‘What,” Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani was asked, “is [Islam’s] judgment on sodomy and lesbianism?”
“Forbidden,” he curtly pronounced. “Those involved in the act should be punished. In fact, sodomites should be killed in the worst manner possible.”
So what does Barack Obama have to say about that?
Cynically mounting his high horse last week in the cozy confines of Jay Leno’s late-night TV comedy program — a venue popular with his ill-informed admirers, one where hypocrisy won’t be noticed, much less challenged — the president declaimed, “I have no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate or are harmful to them.”
This was his purported human-rights rationale for canceling a summit meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin, who in June signed an anti-gay law banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.” Obama told Leno that “making sure people are treated fairly and justly” is a “precept that’s not unique to America” and “should apply everywhere.”
Does the president truly mean what he said? Or was he just pandering to dreamy millennials and the Hollywood glitterati, who are too uninformed or in the tank to mark the chasm between his righteous finger-wagging at Putin and his kowtowing to Islamic leaders? The answers depend on whether he finally condemns sharia’s oppressive and often brutal strictures against homosexuality, which are zealously enforced in most Muslim countries.
That brings us back to Ayatollah Sistani. He is not some wild-eyed al-Qaeda jihadist. Sistani is the most influential sharia jurist in Shiite Islam. He is Iraq’s grand ayatollah, and he was considered a critical ally of the post-Saddam democracy project by the Bush administration and the State Department — which were apparently unembarrassed by his directive that Muslims avoid physical contact with non-Muslims because, as Sistani put it, it is akin to touching “urine, feces, semen, dead bodies, blood, dogs, pigs, alcoholic liquors, and the sweat of an animal that persistently eats filth.”
In calling for homosexuals to be “killed in the worst manner possible,” Sistani was not being even slightly controversial. He was reciting mainstream Islamic doctrine — again, not al-Qaeda doctrine, Islamic doctrine.
Yes, but America paid in blood and treasure to bring Ayatollah Sistani and his proteges to power in Iraq. And the Saudis are our very special friends. And a top religious adviser to the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt, which we officially back, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, has publicly called for the execution of gays, and has been banned by the US and the UK.
But see, Vladimir Putin is the bad guy for his anti-gay policies. He’s the one Obama has to chastise in public. As McCarthy says:
In the greater scheme of things, Putin is a piker when it comes to oppressing homosexuals. Undeniably, he is resuscitating the stigmatization of gay life as a means of promoting traditional, procreative relationships — in a desperate attempt to reverse Russia’s death-spiral population decline. But a law banning pro-gay propaganda does not hold a candle to sharia’s license to brutalize and kill people over their sexual behavior.
I don’t necessarily agree with McCarthy’s analysis on why Putin backs gay stigmatization, but he’s unquestionably correct to note that on gay rights, Putin’s a puny mote; many Arab Muslim leaders our government supports are sequoia logs. Why the double standard, Mr. President? And why are US gay rights supporters so wound up about Putin, but not the leaders of governments the United States actually supports?