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This Blog used to be about the question: What is Science?
Now, it asks: What is Happiness?

Friday, February 19, 2010

The slippery slide decidedly backwards

"As this decade ticks to its close, I am left thinking about fear. Racism, heterosexism, misogyny and xenophobia are still fueling our lives and shaping our world, and the common denominator is fear." - Lisa A Linsky (LGBT Legal)

I am really trying to write about Science but the world is conspiring against me. My fault, I guess, as I have already made a big announcement that Science without a conscience is like a public billboard running random ads.

So, before I get back onto quarks and quanta I am doing a sideways raga to square off against a very real and dangerous development in our (not looking so bright) continent of Africa.
The media focus started with the highly contentious and anti-human rights effort by the Ugandan Government to co-operate with ultra conservative Evangelical groupings to seriously criminalize homosexuality and the tacit support thereof by allied NGOs and the broader population. Mediawise the baton has been taken up by local Mullahs, Priests and Radio stations on the Mombasa coastal region where, as a result of claimed hate speech and broadcasts, there is, as I speak, a public outcry against a Kenyan Government Sponsored research project addressing the increased HIV levels in MSM populations (MSM-Men who have sex with men. This is the correct term used as under the local situation many people who engage in same sex activities are forced to present a parallel heterosexual life. Multiple concurrent partners is a ready bridge for HIV to spread across the wider population.)
But why is this such an issue on the coast. Well, the theory that could explain it is the one of evil that stares at us from our own mirror. The accepted ancient Greek and Arab traditions of using young boys for sexual pleasure and women for procreation is said to have survived in coastal Arabic culture. Thus there is believed to be a significant conflict between the hidden practice of sodomy and the dictates of Islam. The resultant guilt and denial is believed to be a strong driver of the extreme stigma that is promoted by contradictory practices. Of course this is open to dispute, but generally we can observe that those who have the least hangups are always the last to discriminate.

Back in Good Old South Africa, the echo has found a home as a Methodist Minister is defrocked after she legally marries her partner.
There remains a difference in that the popular condemnation of the Methodist Church is loud and omnipresent. That this is clearly illegal in terms of the SA constitution begs a strong legal challenge to a church that is hell bent on proving its moral decrepitude. Unfortunately all that is generally done is that debates continue in ever illusory religious circles, based mostly on conflicting quotes from the Bible. It is really time to discard this tired book of quotes and start thinking with a 21st Century brain.

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