The Absurdity of the ‘Islamo-Gaystapo Axis’

The Absurdity of the ‘Islamo-Gaystapo Axis’ June 16, 2016

We hear constantly from the right wing that liberals and LGBT people are in league with ISIS and other Islamic reactionaries. It’s one of the most ridiculous claims they make, but they repeat it like a mantra. Peter Montgomery of People for the American Way debunks this nonsense:


The accusation that gay rights activists are making common cause with radical Islamists makes no sense. LGBT equality activists are increasingly taking a global view of their human rights struggle, and are keenly aware of the treatment of LGBT people under regimes that enforce a repressive, fundamentalist forms of Islam, as well as Islamic State militants’ brutal killings of people charged with being homosexual. That’s why LGBT activists have organized against the inclusion of countries like Brunei and Malaysia in trade deals. It’s why they’ve been sounding the alarm about a wave of homophobic rhetoric from political and religious leaders in Indonesia. It’s why they’re urging European countries to be aware of the particular vulnerabilities facing LGBT refugees from Syria and Iraq.

The truth is that the people working closely with repressive Islamic regimes are not equality advocates but Religious Right organizations and their allies in the Vatican. Recently, a group of anti-gay and anti-abortion organizations organized a “high-level” event at the United Nations with representatives of the Group of Friends of the Family (GoFF), a collection of 25 countries created last year to “reaffirm that the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.”

American activist Austin Ruse and his organization C-Fam work hard to keep reproductive rights and recognition of LGBT human rights out of international documents and agreements, work for which he often relies on the Vatican and Muslim-majority countries. Ruse organized the recent UN gathering, at which he praised Sudan and Saudi Arabia for having “saved” UN documents from language social conservatives don’t like. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom calls Saudi Arabia “uniquely repressive” when it comes to religious freedom and says Sudan’s government “represses and marginalizes the country’s minority Christian community.” One of the speakers was representing Iran, which the Commission recently accused of “seeking to ‘eradicate’ the country’s Baha’is.”

Joining that freedom-loving group at the United Nations were anti-gay activists who routinely portray LGBT Americans as a threat to religious liberty, including Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council and anti-gay pastor and activist Jim Garlow.

There is no evidence whatsoever that LGBT equality advocates are in league with violent Islamists, with whom they have little in common. But there is plenty of evidence, like the recent UN conference, that Religious Right groups are willing and eager to partner even with Christian-persecuting regimes in order to resist legal recognition and protection for LGBT human rights. A few years ago, Mission America’s Linda Harvey sided with Islamist extremists in Pakistan who protested the US embassy for hosting an LGBT pride event. Cal Thomas has suggested legal marriage equality is a worse threat to America than “fundamentalist Muslims.”

The obvious reality is that the Christian right is far closer to Muslim reactionaries than anyone on the left could possibly be. They share a similar anti-gay ideology and it’s based on the very same texts (most Americans probably don’t know that Muslims believe the Torah, or Pentateuch — the first five books of the Bible — are divinely inspired and that’s where all that “stone the gays” stuff comes from). Most of the Christian right may not want them put to death, though a subset of them certainly does, but you can’t name a single Christian right group that isn’t still whining about the Supreme Court ruling that you can’t throw gay people in jail. We would be far more accurate in talking about a Christian right/Muslim right axis.

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