Torture and the Shadow Code

As more revelations of U.S. torture methods — approved at the highest levels of our government — are revealed to us, the complicity of Christians is perhaps especially appalling.

Detainees from the Middle East, suspected of being terrorists, have been held in prison camps — often on the flimsiest of evidence — and subjected to brutalities unimaginable to most Americans. At least we couldn’t imagine them until now.

Many of the same people who participated in, or approved of, theis cruel treatment were conservative Christians. In other words, the same people who tend to crusade against gays. Indeed, exploitation of the Muslim detainees’ cultural revulsion toward homosexuality has been a frequent form of abuse against them by their captors.

The fact that U.S. personnel have so readily resorted to this tactic says as much about them as it does about their prisoners.

There seems to be a connection between the dehumanization of these detainees and the dehumanization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens in the U.S. A sort of shadow code of morality has arisen, driven not by the Gospel of Jesus Christ but by the fears and resentments of “Christian” Americans.

This shadow code seems to exist for the purpose of distracting the public away from the treatment of detainees in prison camps — some of them mere schoolboys, and others elderly men — and giving the public “queers” to disapprove of, instead of the sadists who torture and murder in all our names.

It seems conservatives get more noisily pious — more self-righteous about the “immorality” of certain inconvenient others — every time they themselves are doing something they want to hide.

As deliberations go forward as to whether torture and murder by top government officials should be prosecuted, we can be sure of one thing: we in the GLBT community will be on the hot seat again.

This time, as the red-handedly guilty cry, “Look at the homos,” we must make sure they don’t slip into the shadows again. Make no mistake about it, they’re shining the spotlight on us for just that purpose. We now see, more clearly than perhaps ever before, what we are being used for. We must make certain the rest of America knows it, too.