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Friday, 12 December 2014

Muehlenberg admits he wants to recriminalise homosexuality

Fundamentalist Xtian bigot Bill Muehlenberg has finally admitted what we have known all along - that he would rather see all LGBT people behind bars just for being themselves, rather than live with societies extending to its gay citizens the self-same rights and freedoms Muehlenberg himself takes for granted.

In his piece God, Divine Purposes, and Conditionality, Muehlenberg praises Singapore because the country recently retained a piece of draconian legislation enforced whilst it was under the yoke of the British empire. The legislation, called Section 377a of the Penal Code, sees consenting adults serving two years in prison for the "crime" of having sex, even in private, with somebody of the same sex.
Just over a month ago Section 377a of the Penal Code was upheld by a high-up appeals court, keeping homosexuality in check – for now at least. But as I have been warning, the activists never sleep, and will of course keep chipping away. It is always a war of attrition, and whoever has the most resolve, stamina and perseverance will ultimately win. The other side will certainly not give up. The question is, will the Christians? I have met many great Christian leaders and activists here so far, and they give me real hope.
Real hope of what, Bill? Real hope that LGBT people in Singapore continue to be subjected to abuse and live under the threat of incarceration? That's the dangerous agenda he seeks to push.

So Bill gloats that another country retains appalling and inhumane restrictions on basic human freedoms, and criminalises around 2% of its populace, simply for a harmless facet of their character.

When asked if Bill would like to see the west recriminalise homosexuality, Muehlenberg admits:
...invariably when states permit homosexuality they quickly move into hardcore promotion of it. So that is a real worry.
It's a real worry, all those pesky LGBT people living open lives, where they can't legally be discriminated against in the provision of goods and services; where they can't be thrown out of a restaurant just for being gay, or lose their jobs or houses because of their sexuality. Yes, I can see exactly why this issue keeps you awake at night, Bill. Those pesky gays, living without fear, without shame, and holding their heads up with pride and going about their day-to-day life with the same freedoms you enjoy. How such an appalling state of affairs must eat you alive.

So yes, the sole reason Muehlenberg has written self-published books attacking gay people and keeps his gay-hate blog is to try to drum up enough hatred towards gay people that governments may feel pressured to turn the clock back a century and punish, torture and abuse its gay citizenry for what consenting adults do in private. We can be thankful that a deranged and inhuman bully like Muehlenberg has no political clout whatsoever, and that the west is rapidly abandoning his backward and barbaric way of thinking. He ends with a favourite canard of his, deliberately confusing sexual orientation with habit:
And given that governments crack down on other harmful behaviours such as cigarette smoking, a case could be made for going back to some sort of restrictions on this high risk and deadly lifestyle. 
Anyone not a brainwashed fundamentalist can see what an idiotic comparison that it. There is nothing "deadly" about being gay, and even if there were, why should any government crack down on the personal freedoms of its law abiding citizens? Ginger-haired people are more susceptible to sunburn and therefore skin cancer. Did they choose to be ginger-haired? No. Perhaps Bill would like to see them behind bars and the key thrown away too? If not, why not? I merely follow his reasoning.

Religion - that really is a deadly lifestyle that does real harm to real people. Muehlenberg's free to believe whatever superstitious nonsense floats his boat, but when he starts calling for minorities to be criminalised and their freedoms stripped away, he oversteps the bounds of common decency and basic humanity, and can and must be held to account.


  1. However to suggest that the analogy extents to banning gay sex is too much of a stretch. There are two reasons for this.

    1. I assume when he refers to dangerous lifestyles he is referring to HIV/AIDS possibly suggesting that higher rates of promiscuity among gay men creates greater risk and to higher rates of suicide and depression. A few points are missing here.

    a. It is not necessarily reasonable to assume every person with an LGBT identity is promiscous.

    b. It is true that LGBT people are at greater risk of depression and mental health issue than are heterosexuals but to suggest that this makes being LGBT a health risk is uncritical. We live in a very heteronormative world where heterosexuality enjoys a privilege. It's assumed that people are straight and if you are not then you become relatively stigmatised. On top of this you have people such as Mulenberg whose discourses are rather libellous towards the LGBT community writing them off as being wrong in eyes of certain theological doctrines or are somehow deviant. Such discourses can promote violence against LGBT people and active discrimination or bullying in many contexts one of the major ones being high school (although it is not just gays who suffer school bullying). Face with this it is not difficult to see why many LGBT people do suffer pain and distress and may turn to drugs or alcohol or even commit or attempt suicide.

    d. To write HIV off as problem being caused by the gay community or as an issue of sexual immorality is misleading. It is an illness and should be seen as a public health issue in a biomedical paradigm. Health issues have both a curative and preventive approach. Mulenberg's view is preventative - that is if everyone were made to enter heterosexual marriages and lead a religious lifestyle they would not be exposed to the disease. This is unlikely to be successful. While I do not disrespect abstinence and commitment as values it may not work for everyone and pushing it too hard is likely to lead to resistance and will likely stigmatise patients with HIV making it less likely they will seek treatment. As it stands the current response to HIV is better public awareness, encourage testing and try to reduce stigma.

    The side he does not talk about is the curative side. This involves having public infrastructure able to deal with the issue as it arises. Access to hospital and GP's so infected patients can get the treatment they need and funding for medical research so better treatments and potentially a cure. Drugs available currently do allow you to manage the disease and patients on such medications can still lead full and normal lives although there is still no cure. I could almost suggest some of Mulenbergs conservative views and his strong support for the dry faction of the Liberal party of Australia who tend to support cuts to the primary healthcare system may bring in to question his commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS. A preventative discourse alone and especially his very narrow view will not address this issue.

    2. Prohibitionist policies aren't always successful at reducing harm caused by dangerous behaviours. If Mr. Mulenberg is so adamant that governments should regulate sexuality then surely allowing same sex marriage in order to encourage stability and commitment and thus reduce the chance of promiscuity and any associated risks. Furthermore allowing same sex marriage will likely normalise LGBT people and reduce the stigma attached hopefully lowering levels of bullying and stress and associated depression and suicidal tendencies.

    1. Thank you for a very intelligent and well-reasoned response. All your suggestions would fall on deaf ears as far as Muehlenberg and the religious right are concerned.

  2. Thanks. If Mr. Muehlenberg either refuses to engage with these points then perhaps he is like the Ugandan churches that want gays jailed or executed under the law. Like many religious conservatives I doubt he is completely open about his position on this subject or just doesn’t know what it is but has knee-jerk reactions anyway.

    It's disappointing because that suggests whatever theological doctrines he uses to justify his claims, he may be motivated by irrational prejudice. I have heard at least one theologian suggest that God might actually want gay marriage passed for the reasons suggested above?

    The thing I didn't mention is that I heard some religious conservatives attempt to rebut the arguments I've made on the grounds that the Netherlands has had some increases in HIV cases since it legislated for marriage equality and that a lot of cases are MSM.

    The best response to this I can think of is to reassert that the correct way to think about the issue is as a public health issue. Better education about STDs, better access to contraception and health and sex education will reduce risk of infection.

    The issue with that is that it would involve a discussion of sex and sexuality in a manner contrary to some conservative theological doctrines that Mr Muehlenberg regards as absolutes. I think he would probably like to operate under a blanket prohibition rule - sex is only safe and permissible when between married heterosexual partners - any other expression of sexuality or forms of intimacy is dismissed as morally deviant and "dangerous."

    To me that's not practical or fair as it 1) marginalises and dismisses LGBT persons and 2) reverts to a prohibitionist stance that is unlikely to do a significant amount of good. The US had an alcohol prohibition for 10 years and all that came of it was an underground liquor trade run by organised criminal gangs, which in turn perpetuated violence and corruption.

    As far as I am aware most countries in Europe which have inclusive and comprehensive sex education have much lower STD and unintended pregnancy rates than the US where the government funds mainly abstinence programs.

  3. The other thing that has not been mentioned is that no mainstream medical authority, association or research body (at least that I am aware of) has suggested "homosexuality is a dangerous lifestyle," or that criminalisation of homosexuality would somehow reduce the HIV/AIDS rate.