|Sodom and Gomorrah in Iraq – where the weak are raped and killed|
In the midst of the religiously motivated civil war in Iraq between the Shia and Sunni groups, Gays appear to be the common enemy. In particular, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq's Badr Organization has been actively involved in a campaign to kill gays. The killings have the support of Grand Ayatollah Sistani, the head of the Shia. The verdicts of such widely supported religious groups are extreme including issuing a fatwa declaring that gays should be "Punished, in fact, killed in the worst, most severe way of killing”. The majority it appears are not moderate yet often theirs sins are washed over by us claiming that the major religions were about love. Gays in Iraq defintely do not feel this "love".
From the Gay City News in UK, their article “Gay death and gay life”, 15 Sept 2010, a story about a gay man, Mohammed, gives a glimpse to the shocking state of affairs in Iraq:-
a) His name is on the Sadr City death lists, posted around the city, The Shia Meidi religious army has visited his home and luckily he was not there.
b) He recalls how “Twelve friends are on the list, twelve names, and that people must kill me. I had one friend who had a car come up beside him, and they shot him and they killed him. Another friend was kidnapped, and we do not know what has happened. Still we have not heard from him. I leave my neighborhood, because it is dangerous.”
c) The Sunnis are no better - “The murders are now spearheaded by the Sawa, also known as the Awakening, the US-backed Sunni militia that has challenged the power of both the Shia Mahdi Army and the Sunni Al-Queda. “It was the Mahdi Army” doing the killings, Mohammed said, “but now the new cover is the Sawa. They are now the ones killing.””
d) There is an exodus to Damascus - “about 9,000 gay Iraqi male refugees are living in Damascus, half with their families who were escaping Iraq’s violence, the rest who went there alone solely to escape gay persecution.”
In an article “Stop killing for Homosexual conduct” in the Huffington Post, 17 Aug 2009, more evidence of the horrendous acts were carried out in the name of religion by the religious Mahdi Army militia :-
"One man told Human Rights Watch that militiamen kidnapped and killed his partner of 10 years in April: "It was late one night, and they came to take my partner at his parents' home. Four armed men barged into the house, masked and wearing black. They asked for him by name; they insulted him and took him in front of his parents. ... He was found in the neighborhood the day after. They had thrown his corpse in the garbage. His genitals were cut off and a piece of his throat was ripped out."
Even the Iraq Government was involved:-
"At 10 a.m., [Ministry of Interior officers] cuffed my hands behind my back. Then they tied a rope around my legs, and they hung me upside down from a hook in the ceiling, from morning till sunset. I passed out. I was stripped down to my underwear while I hung upside down. They cut me down that night, but they gave me no water or food. Next day, they told me to put my clothes back on and they took me to the investigating officer. He said, 'You like that? We're going to do that to you more and more, until you confess.' Confess to what? I asked. 'To the work you do, to the organization you belong to, and that you are a tanta' [queen]. For days, there were severe beatings, and constant humiliation and insults. ... It was the same form of abuse every day. They beat me all over my body; when they had me hanging upside down, they used me like a punching bag. ... They used electric prods all over my body. Then they raped me. Over three days. The first day, 15 of them raped me; the second day, six; the third day, four. There was a bag on my head every time." Nuri, on April 15 and 27, 2009
From the above accounts, it was the straight man who tortured and abused the gay man. They were gang raped as a form of humiliation. They did not do it out of same sex love, but many out of a fundamentalist religious faith. The early Christians escaped to Damascus because of religious persecution, likewise Gays in Iraq are escaping to that city.
Will God destroy the modern day Sodom and Gomorrah? Perhaps we have interpreted the bible story wrongly. It is about man's inhumanity to each other whether motivated by slavery, greed, money, homophobia, racism, discrimination, or religious hardline views. When we have mistaken the Gay community who were actually the victims as the perpetrators of crimes, we too are guilty of denying truth and justice.
The most dangerous motivation is the extremist religious views because it takes away our consience and justifies our crimes against humanity, and results in mob action without individual responsibility and accountability. The religious justification glorifies our sins as god santioned and part of the acts required to reach heaven which can be very destructuve and mindless. In Singapore, the slippery slope of immorality and harm is religious fundamentalism and not two man having a mutual loving same sex relationship.
When Christians interpret Sodom and Gomorrah as being a city full of homosexuals, they are in denial. The story of Sodom is about straight wicked people persecuting and sodomizing the weak and the defenseless. Lot was not so innocent being of one mind with the people of Sodom and was only saved because Abraham pleaded for him. Lot did not see the evil trangressions of Sodom because he was blinded by wealth. Lot's wife looked back because she still yearned for the rich lifestyle she had in Sodom. What are we blinded by that stops us from seeing our transgressions against the gay community in Singapore where we insist on putting gays in jails.
(Mat 10:14 NKJV) "And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words,
when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your
Lot's saving grace was that he saw and received the Angels, the messengers of God's grace and mercy into his household and they were saved. He took a daring step to protect the Angels from harm even though it could have caused the death of his daughters. At the end, he saw the light and was willing to give up wealth and even his family to be saved. This was compared in Mat 10:15 to the good news message being sent out by the disciples of God's salvation plan. There is a price to be paid to accepting the good news. Opening our hearts to God, may mean rejection by others. God is knocking at church doors today calling us to stop harming the innocent before it's too late. There is a call for repentance and to pay the price of doing what is right.
We have done enough harm in God's name against the gay community, and perhaps we are no different that the Iraqis in persecuting gays. We have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The Gospel message of God's grace and mercy is knocking at our doors. The love of God is so wide that it extends to all people irrespective of their sexual orientation, for the message of God's love will one day reach to the ends of the earth, to the last tribe on earth, to the gay tribe.