Theocrats: East and West

Indonesians gather in support of victims of sexual violence.

There’s this from Indonesia:

The passing of a bill on sexual violence, which has been deliberated on by the House of Representatives since 2016, is at risk of being delayed again, this time by those who consider it to be “pro-adultery” and “pro-LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender]” by omission.

Then there this from the United States:

When the Senate unanimously passed the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act in December, it marked an important step in a roughly century-long effort to outlaw the practice at the federal level. But before the House begins considering its version of the legislation, the Liberty Counsel, an evangelical litigation group, is calling for the bill to be stripped of language that refers to gender identity or sexual orientation.

These hotbeds of rising anti-LGBTI discrimination might be distant on a geographic basis, but they are closely united in their use of religious intolerance for political gain.

Indonesia has seen a huge increase in rhetorical and physical attacks on its LGBTI community since Muslim elected officials began using it as a political wedge in 2015. The United States has long been the global innovator in - and exporter of - Chrsitianist political organizing targeting LGBTI persons.

As cultures around the globe have become more accepting of marginalized groups, politicians seeking political advantage stoke fear of the other in ever more tangential ways. A bill targeting the perpetrators of sexual violence in Indonesia could easily fail because it would also protect the LGBTI victims of sexual violence. A bill that would make the obvious hate crime of lynching an actual legal hate crime could easily be rewritten to exclude those who are lynched for their sexual orientation or gender identity.

In 2019 too many countries around the world are racing back to the 19th century. And, while we’re led to believe that our greatest points of difference are reflected in sectarian strife, it is becoming obvious that religion is more a political lever for conservative populism than it is a route to spiritual salvation.