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BBC: “Should Homosexuals Face Execution?”

Jim Burroway

December 16th, 2009
Screen capture of the BBC web site, via Pink News (click to enlarge)

Screen capture of the BBC web site, via Pink News (click to enlarge)

It’s hard to imagine any reputable news outlet posing such a question, but that’s what the BBC asked in an online “Have Your Say” forum late yesterday. And to make matters worse, BBC’s editors have defended the decision.

But in response to the furor the the question sparked on Twitter, the internet, and among the forums own respondents, BBC’s editors have since changed the question. It now reads “Should Uganda debate gay execution?” The forum is now closed for comments, but from the outrage expressed by many respondents, it appears that virtually all of them were responding to the original question, “Should homosexuals face execution?”

Most of the comments appear to be a resounding “no!” But there are a few along the lines of this one, from “NF” of Alberta, Canada:

Can I move to Uganda? At least one country in the world is taking moral values seriously (as well as the health of their citizens). It may sound extreme, but that shock value will allow more people to think about their actions beforehand.

And another one from Freetown (no country given):

Bravo to the Ugandians for this wise decision, a bright step in eliminating this menace from your society. We hope other African nations will also follow your bold step.

Next question: Should Kosovars be rounded up an shot?

Comments

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Henry
December 16th, 2009 | LINK

Freetown is the capital of Sierra Leone, West Africa. i am not suprised by that comment although ironically the guy’s hometown was founded by freed american slaves.

Ivan
December 16th, 2009 | LINK

How about this for a topic:

Following President Ahmadinejad’s comments we ask “Should Isreal be Wiped Off the Map?”

Of course, this would never happen as to even ask such a question would be to legitimise it.

And if you read the comments thread, it’s clear that some of the worst comments got through the moderator and were only removed after the sh!t hit the fan.

As an aside, I also note that no Ugandan MP is proposing a law to introduce the death penalty for corruption.

Elizabeth
December 16th, 2009 | LINK

1930s BBC:

“Should Jews be rounded up and sent to concentration camps? Yes, we accept it is a stark and disturbing question. But this is the reality behind the current rise of the Hitler’s Germany, where Jews will face death by gas chambers.

Has Germany gone too far? Should there be any level of legislation against Judaism? Should Jews be protected by legislation as they are in the United States? What would be the consequences of this bill to you? How will Jews be monitored? Send us your views.”

Christine
December 16th, 2009 | LINK

Thank you so much, Jim, for all the work you are doing to expose this stuff.

Take a look at this Exodus Global Alliance newsletter (available online at
http://www.exodusglobalalliance.org/files/2008Issue2_284.pdf) and you’ll see the ex-gay movement “educating” medical students in places like Uganda and Rwanda (as well as Sundan, which currently allows the death penalty for homosexuality).

Donnchadh
December 16th, 2009 | LINK

Some of the brighter anti-gay activists may be aware that talking about gay marriage, even campaigning against it, means bringing the concept to the wider public. Once that happens, people will inevitably come to see it a possibility, and may even start considering it in rational terms. Uganda’s bill has brought the reverse of this. Most people in the West will dismiss it at a sign of an immature democracy, but in other countries it might yet gain traction. And even telling them why it is wrong is telling them that someone has done it, and making it into a more serious option. It’s a double bind.

Phil
December 16th, 2009 | LINK

Hm. I guess I’m in the minority, but I think the question “Should Homosexuals Face Execution?” is fascinating, and I really wish I could see what the results of the BBC poll turned out to be.

I’m a gay man, and I feel that we’re sometimes too delicate in our rhetoric when it comes to debating and discussing gay issues. I’m tired of hearing people who oppose something perfectly fair and reasonable, such as same-sex marriage–or even civil unions–claim that they are not bigots. I think it would be useful to get our opponents to acknowledge that bigots _exist_, and that every time they make an argument opposing gay rights, it behooves them to explain what the difference is between their position and a bigot’s position. Eventually, it will become clear that for many issues, there isn’t a difference.

Proposition 8 passed in California with a 52.3% majority. Most of the people who voted for Prop 8 probably don’t support the execution of homosexuals. But some of the millions of voters surely do. How many? If, for example, 2.301% of the electorate happen to believe that, then it’s worth pointing out that the only reason same-sex marriage is illegal is because of the support of people who want to kill gays.

Maggie Gallagher and Rick Warren, for example, probably really honestly believe that they are not bigots. They should know that their initiatives would never have passed without the support of repugnant bigots, and they should feel pressured to distance themselves from these bigots _every_ _time_ they talk.

This is not to say that the BBC poll was well-constructed. Polls that involve self-selection are statistically irrelevant. But the idea that it’s somehow inappropriate to examine the _extreme_ hate that’s out there allows too many people to hold the comfortable belief that extremist hatred doesn’t exist.

Ben in Oakland
December 17th, 2009 | LINK

Very good, Phil. As i wrote in another context, in reasponse to this comment:

“The most egregious of this is the issue of hating gays. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Of course you don’t hate us and this isn’t about bigotry. you love us. It’s the christian thing to do. You don’t hate anyone. Honestly, you don’t. The Biblical message is all about compassion, about loving your neighbor and all that. You love homosexuals. You really do. You just hate our same-sex-lusting,public-fornicating, child molesting, disease spreading, marriage ruining, family wrecking, military compromising, religious freedom hating, god detesting, Christian disparaging, faith villifying, society-endangering ways. And really now, where’s the hate in that? Of course, you want to call it love instead of hate because hate is, well, so hateful.

JimInMa
December 17th, 2009 | LINK

Should bigots face execution?
Should blacks face execution?
Should asians face execution?
Should people face execution?
Been there, done that.

JimInMa
December 17th, 2009 | LINK

Somehow that last statement had gotten munged on the way to being published.
The last statement originally read:
“Should religion-other-than-your-own people face execution”

Richard Rush
December 17th, 2009 | LINK

It’s fascinating to hear this often-used phrase: “As Christians we are called upon to love the homosexual.”

It’s obvious that their “love” is just a performance. They have memorized a script. And that’s part of why they can easily support draconian policies with a clear conscience and a smile. They can view themselves as good people doing what is necessary for the benefit of homosexuals and society. And, of course, it emboldens them to know their policies are stamped “DEITY APPROVED.”

I do believe there are people out there capable of promoting extermination with a loving smile.

Ivan
December 17th, 2009 | LINK

Phil said:

“I think the question “Should Homosexuals Face Execution?” is fascinating”

I’m sure that any homosexual hanging from a tree will be gratified in their final moments by the thought that you find the morality of their death a such stimulating topic.

Phil
December 17th, 2009 | LINK

Ivan-
What are you saying? I think you’re misunderstanding my statement. Otherwise, I interpret your post to mean that homosexuals hanging from trees would rather their deaths go unmentioned.

That said, I didn’t mean to suggest that I find the executions of people merely to be stimulating. However, all communication is symbolic; an interrogative sentence about death is not the same as a death. The fact that people often confuse words with what they represent does not make it so.

The BBC actually asked the question, “Should homosexuals face execution?”–really? How bizarre! And how completely in line with something I am genuinely curious about: How many people believe that gay people should face execution?

Timothy (TRiG)
December 17th, 2009 | LINK

The Guardian wasn’t impressed.

TRiG.

Burr
December 17th, 2009 | LINK

Honestly I rather liked that they didn’t beat around the bush. Let people see the naked disgusting truth of the measure being debated in Uganda, so that it can be rejected so clearly the way it ought to be, instead of dancing around and trying to pretend that it’s simply not the “best” way of dealing with the “issue.”

Désirée
December 17th, 2009 | LINK

On its face, the question was completely out of line. I would like to think however (not that I give the BBC credit to have the cleverness or intelligence to come up with this) that the question was posed in such a way as to point out the disgusting nature of what Uganda is doing, to present it in as harsh a light as possible, to in fact highlight the idea that debating the legal execution of a group of people is simply unconscionable. By framing the question in its purist form, eliminating any Uganda reference, they forced the bigots out and showed them to be in line with those who would support gassing Jews or lynching blacks. Or, at least, were they actually that sneaky and clever, they would have, instead of just bungling the whole thing and making themselves look like idiots and bigots themselves.

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