It's a dangerous time to be gay in many countries around the world, but it just got even more unsafe for the LGBT community in the island nation of Brunei.
On Thursday, Time magazine reported that the Asian nation, one of 72 countries where it is illegal to be gay, will now punish homosexuality with the death sentence. Reports indicate that the repressive Brunei government will enforce its newly enshrined Sharia law through the barbaric method of stoning gays to death.
This ugly reminder of the intolerance still prevalent in some parts of the world ought to make us all grateful for the freedom and rights we enjoy as Americans, but it should also spur us to action. Given this grave news, it's time for both progressive LGBT advocates and Christian conservatives to set politics aside and come together to do the right thing: Support the Trump administration's campaign to end the criminalization of homosexuality worldwide.
If you are a Christian or person of faith, I ask that no matter your personal beliefs on LGBT issues, you pray for an end to this barbarism. No just God would ever support this, and we all have a moral duty to call out Sharia Law for the tyranny that it is. https://t.co/ac4RuyhLzG
— Brad Polumbo (@brad_polumbo) March 28, 2019
Just a few weeks ago, with the openly gay U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell at the lead, the Trump administration announced its global initiative to pressure countries that still criminalize homosexuality to change their ways. Grennell said, “Barbaric public executions are all too common in a country where consensual homosexual relationships are criminalized and punishable by flogging and death."
He's right, and opposing that shouldn't be controversial. But while many responded warmly to the Trump administration's initiative, some opposition came from an unexpected source: progressive (so-called) LGBT rights activists. For instance, one op-ed in Out Magazine went viral after it bizarrely argued that “Trump's Plan to Decriminalize Homosexuality Is an Old Racist Tactic." Additionally, the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign responded to President Trump's announcement with a Twitter thread slamming the president. And some Democratic members of Congress even used what looked like an opportunity for common ground to attack Republicans instead.
After this latest atrocity, progressive LGBT advocates need to give it a rest. Gay people continue to face true violence and atrocities across the globe, and now in Brunei. If they really care about the LGBT community, they should set aside their hate for Trump and choose supporting basic human rights over scoring cheap political points.
The issue of anti-gay criminalization, let alone the death penalty, isn't a partisan or political question.
But Christian conservatives and other members of the religious right also need to join them. The issue of anti-gay criminalization, let alone the death penalty, isn't a partisan or political question. No matter your personal views on LGBT issues or your religious philosophy on homosexuality, we should all stand up for basic human dignity on an issue like this. Thankfully, some conservatives are doing exactly that.
This is wrong. It is barbaric. America should condemn this immoral and inhumane law, and everyone should be united against it. https://t.co/ZEs2TrsS6L
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 28, 2019
Hopefully, both sides will do the right thing. Once we come together to stand up for human rights, there's more we can do than just support Trump's global campaign. Americans of all political stripes can donate to charities helping victims of anti-gay violence, like Rainbow Railroad, a group that helps LGBT people persecuted internationally escape oppression. Additionally, we can boycott Brunei's hotels, companies, and products to put pressure on the government to reverse its repressive new rule. But most importantly, we can start simple — and, political tribes aside, all treat each other with dignity and respect to set an example for the rest of the world.
So in the face of the startling new anti-gay laws in Brunei and elsewhere, the way forward for Christian conservatives and LGBT progressives alike is clear. Let's just hope neither side chooses petty politics over standing up for people's lives.
This article originally appeared in the Washington Examiner