Thursday, December 26, 2013

Abe Cheerleads the Bullies

Prime Minister Abe visits Yasukuni Shrine
Nobody’s ever surprised when they hear just how low a politician can go.  Just this week there was a media circus over a duck hunter from a place where “Cajun redneck culture and Ozark redneck culture intersect,” a  reformed drug addict who now represents American family values and prays to Jesus, and who should therefore, we are told, be forgiven for an occasional off the cuff remark about how the blacks back in “pre-entitlement” days were oh so happy all day just singin’ their little hearts out, and because he declared that being gay "morphs" into bestiality and that they "invent ways of doing evil." 

And the politician part?  Well, that would be Sarah Palin talking about how terrible it is that we are trying to shut down free speech and not let the good Christian people of America express their religion anymore.  Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty, the guy I’m talking about, in telling the world gays are all about bestiality and inventing evil are “just expressing what most Christians think,” you see.

But Sarah Palin, despite the narrow miss when we might have put her within a heartbeat of the presidency, is history.  She’s now a national clown.  Dumber than her shoes.  No need to take her seriously.

That’s not the case with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan.  He’s gone and done once again what the prime ministers of Japan sometimes do when they decide it’s time to bend down and smack their lips against the backsides of the rightwing geezers still pining away for days of military glory.  When they decide it is in their political interest to pay an official visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, where the war criminals who planned the brutality in China like the Nanking Massacre are buried. And are honored to this day.  Imagine how that feels to a Chinese.  Or a Korean.  Or a Filipino, when that happens.  

(I blogged about Yasukuni a short time ago, here.)

So much time has passed.  We are a whole new generation of people, we Japanese and we French and we Indonesians.  We run the International Space Station together, we Russians and we Americans and we Japanese.  All together in marvelous harmony and cooperation.  Time to let bygones be bygones.

Until an asshole like Shinzo Abe comes along.

I remember an article in Der Spiegel at the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II.  This was a great day for the German people, they said.  Why?  Because they were freed from the mindset that launched the invasion of most of Germany’s neighbors and constructed ovens for the genocidal killing of Jews and others.  This was the first day of a new life for Germany.  Germany was finally on a path to becoming the nation is has become today, with a capital city in Berlin people are flocking to for art and entertainment, with a powerful economy that is keeping the EU churning (I’m not endorsing their politics necessarily).  Germany is a country to be proud of today.  So thank you, liberators of not only the concentration camps, but of Germany itself.

And what do we do with our historical association with the Third Reich?  We vow to lead the world in peaceful cooperation and the rule of law.   We certainly don’t celebrate the wars and aggression of yesteryear.  We don’t forget, we don’t diminish, whitewash or trivialize.  And we look forward.

Abe, are you a complete idiot?  Do you not have the slightest respect for the victims of the Yasukuni war criminals?

Abe's defenders argue that there are only fourteen war criminals at Yasukuni, including the Big Guy, Tojo, and that he's honoring all the soldiers who fell in service to their country.  And that he's only going there to pray for peace.  Yeah, right.  Then how come he picks the very day to visit when the Chinese are celebrating the anniversary of Mao Tse Tung's 120th anniversary?  Japanese are masters of detail and every political nuance is carefully calculated.  It would seem this is an act of bravado on Abe's part.  See?  You can't tell me what to do, you Chinese fool!  I'm in charge here.

And the Chinese response

"Honoring the shrine is, in its essence, embellishing and falsely beautifying Japan's military invasion and colonization." 

And the Korean response?

"South Korean Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism said that he cannot help but deplore and express anger and urged Japan to stop "beautifying" its invasion."

No modern day Japanese child needs to have any feelings of guilt for the bombing of Chinese cities during the 1930s and 40s.  They weren’t alive at the time.  But they should get from their schoolbooks and from their parents and grandparents an appreciation for what Japan has become since 1945, how it has built itself up from despair and destruction, how it now builds laboratories in space where their astronauts share common goals with fellow astronauts from Russia and America.  They should be allowed to look forward, in other words.  With optimism and pride. Japan, like Germany, is a country to be proud of.  Why would you focus on that other Japan that is no more?  Why would you bring it back to life?

I take this all very personally.  I have family in Germany.  Years of close association.  A deep love of German music and art, and when things get tough it’s German fries and Bratwürste that lift my spirits.  I also have a valid green card for Japan.  If I go back, they have to take me in.  It was my home for over two decades and I will always be proud to have been associated with that marvelously engaging place.  Pisses me off all the time, of course.  But in the way somebody you love pisses you off when they act like a turd.

I’m pissed at the moment at Japan for allowing this lowlife politician to drag Japan back to the time when it was a scourge as a nation.  Come on, guys, let’s hear your voices.  Tell Abe you deserve better.  You really do, you know.  Don’t let him get away with this.  Throw the bum out and get in his place somebody to represent you who has the courage to stand up to the bullies among you.  You deserve to be able to travel around the world and not have people want to spit at you.

Abe represents the wrong Japan, just as the skinheads represent the wrong Germany and the Ku Klux Klan represents the wrong America.

Is it really that hard to understand?  Do we really need to explain these things?

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Future Shock Moment

The International Space Station
When Sputnik went up in 1957, the Cold War between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. hit a crisis point.  We were still diving under our desks in schools learning how to survive an atomic bomb attack.   A few years later, in 1961, I happened to be in East Berlin just after Yuri Gagarin made the first manned space flight.  They were handing out free post cards of Comrade Gagarin around the city in brotherly cooperation with “the Friends,” as the East Germans called the Russians.  I sent one to an uncle I knew would be pissed off by the gesture.

I underestimated his rage.  He hounded my father, his brother, for days about how badly he had raised his son.  Bad enough my father had married a German.  Now, it turns out, he had fathered a traitor.

I was only twenty-one at the time, so I had no brakes on my ability to be offensive.  Things actually got worse in later years when I went to live in Japan, thereby, according to my uncle, thumbing my nose at all the men who had given their lives for freedom in the World Wars and Korea.

Sunita Williams in the ISS
I’ve just watched a video of a tour of the International Space Station, that wonder of wonders built cooperatively by Russians, Americans, Canadians, Japanese and the EU to the tune of $160 billion – yes, billion with a b – that flies around in space filled with labs for all kinds of scientific experiments.  It’s bigger, they say, than a five-bedroom house – 15,000 cubic feet, actually – and it’s been in operation for fifteen years.

The tour blew my mind for a number of reasons.  First, because I didn’t know about it.  It’s not just that I haven’t been paying attention.  It’s that it’s so taken for granted that nobody I know oohs and ahhs about it anymore.  Which is astonishing, when you think of it, because the accomplishment is astonishing.   It brought on a serious case of future shock.  I mean not just the technical wizardry.  I mean the politics of it all and what it says about the temporariness of our human disputes between nations.

The tour is conducted by Suni (Sunita) Williams, who has herself spent 322 days in space altogether.  The second mind-blower is the fact that this video was made a year ago, the day before she and others returned to earth (in Kazakhstan), and I’m only now catching sight of it.

Suni Williams looks and talks like the American she is.  But she’s also a Hindu, and brought a statue of Ganesha to accompany her on her flight.  And if that were not enough to give my uncle a hickey, she speaks Russian with her Russian fellow astronauts and points out the photo of Gagarin on the wall as she speaks of “our history.”

Our history.  Ours.  The Russians and the Americans work together these days and have a common space station which we call “ours.”  And those Japanese who bombed Pearl Harbor?  Who caused all that death and destruction in China, the Philippines, and elsewhere?  Those guys?  Here we are in the Japanese lab, Sunny says.  Oh, hi, Aki, as she floats past her Japanese colleague.

On the ground level, we have all sorts of nasty business going on as usual.  Putin, the modern day imperialist czar of Old Russia, toys with the fate of his political enemy, Khodorkovsky, and decides to let him out of jail after ten years, but shows his contempt by making the announcement as an afterthought to a press conference.  He launches an anti-gay campaign that has the world trying to decide whether to attend the Olympic Games at Sochi and which officials to send over, if any.  Same old, same old.

But here on the ISS, a Hindu American says “Izvenitye (excuse me)” as she passes her Russian colleague while filming a tour to show the folks back home, and the only thing remarkable is the fact that it isn’t remarkable.

Sarychev Volcano eruption seen from the ISS
No doubt there are rivalries between the national groups.  I can’t imagine there would not be.  But somehow they seem to be able to work together, share exercise machines, food from Japan, food from Russia, food from America – and toilets – together.  Altogether a mighty uplifting picture.  Wish my uncle were still alive to see it.

Take a half hour sometime, if you have not already done so, to view the video.  

And when you’re done, consider yet another mind-blower, perhaps the greatest one of all.  An ad put out by Haynes Baked Beans, in which astronauts are portrayed not as heroes, but as perfectly ordinary shlemiels like the rest of us.  

Photo credits:

Sarychev volcano (Kuril Islands)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

RIP Harold Camping

Harold Camping at work
If I were a Catholic, I’d have to go to confession over this.  I suffer from a superiority complex when it comes to TV evangelists.  I know such arrogance will keep me out of heaven, but I can’t seem to stop the urge to giggle uncontrollably whenever I see one of these clowns at work.   I’m easily persuaded they’ve been put on this earth to make the rest of us look good.

Watching them prance back and forth across the stage, all puffed up and filled with the spirit, so all-fired certain they’re doing the work of the Lord.  What’s not to giggle at?

And there are so damned many of them!  For a list of American evangelists, click here.     What a wacko country we live in.  My Australian friends love to tell me, “We got the prisoners; you got the Puritans.  Lucky us!”   Sociologists have told us it’s this separation of church and state idea we came up with that is responsible for all these many religious sects.  Places with an established religion get tired of it fast.  Here, when you get tired of your church, you start a new one.  Say the name of Jesus with a quiver in your voice, whip up a tale about a struggle with alcohol and a penchant for loose women and a conversion story and you’re in business.  No taxes.  No proof of sincerity required.  Call it religion and off you go.  All the shekels you can collect are your own.

Jim and Tammy Faye
I’ve had so many favorites over the years.  Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, for starters.  And Jimmy Swaggert.  Loved their hypocrisy.   Watching them crash and burn a la Ted Haggard was more fun than the pile-ups at the stock car races my father used to take me to as a kid.   You suspected there was decency in there somewhere and you can see why people have invented demons and other living creatures to personify temptation.   Like so many people who stumble over fame and fortune, they’re not ready for it.  Clueless about how the adulation can fool you into thinking it will go on forever.
Jim Bakker and his secretary
at Praise the Lord Ministry
whom he had an affair with
(the secretary, not the Ministry)

I used to watch Oral Roberts as a kid, wondering about the science of putting your hands on your TV set and getting cured of cancer.  Jack Van Impe and the way he would dwell on the final consonant of a word and his lovely wife with the science fiction name, Rexella.  Dumb as her shoes, but earnest as a case of the shingles.   

Then there are the politicos who rose to the top, starting with Billy Graham.  He was of the Amy Semple McPherson variety, not seedy, even lofty, although now that he’s gone, his son Franklin is doing his best to bring the Graham name down to the level of most of their fellow shysters.   John Hagee is actually dangerous, suckering all those evangelicals into supporting the rightwing in Israel by making them believe their money will convert the Jews, a necessary last step before the Rapture.  And shame on the Israelis who milk this source – the same way they threw their lot in with apartheid South Africa when it served their interest.  Hagee, the Lucky Pierre of evangelism – screwing people and being screwed simultaneously.

And, speaking of danger, let’s not forget James Jones, who, before he got his flock to drink the Kool-Aid in Guyana, was a TV evangelist from Detroit.

Then there’s the king of the sleazy smarmies, Jerry Falwell, and the Big Daddy TV Evangelist of them all, Master Joker Pat Robertson.  Together, they declared that 9/11 was brought on by “the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians…the ACLU, People for the American Way…I point the finger in their face and I say “you helped this happen.”  That was Falwell.  Robertson’s response?  “I totally concur.”  

If you poke around in their backgrounds, you find a large number of them come from evangelical families.  Hagee, for example, is a 5th generation pastor.  Many are Pentecostalists and have little formal education, even creating their own institutions to grant themselves degrees in theology.

Dr. Gene Scott
Melissa Scott
And then there’s the exception to this group, Gene Scott, possibly the most inflated ego of all time.  He used to come onto his program wearing a series of hats, cowboy to turban, and shout at the top of his lungs that he wasn’t going to preach another word until his followers coughed up more money.  And he’d sit there – they’d all sit there – in silence, waiting for the phone to ring.  Scott got his degree from Stanford in the School of Education,   I get to say that Scott and I got the same education, only a few years apart.  His shtick was to fill a whiteboard with passages written in the original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic, and impress his audience with his ostensibly erudite ways.  Look closely at what he was saying, though, and you see the linguistic bravado as pure theater.  When he died, his wife Melissa took over, using the same pseudo scholarship as a substitute for authenticity.  Look behind the meanings of the words they trot out and you see a very simple declaration of their faith.  Nothing wrong with that, except that the suggestion of scholarship was little more than smoke and mirrors.

The shysterism is harmless if it you believe it’s your God-given right to spend your money any way you choose.  It’s part of our libertarian tradition that we consider the freedom to be stupid to be the foundation of all other freedoms.  I suppose, if you want to put a positive spin on TV evangelism you might take this to heart.  You might also consider how many lessons there are to be learned from their failings.  Jim and Tammy Bakker's son, Jay, for example, hit the skids after their demise.  Now he's back with the goal of ministering to gays and lesbians. 

All this is just a circuitous way of getting to the news that Harold Camping has died.  Of all the TV evangelists I ever came across, he was the most sympathetic.  I went through a wide range of emotions with this guy over the years.  The first time I saw him I howled with derision.  Such a loser!  Such a sadsack!   Then I realized he was like all the others.  He had raised millions from donors with his end of times predictions. Not such a dumb-dumb after all, I thought.

But what to make of his apparent sincerity?

And what an example of dull boring Middle American beige consciousness.  A friend of mine wrote of him, “He could be Mr. Rogers’ brother! If Heaven exists, it’s a grand reunion and a beautiful day in the neighborhood.”   His clothes were off the rack at Goodwill.  The furniture was all Toledo discount house.  And the plants were fake!  Who in the world lives with artificial plants?

I was raised in a culture that taught me never to expose myself in public unless I knew what I was doing - never say anything unless I was sure I was right.  A lot of what New Englanders of my childhood called common sense rubbed off when I came to California, where people tend to believe your right to speak is a higher priority than your responsibility to have your facts right, but it still amazed me how so many people – certainly some of them have to be sincere – can stand before millions and make declarations about their faith without the slightest humility.  Not listening for the voice of God but shouting it from the rooftops, to use an old metaphor for satellites that bring their messages to millions in 150 countries around the world.

Harold Camping’s abundant confidence lacked smugness somehow.   He knew his Bible so well he could flip to a passage in nothing flat, when a caller asked about it.  He sat with the bible on his lap.  He lived not far away from me, here in the East Bay, in Alameda.  He predicted the end of the world would be first on September 6, 1994, and when it didn't happen, he changed the date to May 21, 2011.  And when the end didn't come, he revised it to October 21, 2011.

It still didn't come and he retired.  He had spent five million dollars on billboards advertising the Rapture, and began losing money when donations dropped off precipitously.  Down from $135 million in 2007 to $29.2 million in 2011.  But still he remained Mr. Unflappable.  Looks like I got it wrong, he said.   “That’s because God has his ways and they are greater than mine.”  Can’t argue with that.  There’s a great YouTube of a guy shouting at him, here.  (The quote comes at the end, at minute 2:31.)

Caller: “You always say a lot of shit.  I lost all my money because of you, you asshole! 
Camping:  I’m sorry.  I didn’t hear your question. (pause)  We’ve lost the caller, and shall we take our next call?

I almost miss watching him sit in that chair of his and interpret the Bible in that room with the fake woodpaneling and artificial plants.  The dull image made you feel sorry for the old man, plodding on with his advice and his end of the world predictions.

Harold Camping lived to a ripe old age.  When Jerry Falwell died, because he had spent his life preaching the message that he would go to heaven and gay people like me wouldn’t, I announced that if somebody would bring me a contract to go to hell, I’d sign it – anything to make sure I didn’t have to spend eternity with the likes of Jerry Falwell.

Camping and Falwell shared a belief in the Rapture and in end times.  Falwell died before his charlatan ways were exposed.  He was far too political to say anything he couldn’t weasel out of later.  Camping died after being humiliated because he went out on a limb, exposed himself as a silly old man with old man limitations.  He was wrong, he said, once he had gotten over the shock of still being alive.  His defeat was, in a sense, a reminder to me of my own limitations, and for that I see him apart from all the others.  He’s gone on, now, as they say, to his reward.  Not a bad man, I think.  If there is a heaven, I hope he’s got a better seat than Falwell.

RIP, Harold.  Flipping channels has suddenly lost much of its appeal.

photo credits

1. Harold Camping at work:
2. Countdown till the end of the world:
3. Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker: 
4. Dr. Gene Scott:
5. Melissa Scott, Greek scholar: 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Still Slogging

Weimar's Courtyard of the Muses
Let’s hear it for the Enlightenment.

God bless those often godless folk of the Age of Reason, as the Age of Enlightenment is sometimes also called.  All those 17th and 18th Century thinkers, the philosophes, Descartes, Newton, Spinoza, Hobbes and Locke, Voltaire, Rousseau.   Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson in the United States.   And others who gave us the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Polish-Lithuanian Constitution of 1791.  (I threw that last one in to show I’m not Americo-centric.)

Kant called the Enlightenment “mankind's final coming of age, the emancipation of the human consciousness from an immature state of ignorance.”    Hit the nail on the head, it seems to me.

Enlightenment ideas are so much a part of our lives that we take them for granted.  We don’t stop to recognize how wretched our lives would be without this great leap forward in human progress.  The force that ripped the teeth out of superstitious authoritarian religion and made the good life we know today possible.  The French summed it up with liberté, égalité, fraternité; the Americans with “liberty and justice for all.”

The humanist moral code of the Enlightenment didn’t entirely replace the religious codes that went before, and the old ways can surface at any time and claw us back into the darkness of fear and superstition, as they did with the announcement today that India’s Supreme Court has just overturned a 2009 ruling that had decriminalized gay sex.  Sad news for LGBT people in India.  And because we’re all linked together in this battle for human rights, sad for the rest of us, as well. ran with the shock headline, “India goes 'back to the Dark Ages' by banning gay sex — again.”

Well yes, and no.  Yes, if you look at this at ground level, at how this affects individual gays and lesbians and other sexual minorities.  If you look at the evolution of India as a modern democracy, not so much.  The Court decided the case on procedural grounds.   The Delhi High Court had overstepped its powers back in 2009 when it granted people with a same-sex orientation equal rights.  That power belongs, according to the Supreme Court, only to Parliament.   India’s penal code has a clause – Section 377 – which specifies that “sex against the order of nature” should be punished by up to ten years in jail.

You’ve got to love the choice of words.  So deliciously 19th Century British somehow.  The Roman poet Terence had expressed humanist values centuries before the Enlightenment  when he declared, “Humani nil a me alienum puto – Nothing human is alien to me.” The sex-averse Saint Paul had a different view.  He and others responsible for establishing the practices of the ancient Hebrews as if they were dictates from heaven, believed in the curse of the Garden of Eden and the unending sinfulness of mankind.  Cherry-pickers of that tradition are still very much with us.  From the Baptists who don’t want to have sex because somebody might see them and think they were dancing, to the folks living in fear that somebody somewhere might be having a good time, religious proscriptions are never totally out of sight.

Another way to speak of these laws which offend nobody except possibly a fictive deity is to call them laws against victimless crimes.  Nobody gets hurt, say the humanists.  God gets hurt, say the authoritarian religionists.  Well, not so much anymore.  They know they can’t be that obvious about it, so they express it in terms of “nature” or “the social order.”  But you know they mean God.  They will admit it, if you push them on it.

Steven Weinberg is known in academic circles for his Nobel Prize in Physics.  I think he deserves equal recognition for his insight into the power of religion.  “With or without religion,” he said, “You would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

We in America talk about our “Culture Wars.”  What we’re talking about is the clash between two different sources of a moral code, one which we admit is man-made, the other which various self-imposed authorities tell us is the will of God.  From the Enlightenment rose the radical notion that “all men are created equal.”  Today we have updated our language use, having recognized that too many people mistook “men” to mean “men only and not women” instead of “all human beings” regardless of sex.  It has been a long and painfully slow process freeing ourselves from the dead hand of traditional religion, from sex discrimination, from racism, from the belief that Northern Europeans were more clever than Southern Europeans, who, in their turn, were better than Africans.  The thrust of this Enlightenment value system was that there is no justification to granting rights to one human being that you do not also grant to all others.

In general, the modern world moves in the direction of Enlightenment values.  The Mormon Church has just come out and admitted they were wrong – actually used that word – about black people.  We just followed the custom of the day, they say.  Everybody around us was racist, so we were too.  They were wrong, and we were wrong.  Notice, though, that they cannot explain how it is that their anti-black principles are to be found in their religious texts.  They’ve still got a whole lot of ‘splainin’ to do.  My point, though, is that our progress out of racism, sexism, ethnocentrism and homophobia has been pretty consistent, even if we do fall back from time to time.

The Indian Supreme Court decision may not be a falling back.  It may be what they say it is, merely a cold rational legal decision based on the British inspired notion of the importance of legal procedure.  Not intended to further homophobia, but necessary (if they're being sincere), because the homophobic law that needs correction was put there by the legislature and should be taken out by the legislature. 

I am in no position to judge.  I’m too far away and I lack the legal background to take sides in this issue.

That said, there is no doubt homophobia is alive and well in India, and progress out of the darkness has not been without its hitches.  And it’s no surprise to discover that homophobia in the legal code can be traced back to the Brits and their religious prejudices at the time the Indian Penal Code was written.

Chapter XVI of the Penal Code (Sections 299 to 377) deals with “Offences Affecting the Human Body.”   These include murder, kidnapping, slavery and forced labor, and rape.  All but the last one, 377, involve a victim.  377 is the notorious section related to so-called “unnatural offences.”  The Indians have been trying for some time to get rid of 377, not only because it legalizes persecution of LGBT people, but because it had made it difficult to get at the AIDS problem.   The 2007 case against four men in Lucknow illustrate the danger of giving homophobes free rein to go after gay people.  The police in Lucknow concocted a case against them because they had found their names on a gay website and assumed, because of Section 377 they could get away with criminalizing them.  It wasn’t the first time that “being” gay was taken as synonymous with “doing” gay.  Section 377 is intended, obviously to have a deterrent effect, to instill fear so that gays and lesbians will remain in the closet.  To quote another Nobel laureate, Amartya Sen, speaking of Section 377, “It is surprising that independent India has not yet been able to rescind the colonial era monstrosity.”

The Indian Penal Code, including Section 377, was established during the time of Lord Macaulay, a “classical liberal”, opponent of slavery and advocate for equality of all men and women before the law.  Macaulay might be called an Enlightenment figure, actually, although motivating his good works was a belief in the superiority of his British civilization and the need to get the Indians to give up their traditions, including the use of Persian and Sanskrit, in favor of the English language, so that they might be more amenable to his instruction.  And his values.  He was a pious man and what went into the penal code no doubt expressed his moral views.   Once established with British sensibilities, Section 377 was “updated” in the 1930s, when crimes against nature were expanded to include not only oral sex but intercrural sex (friction against the thighs) as well.

Sexual intercourse got defined for the first time as “the temporary visitation of one organism by a member of the other organism, for certain clearly defined and limited objects. The primary objective of the visiting organisation (sic - the source writer obviously meant 'organism') is to obtain euphoria by means of a detent of the nerves consequent on the sexual crisis. But there is no intercourse unless the visiting member is enveloped at least partially by the visited organism, for intercourse connotes reciprocity. Looking at the question in this way it would seem that [the] sin of Gomorrah is no less carnal intercourse than the sin of Sodom.”

Just in case you had any doubts about the Christian origins of the suspicions held by the British and the Anglo-Indians running India in the 1930s.   If you're schooled in the sin of Adam, you know very well that people, if left to their own devices, might do really naughty things in the privacy of their own bedrooms. 

Laymen – non legalists – will not be persuaded that this Supreme Court decision was based on a technicality.   The Human Rights Campaign – and they're hardly alone – sees this decision as “recriminalizing love.” 

It’s one thing for one branch of government to throw a decision into the hands of another branch of government, but with the Indian parliament in the hands of conservatives, this setback for LGBT rights may take years now to correct.   And as an article in today's New York Times reports, Indian judges have a long history of judicial activism.  The argument that the decision was out of their hands, in other words, appears to be a cop-out. 

Some days you win.  Some days you lose.

photo source:,6

Weimar's Courtyard of the Muses: