Thursday, October 30, 2014

Q Toon: Hysteria in Liberia

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✒Oct 30, 2014
U.S. media have been preoccupied with the very few people in this country who have had Ebola. Frightened by the prospect of Doctors Without Borders coming home to American bowling alleys, governors have hastily imposed quarantines on health care workers returning from the front lines against the disease. Faux News and fear-mongering Republicans stoke panic that somehow Mexicans will bring Ebola across the Rio Grande.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic where Ebola really is a problem, it didn't take long for Liberian clergy to blame the disease on God's Wrath Against The Gays:
Earlier this year, the Liberian Council of Churches said in a statement that God was angry with Liberians "over corruption and immoral acts" such as homosexuality, and that Ebola was a punishment.
In May, Archbishop Lewis Zeigler of the Catholic Church of Liberia said that "one of the major transgressions against God for which He may be punishing Liberia is the act of homosexuality," local media reported.
Antigay hysteria is nothing new in Liberia. In 2012, Senator and former First Lady Jewel Howard Taylor pushed a bill increasing Liberia's penalty for homosexual acts from the current one to three years in prison to her proposed death sentence. A similar bill was proposed in the Liberian House by Clarence K. Massaquoi, but President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf stated she would not sign any such bill. Still, decriminalization of homosexuality is nowhere on Liberia's horizon.

An Economist cover story earlier this month on the widening split in attitudes toward homosexuality in the West and the rest of the world includes a map of countries where homosexual acts were either criminalized or decriminalized since 1966. I should note that one of the Ebola-stricken countries, Côte d'Ivoire, is included among the countries in which homosexual acts per se are not against the law.

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