04 April 2015

Gays are scarier than ISIS - really?

Last week Indiana signed into law the ability for businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians (and really, against anyone they don't like). This week, Islamic fanatics asked students if they were Muslim or Christian, and then murdered 148 or more of the Christians.

Not meaning to cause (too much) offense to Christians or Muslims or those that consider themselves neither, but enough if enough.

It is time to stop discriminating against people for their biology, and start actively discriminating against people for their choices. Being Christian or Muslim (or any other faith) is a choice. Killing people in the name of your religion is a choice. Being gay or lesbian is not, it is in the genes, and therefore is built into the person before they are even born.

So lets start discriminating based on choices.

Christians who want to hate gays and lesbians - grow up, please, or we (straights and gays) will take our business somewhere else.

Muslim who do NOT want to kill people based on their not being their kind of Muslim - speak up, please. Every day you say nothing is another day that I grow more concerned about you being in my community. Every day you say nothing, you reinforce the (false?) perception that Islam is not a religion of peace.

For years I have fought the urge in the back of my mind to look with concern at the Muslim person getting on the same airplane as me. I have pitied the 4 obviously Arab men that were boarding the same Chicago to New York flight as me five weeks after 9/11. They looked as scared of the rest of the passengers as we looked of them. Well, no, they looked scared of the rest of the passengers who all, me included, were looking at them and asking ourselves how we would defend ourselves against them when they tried to take over the plane. That is fear, on both parts.

And today, when I look at numbers that say that in the UK, where 27% of Muslims "have some sympathy for the motives behind the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris", I am scared of the Muslims around me. More important, I am no longer able to convince myself that I am being unreasonable. The rationale part of my mind simply sounds out of touch with reality.

Please don't tell me about how they are a minority. Of course 27% is a minority. But where are the 73% who should be loudly saying this is unacceptable. Wouldn't it be a scary world if 27% of Christians "have sympathy" with the motives of those that attack gays and lesbians, and "have sympathy" for killing Muslims because they do not allow Christians to open churches in Saudi Arabia (for example).

I have never heard a Christian say that it is alright to kill Muslims because Christians are not allowed to visit Mecca. Yet 27% of Muslims in the UK are sympathetic to murders of cartoonists.

Maybe, just maybe, we are moving slowly closer to a world in which, if "we" cannot come to Mecca, then you cannot come to the UK, US, Brazil, France, or any other non-Muslim country. I really do not want to live in that kind of world. Multiple faiths and cultures make for more vibrant communities and countries, with wider ranges of ideas, art, culture, and yes, better food.

When I see a dull Pride Parade, and lets face it, when one of the vehicles in the Pride Parade is a Neonatal Transfer Unit ambulance with a rainbow flag, then that is a dull Pride Parade. And that speaks to a community that embraces the full range of differences in the community. Except the Islamic element of the community. And here, there is a very large, or at least very visible, Muslim community. We, and the Muslim part of the community, and really have pride when all are represented, including the Imams. Mind you, it will be very very dull, but isn't that what we actually want. To see all those around us visibly supporting all around us.

When Indiana, in the name of Christianity, supports legalizing discrimination based on how a person is born, and not on their choices, then that is sad, but not scary. We (straight and gay) can just take our business somewhere else, and take the piss out of them. After all, Indiana, and all the states that have similar legislation, does not actually need a law to be full of bigots.

But now, when I walk past 4 Muslim men, I wonder which one of them "has some sympathy" for those that would kill me, simply because I am not one of them.

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