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.

Why I am done being serious, seriously

If you can’t always keep a straight face during mass, if you tend to laugh at political hearings because they are great theater, if you tend to think that Saturday Night Live’s Evening Update is better news than the news, then it is a sign that you suffer from irreverence. It is a condition known to afflict millions of people who nonetheless manage to survive, provided they conform to protocol.

The protocol for irreverence is that you can’t be serious. If you are not serious, you can be as irreverent as you like, as long as you don’t divulge too much. If you insist on being serious and you are nonetheless irreverent, you will be taken as a threat to the peace. If you are serious and reverent, you will be taken as a prospective political candidate or moral leader – in short a threat to the power of those with power. But if you are just not serious then you can be reverent or irreverent all you like – in short, you can live your life.

The trouble, you see, is not that I can never be reverent. It is that I can’t always be reverent. There are always those too astute observations of the absurd which strike my mind and no force of will can restrain me from comment because they are too funny. They are just funny and it’s not my fault. But they are enough for people to look at me askew…

So I have decided to relegate my seriousness to refined literary and unspontaneous text which need not absorb my life. In short, I have decided to live my life. It is by all accounts an absurd life and no one can take that away – but it is freedom to let that absurdity live in comedy and not insist on fighting the absurd with sincerity, because you will lose, seriously.

I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man

The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes, & they believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes.  And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

– Thomas Jefferson

Snooty Don’t Read

Snooty doesn’t have to think.  Snooty knows.  Snooty knows everything in matters common sense, because it is their common sense.  Snooty knows that.

Snooty sees a mouth and asks why it does not work.  Snooty does not have to work but that is another matter.  Snooty never had to ask what if not.  Snooty always had.  Others don’t work.

Snooty doesn’t argue.  There is not need to argue.  Arguing shows you don’t know and Snooty knows.  There is no matter of opinion in matters of truth, and this matter of truth is common sense – common sense is their common sense, and in that there is truth.

Snooty don’t care.  Snooty don’t care if others don’t work.  Snooty knows they don’t want to work, Snooty knows they want Snooty’s fortune.  Snooty don’t care if others work, so long as they work for what they get.

Snooty doesn’t have to read.  Snooty knows.  Snooty knows everything in matters taste, because it is their taste.  Snooty knows that.

Snooty sees a cross and there is no matter of opinion.  Faith is bourgeois and God is dead.  It was said long ago by the long dead, but these long dead were not dogmatic.  That is truth.

Snooty doesn’t argue.  There is no need to argue.  Arguing shows you don’t know and Snooty knows.  There is no matters of opinion in matters of truth, and this matter of truth is a matter of taste – taste is their taste, and in that there is truth.

Snooty don’t care.  Snooty don’t care if others love.  Snooty knows they are wrong, and it is better to be in good taste than wrong.  Snooty don’t care if others love so long as they love what is in taste.

Snooty don’t think.  Thinking complicates judgment.  Judgment is quick and easy if you don’t have to think or be wrong. 

Snooty judge.  The rest is ignorance.

Snooty done.

Snooty forgotten.

We Need Ethics, Not Just Governance

We still need Ethics, not just governance. The biggest trouble with prosecuting people is often establishing intent. It is for this reason that our governance often builds indicators of intent into their definitions. For instance, the UN tackles the problem of human trafficking under the definition below.

“(a) “Trafficking in persons” shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs;”

I find it rather astounding that if you get rid of the slavery bit, you get something which is not Human Trafficking. The counterpart to this definition could read:

(a) “Business as usual” shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of paying them a wage at or above minimal through employment from among a limited set of options to live an ostensibly normal life.

This is a joke, but the idea is that you can’t do all of the “Trafficking” part of “Trafficking in persons” and believe all is ok as long as they are not also slaves.

This stresses the importance of ethics and religion in addition to governance. The issue with governance is that if one, in the end, is living a life ostensibly normal with a wage at or above minimal, then it can be difficult to say if they were not really complicit in that outcome all along, even if atrocities are committed along the way and the victims at hand perhaps being staked to a reputation they do not deserve.  This is part of the theme of the first story of The Sevilla Trinity. That coercion of those financially vulnerable and transfer by deception, though perhaps not easily prosecuted, are still wrong and cause a great deal of problems that only a society’s stable moral foundation can make amends for.

I do not pretend to know the ins and outs of international law, but the problem with the law often is that the letter does not align with the spirit, which is here not merely abolishing of slavery, but abolishing agreements made under coercion and deception. Religions and the institutions of religion often need to step up where governance and the public education systems fail, and this is but one example.