Tens of thousands of readers of The New Civil Rights Movement over the weekend read, “UN General Assembly Votes To Allow Gays To Be Executed Without Cause,” the shocking news about the United Nations General Assembly’s Third Committee on Social, Humanitarian and Cultural issues vote last week that approved 79 to 70 (17 abstentions and 26 absent)Â removing “sexual orientation” from a resolution protecting persons from extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. This UN vote reinforced an alreadyÂ very difficult and challenging environment for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people and their defenders, whoÂ live in continualÂ fear ofÂ violent attacks and experienceÂ blatant discrimination throughout mostÂ countries on theÂ African continent.
But who is behind this vote? And just what is generating this animus toward gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in Africa?
Since the 1980s, massive numbers of Christian fundamentalist missionaries, many if not most from the United States,Â have flooded the African continent in search of new converts to their retrogressive and narrowÂ beliefs. The Roman Catholic Church, decidedly anti-gay, and the Mormons, known as the Latter Days Saints, who condemnÂ Â homosexuality,Â both proselytizeÂ throughout Africa. Africa is also a Muslim continent. DuringÂ a period of rising fundamentalism within many Muslim sects throughout the world, IslamÂ shapes theÂ culturalÂ and religious life of peopleÂ whoÂ live in Northern, Western, Eastern and some Central African countries. Of 53 African countries, 26 countries are members of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIS).
The most blatantly destructive policy outcomes of pervasive Christian fundamentalist proselytizingÂ in AfricaÂ hasÂ been in Uganda, where “The Family,” also known as “The Fellowship,”Â a Christian and political organization based in the United States, played a key role in advisingÂ its parliament to adopt legislation last yearÂ thatÂ called for the death penaltyÂ of known homosexuals.
(MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has covered the exploits of “The Family” in depth, including relentlessly profiling its role in what became Uganda’s “Kill The Gays” bill. Ugandan MP David Bahati, chief sponsor of the bill, has said, â€œHomosexuality it is not a human right. It is not in-born.â€)
The Family’s key role in advising members of Parliament caused an international uproar against the Ugandan government’s actionsÂ by member statesÂ of the European Union, as well as from the United States. It also exposedÂ “The Family” to unprecedented public scrutiny, which had managed to avoid the public limelight,Â despiteÂ theirÂ continual presence in Washington, D.C. since 1935, hostingÂ the annual National Prayer BreakfastÂ whichÂ has been attended by every President since Eisenhower.
Human Rights Watch published Together Apart, Organizing Around Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in 2009, which points out the deep influence of culture and religion upon LGBT persons’ lives throughout the world, and manifestly speaks to the African experience.
Sexuality has become a cultural and religious battleground.Â The danger comes from the weight, political importance, and emotion increasingly attached to issues of gender and sexuality. â€œFundamentalismâ€â€”the impulse towardÂ aÂ forcible return to what are postulated as religious or cultural fundamentalsâ€”is a modern term with many definitions. One common characteristic of so-calledÂ “fundamentalisms,â€ proposed by Human Rights Watch elsewhere, is a â€œdrive to seize the state, turn its spotlight on private life, and make it the agent of a newly codified tradition.”
Cultural norms they believe families and communities can no longer uphold. Some governments and politicians try to use fundamentalists in their turn, to prop up their own authority.Â Fundamentalisms weave together elements from religion, nationalism, and other ideologies and traditions to invent a â€œcultural authenticityâ€ that is fixed, unalterable, and monolithicâ€”but threatened by the supposedly corrosive influences of human rights. Sexuality and the body are increasingly its chosen battlegrounds. TheÂ argument from culture devastatingly undertakes to paint LGBT people as beings who doÂ not belong, cannot be accommodated, andâ€”because they are intrinsically alienâ€”cannot even be listened to or understood.
From Egypt to The Gambia, from Cameroon to Uganda, from Zimbabwe to Mozambique, the LGBT community on the African continent faces immense discrimination, physical violence, imprisonment, jailings, arrests, deportations and are many times referred to as “lower than dogs,”Â attitudes and values internalized from colonization, especially Anglo-Saxon laws emanating from the former British Empire.
At the end of the day, despite objections by Sweden, Switzerland and Finland, Mali, Morocco, on behalf of the OIS and Benin’s language, removing “sexual orientation”Â from the resolution carried the day. From the African Activist blog,
Mali and Morocco are listed as main sponsors for the amendment. A UN press release includes Benin as a main sponsor. Based on the amendment’s footnote, these nations were representing larger blocks of States:
On behalf of the States Members of the United Nations that are members of the Group of African States. On behalf of the States Members of the United Nations that are members of the Group of Arab States and those that are members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
Morocco provided the following reasons for passing the amendment removing sexual orientation:
The representative of Morocco, on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said the Group was seriously concerned by controversial and undefined notions that had no foundation in international human rights instruments. Intolerance and discrimination existed in cases of colour, race, gender and religion, to mention only a few. Selectivity intended to accommodate certain interests over others had to be avoided by the international community.Â Such selectivity would set a precedent that would change the human rights paradigm in order to suit the interests of particular groups. An attempt to create new rights was a matter of concern for the Group.Â All Member States were urged to continue to devote special attention to the protection of the family as the natural and fundamental unit of society.
Morocco stated that sexual orientation has “no foundation in international human rights instruments.” Readers, you can be assured that Morocco, the Holy See (The Vatican) and the Organization of the Islamic Conference will band together in unity to oppose the inclusion of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” intoÂ any international treaty that protects human rights.Â MyÂ next blog will explain the international system of human rights laws and the Yogyakarta Principles–the application ofÂ Â internationalÂ human rights principles to the sexual orientation and gender identity.
Tanya L. Domi is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, who teaches about human rights in Eurasia and is a Harriman Institute affiliated faculty member. Prior to teaching at Columbia, Domi worked internationally for more than a decade on issues related to democratic transitional development, including political and media development, human rights, gender issues, sex trafficking, and media freedom.
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Highly-Anticipated J6 Committee Hearing Likely Postponed
Wednesday’s highly-anticipated hearing of the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, the first one since July, and possibly the final publicly-televised event, will likely be postponed due to Hurricane Ian which is ravaging Florida.
The Washington Post’s Jacqueline Alemany and Josh Dawsey were the first to report the postponement. MSNBC has confirmed the likely postponement.
No new date has been scheduled yet.
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.
‘Yes’: GOP Nominee Mastriano Supports Charging Women With Murder if They Have an Abortion After a 6 Week Ban (Audio)
“OK, let’s go back to the basic question there,” Mastriano told Pennsylvania radio station WITF, as NBC News reports. “Is that a human being? Is that a little boy or girl? If it is, it deserves equal protection under the law.”
“Asked if he was saying yes, they should be charged with murder, Mastriano responded: ‘Yes, I am.'”
Mastriano is a conspiracy theorist, election denier, and white Christian nationalist with ties to Gab founder Andrew Torba, an antisemitic Christian nationalist and white supremacist.
Mastriano’s bill would have barred abortions once a so-called “fetal heartbeat” could be detected, NBC News adds, “usually around six weeks,” generally before most women even know they are pregnant.
Mastriano, when confronted, falsely attempted to downplay the ability of a governor to shape laws.
“My views are kind of irrelevant because I cannot rule by fiat or edict or executive order on the issue of life,” Mastriano told the conservative network Real America’s Voice, NBC adds. “It’s up to the people of Pennsylvania. So if Pennsylvanians want exceptions, if they want to limit the number of weeks, it’s going to have to come from your legislative body and then to my desk.”
Mastriano, endorsed by Trump, is facing Democrat Josh Shapiro, who is leading in the polls.
The New York Times reports Mastriano’s campaign is “sputtering,” and says he “is being heavily outspent by his Democratic rival, has had no television ads on the air since May, has chosen not to interact with the state’s news media in ways that would push his agenda, and trails by double digits in reputable public polling and most private surveys.”
Earlier this month Rolling Stone just days before the January 6 insurrection Mastriano “was video taped leading a group in prayer, asking God that the MAGA movement would overthrow the federal government, praying they would ‘seize the power’ and ‘rise up’ on January 6.”
Listen below or at this link:
Wow. NBC obtained a 2019 interview with Republican nominee for Pennsylvania governor Doug Mastriano.
Q: Are you saying that a woman who decided to have an abortion [under your proposed bill] should be charged with murder?
— Sawyer Hackett (@SawyerHackett) September 27, 2022
Trump Mocked for ‘Sidelining’ His New $3 Million Attorney: ‘Must Have Given Him Actual Legal Advice’
It’s no secret Donald Trump has been virtually unable to hire highly-respected attorneys to defend him in the many legal and civil cases he is facing for a variety of alleged crimes and misdeeds, including his actions surrounding fraudulent efforts to overturn a free and fair election and the January 6 insurrection, his retention and refusal to return hundreds of classified documents, and his alleged real estate and tax fraud cases, and more.
Trump did manage to hire what many consider a qualified and respected attorney for his legal issues surrounding his classified documents case.
Chris Kise, the former solicitor general for Florida, agreed to work for Trump but only if he was paid up front.
Thanks to Trump’s massive fundraising operation Kise is being paid millions, effectively by Trump supporters.
Kise is also no longer leading the case.
CNN reports Kise “has been sidelined from the Mar-a-Lago documents investigation less than a month after he was brought on to represent Trump in the matter, two sources familiar with the move tell CNN.”
“Kise’s hiring came with an unusual price tag of $3 million, paid for by Trump’s outside spending arm. The retainer fee, paid upfront, raised eyebrows among other lawyers on Trump’s team, given the former President has a developed a reputation for not paying his legal fees.”
Legal experts are mocking Trump for sidelining his top attorney.
“Obviously this means the lawyer must have given Trump actual legal advice,” teased George Conway.
“Which is just RUDE,” replied attorney Ken White.
MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst and anchor Katie Phang asked, “So Kise is a $3 million dollar benchwarmer?”
“Trump is already throwing over Chris Kise after signing a $3M retainer and convincing him to leave Foley & Lardner? That seems … not smart,” says Liz Dye, who writes about law and politics. “Chaos monkey gonna chaos monkey, I guess.”
Dan Berman, CNN Politics managing editor for legal, immigration, and the Supreme Court serves up the perfect headline: “Trump’s 3 Million Dollar Man is sidelined already.”
LA Times columnist Harry Litman, a frequent guest on MSNBC and a former U.S. Attorney offered perhaps the most amusing response:
“The one credible lawyer that Trump has hired in years, Chris Kise, paying $3M up front, now has been demoted and is no longer leading the MAL defense. Must be Trump’s payback for the fix he’s now in w/ Judge Dearie. He thinks he’s Goldfinger/Dr.No but he’s really Austin Powers.”
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