Monday, December 12, 2011

National Review's disingenuous editorial on gay rights

National Review's editors aren't happy with the Obama Administration's new efforts to protect gay rights abroad:
Support for human rights has a place in foreign policy, albeit a subordinate one. Among those rights, certainly, is the right of homosexuals to be free from violent attacks and other draconian punishments. As Clinton rightly notes, if there are fundamental rights at all (and the foundational premise of this republic is that there are) then they “are not conferred by the government,” but ours “because we are human.” The secretary then goes on to claim that human rights and gay rights are “one and the same,” which we suppose is true insofar as the latter collapses into the former. What we don’t understand is how Clinton’s view — that being human vests us with certain rights — entails or even is compatible with a second set of rights that one enjoys by virtue of being homosexual. When Clinton says, “It is a violation of human rights when people are beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation,” no recourse is required to a gay right. The words “because of their sexual orientation” are superfluous. When she says that the horrors of “corrective” rape against women who are suspected of being homosexual are violations of a right, to what right could she be referring besides the right not to be raped, simpliciter?
Which makes a certain amount of sense on its own. It doesn't make sense in light of National Review's longtime efforts to call attention to Christian persecution abroad. Here's a typical example from earlier this year:
The Arab Spring has not been kind to Egypt’s Christian minority. Over the weekend, Muslims apparently incited by Islamist hardliners again terrorized Coptic Christians, in what is now a pattern of attacks against them and their churches. Possibly the Islamists are jockeying for political power in this transitional period, or even trying to immediately effect a religious cleansing similar to the one that has happened in Iraq.

Coptic Christians in the Imbaba district of Cairo report that on Saturday night they were assaulted by Muslims who looted and burned St. Mina’s Church and the Church of the Virgin Mary and attempted to burn St. Mary and St. Abanob Church. The press has reported that, according to the Copts, twelve people were killed. According to the Egyptian interior ministry, which habitually downplays or ignores attacks against Christians, possibly six victims were Christian and six were Muslim. More than a hundred people were injured, as Copts fought back with sticks and stones.
By National Review's logic today, we shouldn't really care so much that Christians were the victims of those attacks in Egypt; isn't it bad enough and criminal enough that anybody was beaten or attacked? Who cares what the motivating factors were?

I don't excuse the religious persecution, by the way. I find it repugnant and contemptible, just as I find it repugnant that gays are targeted for beatings and rapes and murder. But National Review isn't really in a position to suggest, with a straight face, that we should focus on behaviors to the exclusion of motivations.

No comments: