Saturday, April 22, 2017

Christian Extremists and Islamic Extremists - There is Little Difference

Some will immediately that offense with the title of this post and immediately mount an argument of why I am wrong in my point of view.  But in my view, there are three traits common to Christian extremists and Islamic extremists: (i) hatred of others who are different, (ii) an unfounded sense of self-righteousness and piousness, and (iii) a fear, if not hatred, of modernity and modern knowledge. The only difference that in current times, Christian extremists have not been willing to resort to wholesale murder and violence.  Such, however, was not always the case and one need only look at the genocide committed by white Christians against Native Americans, both in North and South America, the Crusades, Europe's wars of religion, the massacre of "Old Believers" in Russia, the murder of Muslims in Nigeria at the directive of an Anglican archbishop, or the relatively recent murder and destruction of Catholic versus Protestant in Northern Ireland to realize that the relative peacefulness (at least compared to past atrocities) of Christians is not the historic norm.  In modern times, of course, gays are a favored group for attack by both Christofascists and Islamic Extremists. A piece in Patheos sums up what Christofascists think of LGBT individuals:
Baptist Church Senior Pastor Robby Gallaty told his large congregation that Christians should never stop discriminating against homosexuals, claiming that gays could choose to be straight if they only accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Gallaty explained why gays should be put to death:
God said that the sins of the people had infected the very land in which they live. So what happens to people who engage in this activity, this sexual immoral activity? Go to Leviticus 20, God gives us the punishment for engaging in these sins… ‘If a man sleeps with a man as with a woman, they have both committed a detestable thing. They must be put to death. And their blood is on their own hands.’
Pastor Gallaty tried to justify his Biblically inspired hatred for gays and lesbians by repeatedly trying to argue that being gay is a choice, and some sort of rebellion against his imaginary God’s divine plan.
And let's not forget that a number of the Republican presidential candidates last year attended a rally hosted by another "man of god" who supports the murder of gays.

Now, travel half way around the world to the Islamic Russian Republic of Chechnya where a pogrom to kill gays is underway.  Like Pastor Gallaty, pro-Kremlin leader, Ramzan A. Kadyrov, views gays as an affront to Allah that need to be eliminated.  Indeed, he has declared that gays will be eliminated from the republic by May 26, 2017, for the start of Ramadan.  The New York Times looks at the horrors taking place.  Here are excerpts:
GROZNY, Russia — It was supposed to be a night out. But for the young man who calls himself Maksim, as for scores of other gay men arrested in a pogrom this month in Russia’s Chechnya region, it pivoted into nearly two weeks of beatings and torture.
Maksim said it had started with a chat room conversation with “a very good old friend who is also gay,” and who suggested that they meet at an apartment. When Maksim arrived, however, he was greeted not by his friend but by agents who beat him. Later, they strapped him to a chair, attached electrical wires to his hands with alligator clips and began an interrogation.
“They yelled, ‘Who else do you know?’” Maksim said, and zapped him with current from time to time. “It was unbearably painful; I was hanging on with my last strength,” he added. “But I didn’t tell them anything.”
Gay men have never had an easy life in Chechnya. But the targeted, collective punishment of gays that began last month under its pro-Kremlin leader, Ramzan A. Kadyrov, is a new turn in the region’s long history of rights abuses.
The sweep has been widely condemned by Western governments, the United Nations and rights groups. Activists in Russia have set up an underground network to spirit the victims out of Chechnya and to protect them from potentially violent reprisals from their families and others. The victims use assumed names in their everyday dealings. Homosexuality is taboo in Chechnya and the mostly Muslim surrounding areas of the Caucasus region in southern Russia. “This society is highly homophobic,” said Ekaterina L. Sokiryanskaya, Russia project director for the International Crisis Group and an authority on Chechnya. “Homosexuality is condemned. It is believed Islam considers it a great sin.” Among the fatalities documented by the organization were one man who succumbed during torture and two others who died in “honor killings” by relatives after the police released them. In a televised meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Wednesday, Mr. Kadyrov characterized as “libelous” news reports that the security services in Chechnya had been persecuting gay men.

Two different religions, yet the same mindset.  It should come as little surprise that Vladimir Putin is looking the other way in Chechnya since his anti-LGBT laws were enacted as part of his effort to win support from the vitriolically anti-gay Russian Orthodox Church. 

Christofascists point to Leviticus as justification, even though it was written by ignorant, uneducated authors of over 2500 years ago and most of its other prohibitions are completely ignored by the "godly folk."  In the case of Islam, the Koran was largely authored by an individual who in modern society would be placed in a mental institution.   Religion is truly a curse on mankind.

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