Unnatural Allies: The Left, Gays and Muslims

The political left, the forerunners and champions of the LBGT movement, further the political clout of Muslims, but Muslims, by far and large, are opposed to LBGT rights, recognition and political advancement; hence, the furtherance of the political clout for Muslims comes with at least some detriment to the LBGT movement. So why does the left support Muslims? It seems so self-defeating.

I mean, readers, consider these facts. In the Muslim-majority countries of Afghanistan, Brunei, Iran, Iraq, Mauritania, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen, you can be put to death by the state for having homosexual sex. In Algeria, Egypt, Maldives, Malaysia, Qatar, Somalia and Syria, it is illegal to have any homosexual sex, and in Kuwait, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, homosexual sex between men is illegal. True, homosexual sex is strictly legal in about 20 Muslim countries, but no Muslim-majority state recognizes same-sex marriage or same-sex civil unionsand the very, very few Muslim-majority states with anti-discrimination laws for persons with same-sex attraction are rarely enforced.

Muslims’ opinions is no refuge for liberals either. One Pew report states this: “Across the predominantly Muslim countries surveyed, as well as in the six sub-Saharan countries, solid majorities across age groups share the view that homosexuality should be rejected by society.” In another Pew poll, it states this:

Muslims overwhelmingly say that homosexual behavior is morally wrong, including three-quarters or more in 33 of the 36 countries where the question was asked.

Only in three countries do as many as one-in-ten Muslims say that homosexuality is morally acceptable: Uganda (12%), Mozambique (11%) and Bangladesh (10%).

In most countries surveyed, fewer than one-in-ten Muslims believe homosexual behavior is not a moral issue. The exceptions are Bangladesh (14%), Guinea Bissau (14%) and Bosnia-Herzegovina (10%).

So here we have a widespread commonality against gay rights and moral acceptance shared amongst Muslims, especially when they’re in the majority. And of course that which grounds this widespread commonality is Islam, because these Muslims do not share any other variable that can account for it (these Muslims are divided by ethnicity, race, history, nationality, language, etc). Thus, across the board, in every Muslim country, Muslims are no friends to LGBT rights and the moral permissibility of same-sex sexual behaviour.

What about elsewhere, in more liberal countries that are not predominately Muslim?  In liberal, non-Muslim states? Well, within liberal Canada, 43% of Muslims rejected the social acceptance of homosexuality. Only 36% believe that society should accept homosexuality while the remaining respondents were equivocal or unclear in their view. True, these Canadian Muslims differ vastly from Muslim-majority countries, but remember that this opinion persists within liberal Canada, a place where 86% of the general population believes society should accept homosexuality (see here). No other religious or political group within Canada can boast such numbers of resistance – not a single one! That’s a significant point to keep in mind, for it shows the Muslim resilience on this issue. But what’s perhaps even more important to keep in mind is that, when in the majority, that is, when they have a great deal of clout, no Muslim nation in the world favours LGBT rights and Muslims resist these rights even as minorities within socially liberal countries (over 50% of Britain’s Muslims feel similarly).

So it seems, then, that on this issue (and other issues: e.g., abortion, extramarital sex, suicide, and the importance of religion), Muslims are natural allies of social conservatives. Indeed, it seems that Muslims are social conservatives. Hence, my advice to actively gay liberals is to rethink your alliance. Muslims are not going to say, “Gee, those gay dudes were really nice, so maybe God was wrong about two men doing it in the pooper.” That just won’t happen, particularly not while Saudi Arabia is the largest exporter of Sunni Islam and Iran is the biggest exporter of Shiite Islam. So, gay liberals, I suggest you rethink things.

In any case, why does the political left support Muslims? Well, aside from leftist stupidity, and bigot-baiting, liberals support them because Muslims tend to vote liberal (come to think of it, the left and Muslims share a common disdain for Israel, too). But why do Muslims vote liberal despite their socially conservative beliefs?

If I had to answer that now, I’d say that conservatives are framed and sometimes perceived as exclusive, white, anti-immigration and “Islamophobic”. And let’s be honest, there hasn’t been any great effort to convey the contrary, even though such a framing and perception is inaccurate. Thus, Muslims might not feel welcomed.

In contrast, the leftists bend over backwards to depict themselves as inclusive of minorities of every stripe, even at the pains of incoherence or social and civil disruption. That’s also why the left wins much of the black Protestant and Catholic Latino vote, too. They’re captured minorities that would otherwise slant toward a conservative vote.

If conservatives want to acquire more of the vote, I suggest that they make an effort to forge natural alliances and become a more inclusive party. That doesn’t mean opening the border, but it does mean making efforts to welcome Muslims, black and Catholic Latinos citizens into the fold without pause or prejudice. And social conservatives should want to do this, because, as R.R. Reno points out, those groups are not our primary enemies. They’re not the ones that legalized abortion, divorce, euthanasia, and same-sex marriage. That was the handiwork of secular liberals—they’re the enemy. Thus, we should not do them anymore favours by letting them capture populations that think more like us. Let’s re-brand ourselves in the public eye, explicitly opening the tent to everyone who shares our ideas, because the political left will be worse off from it.

27 Comments

  1. “In any case, why does the political left support Muslims? Well, aside from leftist stupidity, and bigot-baiting, liberals support them because Muslims tend to vote liberal (come to think of it, the left and Muslims share a common disdain for Israel, too).”

    Can you think of any more charitable reasons why liberals might support Muslims, despite the fact that many Muslims don’t agree with them on moral and political issues?

  2. This post by William Vallicella offers twelve possible reasons for why leftists are cushy with Islam. Implicit in several of his suggested reasons (especially 4 and 10), but is an additional reason that deserves independent consideration, is that leftists share with Muslims an intense hatred of America (though each for different, and misguided, reasons). An excellent book-length elaboration of this is David Horowitz’s Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left.

  3. I think liberals support Muslims because they view the world as a hierarchy of victim groups and the victimizer as Christian white men. Thus they see Muslims as victims of oppression and any act of terror as a response to said oppression. The second part is liberal projection. Since the liberal doesn’t take religion seriously he believes that acts of Jihad can’t possibly be about religion, so he makes it about oppression, the economy, lack of sex or some other material cause.

  4. “Muslims, black and Catholic Latinos citizens … [are] not the ones that legalized abortion, divorce, euthanasia, and same-sex marriage. That was the handiwork of secular liberals—they’re the enemy. Thus, we should not do them anymore favours by letting them capture populations that think more like us. Let’s re-brand ourselves in the public eye, explicitly opening the tent to everyone who shares our ideas, because the political left will be worse off from it.”

    Wait — so on the culture-war issues on which the Right has lost and been losing, the strategy should be to double down, with laws that are constitutionally dubious in a politically secular liberal democracy? You mean, to become more like the theocratic-sharia ethos that is stark evidence of the wide divide between contemporary Islam and the West that you speak of earlier?

    And in any case, since when do sensible ideas about the good an virtue and human flourishing and the like, lead to *lawmaking by the state* prohibiting peaceful consensual behaviors? Evidently you don’t like the trend toward legalization of things like divorce, “euthanasia” (you mean consensual assisted suicide?), same-sex this or that, contraception perhaps – we can leave abortion to the side given all the obviously thorny issues it raises (and where neither side can seem to establish a *clear-cut* moral high-ground, especially given the largely unquestioned assumptions or dubious arguments made by a great many proponents of either side) – and yet rather than use rational persuasion via private efforts, you insist on making it a matter d’etat. Why?

    Is it some contrived notion about “genuine liberty” being only the liberty to do what’s virtuous? How does that work? Why the urge toward statism? Has there been a clear-cut causal relation between theocratish statism and a morally better populace any time in history? If culture does (and I think it does) exist upstream of politics, how do you figure that statecraft makes for better soulcraft? Is this how America’s Founders thought about the state (whether it’s run by saints or by devils)? How does all this square with Jesus’s advice to render unto Caesar and unto God what is of their respective domains, the plausible ground in original Jesus-Christianity for church-state separation which evidently doesn’t exist in orthodox Islam? Or, to “secularize” the issue: what about rendering unto politics what is politics’, unto culture what is culture’s, and keep the blankety-blank out of other people’s bedrooms?

    Or, pace the late libertarian philosopher John Hospers, are other people’s lives yours/the state’s to dispose of after all – or only as long as they fail to live according to your/the state’s conception of virtue?

    • (Hospers, that is, evidently channeling some Ayn Rand, a thinker not to be trifled with, as some monumental novels and a kick-ass 60-page philosophical manifesto/speech in one of them make abundantly clear.)

    • Ultimate Philosopher,

      I don’t get how you infer theocratic intent from Catholic Hulk’s piece. That doesn’t follow from politically opposing the left and its social justice crusading. To find something morally reprehensible does not entail that we demand that the state punish it. There’s a crucial difference in arguing that the state should not recognize x as normative as opposed to arguing for x’s prohibition.

    • “I tell you what I’m blathering about (I’ve got information, man, new shit has come to light!).”

      Jan S, CH was complaining about those on the left *legalizing* stuff like divorce. Look at what I quoted directly from CH at the beginning of my comment. It’s secular liberals who did this stuff, and they’re the enemy. And CH is in record in other postings indicating approval of state-enforced “virtue-promotion” or similar illiberal notions condoning state meddling in cultural matters for people’s own “good.” CH appears to have some notion of libertarianism as being culturally thin, lacking in deep normative structure, as being atomistic, and so on – i.e., standard lousy caricatures of libertarian thought as if the best libertarian thinkers (e.g., Rand) repudiate deep normativity by virtue of opposing a role for the state more expansive than keeping the peace.

    • Ultimate Philosopher,

      Still, I don’t see how you get theocratic intent from “virtue-promotion” — unless you parse it as “virtue-enforcement,” which might be uncharitably a strawman. I don’t know what CH’s beliefs on in regard to role and reach of the state but consider:

      If the government recognizes marriage as a union between one man and one woman as directed toward the promotion of the good and virtuous life in fulfillment of man’s and woman’s mental and physical faculties in regard to sex, is that so authoritarian? It doesn’t penalize those who don’t participate in that preferred arrangement. It just extols the right ideal for which to strive; everyone is still free in the negative sense to live and love how they choose.

      Now you might think this sort of conservatism collapses into outright totalitarianism, but there needs to be some more definite argument than the series of rhetorical questions you ask in paragraph 4 for that conclusion.

    • Ultimate Philosopher,

      Though I see now see and read what post you’re referring to. I’m probably more liberal than Catholic Hulk, but we more or less align here. In his defense — though he hardly needs me to do it for him — he does mention what sorts of things he’s talking about as intolerable evil, e.g., euthanasia and abortion. Also don’t forget the Catholic Principle of Subsidiarity, which he also cites. It’s a check on the state accumulating too much centralized power for coercion. And he makes clear he is for “some moral legislation (his emphasis on ‘some’)” that secures the “common good” as differentiated from the individual’s good. He also mentions a caveat tolerating evil if its redressing requires or leads to greater evil. That’s broad enough to accommodate a large variety of behaviors in the sake of autonomous negative freedom. So I think charitably interpreted, CH isn’t advocating some type of theocracy or morally-oppressive autocracy. It’s a form of limited government conservatism, but of course, conservatism advocates too much government for you Randian libertarian types.

      Furthermore, this adage about “politics being downstream of culture” that’s become popular on the right thanks to the late Andrew Breitbart and his acolytes only gets half the picture right. I submit that the relationship between politics and culture is much more dialectical with the two mediating each other — I’ve been delving into Hegelian Marxism of late.

  5. “Too simplisitc!” I know people will say, but I become more convinced each day that the truth is very simple.

    This world is manifestly insane, and the fact that many homosexuals see Islam as their ally but Christianity as hateful is proof positive. So what explains the insanity?

    Here goes: they all hate Christ!

    Think about it. It’s the only serious explanation. Many homosexuals would rather be executed under Sharia law than repent of theor homosexuality and come to Christ. That should tell us something about just how strong of a bondage they’re under, and why we shouldn’t be surprised to witness the destruction of society that’s going on right before our eyes as homosexuality is continually normalized and now even exalted. It is madness.

    Bad times ahead for those who decide to hold fast to the truth.

    • Well me try and explain then. Liberals take religion seriously in the sense that they see the wide spread influence it has in the world, which to the liberal is oppressive and bigoted. Religion, particularly Christianity, is a competing word view that is in opposition with liberalism and thus must be destroyed. It is in this sense liberals take religion seriously. What they do not take seriously is religion and theology as a legitimate intellectual subject. To the liberal it is all nonsense and shouldn’t be taken anymore seriously than the Flying Spaghetti Monster or witchcraft. When liberals claim terrorism has nothing to do with Islam they are projecting. They are saying “come on, nobody can possibly take 72 virgins seriously. What Jihad is really about is a struggle against Western imperialism, the Crusades, colonialism, Islamophobia, lack of education, lack of jobs, etc.”

    • OTOH there are those on the left such as Bill Maher or Sam Harris who oppose Islam at least as vigorously as they oppose Christianity, and think that the 72-virgins mentality is for real, and that it’s batshit craziness. And for those leftists who say that terrorism is not rooted in Islamic doctrine in any sense or reading of the texts, this is still consistent with their not both taking and not taking religion seriously in the senses that I indicated.

  6. Hi, Urban. But they do believe that people take it seriously. The Christian Right is often accused of bigotry and discrimation for acting on what they believe, remember.

    • Some liberals do and many do not. It’s also possible that they think the Christian Right don’t actually believe in all that religious stuff either. They would say “Yes, they are bigots and full of hate because they are not fully committed liberals, but they don’t really believe God gave Moses the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai.” Physiological projection is only one possible explanation and does not apply to every liberal.

  7. You think that Muslims vote for Democrats because “conservatives are framed and sometimes perceived as exclusive, white, anti-immigration and “Islamophobic””.

    Do you mean that they are perceived as putting up some resistance to letting the USA become a Muslim country? Do you mean they are perceived as not being eager to invite over as many Muslims as want to come and to make sure they all get a the broadest range of welfare benefits and opportunities handed to them at the expense of tax-paying citizens? If so, I agree that, yes, that’s probably why they vote for Democrats.

    So, if you want to turn the country into an Islamic state (along with a Hispanic and black state), then your idea sounds great. Very “conservative”.

  8. That doesn’t mean opening the border, but it does mean making efforts to welcome Muslims, black and Catholic Latinos citizens into the fold without pause or prejudice.

    How is that to be done? I don’t think Republicans have a problem with Latinos, but rather Latinos have a problem with Republicans.

  9. “Well, within liberal Canada, 43% of Muslims rejected the social acceptance of homosexuality. Only 36% believe that society should accept homosexuality while the remaining respondents were equivocal or unclear in their view. … No other religious or political group within Canada can boast such numbers of resistance – not a single one!”

    Do you have a citation for this comparative claim? I didn’t find numbers broken down by religion in Canada, but according to this Pew study, Muslims in the United States seem to have similar attitudes towards the ones you describe in Canada—38% in 2007, and 45% in 2014, of American Muslims think that homosexuality should be accepted. But the numbers are lower for evangelical Christians (26% and 36%, respectively). Mormons have similar numbers; Jehovahs Witnesses are much lower.

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