment, murder and violence, they are still declaring "I'm here! I exist! I am human! I have a right to be loved and love whom I please!"

I don't understand homophobia. What two consenting adults do among themselves has absolutely no affect on my life whatsoever. If two gay people get married and have a family it doesn't affect my desire to marry and have a family of my own. If two gay people have sex, it doesn't affect my desire for heterosexual sex. It doesn't do anything anymore than an Indian person eating peas and curry rice affecting my love of turnip greens and Honey Glazed Ham. In other words, what you eat and who you love has absolutely nothing to do with me or you or anybody else. Where does this fear come from? Where does this anger come from? What is it about this ignorance and violence?

Which brings me back to the power of the vote. Most people are against gay marriage in the United States. To that I say, so what? There was a time when the majority was also perfectly fine with calling strangers Communists and blacklisting them. There was a time when "Italians" and "Irish" were treated as ethnic minorities and the majority was FINE with discriminating against them. There was a time when you could beat your wife, legally, and no one said anything. There was a time when people were fine with women not being able to own property or go to college. There was a time when people were fine with slavery. There was a time when it was OK to attack and kill Mormons for being Mormon. There was a time when you broke an indecency law if people could see your ankles (if you were a woman). There was a time children could be forced to work 12 hours a day and never attend school and the majority was fine with it. The majority is large. The majority has all the power. The majority holds all the cards and the MAJORITY HATES CHANGE. Progress should never be left up to the majority because the majority is always going to fear what it doesn't understand and lash out at what is different.

The majority thought it was OK the beat up Jehovah's Witnesses for not pledging allegiance to the flag. The majority, in all honesty, TO ME, is kind of slow and numbing. While I'm fine with the majority picking our presidents and voting on transportation tax increases, "majority rules" suck when it comes to things like progress, morality and individual rights. The mob is amazingly dumb and malleable. After all, unless you're the person who's "different," it doesn't affect you, the mob, so you don't care.

Right now the mob is trying to rule in Uganda and South Africa against gays and lesbians and that's wrong. Right now the mob is trying to act like the government creating state sanctioned marriages between homosexuals would affect your religious marriages. I say, the mob needs to calm the hell down. You're big enough and you're bad enough to be gracious and tolerant. It won't kill you. It never has. Not even once. All the screaming and crying only for progress to end the way it always end -- with it happening.

We're not going back to 1787. Accept it. And if you think the mob deserves to wield it's power over someone smaller, remember, someday, that same mob could turn on you.

In related news, the other night Rachel Maddow took on someone who claims to be an ex-gay. You see? He's got the cure and such, even though he's still managed to slip and fall into some penis from time-to-time since being "cured." It would be laughable if it weren't for the fact that its people like him who went to places like Uganda to argue that homosexuality was a choice, hence it's OK to put up laws harassing and punishing anyone who "chooses" to be gay. A few Christian conservatives, to their credit, have come out against Uganda's death penalty for gays, even though their rhetoric is presently being used to justify this persecution of homosexuals.

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Reader Comments (23)

I think homosexuality is, in general, something you're born with, although some people may be conditioned to be that way. Richard Cohen may be helping some people, but the vast majority will probably get nothing out of it.

December 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Wise

Thank you for this well thought out piece. I have been following similar conversations on other sites and the mentality of some people out there is just frightening. Unfortunately, it is usually the "church folk" that don't seem to get it. I don't want to paint all Christians with the same brush though, as the Episcopal church just elected a lesbian to the office of Bishop, so obviously they "get it". The silence form the US on the Uganda situation has been deafening. I am not sure if I can think of us as a caring country anymore. While the mob rule is clearly going on in South Africa, at least a t a governmental level, LGBTs are protected and are given equal rights to marry. It is a shame when a country like South Africa, who only relatively recently ended lefalized discrimination, now shows the USA how it is possible to offer equal rights to everyone. Thanks again for the post, and sorry for my rambling rant....

December 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMDGFAN

Thanks for writing this. I'm horrified by the new bill in Uganda and its attempt to silence all gays and lesbians in the country. Hillary Clinton spoke out against all laws that oppress gays on Worlds AIDS day, although she didn't specifically single out Uganda. I hope the Obama administration applies pressure on Uganda when and where they can.

December 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAntonio

My grandmother told me years ago as a small child when I asked about those "funny" men. She said, "Baby if it's love, the Lord won't mind." Even as a small child I understood that concept, so why can't grown-ass men and women get with the program.

It's appalling that this could be happening in the 21st century, but I am not surprised in the least. Fear and ignorance is a lethal combination and there seems to be an abundance of both in Uganda and South Africa.

Meanwhile, here on the home front, homophobia has become the new political calling card for anyone who wants immediate cache with a large sector of the voting public Can someone please explain to me, how someone's sexual orientation is an infringement on your rights, on your marriage, on your sexuality? But again, fear and ignorance is not in short supply, even in an "enlightened nation".

And my people, yeah Black folk, really need to check themselves in regards to homophobia within the community and using the Bible to justify the oppression of other human beings. Sound familiar? It should. The Bible was used to justify slavery and the brutal oppression of Black people in the U.S. for 400 years. And now since "WE FREE" some of us have decided to cast our votes to deny others their rights as citizens along with the very same people who less than 50 years ago thought WE were not worthy of full citizenship.

Damn, are our memories that short?

December 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterallheavens

So after all the rant, I'm still wondering what the point is? Uganda and S. Africa don't have our system of gov't. They can enforce what ever laws they see fit. It is not the US' job to see that other countries become PC.

December 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterScott

Scott, the United States has a long tradition of reaching out to "right" countries we believe have gone off track or have a high potential for doing so. See dollar diplomacy in the early 20thc.; World Wars I and II; the in your face, as well as back door politics of the Cold War; the sanctions against South Africa's apartheid regime, etc. Thankfully isolationism is no longer in vogue.

December 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlmgregory

BTW, I forgot to denounce the persecution of gay people in Uganda and South Africa. These places are still relatively backward, so it doesn't surprise me that this would go on. I'm sending them positive energy and may they see divinity in all people and respect the rights of others.

December 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Wise

"Baby if it's love, the Lord won't mind"

actually, the Lord DOES mind.

December 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSWIV

@Scott....I think if you had a better sense of history you'd understand the connection. It's not about the US being PC. There is such a thing as the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights...I'll link to it, but start with a few key articles from the document.

Article 1.

* All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2.

* Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3.

* Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

December 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdkan71


Most if not all of that UN BS isn't worth the paper it is written on and means nothing in the real world. Besides why isn't Uganda entitled as a sovereign nation to the laws it wants, as opposed to the laws American liberals think it should have?

December 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterScott

@Scott...If that's the best you've got there's no point trying to reason with you. It isn't worth the paper it's written on because you say so. Brilliant! Why didn't I think of that. Maybe because it should be worth something because Uganda is a member nation of the UN, which means that they have agreed to the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

According to your primitive logic, we should have never pressed South Africa about Apartheid and no one had the right to challenge Germans about the Holocaust, or the US against slavery and our own version of Apartheid known as Jim Crow. Dude - go take a college-level class in something - logic, history, justice....anything.

December 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdkan71

I agree with your statement about the majority not necessarily championing the admirable causes. I also agree that people should be able to live without being violently attacked. Two things, however, should be corrected - 1) homosexuality is a choice and 2) morality is not subjective. They are paired because they sortof go hand in hand.

1) Being effeminate does not make a man a homosexual. Sexing another man makes him a homosexual. As a friend of mine crudely says, 'if you take the nut out of it, there would be no gay men, no parades and no rallys'. Celibacy is a legitimate lifestyle choice. An effeminate celibate man is NOT a homosexual and a masculine celibate woman does NOT a lesbian make.

Sexual attraction is not a mandate for ones behavior. There are those who, for whatever reason, are sexually attracted to animals. They're not 'hurting anyone' if they sex an animal, yet we expect them to suppress and redirect their attractions to conform to a higher MORAL standard - even if they dont see anything deviant about their behavior.

So the real gay issue is not a nature-nurture one. Its that men attracted to men want to feel SOCIALLY comfortable acting on their attraction and want their CHOICE TO HAVE SEX with another man to be socially and morally acceptable. They dont want to live celibate lives and dont want to be SUBJECTED to what others believe is a higher MORAL standard.

The problem is that
2) Morality is not subjective. If you were left to create your own moral measuring sticks, you would be 6ft tall today and 3ft tall tomorrow based on how u feel at that moment. Morality is conformity to ideals of RIGHT human conduct. Stealing, marriage, adultery, sexuality, parental disrespect are all moral issues. you cant tell someone they're wrong to cheat, steal, or lie just 'because u or we said so'. It doesnt work that way. Without the authority of a higher power, our moral opinions have no merit to anyone but ourselves.

Many people balk at the need for the authoritative stamp and like the french, post-revolution, they 'reject' religion and uphold the goddes of reason and logic as their motivation for 'living right'. ie. It just makes sense to not steal, kill etc. Tthe problem is that reasoning is subjective. France with their 'reasoning' became so immoral that napoleon came back and re-instituted the bible to restore ORDER - and the man wasn't even religious like that!

There are people, however, such as myself, who dont base their moral beliefs off of oprahs people polls. People who dont think that right stops being right, just because they dont want to do it today. They believe that homosexuality is a sin, just like adultery and parental disrespect - not because they get their rocks off for thinking it, not because they "hate the gays and made it up to get them", but because a higher power declared it morally wrong.

What do you do with us? Do you call us names such as 'homophobic' ? Will you tell me that my lifestyle choice is WRONG because it is not gay-inclusive? and that Im the 'debbil' and 'oppressing homosexuals' cuz i dont want my children exposed to something that i dont agree with? (in that case im ghetto-, and krakkerphobic too) Do you say that we are 'evil' when we promote or vote our consciences (ie morman billboards) while the gay agenda freely votes and promotes theirs? and when our vote doesnt coincide with their position it needs to be 'retaken'? OR are gay supporters as vehemently tolerant of my anti-gay position as they want me to be of their gay position?

I dont believe in capital punishment, so imo what they have going on in Africa is inappropriate. They have a right, however, to view homosexuality as a moral wrong. Maybe if the gay supporters called a spade a spade and stopped trying to play people like fools (telling us being gay is the same as being black and its not a choice blah blah), the backlash like that seen in Africa wouldn't be so severe. Americans need to recognize that everyone in the world doesnt fall for the okeydoke just to be PC.

December 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlynden

John Chapter 8
7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

This is a quote that many, Christian or not, like to quote. I agree completely 100% with the previous statements that the Ugandan government is flat out wrong. However there is more to this passage that should be noted:

10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and SIN NO MORE.

i find it interesting that the people who seek to have same-sex relationships validated often have a "with us or against us" mentality. In their mind, you're either a loving person who agrees completely with homosexuality or you're an evil and hateful person who wishes the destruction of all same-sex/gender loving people; there is no in between or gray area when it comes to this issue. As stated before, I don't agree with the killing/murder/beating/raping against homosexuals or anything else that goes on in the Ugandan government. However, I don't agree with same-sex relationships either. Just because someone does not condone or accept your life practices, DOES NOT make them a hateful person.

As mentioned previously, Jesus saved the prostitute from being stoned and he made it clear that NO ONE has the right to kill/murder another human being because they are living a life contrary to scripture. But he also told her to go her way, and SIN NO MORE. Jesus didn't believe she should die at the hands of another human being, but he didn't believe in the way she was living her life either. As someone who is supposed to be a follower of Jesus, I would expect that he would want us to act in the same way. We should not support or condone anyone who seeks to "stone" someone or judge them to death, but we should also call sin a sin and encourage people to turn away from it.

Besides, aren't the wounds of a friend better than the kisses of an enemy? (Proverbs 27:6) I know that for our generation it's cool to say things like "I don't care what other people choose to do with their lives", but I don't ascribe to this thinking. I DO care what other people do for their lives because I would not want to see them fall for what I believe in my heart is wrong. If you had a friend who was doing something that you felt was not good for them, as a caring and loving friend, you would tell them what you think. It doesn't mean that you hate them, it means you're not willing to spare their feelings over their own safety. Even if many Christians started saying "I don't care, it doesn't matter as long as it doesn't effect me", would those who are in support of same-sex relationships actually feel better about it, knowing that many Christians consider it a dangerous way to live ( whether spiritually or physically). It would be basically like saying "I don't care if you hurt yourself; doesn't effect me"

I am not going to compromise my beliefs just so I can fit the standard of what same-sex supporters say a loving person is or isn't. I find it interesting that many are basically asking Christians to be more subdued or lukewarm in their beliefs, while they're basically telling people that one is either hot or cold for the same-sex lifestyle. What makes this even more interesting is that I've heard this demand for being "hot or cold" in the very Bible many look down upon.

Revelation Chapter 3
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

December 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAuthor:

Thank you Lynden and Author: for posting your views. I disagree with your belief that the Bible has set out a moral imperative re homosexuality, because I don't believe the Bible to be holy writ and truly believe it to be man's interpretation of God, and thus subject to error, rather than God's word which would be immutable. What's happening in Uganda is terrifying, still, it frustrates me when a discussion gets started on homophobia and the majority of the responses talk about how people on the opposition are ignorant, have a mob mentality, or are "backwards". Really? It's not possible for intelligent people to come to a conclusion opposite from yours? The starting point for change isn't going to be looking across the table at the opposition and thinking, your an idiot.

December 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKaryn

I don't condone the violence against these people but i don't condone homosexuality behavoir either.

December 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterZen

My previous comments were stricken so I will be a bit more PC. I agree with Lynden on many counts. It is a choice. Gays ask for a tolerance that they do not afford others. Its a choice. What's done in your homes should stay in your homes do not force it on others. At the end of teh day it is a sexual choice. Like other deviants who are attracted to animals and fruit you should choose to suppress it.

Hey Lynden, your mind seems very attractive. I've read your post many times and can see the beauty in each line. Assuming you are not a man, I wouldn't mind continuing this conversation in another time and place.

December 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPhillypub

gays ask for tolerance, but are intolerant of the views of those who disagree with their lifestyle. how can you ask for tolerance when you're intolerant of views that you don't agree with?

<==== had this discussion this past weekend


December 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterswiv

Lynden and phillypub sittin in a tree k. i. s.s. i. n. g.

December 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterZen

Zen, try to contain your jealousy. If I am lucky enough to speak with Lynden off line I will pick her brain. Don't think it will get to the tree kissing stage, I have too much respect for her. I patiently await her next post.

December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPhillypub


December 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterswiv

Dkan71, Lynden, and Author,
You all exemplify the reason why I love this site. I love intelligent discourse. You have given me much to consider when considering my position. Thank you

December 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPamela

What is perverted is how some folks ALWAYS fixate on the physical sexual aspect, as opposed to romance and affection.

I'm convinced that many black folk cling so hard to these particular out-moded tenets of someone else's whitened version of a desert religion (run by a make-believe entity that clearly hates blacks) b/c it is the one position of power and dominance in Western Society in which they can "belong". Who doesn't like to be a winner?

Those of us who are allies need to chalk these people up to a loss and look out for the gays and lesbians in our community.

December 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLaJane Galt

So if we were friends, you would accept me being gay, but wouldn't want me to have the same rights as you?

I don't know...sounds pretty hateful to me.

August 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobert
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