Dark days these are, but still the good Lord provides hope—not that we wretches deserve it! On Tuesday, Josh Lederman of NBC News reported:
‘The Trump administration is launching a global campaign to end the criminalization of homosexuality in dozens of nations where it’s still illegal to be gay…a bid aimed in part at denouncing Iran over its human rights record.
‘US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, the highest-profile openly gay person in the Trump administration, is leading the effort, which kicks off Tuesday evening in Berlin. The US embassy is flying in LGBT activists from across Europe for a strategy dinner to plan to push for decriminalization in places that still outlaw homosexuality — mostly concentrated in the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean.’
A hawk who is respected for his work with the supreme warmonger John Bolton, Grenell is a splendid choice for this divine mission. Listen to the good man himself:
‘While a student at Evangel University, a Christian liberal arts college in Missouri, I was taught by biblical scholars that all truth is God’s truth, no matter where it is found. The truth for LGBT people is that we were born gay.’
The editors of Commonweal, the superbly progressive Catholic magazine, could not have put it better themselves. A few told me they wished they could have joined the ‘LGBT activists’ at the ‘strategic dinner,’ which was followed by a lively night at Berlin’s most inclusive night club.
It is one of the unhappier aspects of the Trump administration that it has sometimes resisted the moral imperialism of which the Bush Bunch is the exemplar. Yet making the world safe for gay rights suggests a deeper commitment to the statecraft of the president’s ablest advisers, his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner. What is more, the administration has the global bureaucracy on its side. Says Lederman,
‘Although the decriminalization strategy is still being hashed out, officials say it’s likely to include working with global organizations like the United Nations, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, as well as other countries whose laws already allow for gay rights. Other U.S. embassies and diplomatic posts throughout Europe, including the US Mission to the EU, are involved, as is the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.’
So that’s what the deplorables voted for! At last Iran shall be compelled to experience enlightenment now.
Lederman once more:
‘[A]s Trump’s envoy to Germany, Grenell has been an outspoken Iran critic and has aggressively pressed European nations to abandon the 2015 nuclear deal and re-impose sanctions. But while the Trump administration has had some success in pressuring Iran through stepped-up US penalties, efforts to bring the Europeans along have thus far largely fallen flat.
‘Reframing the conversation on Iran around a human rights issue that enjoys broad support in Europe could help the United States and Europe reach a point of agreement on Iran.’
So what if this ‘human rights issue’ would prompt many Christian traditionalists and evangelicals to stop supporting Donald Trump? As would those ‘isolationists’ who respect national sovereignty. In consequence, by the 2020 presidential election, the Donald will no longer have that wicked conservative base, but will be free to compete with Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and other forward thinkers.
I am afraid, though, that there is some bad news. In Lederman’s words:
‘[B]y using gay rights as a cudgel against Iran, the Trump administration risks exposing close US allies who are also vulnerable on the issue and creating a new tension point with the one region where Trump has managed to strengthen US ties: the Arab world.
‘In Saudi Arabia, whose monarchy Trump has staunchly defended in the face of human rights allegations, homosexuality can be punishable by death, according to a 2017 worldwide report from the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA). The report identified 72 nations that still criminalize homosexuality, including eight where it’s punishable by death.
‘That list includes the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan and Afghanistan — all US allies — although those countries aren’t known to have implemented the death penalty for same-sex acts. In Egypt, whose leader Trump has effusively praised, homosexual relations aren’t technically illegal but other morality laws are used aggressively to target LGBT people.
‘New US pressure on those countries to change their laws comes as the Trump administration is working to use nascent ties between Arab nations and Israel to form a powerful axis against Iran, a strategy that dovetails with the administration’s planned rollout of an ambitious plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace.’
The Arab world continues to be ungrateful for our decades-long democracy-by-war endeavors — such hardheaded fellows they are. With characteristic insolence, it refuses to yield to our superior wisdom. Not for much longer: Donald Trump, the gay imperialist, is coming for them.