When I was younger, I grappled mightily with the dichotomy between freedom and democracy, between freedom and tolerance.
There’s an uneasy yin-yang relationship, and as much as we’d like to hold them aloft as compatible ideals, conflicts inevitably arise.
With age comes a little more pragmatism, I suppose — a knowledge that ideals are just that, and that the world is a place where diplomacy and compromise are often the only civilized way to bridge a gap between conflicting morals.
Homosexuality is a sin in many people’s eyes. (So, of course, is adultery, divorce, masturbation, birth control and countless other deviations from the perceived norm.)
It’s not up to me to make you think otherwise. If you think this particular form of intimacy between people is somehow an abomination and a threat to world order, I doubt I could talk you down.
But I can tell you to stop propagating this belief in such a way as to potentially cause harm toward innocent people.
I can tell you that despite what you may think, gays and lesbians don’t have an agenda to recruit children, or take over the world. And even if they did take over the world, most of us would probably dress better.
I can tell you that homosexuality is as innate as any other carnal thirst, and that homosexuality is no more akin to pedophilia than heterosexuality is.
I know this not because I’m homosexual, but because I haven’t had my head in the sand all my life. I know it because I try not to let petty bigotry infect my brain.
I know it because I interact with homosexuals on a daily basis, friends and family, and their sexual persuasion is as irrelevant as what they had for breakfast that morning.
And that is why I am not only angry about the passage of a new law in Uganda that cracks down hard on homosexuality — I am outraged by it.
I am outraged not simply because a small African nation has taken such a huge leap backwards in human rights.
Amnesty International says homosexuality is a crime in 38 of 54 African countries, and there are equal and worse acts of intolerance going on in this world against all sorts of victims.
What’s truly disturbing is that the Uganda law was promoted and fueled in large part by a cabal of North American bigots, people who were so frustrated with the growing acceptance of gays in their own countries that they had to export their hatred abroad.
A few years ago, U.S. conversion therapist Richard A. Cohen wrote that “homosexuals are at least 12 times more likely to molest children than heterosexuals.” That and other outrageous fabrications became briefing notes for Ugandan politicians.
Fundamentalist foot soldiers such as Scott Lively, Rick Warren, James Inhofe and John Ashcroft also brought their twisted doctrines to Uganda, and helped shape its public policy.
Adding her own voice to this pilgrimage of hate, REAL Women of Canada vice-president Gwendolyn Landolt condemned Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird last year for even daring to speak out against such draconian laws.
Baird “argues that homosexual rights are a ‘Canadian value,’” she wrote, “but this applies only to himself and his fellow activists and the left-wing elitists. These are not conservative values.”
In making her statement, Landolt implicitly endorsed the bullying, beating and murder of gays. For that is what legislated discrimination fuels, as sure as night becomes day.
It takes no small measure of patience to tolerate these medieval sermons from the fire and brimstone brigade.
But when actions can be directly linked to travesties like that in Uganda, I believe a line has been crossed.
If the Dantesque tortures of hell truly existed, I can only imagine there’d be a circle reserved for those who export such hate to vulnerable nations.
Peter Jackson is The Telegram’s
commentary editor. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.