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They’re Crazy Over There

[ 33 ] March 19, 2012 |

Meeting a political leader who supports bans on sodomy must indeed be awkward. Fortunately, here in the United States of America nobody who held such barbaric positions would be allowed anywhere near a position of power and influence.

To be clear, the Liberia law is barbaric. Sirleaf’s position should be strongly criticized (whether or not is was appropriate to do so in that particular context.) But let us recall that Tony Blair’s good friend and fellow Iraq War mastermind George W. Bush was also a supporter of sodomy laws.

Comments (33)

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  1. J. Otto Pohl says:

    Other than South Africa I believe all other African states have anti-sodomy laws. I know male homosexual acts are illegal in Ghana. These laws seem to very popular particularly among politicians and the very large and vocal evangelical Christian population. But, enforcement appears to be rather arbitrary. There is no campaign here yet to round up all gay men and incarcerate them.

    • DrDick says:

      Ironic in face of the fact that institutionalized homosexuality (mostly male) was widespread among many African peoples up into the early 20th century. The pernicious influence of Christian (and perhaps Islamic) missionaries.

      • J. Otto Pohl says:

        The Evangelical movement, particularly the Pentacostals here today are a recent development. The American missionaries who brought over this brand of religion from the US during the 1980s and 1990s are very different from the Basel and other earlier missionaries. I am not sure if there is anything in the US comparable to the Pentacostal presence here. For instance most students are totally apolitical, but a lot of them spend a lot of time in Pentacostal churches. There are lots of such churches on campus. A lot of students even gather on the fields every night to pray and talk in tongues. I can not imagine such activities at Berkeley or Harvard.

        The popularity of the Evangelicals in Ghana has been growing very rapidly in the last couple of decades. They provide a strong social base for some political policies. Some like the anti-sodomy laws are embraced by national politicians. Others like support of Israel are not due to countervailing forces. In this case relations with various Muslim states in Africa and the Middle East.

        • DrDick says:

          This antihomosexual attitude actually came over with the Catholic and Anglican (also Methodist and Presbyterian) missionaries in the early 20th century as part of the colonization. This is really quite well documented and there is a decent literature on the topic.

          • MAJeff says:

            And the Anglican church in much of African has been fomenting it in recent years, particularly in response to dealing with the issue within Anglicanism. I’m particularly thinking of Peter Akinola.

          • J. Otto Pohl says:

            The current surge in homophobia in Ghana is connected to the Evangelicals. Until 1980 Christians of all types made up only 50% of the population (F.K. Buah, A History of Ghana, p. 138). Today it is over 80% and Evangelicals account for almost all of the increase.

  2. c u n d gulag says:

    In her defense, maybe by the same quirk of nature, Liberia has absolutely zero homosexuals, just like Iran!

    • Erik Loomis says:

      Just like Republican politicians!

      • c u n d gulag says:

        Yes! EXACTLY!!!

      • Manju says:

        Just like Republican politicians!

        Republicans have a wider stance here than you liberals are willing to admit. Some are practically toe to toe with folks on your side.

        But whenever a Republican makes a move in your direction, you trap them. Quit stalling and admit, your own moralistic policing has kept the two parties from coming together.

        • BradP says:

          But whenever a Republican makes a move in your direction, you trap them. Quit stalling and admit, your own moralistic policing has kept the two parties from coming together.

          I will admit that Obama puts the fence up pretty far to the right for any republican who wants to separate themselves from him, but I don’t really get what you are saying here.

          Explain.

        • djw says:

          If you were following the SSM debate in the Washington State Senate earlier this year, you noticed the following dynamic: A handful of Republican Senators were undecided. They were subjected to a barrage of….generally polite and passionate appeals to do the right thing by our Gay and Lesbian fellow citizens. Some of them did, and they were then broadly praised in Democratic press outlets (including the Stranger) for their decency and moral courage. The end. (Insofar as there was nastiness against the undecided wafflers, it was primarily directed at the Democrats who fell in that category).

  3. Deggjr says:

    And yet, when someone asks Scalia the question that he asks of others, Scalia rediscovers the right to privacy.

  4. Yusifu says:

    In her defense, President Sirleaf doesn’t have a lot of room for maneuver and she isn’t the main actor in the legislation mandating harsher penalties for sodomy. The real question is why homophobia has become so vehement in Africa just now, when same-sex subcultures are so small and frequently don’t really resemble western forms of orientational homosexuality.

    • Lee says:

      What does this even mean? What is orientational homosexuality mean? Some people fall in love with and want to have sex with people of their own gender. Some of these people are more able to do so than others because they live in more open, tolerant cultures.

      The only reason why homosexuals in the “West”, some Asian countries, and South Africa are “orientational homosexuals” is that they are allowed to by these countries. Before that homosexuals weren’t “orientational” because doing so would be a really bad idea from a self-perservation perspective.

      • Yusifu says:

        Not everyone experiences sexual desire as an orientation. That’s largely a western phenomenon, and a recent one at that. The ancient Greeks didn’t understand sexuality in such exclusive (or gender-graded) ways. Neither do most west Africans today. Projecting western ideas of gay liberation across the entire world and across history is ethnocentric, and it does violence to the lives and experience of people involved in other modes of same-sex sexuality.

        • LeeEsq says:

          This is highly debatable. If sexual desire is ultimately of biological origins, which is something that I prescribe to, than sexual desires are orientations/biological preferences whether a given society recognizes them as such or not. The caveat is this, western societies are better able to recognize sexual desires as orientation because they are rich enough to.

          • Yusifu says:

            It’s not a question of what one believes (or subscribes to) about the nature of one’s own sexual desire. If you actually pay attention to what people do in other societies–and did in western societies before c. 1900–you’ll see that the idea of sexual orientation as a thing, unchanging and innate is locatlized and idiosyncratic. But you do actually need to pay attention to other places.

  5. Rob says:

    Yes Republicans have a wide stance.

  6. wengler says:

    Please post a NSFL warning when any link leads to a picture of Tony Blair.

    Thank you.

  7. Honorable...BOB says:

    This makes perfect sense why LGM would be upset with less buttsex.

    • DrDick says:

      Actually, you are the one obsessed with buttsex. We are concerned about making sure there are people being thrown in jail or executed because of their sexual orientation or any other identity issue.

  8. cpinva says:

    i do not believe that word means what you think it means:

    But let us recall that Tony Blair’s good friend and fellow Iraq War mastermind George W. Bush

    my dictionary is doing a slow, painful twist on the shelf.

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