Barbwire, Matt Barber’s far-right “news” feed, is promoting a plea by right-wing radio host Linda Harvey for Religious Right activists to stand with Caribbean conservatives who want to preserve anti-gay laws in the region. Harvey is promoting a petition from the Jamaica Coalition for a Health Society, which declares that Caribbean societies are “under attack” from gay rights supporters. It accuses the Obama administration and international human rights activists of pressuring governments “to accept a re-interpretation of human rights that will undermine true fundamental human rights and the institutions of marriage and the family.”
The petition reads, in part,
Caribbean peoples dearly treasure freedoms that our forefathers valiantly fought and died for. We, their descendants must routinely and soundly reject new forms of cultural, political, economic and social imperialism. Please join us, as other members of the Caribbean community and as allies from around the world, to preserve healthy societies across the region!
It is popular among anti-gay leaders to portray resistance to LGBT human rights as resistance to colonialism and cultural imperialism. But in reality the Jamaican law criminalizing sodomy is a relic of actual imperialism, a holdover from the colonial era. And the Jamaica Coalition for a Health Society that is fighting to preserve the colonial-era “Buggery Law” has been more than happy to import anti-gay Americans like Peter LaBarbera, Mat Staver, Judith Reisman, and Brian Camenker to help their cause. They are part of a broader effort to globalize homophobia and undermine the U.S. government’s advocacy for LGBT human rights internationally.
Harvey recently complained that laws designed to protect LGBT people from employment on the job are really “anti-Christian gag orders” whose goal is to “criminalize speech and Christian faith.” The suggestion that gay-rights advocates are out to “criminalize” Christianity is a ridiculous refrain, but one we hear often from the Religious Right.
In contrast, laws that turn gay people into criminals, laws with devastating impacts on people’s lives, are all too real. The Right’s historic and current backing for those laws is a shameful reminder that their “live and let live” language is nothing more than deceptive rhetoric meant to distract attention from their anti-gay and anti-equality extremism.