EDITORIAL: Obama’s homosexual-Muslim conflict

White House agenda is tripped up by a clash of civilizations

”Human rights are gay rights,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said recently, “and gay rights are human rights, once and for all.” That’s a touchy-feely liberal talking point, but don’t tell it to the Muslims. Eventually, the Obama administration might have to decide to which radical group it’s most important to pander: homosexuals or Muslims. There is some friction between these two Obama constituencies.

Mrs. Clinton has worked diligently to further the homosexual agenda in the State Department, from securing spouse-style benefits for same-sex partners of department employees to formalizing reporting on homosexual issues in State’s annual human rights report. The State Department currently is implementing a program seeking accreditation from foreign host governments for the same-sex domestic partners of diplomatic and consular personnel “as members of the family” and “that they be accorded the same status, privileges and immunities currently accorded other members of the household, such as spouses.” Chiefs of mission are to approach host governments seeking this accreditation except when “such an approach to the host government would do more harm than good by impeding the ability of same-sex partners to accompany personnel to post or otherwise cause harm to personnel or their families.”

So, despite widespread opposition to homosexual “marriage” here at home, the U.S. government is pressuring foreign governments to offically recognize homosexual unions abroad. The main pushback is coming from the Muslim world, where “alternative lifestyle” is just another way of saying blasphemy. As the State Department’s 2010 Human Rights report for Saudi Arabia notes, “under Sharia as interpreted in the country, sexual activity between two persons of the same gender is punishable by death or flogging. It is illegal for men ‘to behave like women’ or to wear women’s clothes and vice versa.” The State Department did not list any cases in which these laws were enforced, and Saudi Arabia tends not to publicize such matters. “We always make sure that cases like this are not open to the public,” said Jeddah Police Lieutenant Nawaf Al-Bouq. “I don’t think it’s appropriate or important for the citizens or the country.” What they don’t know won’t make them curious.

Homosexual conduct also carries the death penalty in Sudan, Yemen, Mauritania, northern Nigeria and Iran, which has executed more homosexuals than any country in the world. Elsewhere in the region, the practice is often punished with a combination of jail time, fines and corporal punishment. Muslim countries are also wary of homosexual outsiders polluting their societies with their “sodomite” ways. In May, the Saudi government instructed guest-worker recruitment agencies in the Philippines to screen applicants thoroughly “so that those belonging to the third sex are excluded.” That same month, the Egyptian government forced flamboyantly flaming singer Elton John to cancel a concert in that country for making controversial statements such as, “try being a gay woman in the Middle East - you’re as good as dead.”

Given the Obama administration’s fawning outreach to Muslim majority states, this drive for homosexual equality seems something of a disconnect. The Democratic conundrum illustrates an aspect of the clash of civilizations Mr. Obama is willfully ignoring. Appeals to liberal Western notions of human rights fall on deaf ears with Muslims.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference long has held the view that such international touchstone documents as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights apply to their member states only insofar as they do not conflict with Koranic law. Otherwise, their provisions are null and void - and that test applies to everything from free speech to freedom of worship. In the Muslim view, the only legitimate rights are those bestowed by Allah, and Mohammed was not known for his “gay-friendly” attitude. This is one fight in which the State Department eventually will make a very diplomatic retreat.

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