The following is an extract from an email and eventually part of a chapter entry into a new book I am writing on the hypocricy of American politics, and is something I have wanted to share for awhile. The glaring disparity in moral outcomes between sensible policy and irrational- fear-driven policy is not only deeply backward from a logical point of view but also deeply troubling morally and sizably problematic in terms of its human consequences. In particular, its implications for human wellbeing vs. human suffering and misery.
Take, for example, the moral distance between someone using marijuana and the devastation caused by recidivism, manditory minimums, revolving door prisons, and broken homes. This is more than obvious to the majority of Americans, including devout Christians (hopefully all the moreso). However, there is a small but strikingly loud and influential crowd of ‘morality’ zealots who continue to demonstrate misplaced moral priorities and a bizzaire moral hierarchy of human concern, in which consequentail outcomes of human suffering take a backseat to a simplistic ‘morality of tactics’ in maintaining a puritanical edifice of so-called ‘American’ virtue. A system of virtue in which human suffering and injustice is not half moral weight of non-consequential acts. What is worse, this crowd, while a minority, comprises a disturbingly large percentage of our population compared to the rest of the modern world.
The idea that we must choose betweeen an untra-secular system of sexual morality such as northern Europe on the one hand, or a fundamentalist Puritan throwback on the other, is a dichotomy we need erase from how we conceptualize the American moral landscape.
Here is a section of the letter I wrote:
Some rocket surgeons from the beloved far right went to Uganda to attempt to influence and persuade Ugandan officials and others toward a more aggressive social stance on homosexuality. This has arguably helped expedite the following: “The legislative proposal would broaden the criminalization of same-sex relations in Uganda domestically, and further includes provisions for Ugandans penalties for individuals, companies, media organizations, or non-governmental organizations that know of gay people or support LGBT rights.” who engage in same-sex relations outside of Uganda, asserting that they may be extradited for punishment back to Uganda, and includes life in prison and (for awhile) pushed for the death penalty, triggering its infamous “Kill the Gays Bill” connotation.
All of this is a fundamental and deeply embarrassing disgrace to everything Christian and a spear in the heart of Christ’s life and message. The people behind this Uganda expedition are of the same mindset as the self-important Pharisaical ‘true believers’ who had Jesus nailed to the cross.
This is also a fundamental and deeply embarrassing disgrace to everything Constitutional and American.
This is also a serious disgrace to human freedom and common sense.
Here is why:
For the sake of simplicity and rational argument, lets assess this from a purely human lens, from a purely basic, simple human rights point of view. Forget for a second whether or not you are for or against gay rights, gay sex, gay porn, gay marriage, gay happiness, gay South Park episodes, gay anything. Forget the moral debate on that end for a quick second. or…let’s even go so far as to say that you’re 100% against the gay agenda and firmly secure in your moral rectitude on the matter. Fine, all good and well.
Let’s talk about the sheer, terrifying, and utterly infuriating monumental idiocy of these men that went to Uganda to push their agenda the way they did, and the deeply saddening, almost soul-crushing lack of a wide and loud response from the conservative and populist Christian community on how many of the sub-Saharan African countries treat homosexuals. Or anyone accused of it by their backward systems of ‘justice’. We are talking about a part of the world where entire judicial systems are stacked against citizens. Where police are sometimes heavily corrupted and quite literally do not function alongside the same paradigm that our police system does. I have been to these places, all over the map, continent to continent, across a range of languages – from Spanish and Quechua to Serbian-Croatian, to Arabic, Farsi, Pashto and Urdu – all of which I speak to a degree, and across diverse cultures and histories. And yet anyone else who shares any degree of similar experience knows firsthand that one cannot look at laws and the police systems – and the courts who enforce these laws – in even remotely the same casual light as we look at laws in our country.
This is not a game, it is quite serious. People are arrested for things they did not commit. Take even the slippery slope of abuse we have in even the more radical laws in the US, and multiply this danger by 3. That’s the hazard one brings to the table of civilization when they promote any sort of legal or political measures against gays in places like Uganda. I don’t expect a large percentage of modern Conservative Christians of the hard right to care one damn bit about the well-documented injustices and regressive unfairness of our justice system in this country; many celebrate it. Even so, how there is not a huge outcry, on every Christian network, on every conservative radio show, in every group with the word “freedom” or “liberty” attached to it, loudly and boldly denouncing the obvious dangers to innocent Ugandans posed by this law, is horribly shameful. And anyone with a heart for Christ, a love and respect for freedom and humanity, and an ethos for doing what’s right, should join me in denouncing the attempts in Uganda to enforce anti-homosexuality laws by way of the jail system.
Its one step above death by hanging (which they tried) and a hundred steps below a
decent, humane and logically consistent standard of human society.