Spreading the Message, Ignoring the Consequences

Quiz:  you’re a Christian / pro-“family” organization and you have a choice.  Either 1) allow the legalization of homosexuality, giving way to its eventual peaceful acceptance by society or 2) campaign ceaselessly to keep it illegal, knowing that your efforts – even if unsuccessful – will greatly exacerbate violence against the LGBT community because of fearmongering and misinformation.  What do you do?

I bring this up is because I found an article on the Southern Poverty Law Center website, showing how American right wing groups are interfering with Caribbean nations – specifically Belize – in order to ensure that homosexual activities remain illegal.

Dangerous Liaisons: The American Religious Right & the Criminalization of Homosexuality in Belize examines how these groups are working in countries where anti-gay attitudes are strong and violence against the LGBT community is common. Several prominent groups have descended on the tiny Central American country of Belize to prevent Section 53, a statute criminalizing gay sex, from being struck down in court. Their efforts already have intensified anti-LGBT attitudes in the country, where the plaintiff in the case has been threatened and physically assaulted.

According to the SLPC’s Intelligence Project, the strategy of organizations like the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is to influence countries where there is still a chance to seal strong anti-gay legislation since the winds appear to be shifting against them here in America.  The problem is that places like Belize and the Caribbean in general have very real problems of violence against the LGBT community that commonly goes unpunished.  Sometimes it’s even initiated by the authorities themselves.

Orozco [an opponent of Section 53] has been physically assaulted in the streets and threatened with death. His lawyers worry that he could be assassinated, an event that would end the lawsuit, since he is the only plaintiff.

A report released this March by the Chicago-based Heartland Alliance, a human rights group, found that the LGBT community in Belize is routinely subjected to violence, even from law enforcement officials. The report cited, among other violent crimes, the bludgeoning death of an openly gay doctor and the murder of a politician’s gay brother in his own home. It also noted that border officials have regularly detained and harassed visitors they suspect of being gay.

There are other groups involved in this project.  Listed on SLPC’s article are the American Center for Law and Justice, the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute, Family Watch International, United Families International, and the World Congress of Families.  Their influence has come in the form of legal advice for those defending the measure to spreading lies about homosexuality, like its supposed “link” to pedophilia.

The struggle in Belize is part of a larger legal strategy, since it belongs to the Caribbean Court of Justice.  If Section 53 fails here, it could cause a cascade effect in other countries within the same court, allowing the entire region to become more LGBT friendly, at least from a legal point of view.  And that would affect Christians all over the world … somehow.  I’m not sure how, but it must be really bad for them to travel all around the world to make sure homosexuality remains illegal without either considering or caring about its aforementioned consequences.

If they are truly “Christian” organizations, it at least theoretically should give them pause to consider that the epidemic-level violence against the LGBT community is only going to be made worse if their actions continue.  If they cared at all about establishing a truly Christian sense of morality around the world, they’d focus more on that and less on the demonstrably victimless crime that has taken all of their attention instead.

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13 Responses to Spreading the Message, Ignoring the Consequences

  1. erickeys says:

    Many Christians I know are much more liberal about LGBT issues than you would think, but are scared to be vocal about their attitudes. Christians eat their own, I suppose.

    • I tend to agree. The Christians I grew up with still consider themselves religious, yet maintain a pretty liberal, “live and let live” outlook on social issues. It’s the small subset who want their interpretation of religion to be the law of the land, the basis of our science curricula, and the Big Brother in our bedrooms that ruin things for the rest of us.

      • erickeys says:

        I don’t know how big or small a subset it is. I just know I’ve met some. Seems like a minority to me, but maybe that’s because the others are scared to speak up. And they should be, I guess, since the angry, vicious ones will probably hunt them down.

        I think @charity is right. The book itself is the problem. The book has some wonderful passages, but them themes of hate run throughout and run deep.

        • The book itself is a tremendous problem when people take it seriously or, at worst, literally. Reza Aslan of recent Fox News fame has repeatedly accused the New Atheists (Harris, Dennett, Hitchens, and Dawkins) of incorrectly assuming this interpretation is the norm. It may or may not be, but there’s a significant enough percentage of the population who believe things like a 6,000 year old earth and the modern relevance of ancient Semitic moral codes that biblical literalism deserves specific attention and criticism.

          • erickeys says:

            There is some truth to that point about the interpretation vs the norm. You can try and step into the mind of the original authors and/or audience and figure out how they would have understood the texts that they produced. That’s perfectly legitimate in my mind. And doing so would probably avoid many of the horrors of modern, Evangelical Christianity.

            That being said, even for a believer with a good education and a fair amount of free time, the process of trying to engage in such scholarly pursuits is onerous enough to seem impossible.This will cause them – I imagine – to take one of two course (in most cases). They will either revert to literalism or they will latch on to one scholar or school of scholars as being the “correct” interpretation, which amounts to them trading one book for another. Possibly the new book is better but the basic problem – living by a book instead of reason/adaptation/etc is still there, just mitigated.

  2. Robert Adler says:

    Lately, there have been ads on TV about the benefits of investing in Belize (beautiful sea, sand, weather, property, offshore banking, etc.) Perhaps it is time to point out that an ad campaign could happen on TV here using their own photos of beauty and nature right alongside the human truthts that they are ignoring. How to do that?

    • The first thing I would recommend is to contact the SPLC itself and see if they’ve given any thought to the idea. They have access to a lot more resources than any of us. I admit I haven’t done this yet, but I think it would be a logical starting point. I’ll poke around a little bit to see what action they’re already taking on this.

  3. Charity says:

    It doesn’t matter if a Christian is kind or mean, their holy book is still treacherous. Church is not relevant to humanity. Let them keep opening their hateful mouths, and they’ll continue to see their pews empty, profits fall, and they’ll finally decline in number. I’m sorry, Jason, I’ve been feeling a bit extra bitchy lately. Some things have been brought to my attention, and I’m pissed with myself for being a promoter of such garbage for so many years.

    Thanks for keeping us all updated on current events.

    • Your feelings are pretty understandable, given the amount of time you’ve spent under the yoke, so to speak. I can yap about how easy it was for me to leave the church but it never really had much of a hold on any aspect of our lives apart from an hour on Sundays.

      I mentioned this to Deb and Alice, but want to get you involved too – you’re welcome to write a guest post here on CaD. I know you do a lot of writing about your own personal experiences anyway, but if there’s something you think would fit in here (or if there’s just something in particular you’d like to share) let me know and we’ll work something out.

      • Charity says:

        Thank you, Jason. All I know to write about now are my own experiences, likes and dislikes. My grammar, thoughts, and reasoning do not have the flow that your writing has, and I just don’t think that I’m at that place emotionally to do that yet. However, if you there is anything I may have written or will write in the future that you feel is relevant to you and/or your readers, feel free to give your input and re-blog if you like.

    • erickeys says:

      “their holy book is still treacherous” – This is very true. Even the liberal ones are paying homage to a vicious book and make the book seem more acceptable which keeps the door open for the vicious, mean book people.

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