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Politics & Power

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Homosexuality: Mahmud Ahmadinejad vs. Christian Conservatives

In his speech at Columbia University Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad told an audience that Iran does not have homosexuals like the U.S. does. While this is clearly a case of denial or shame, it’s not a hateful statement in and of itself. Taken in context with what happens to homosexuals in Iran it is much darker but still there was some tact used when addressing the issue. So how does this compare to the right wing of the Christian church in America?

Many Christian conservatives will tell you directly that “God hates gays.” They will call homosexuality an abomination before God and tell you that all gays will surely burn in hell. These people picketed “Brokeback Mountain” and have made it clear that there is no place in their society for homosexuals. So which is worse?

In Iran they will kill homosexuals for being gay. In the conservative Christian churches they will declare eternal damnation for the homosexuals. Is it worse to be killed for being gay or to live with the constant condemnation of the people around you? Some would argue that at least for those executed, their persecution is over. They are gone but their suffering is also. Others would argue that there is nothing worse than being killed for being who you are. So which is worse?

It would seem that both Mahmud Ahmadinejad and the far-right Christian conservatives have a good amount of hatred and callousness within them when it comes to gays. While Ahmadinejad will deny their very existence, the Christian conservatives would damn their eternal souls. Whether in this life or the next it would seem that neither the conservatives from America or Iran have much compassion for those who are different from themselves.

There is a passage from the King James Bible that reads “judge not, lest ye be judged.” Those words are attributed to Jesus. Both Islam and Christianity claim to revere the teachings of Jesus yet the extremists from both religions always seem to forget the peaceful and loving messages of the words he spoke. Perhaps the extremists from all the religions are wrong. It’s possible that their own hatred negates the faith that they claim to have in the word of God. If Jesus was either God’s son or simply Allah’s messenger, he should be heeded by those who claim to revere the will of God/Allah. He did not preach hatred or exclusion. He taught love and acceptance. He told us to turn the other cheek and love our enemies. Somehow, I don’t think he would be particularly proud of those who say in his name or Muhammad’s that God/Allah hates gays or condemns them to death.

Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer | Give your feedback on this article. | Visit Troy's blog at http://reform-america.blogspot.com | Visit Troy's MySpace page at www.myspace.com/reform_america

European Leaders Poised to Strike a Blow to “Intelligent Design”

Leaders within the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly are set to vote next week on the banning of creationism and “Intelligent Design” theories from science classes in Europe. This would strike a blow to the religious conservative movement who advocate teaching creationism under the guise of “Intelligent Design”. The theory discounts the work of Charles Darwin and simply put states that some life forms, including man, are just too complex to be the result of evolutionary circumstance and must be the work of a higher power.

The leaders of the European council seem unmoved by the arguments of the creationists and have gone as far as to call them “religious extremists” who are attacking the theory of evolution because it doesn’t fit with their religious views. The body is expected to vote to only allow that creationism be taught in religion classes.

In a statement to Reuters Anne Brasseur, a member of the council said “There are different views of the creation of the world and we respect that.” She continued “The message we wanted to send was to avoid creationism passing itself off as science and being taught as science. That's where the danger lies.”

It’s clear that the supporters of creationist theory have few supporters on the council and the vote seems to be a formality. The initial vote had been slated to take place in June but was postponed so that the language of the measure could be softened to make it less harsh towards religion.

While this is a non-binding measure to its 47 European member states, the council oversees human rights standards and enforcement of the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. This decision will send a strong political message throughout Europe that religion should not be taught as science in the classroom.

Eventually this type of decision could impact other European nations and their trading partners like the U.S. but the impact of the decision will likely not be fully known for years to come.

While eventually the decision may create some ripple effect around the world it’s unlikely that this decision will have any immediate impact to people in America. For now it seems that America will continue to heatedly debate the merits of religion vs. science in the classroom when it comes to the origins of man with neither side likely to give much ground and no definitive decision forthcoming from either the politicians or the courts.

Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer | Give your feedback on this article. | Visit Troy's blog at http://reform-america.blogspot.com | Visit Troy's MySpace page at www.myspace.com/reform_america

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