Islam and Homosexuality

Homosexuality is a victimless crime, if it were a crime at all.  As such no self-respecting libertarian would consider making it a crime.  Additionally, homosexuals are a fact of life.  There are people who prefer the company of their own sex for sex.  So the short answer to anyone who does not like homosexuality is: deal with it.  The long answer is that we should welcome the day when we ask someone of their sexual orientation and they respond with an answer which we believe and have no reason to doubt – and have no real interest in unless we ourselves are sexually interested or know someone who might be.  Not only is this a reprieve from deception, but it would give those who wish to manipulate with what-does-not-matter-in-the-first-place less ammunition.  It is a sad fact that although the western world is largely able to see the progress in this direction, the eastern world does not.  The eastern world, at least as represented by the Arabic countries, largely allow for – if not dictate – the persecution of people based on their sexual orientation.

I have been a long time supporter of Islamic Americans.  They have quite clearly drawn the short end of the stick.  But there is a fact of intolerance in antiquated Sharia law which the Arabic countries must overcome in their quest to catch up to the western world.  And it should be said that despite the intolerance, there is this ambition.  The Islamic world has been trying to catch up and we should not hesitate to help them, but they remain woefully behind if this map from the Washington Post has any credibility.

But therein, too, is the problem.  The Washington Post does a lot to overemphasize the importance of homosexuality to the Islamic world.  They say nothing of the actual convictions for homosexual behavior and instead are inciting the flames against Islam at a very critical moment.  The shooting on Sunday of this week cannot be thought of anything but the worst of intolerance, but we cannot let the shooter himself speak for Islam – doing so stinks of the very kind of manipulation which the US is being accused of overseas.

Should the Pope offer St. Maria’s of Alhambra to Islam?

On a plateau over Granada, Spain stands Alhambra.  It is a grand palace and former settlement of the Moors.  It is today well preserved in its full history, but its history is still alive.

Inside the grounds of Alhambra is a church.  It is a nice church, in the renaissance style, but it’s history is not so nice.  Alhambra was a Moorish palace and settlement, and where the church of Santa Maria de la Encarnacion stands once stood a mosque.  That mosque was torn down and in its place was put the church.  It was common practice throughout Andalusia, Spain to convert old mosques to cathedrals.  The major cathedrals of Andalusia were once mosques.  But tearing down this mosque and building in its place a church, on the grounds of Moorish Alhambra, was a clear show of power by Catholic rule, and no mere convenience.

In The Alhambra Trinity I address – in literary and indirect form – some reasons for turning St. Maria’s of Alhambra into an offering of peace.  What I do not address directly – though it is an underlying current – is its historical significance as a symbol of religious struggle and the domination by Catholicism in Spain.  As such it holds a unique place for potential as a symbol of peace as Spain enters an age of religious diversity and tolerance, but I do not believe the proper action is to convert St. Maria’s to a mosque.  It should instead be made symbol of interfaith peace and not a symbol of triumph by one side over another – diplomatic or otherwise.  A place where all people of faith are welcome, including those of the Jewish faith, who have a long history in the region of Granada, and also worked on Alhambra.

To that end I, a Catholic, suggest it be converted to a place where all faiths can practice together, though in a unique way.  I realize that the suggestion of re-architecting a renaissance style church in Europe may fall on deaf ears.  And some may look at this approach as opening a can of worms, but I look at it as the most supreme offering of peace that the Church can make.  And peace should be the goal of all faith, Catholic, Islamic, Jewish or otherwise.