The ludicrous ways that gay and transgender people defend Islam in the name of “social justice”

Let’s face it: gays, women, and transgender people shouldn’t be defending Islam, for that faith has an abysmal record of tolerating these groups. We all know about the oppression of women by Islam, and homosexuality can be punished by execution in Yemen, Mauritania, Nigeria, Qatar, Iran, Saudi Arabia (punishment there can be stoning!), Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates. What do these countries have in common?

In Iran, as I’ve written before, transsexuality is legal only if you undergo a sex-change operation (and that means genital surgery), and many homosexuals become transsexual women simply to allow them to have sex with men without being killed or having to leave their country. As Wikipedia notes:

While Iran has outlawed homosexuality, Iranian Shi’a thinkers such as Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini have allowed for transsexuals to change their sex so that they can enter heterosexual relationships. This position has been confirmed by the current Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and is also supported by many other Iranian clerics. The state will pay a portion of the cost for a sex-change operation. Some lesbian Iranian women have cross-dressed to avoid sexual harassment and rape, opposition groups alleging that they do so to obtain “economic opportunities only available to men”, despite 60% of professionals in Iran being women, and Iran even having a female vice-president. It is illegal for a woman to dress as a man, or for a barber to cut the hair of a woman short (out of fear that doing so would facilitate cross-dressing). Likewise, men who cross-dress or are deemed too effeminate will also face harassment or criminal charges. Transsexuals are granted immunity from these regulations.

Since the mid-1980s, the Iranian government has legalized the practice of sex change operations (under medical approval) and the modification of pertinent legal documents to reflect the changed gender. In 1983, Khomeini passed a fatwa allowing sex-change operations as a cure for “diagnosed transsexuals”, allowing for the basis of this practice becoming legal.  This religious decree was first issued for Maryam Khatoon Molkara, who has since become the leader of an Iranian transsexual organization. Hojatoleslam Kariminia, a mid-level Islamic cleric in Iran, is another advocate for transsexual rights, having called publicly for greater respect for the human rights of Iranian transsexuals.

Despite the government’s policy, transsexualism is still a taboo topic within Iranian society, and no laws exist to protect post-operative transsexuals from discrimination.

Here are some data from the 2013 Pew Survey showing how people in Muslim-majority lands regard homosexuality and other issues. Being gay is considered morally wrong by most Muslims in all Muslim-majority lands surveyed (these didn’t include Saudi Arabia or Iran, where asking such questions could get you killed):

Divided by country:

Why, then, would a gay or transsexual person (or even a woman) defend Islam as tolerant and enlightened on issues of their rights? They shouldn’t, but if they’re Regressive Leftists they’ll do it anyway, as they consider Muslims “People of Color” and thus exempt from normal expectations of progressive and tolerant behavior.

For a particularly ridiculous defense of Islam’s “tolerance” for gays and transsexuals, listen to this five-minute eructation of apologetics by Riley Dennis, a transsexual woman whose videos appear on the self-lacerating site Everyday Feminism:

Dennis asserts that criticism of Islam’s treatment of LBTQ people is motivated solely by Islamophobia, which is ridiculous. He argues that Muslims are portrayed as terrorists in movies and on television—an argument that, even if true, is completely irrelevant to her thesis. Further, since there are 1.6 billion Muslims, says Dennis, they can’t all hate gays. And that’s true, but we’re talking about the religion as a whole, and for that you can see the statistics above.

As for the anti-gay laws of Muslim lands like Saudi Arabia, well, Dennis says those laws are horrible, but “that doesn’t mean it’s a Muslim law. . . it’s a law put in place by the Saudi Arabian government, not the religion of Islam”. That’s risible: where did the law come from? Sharia, of course, and that’s Islamic law.  She further says that “most Muslims disagree” with Wahhabi Islam, and that may be true, but most Muslims still see gays as immoral—and that includes 95% of those surveyed in Indonesia, which Dennis touts as a liberal country.

As for Iran, Dennis praises it “since the 1980s, the government has partially funded sex-change operations for transgender people”. Right! And those operations are performed in gays who would rather be snipped than executed. There’s not much of a choice there. So much for the enlightened government of Iran. If you can justify that, you can justify any oppression.

Dennis further argues that Leviticus shows that Christianity calls for the death of gays, and it does, but the difference is that Christians no longer kill gays or punish homosexuality by death. 

She winds up by saying this:

“So why do I support Muslims? Because I can recognize that the laws of a few Middle Eastern countries [JAC: Africa, too!] do not represent the views of 1.6 billion Muslims. Because I know that being a Muslim automatically doesn’t mean being against queer people. Because there are queer Muslims and trans Muslims and gay Muslims. [JAC: Many of them live in fear.] And because Muslims face a huge amount of discrimination in the US and Western Europe because of the actions of a militant group in the Middle East that they have nothing to do with. When fighting for social justice, it’s important not to leave Muslims behind.”

The least sentence is correct: everyone should be treated the same under the law, and not be demonized or oppressed because of their faith. But the penultimate sentence is wrong: Muslims face opprobrium not just out of antireligious bigotry, but because by and large the religion hews to a medieval code that is oppressive and divisive. True, many Muslims like Maajid Nawaz are liberal, and abjure bigotry (note that Nawaz is demonized by Muslims!); but the data show that it’s not just the religion that dictates bigotry: the bigotry has been adopted by its adherents,

People like Dennis are in fact dangerous, for they are “normalizing” and excusing oppression of the worst kind. By giving Islam a pass, and refusing to indict both Islam and many of its adherents for their abysmal treatment of gays and transsexuals (and I’ll add women here), they are not only perpetuating that bigotry, but are embarrassing true progressives. We cannot allow these muddleheaded apologists to become the voice of the Left.

_________

UPDATE: I’ve found a refutation of this video by Blaire White, another transsexual woman, who simply rips Dennis to shreds, decrying his overweening ignorance. She makes many of the same points I do.

61 Comments

  1. John
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    The progressive stack at play.

  2. dabertini
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    “Yes, professor. The evidence is convincing, but I still do not believe it”

  3. Posted May 18, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    This always amazes me.

    How does the brain of someone who can write nonsense like this work?

  4. Tom
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Surprisingly her college Whittier College, a well known Liberal College was also Richard Nixon’s.
    Regarding this issue of Islam and transexual people she appears to be the only person with this strange view which implies this is video is intended to raise her profile or she actually doesn’t know she is wrong.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 18, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      You mean ol’ Dick from Yorba Linda? Why, he went off to Whittier College, and no one ever heard a word of him again.

  5. Posted May 18, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    A minor edit in the title might reduce the trolls and hate mail. May I suggest changing it from;

    “The ludicrous ways that gays and transgender people defend Islam in the name of “social justice”

    to

    “The ludicrous ways that gay and transgender people defend Islam in the name of “social justice”

    Or something like it.

    The plural in the original suggests that this kind of defense of Islam is a common thing among gay people, something you don’t mean.

  6. Razib
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    aw shiz jerry. you just laid a fact bomb down on the new new thing. liberal card going to get taken away….

  7. Posted May 18, 2017 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    I don’t know what is worse, giving Riley Dennis attention, or linking a Blaire White refutation. They are opposite sides of a very bad coin.

    (PCC I’m not suggesting you can’t do whatever you want on your site, just expressing my opinion)

    • Scote
      Posted May 18, 2017 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      “I don’t know what is worse, giving Riley Dennis attention, or linking a Blaire White refutation. They are opposite sides of a very bad coin.”

      I think Pat Connell showed us that those of us Liberals willing to defend against the problems of Islam, while trying to be nuanced and thoughtful, run a risk of endorsing or condoning racist bigots who happen to say some things we agree with, but then go way past that.

      I know nothing of Blaire White. Everything she said in her video seemed reasonable and on point, but that’s all I know about her. What additional context would you add to put that in perspective?

      • Posted May 18, 2017 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        “I know nothing of Blaire White. Everything she said in her video seemed reasonable and on point, but that’s all I know about her. What additional context would you add to put that in perspective?”

        It’s difficult to explain without referencing her entire body of work. I can characterize her by saying she is she is further right, more racist, more transphobic, and more anti-feminist than the overwhelming majority of commenters on this site would support. She’s not quite Milo bad, but she’s not far off. Pointing out the rare occasions she has reasonable things to say makes her appear reasonable.

        • Davide Spinello
          Posted May 18, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

          I have watched a few videos of her and I couldn’t find the racist and transphobic content. Anti intersectional postmodernist feminist sure.

          It must be because I am a racist transphobic anti-feminist borderline nazi, or because I did not examine her entire body of work.

          • Posted May 18, 2017 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

            “It must be because I am a racist transphobic anti-feminist borderline nazi, or because I did not examine her entire body of work.”

            It could be I’ve seen more including several long unscripted debates she’s been involved in, or I’m a postmodern, sjw cuck.

        • Scote
          Posted May 18, 2017 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

          “Pointing out the rare occasions she has reasonable things to say makes her appear reasonable.”

          If she is only reasonable on rare occasions it should be easy for you to point to examples of extremism.

          I’m not saying you are wrong, just that your statements, so far, are unsupported by any evidence provided by you.

          • Posted May 18, 2017 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

            “I’m not saying you are wrong, just that your statements, so far, are unsupported by any evidence provided by you.”

            How about the last line in the video linked here, which PCC characterized as out of line in a comment above. Beyond that if you are so interested do some research yourself, I assume you are capable of it.

    • Davide Spinello
      Posted May 18, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      They are not the opposite side of a very bad coin, at least not on this issue.

      (MP I am just expressing my opinion.)

  8. Randy schenck
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Always surprising to see such disconnection from reality. Normally we save this delusional thinking for the republicans or Trump but it seeps into all areas of society. One just wants to say – if you believe that stuff coming out of your mouth, just get on a plane and go visit some of these enlightened countries. Check it out and take a survey.

  9. DrBrydon
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t watch all of White’s video, but it looks hilarious. I am going to look at more of her stuff.

    I am not sure that by Dennis’s standards that any country could be criticized for anything.

    I am, also, confused by Dennis’s statement that he is “a queer trans gay person.” Is he gay (a man who likes men?) or trans gay (a trans woman who like women?), and does queer act as a double-negative?

    • Craw
      Posted May 18, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. “most members of the nazi party never personally murdered anyone”.

  10. Chris
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Jerry–let me start by saying that I’m a big fan of your book “Faith Versus Fact” and that I’ll be coming to see you and Richard Dawkins next week in D.C. Let me also say that I agree that Islam needs to be criticized just like any other bad idea, and that thankfully we have a constitution that allows us to freely express that criticism. Having said that, what I have to say will not be popular, but I’m used to that as a fellow atheist.
    I’ll cut to the chase. This meme of disproportionately criticizing the “Regressive Left” gives the appearance of defending other horribly misguided groups: the Religious Right, enemies of liberalism, bigots, and any of a large group of people who are opposed to Islam purely because it doesn’t jibe with their belief system. Anyone who follows you, or Sam Harris for that matter, understands this to be patently false, but to those who happen to hear your comments tangentially (the people you are actually trying to convince!) often receive a very different message. A conservative Christian fundamentalist will latch onto your language as reassurance of their confirmation bias that liberals are confused and to conflate non-Christian beliefs with being un-American. Liberals, with whom you may otherwise agree, will discard your comments as racist bigotry, for exactly the reasons you point out. In effect, I doubt your message will reach anyone of consequence, and may in fact have the opposite effect of emboldening the truly bigoted, intolerant, and otherwise ignorant.
    There is some truth to perception being reality, and this current method of disproportionately attacking the Left regarding Islam (while being silent on the egregious errors of the Right) is not a way to win over allies. This is a case where the Right happens to be correct in criticizing Islam, but out of pure chance. The Right’s motivation comes from a belief that Christianity is not only superior, but is also a sign of American patriotism. The Left’s confusion regarding Islam is not unlike a biological hijacking of faculties in evolution. The Left is committed to defending marginalized groups. Muslims are marginalized. The rest follows.
    Sure, the Left is confused. But that confusion comes from the spell of religion, which still ensnares the majority of this country and the world. If a liberal Christian says it’s okay to criticize Islam (what we want), then they inherently admit it’s okay to criticize Christianity (not likely to happen). Again, the fight is with religion, and the insanity that ensues. The Right is just as confused (by religion no less), but it just so happens to result in criticism of Islam in this case. But just go ahead and tell them you’re an Atheist. Allies quickly become Bible-thumping adversaries. Remove religion, and both the Left and the Right are a lot less confused.
    Don’t hate the Left—understand their situation and help rectify it. Their otherwise well-intentioned defense of marginalized people is being poisoned by religion. The message to the Left is this: religions, including your own, are ideas open to criticism. We’re not discriminating. We agree that people should not be marginalized–but religion does just that. Let us take on the putrid set of ideas that is Islam, but let’s not give the appearance that we are giving credence to other religions and getting in bed with the “real” Americans (i.e. Christians) to achieve that goal. Let’s not lose sight of the broader message of Faith versus Fact. That’s the real battle.

    • Posted May 18, 2017 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Dr Ceiling Cat is well capable of defending himself, but I’ll make this comment.

      You said;

      “Don’t hate the Left—understand their situation and help rectify it.”

      I do believe that is precisely what Dr. Coyne is doing.

    • Posted May 18, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      I’m sorry, but I’m not responsible for other people misinterpreting what I’ve said, which should be palpably clear. Might as well ask me not to write about evolution because creationists take my words out of context and use them against evolution.

      And no, I haven’t been dismissed as a racist bigot by fellow liberals.

      Finally, Muslims aren’t marginalized in Iran, Saudi Arabia, or other such countries,

      Thank you for your message, which I guess is that I should stop criticizing the Left’s courting of Islam, or be an equal opportunity critic. Sorry, but we all do what we can, and nobody has ever said that I go easy on other faiths. Islam just happens to be the most pernicious and dangerous faith right now.

      • Chris
        Posted May 18, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        I hope that my message wasn’t taken as an attack on Dr. Coyne or his efforts. My message was an attempt to understand why the Left in fact defends Islam. I rambled on for far too long to make the point that it always comes back to religion, which as Hitch (in)famously said, poisons everything. Or, as I said, it is a hijacking of an otherwise noble trait (defense of human equality). And I guess if I have any other point, its about audience. We can all talk into our echo chamber all day, but how do we change the minds that matter? I just don’t see this working in its current form. It really seems to be a perception issue. A sort of guilty by association with Trumpism. How do we solve that?

        • Randy schenck
          Posted May 18, 2017 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

          When a portion of the group is delusional, you sometimes have to except it and call it for what it is. Maintaining an image is not necessary for the left’s behalf or the religious. You should see this in PCC as well as Hitch or Harris.

    • Kevin
      Posted May 18, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      Disproportionate criticism of the regressive left is not an endorsement, not even implicit, of bigotry or the religious right, etc.

      • Chris
        Posted May 18, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        I agree, so why does it seem that is the response when the layperson hears this argument? That’s my point. We have a messaging issue.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted May 18, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

          No, they have a comprehension issue. Whenever far right groups latch on to something Sam Harris, for example, says, it’s always a mis-quote or out of context. That’s their fault, not his.

          I’ve been accused of the same thing you’re accusing Jerry of on my own site, and there’s nothing that pi$$es me off more. It makes absolutely no sense for me to allow someone like Riley Dennis to spread their bull$hit without refutation in case someone from the far right takes something I write out of context. Is my right to freedom of speech less than Riley’s because Riley is transgender and I’m straight CIS?

          Riley Dennis talks a load of rubbish most of the time and shouldn’t be able to use being transgender as some kind of free pass. I see Riley as an equal. Riley’s opinions would receive exactly the same treatment from me no matter the various identities of whomever expressed them. They’re crap, and my right to say so shouldn’t be limited by the identity of who expresses them.

          • Chris
            Posted May 18, 2017 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

            If a teacher just throws their hands up and says, “it’s not my fault if they didn’t understand”, that’s simply not helpful. Take that approach if you wish, but it doesn’t work. I am not talking about far right trolls purposefully or even blindly misquoting and misrepresenting statements. In that case you are absolutely right–the author cannot be held responsible. I’m talking about the people we should really be trying to wake up–those who have fallen into this trap we are referring to as Regressive Leftism. I just fail to see how that term is helpful. Assume for a minute that the reader is unfamiliar with the term Regressive Left. At best the term confuses a liberal reader and causes them to read due to confusion/anger–not a good mindset to be in for convincing someone of anything. At worst it turns off the reader before they even click the link, discrediting the article as what appears to them as the product of an author opposed to the Left in general. We have to get people to listen to our reasoned arguments in order to change minds. One surefire way to thwart that effort is to give the impression that we are something we are not. It’s not accommodation–it’s strategy. I am not saying it is okay that a large portion of the Left defends Islam. I am saying we should approach the issue in a way that the Left will actually listen.
            And with that, I’ve made enough enemies for one day. Until next time…

            • darrelle
              Posted May 18, 2017 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

              First let me assure that I am not offended or upset by your comments nor feeling any enmity towards you. And no sarcasm or derogation is intended by me in this response.

              With that disclaimer out of the way let me get to the but . . .

              In my previous comment to you I mentioned that you seemed to be expressing the same point of view as religious accommodationists. You responded that i was wrong yet in your comment to Heather here the similarity comes across much more overtly. Your arguments are precisely the same as accommodationist arguments against outspoken atheism. Basically you can render it down to the old adage that “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” The thing is that while it feels very satisfying to think that being nice and accommodating no matter what, including refraining from accurate, on point criticism, that just isn’t the case no matter how obvious it seems to you.

              If you feel you have the ethical high ground with your approach that’s good, I certainly wouldn’t begrudge anyone that. And I think that your accommodationist approach does work with some percentage of people. I am also sure that other approaches, such as Jerry’s here (which I prefer myself for various reasons), are also effective with some percentage of people.

              Hell, I actually use different methods depending on specific circumstances and I have no doubt that just about everybody else does too.

              Where I think you are wrong is in telling people who use the direct, on point criticism type of response to the illiberal left that they shouldn’t do that because they are hurting the liberal cause. That just isn’t accurate and no accommodationist has ever come up with any convincing evidence or arguments to support that it is, while at the same time there are plenty of examples from history that suggest that it isn’t.

              • Chris
                Posted May 18, 2017 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

                I echo your statements about no offenses taken. I think that I must be a very poor communicator (either that or my rambling muddles my message) because I am apparently coming across as an accommodationist, which I am not. I do not say, for example: well…most of what the Left does is good, so just give them a pass on Islam. Not at all. In fact I am a pretty big fan of Jerry and Richard Dawkins. That should indicate clearly that I am supportive of direct confrontation and honesty. Where I disagree with you is the claim that my position is directly analogous to religious accommodation. When it comes to religion, I find the entire concept to be contemptible. So I find no issue with direct and blatant attacks on it in its entirety–because that is accurate to the point. On the other hand, I find that liberalism in general has many good ideas that are defensible by logic and factual data. For that reason, I do object to concepts and terminology (Regressive Left) that appear to be critical of the Left as a whole. Notice I said “appear”. If you go back to my original comment, and each subsequent, I am talking about perception. What message is the average reader getting from this term? It seems that the majority of new atheists think that the general public understands what is meant by Regressive Left, when in fact the term comes across to many as a wholesale damning of liberalism. I think many of you would be shocked at how few people understand that distinction. Please take the following comparisons as an illustrations only–I am not saying they are perfect. It is a bit like Black Lives Matter and Feminism. Both have horrible, horrible messaging. When a person first hears either, the meaning is not clear. Do ONLY black lives matter? Are you fighting for women to be superior? Both of these movements could be so much more effective with clearer messaging. I’m simply postulating the same thing here with “Regressive Left”. It’s not the whole Left, its a component. It’s women’s equality, not superiority. Black lives matter too, not exclusively. Is it clear now that I am not suggesting to be dishonest nor to “sugar coat” things? I am suggesting clarity–that’s all.

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted May 18, 2017 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

              I see what you’re saying, I just don’t get what you’d rather have us do. I don’t have a problem with you personally, and I don’t see you as an enemy. I’m trying to understand what you’re getting at. If you think there is a way I could approach the issues better than I’m doing, I’m happy to hear it. If I agree, I’ll change. If not, I won’t.

    • darrelle
      Posted May 18, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      “The message to the Left is this: religions, including your own, are ideas open to criticism. We’re not discriminating. We agree that people should not be marginalized–but religion does just that. Let us take on the putrid set of ideas that is Islam, but let’s not give the appearance that we are giving credence to other religions and getting in bed with the “real” Americans (i.e. Christians) to achieve that goal.”

      Jerry, and incidentally many of the regular commenters here as well, say all of those things on a fairly regular basis.

      I understand and respect your point of view, but I disagree with it. It is precisely analogous to the accommodationist point of view with respect to religion. Both encourage avoiding confrontation, avoiding speaking the truth and even pretty straightforward misdirection. I don’t think that doing those things is necessarily never appropriate in any circumstances but there is no evidence, only opinion, that they are as effective as their proponents claim, or that direct criticism is ineffective let alone a negative.

      • Chris
        Posted May 18, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        I did a very poor job of conveying my intended message, which is probably this: Understanding the nature of human perception, however logically flawed it may be, could be particularly useful in making real change on this issue. One oddity is the tendency to dismiss out of hand (change the channel, stop reading the blog, etc.) an argument if the author is perceived to be the enemy. I don’t think it is misdirection, as you say, to attempt making a connection with the audience you are conversing with–especially if you are criticizing them. Assuring them you are not the enemy is neither disingenuous nor ineffective.

    • Posted May 19, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Jerry can speak for his own intensions, but in my case I *do* defend *Muslims* if they are subject to bigotry, oppression, colonialism, whatever. I *also* defend their victims if they are, in turn, subject to the same things *from* Muslims.

      (Admittedly in both cases it is by words and the like only, usually, but …)

      Where I differ from some is an attempt to understand *why* repressive ideologies (including Islam) are popular. One reason does seem to be because *one* movement that fights US (and Russian, Chinese, French, etc. as it happens) imperialism, etc. in some parts of the world has been Islamists or the like.

      Moreover, it does not follow from the support of the *goal* that the means are always (never mind in any specific case) agreed to. Finally, support of *one* goal does not entail support for all. For example, I am in favour of the Chinese government being encouraged to stop persecution of Falun Gong, Tibetans, Christians, etc. Do I agree with all the goals of those groups? Of course not – one couldn’t (without severe “pragmatic inconsistency”), after all!

  11. darrelle
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    I think this type of behavior from the illiberal left is a result of the same flaw as their penchant for straw-manning and demonizing liberals with wildly hyperbolic and often flat out false accusations. The same flaw leads them to praise and protect those that are the most inimical to their claimed ethical beliefs and standards and to demonize those that most closely share theirs.

    They don’t seem to be able to accept or understand that it is possible or reasonable to criticize a person, group or thing for one characteristic without completely condemning them. It is all, or nothing. You, the group, or the thing are either Bad or you are Good. This has always struck me as childishly simplistic. It completely denies reality. And judging by the results it doesn’t work worth a shit if your goal is to increase the prevalence of human decency in the world.

  12. Kevin
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Maybe those who think or are oppressed will defend others they think or know are oppressed.

    I think the best strategy is to continue to make any member of the LGBT community not feel oppressed or singular.

  13. dd
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    “Progessivism” is stuck between a hard place and its monstrous contradictions: If gender and race are social constructs, Why can’t Rachel Dolezal be any race she wants?; Feminism or the very traditional values of immigrants….i.e. Cologne New Year’s Eve.

    Given that many progressives treat their political stances as if religious dogma, questioning is blashphemy, aka hate speech.

    But ultimately, reality asserts itself and I think this is what’s happening to progressive ideas, and their main, perhaps only defense, is to silence and threaten and be incoherent.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted May 18, 2017 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      The fact that Dennis has screwed up in this video, and sometimes others on the far left do too, does not mean all progressive ideas are bad. Imo, most are good. Like all ideas they need to be properly argued to work all the kinks out and decide which bits to keep and which to discard.

      I watched the refutation by Blaire White that Jerry linked to above. I agreed with everything she said until just as she signed off. There was a comment that the US shouldn’t be taking refugees from Muslim countries because of the majority attitude to gay people. That’s just wrong imo.

      The vast majority of Eastern Europeans living in Eastern Europe are also anti-gay. We don’t hear the same comment about them. I wonder why? All people should be treated as individuals. Whether they meet the criteria for refugee status shouldn’t depend on their religion – they may be one of the small number who doesn’t share the prejudice of the majority.

      Getting refugee status for entry to the US is a long, complicated, involved process. Attitudes to gay people could easily be ascertained during the multiple interviews (which take place out of the country) involved.

      • Posted May 18, 2017 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        I have no idea why anti-gay prejudice of Eastern Europeans isn’t commented much, but they are frequently blamed for other sins.

        “And as we’ve seen over the last two or three years, you know, the legendary Polish plumber, the Czech carpenter, and so on, they have benefited our society. The point I’m making here is while they’re benefiting our society economically, we need to make sure that we don’t have a social problem that goes with that. One of the things that we’ve been concerned about recently has been reports that some of the Eastern Europeans who come, frankly with attitudes towards black people which date back to the 1950s…”

        Quote from an interview of black British politician Trevor Phillips
        http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/sunday_am/6074684.stm

        Actually, I am so used to such comments that when fellow commenters on this site are critical of me, I think that this is because I am an Eastern European and do not take it personally.

        I think Ms. White is correct. She does not want her country to be kind to strangers at the expense of citizens like her. Where will she seek refuge if Islam is allowed to take over the West?

      • Posted May 18, 2017 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

        Agreed–her last comment about immigration was out of line.

  14. sensorrhea
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Dennis is to LGBT issues what the guy behind the tickling videos featured in the scary documentary “Tickled” is to laughter.

  15. somer
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    As PC(E) pointed out the Iranians mandating transgender operations as condition of any toleration of gay people is *not* progressive. And the alternative is a very progressive Hanging – and they used to do it to homosexuals in large public batches.

    Not very convincing either for this argument is the 12 June Massacre at Pulse nightclub Orlando.

    Neither does the argument that its just the State that does these things in the middle East, not Muslims or not the influence of Islam. Stephen Knight’s Godless spellchecker site forwarded many horrible Arabic tweet comments crowing about the Orlando massacre and denigrating gays. These had been translated by a third party with the proviso “please do note that even though the vast majority, unfortunately, shares the same mindset as those tweets, not all Arabs or Muslims do”.
    https://www.gspellchecker.com/2016/06/what-are-some-people-saying-about-the-orlando-shooting-in-arabic/
    Online interviews of ExMuslims who are from or have lived in Saudi Arabia point out that most people in SA are very conservative and the Royal family are afraid of losing power if they are not seen as devout by Hanbali standards – Wahhabism and Salafism is not much different from the very conservative Saudi Hanbali school of Islam. Plus the population are ethnically Bedouin – who are very conservative.

  16. Posted May 18, 2017 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    I noticed that you refer to Riley Dennis as “he” sometimes and “she” other times. I am wondering if that is done on purpose.

    • Posted May 18, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      No; that was a mistake: it should be “she” and I’ll fix that. Thanks.

      • Bethany Raymond
        Posted May 18, 2017 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        Thank you. Was going to point that out too.

  17. Michael Waterhouse
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Dennis an ideologue who thinks people are bigoted if they wouldn’t date a transsexual, or any other group.
    If you prefer the opposite sex you are a bigot.
    Presumably he extends this notion to age as well. I would like to see him date a 60 year old.

    And, Indonesia is not that liberal. The Aceh province lives under Sharia, where recently some young people, men and women, were publicly flogged for standing to close to each other.
    Jakarta’s ex Mayor, a Christian, who said something innocuous about the Koran is being sentenced to jail for it.

    There is no good Majority Islam country.

  18. Posted May 18, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    “Dennis further argues that Leviticus shows that Christianity calls for the death of gays,”
    This is a misleading statement, as Muslims also consider the Old Testament to be the word/law of god. So they don’t get a pass on this either.

    Also, i’d remind these Islamic advocates that the perpetrator of the Florida gay night club (Pulse)massacre was a Muslim and gay. What was the result? He went nuts from the mental conflict and murdered 49 people.

    • Caligulalives
      Posted May 18, 2017 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      The Pulse killer wasn’t a practicing Muslim so that’s irrelevant.
      Muslims actually do not believe the OT is the word of god-only parts of it
      Its all silly nonsense though, isn’t it?

      • somer
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 5:24 am | Permalink

        A concerned Muslim colleague reported him to the authorities, noticing his radicalisation and wishing to stop him going onto do something serious but at the time the FBI found nothing. During the siege the man made several calls to the media saying he was doing if for ISIS for goodness sake. His father was known to have said virulently anti gay things in public and to have made programs supportive of the taliban on cable TV. Sources for this are all on comments on this site on the topic of the Orlando shootings for a week or so from the 12 June.

        Jihadism can be atonement for “sins” of lapsing and especially being gay “Blind adherence to religion later in life can be an unconscious form of repentance for indoctrinated guilt. Without having critically studied Islam, many Muslims can transfer that guilt-induced sense of obedience towards their parents over to a blind reverence for and deep submission to all things Islam.

        In a few extreme cases, this guilt-induced repentance takes a different path. The previously non-religious “get religion” and turn to terrorism. Martyrdom is seen as the ultimate repentance.”
        http://reasononfaith.org/reasons-why-many-muslims-havent-left-islam-yet/

    • dd
      Posted May 18, 2017 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

      No evidence that the perpetrator was gay. You can google FBI interviews.

      • somer
        Posted May 19, 2017 at 5:35 am | Permalink

        Omar Mateen was seen at the Pulse club 12 times drinking and swearing, and he is alleged to have used gay dating apps.
        http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-36513468
        Even if he wasn’t gay the fact that he had lapsed re drinking and not being devout and that his father (on another link) had inveighed violently against homosexuals could have been a factor to inspire him. He certainly attributed his actions to desire to serve ISIS.

  19. Posted May 18, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    …just to clarify; I was saying Dennis’ statement was misleading.

  20. Curt Nelson
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Each religion has many versions but many are not true, and even the holy books are not really true – the Old Testament is out of date, certain passages need to be ignored while others need special emphasis. So most religious criticism isn’t valid because it’s based on a bogus version or an aspect of the holy book that everyone knows doesn’t count. The true versions, though, are sacred bull shit.

  21. Caligulalives
    Posted May 18, 2017 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Idiocy. Gays defend all religious beliefs. Islam is no different than Christianity- Almost all western Muslims are fine with gays. Almost all Christians are fine with gays. Per history, Christians have attacked and beaten and killed gays by the hundreds in the western world.

    • Posted May 18, 2017 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      How would you define “western Muslims?” Because if you include British Muslims in western Muslims, there’s polling data which contradicts you. And if you don’t include them, the qualifier “western” seems pretty worthless. And I doubt French Muslims, German Muslims, Belgian Muslims, etc. are any more accepting.

    • somer
      Posted May 18, 2017 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      More than 50% of British Muslims back criminalising Homosexuality, ICM poll reveals
      http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/more-50-british-muslims-back-criminalising-homosexuality-icm-poll-reveals-1554126

    • darrelle
      Posted May 19, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      If you take away the things that you are factually wrong about the only thing you’ve got left is “Christians did it too.” How could that possibly be interpreted as a good argument? One, most everyone here is an unbeliever and has no interest in championing or defending Christianity. Quite the opposite.

      Two, justifying bad behavior by pointing out that some other people did it too is kindergarten play-time level morality. Do you think that is admirable or valid moral reasoning or is it your intention to denigrate us by implying that we think it is?

  22. Jonathan McIntosh
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 4:41 am | Permalink

    You have to see the comments on this LGBT website discussing the Chechnya concentration camps. A ridiculous number of people defending Islam and smearing Israel while defending Palestine.

  23. Chris
    Posted May 19, 2017 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    This is my final (I promise) attempt to distill the point I was trying to make, and assure Dr. Coyne that I didn’t mean what he thought I meant. First, my response to Jerry’s points:
    1. I’m not blaming anyone for the potential for their words to be taken out of context. I see where my original post came across that way, and it was not intended. Truly sorry about that.
    2. In terms of liberals attacking new atheists as racist bigots, see Ben Affleck.
    3. Muslims aren’t marginalized in the Middle East. True. But they are in the U.S.
    4. On being an equal opportunity critic. I didn’t really mean to imply that. It just seems that there’s a dumpster fire on the Right, and we have a lot of people shouting about the lit cigarette butt on the Left. Of course, that butt has potential to cause a lot of damage, but there’s a DUMPSTER FIRE already burning on the other side. I guess new atheists don’t talk so much about the dumpster fire because they think it’s obvious. But I counter with: Donald Trump. Must not be so obvious. It wouldn’t hurt to contextualize our direct criticism from time to time. Example: The Left sure is confused about Islam. Meanwhile on the Right: dumpster fire. Hope this helps clear up what I’m driving at here. Again, it’s perception.
    5. I know Dr. Coyne does not go easy on other faiths, and I agree that Islam is the most dangerous right now. I still think they are all insidious (the faiths, not the followers). My message was never meant to be a commentary on Dr. Coyne specifically, but I understand why it was perceived that way.
    Finally, to my larger point:
    My argument is regarding the audience we are trying to convince—people who are largely unfamiliar with the arguments of new atheism.
    Take this hypothetical. I am an atheist (or not, doesn’t matter). I am left-leaning. I am confused about Islam due to cognitive dissonance. I read the following Twitter headline: “Regressive Left gets it wrong again, continues defending Islam at all costs”.
    My time is important to me. There’s lots of links on the Interwebs. Do I click the link? Does it sound like the author is going to give an unbiased, factual argument? No. In fact, I may even write it off as a Breitbart article. Why? Because I am not familiar with the term “Regressive Left” and it sounds pejorative to liberals, which I am. Why bother?
    Now let’s assume the title is the following: “Reasons why Islam–an idea, not a race–doesn’t deserve protection from criticism” or “Good intentions gone wrong? How liberal values are being hijacked to defend horrors of Islam”.
    Now you’ve got my attention. I click the link, where you can tell me all about Regressive Leftism in a direct and brutally honest manner, and it may even change my mind. In short, let’s not assume our target audience knows what the hell we are talking about before we explain it to them. If we do, they may never listen.


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