Stoning Revisited

As we count down the 10 most popular posts here in 2019, the one in the eighth slot was  one of only two actually from the year.  

The outrage seems a little contrived to me. Or maybe it was a slow news day

The headline said Brunei, a small southeast Asian nation, was implementing the death penalty for those found guilty of committing homosexual sex or adultery. Those convicted would be stoned to death. My first thought was: “Why is this news? Didn’t Brunei already have the death penalty for homosexuals?”

There are many small countries that fly under the world’s radar when it comes to news coverage . When was the last time you saw a story about something that happened in Oman, Costa Rica, Laos or Monaco? We tend to care about what happens near us, things that affect us. News editors know that.

I don’t think there is a lobby group applying pressure on behalf of adulterers, so I am going to assume the impetus for this publicity comes from various homosexual activist groups. They have a vested interest in making sure the world knows what is happening in Brunei – there could be lives at stake.

A couple of thoughts struck me when I saw the headline. The first was that this is not news. Adultery and same-sex relations are illegal in most Muslim-majority countries. They were already illegal in Brunei. Even the method of execution, stoning, is not new but has been practiced for millennia – though maybe not in Brunei.

The second thing that struck me was that defending homosexual rights is the flavour of the month. I know, it has lasted longer than that, but you know what I mean. It is trendy; politically correct. And rightly so – abrogating anyone’s rights is wrong. As is, dare I say it, the death penalty (if you like we can argue that one another day).

While it is right to point out the unjust treatments of gays in Brunei, I was wondering where the media outrage is over the curtailing of Christians’ rights there? For a Muslim in Brunei, becoming a Christian can also mean a death sentence. I don’t remember a news article about that. Is there no protest about the death penalty for those who see the Truth, and leave Islam for a relationship with Jesus? The world is silent there.

Maybe the concept of “rights” isn’t absolute. Dare I say that? Our society upholds gay rights. We don’t seem to be as concerned about Christians’ rights. Yet the principle remains the same. Trendy or not, we should not pick and choose whose rights we support. We should not be saying that one group and its rights are more important than another. There are many places in this world where becoming a Christian brings with it a death penalty. Yet the media, for the most part, remains silent on the subject.

That is just as wrong as the laws in Brunei. Does our society understand that? I wonder.

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