Is homosexuality really the devil?
(An in-depth report on the region’s media travesty toward homosexuality and it’s misconceptions and relating it to satanism)
By Julijan Rahahleh
We truly live in the information age. A vast amount of information is provided to everyone everyday by different methods: let it be newspapers, radios, magazines, TV stations, and the list keeps getting longer and longer. People use their favorite resources to get that information; the issue is that – for this source of information people relate to and usually feel comfortable getting information from – might not be very trust worthy after all.
A decade ago, the main source of information in Jordan was printed newspapers, the two main Al-Rai and Al-Dustor are both under huge governmental influence, and they are both supposed to present the point of view of the government and its different institutions and bodies. Soon after, a new newspaper opened, Al-Ghad, and it was able to gain strong foothold in the independent media world in no time. The problem is, instead of proposing a different point of view than the other government influenced newspapers, it followed in the line of government policies on certain matters with shy opposition in some economic and social parts. The other ‘popular’ newspaper, Al-Arab Al-Yawm is less concerned with social matters and is more into opposing economic and political affairs.
But suddenly, with internet making its way into every single Jordanian household (3.163 million users, 50.5% of population in the end of 2011), online media became one of the major sources (if not the primary source) of information Jordanians desperately seek and never seem be able to get. Many newspapers switched into soft copies (like Al-Madinah newspaper, which abandoned its printed version in 2008 in favor of an online based news agency). Local known magazine JO have declared that their December 12′ issue will be the magazine’s last and finale issue! “-the same longstanding difficulties magazines have faced in the internet age an continuing global economic slump have caught up to us.” quoting the magazine’s December letter. And have stated so on their official Facebook page: “To our readers, fans, and friends: The December issue will be JO’s last. We’ve enjoyed bringing our devoted readers reporting and stories on Jordan for nearly ten years now. As always, thanks for reading. JO had a great run.”
The main problem is not the fact that online media is present or functional, but in that since the recent spur in news websites, lots of them lacked supervision of the law (because, in the first place, there was no law to explicitly and strictly govern and regulate online media until September 2012), and this lack of supervision resulted in an overspill of falsified and often blown out of proportion information. Those websites – or more like “internet based tabloids”, became a source of public misinformation, and usually lead to major misperceptions of everything and anything, because together, they formed a huge media entity, a hydra of many heads that worked in the same way, marching in the same direction but ultimately had different names.
One of those falsified and blown out of proportion pieces of news used by those websites to get traffic and because they follow a certain line of thoughts is defacing of homosexuality. The process of insulting sugarcoated in ‘criticizing’ had its ups and downs through the past years, reaching a record high in 2010 and becoming an evident trend, linking any mishaps in Amman or Jordan to Satanism in general and homosexuality in particular. Such incidents enraged public sentiment and, with every article or piece of news building up in the queue, the public opinion accumulated a skyscraper of confusions. But what are exactly those fictional traits falsely glued to homosexuality by those websites? And how believable are they?
The most persistent stereotype applied to homosexuality is Satanism. The image of a devil worshipping, sex addicted, morally corrupt human is part of the main structural sentence that anyone would find in most articles speaking of homosexuality in Jordan. That image is usually applied to homosexuals because of the religious sentiment that is directly touched and affected by this particular issue – and we all know how sensitive religion is in this part of the world and how sensitive religion is against the issue of homosexuality: Religion often frowns upon it and so does its followers; a large number of them shun and do not accept homosexuals in any possible way. They (the followers) usually support any method to stop the ‘gay agenda’, whether it was a police crackdown on a party (like what happened in Marmara hotel not so long ago), or a mass attack of gangsters on these parties (just like what happened last month in Hardrock café in Abdoun).
“The fact that some Satanists indulge in homosexual-related activities does not make all homosexuals Satanists. Homosexuals are another microcosm of the world except for the sexual orientation part – yet a huge misconception about them…”
Other fictional fallacies about homosexuals often include pedophilia addressed with the idea that all gay people are inevitably child molesters. Also transvestism, in the way they are dressed and the way they act and whatever follows the notion that all homosexuals have to copy and act like the opposite sex; for example all gay men have to act like women otherwise they are simply not gay, and all lesbian women have to act like men but if they don’t then they are not lesbian. Fear of homosexuals being sex addicted beings is also prevalent, most straight men that engage in hate crimes of so called “self-defense” do so because they think that all gay men are automatically sexual predators, resulting in the mass hysteria known as ‘gay panic’. Homosexuality is also usually linked to excessive drug usage /alcohol consumption.
But does Satanism actually exist in Jordan? Is it an actual elephant in the room or a phoenix that only belongs to fairytales?
The only official record regarding this matter is a statement by the minister of Interior Affairs back in 2002, saying that “there are no Satanists in Jordan, just some crazy kids listening to loud music*. Rejoice! It’s ruled! Satanism does not exist in Jordan! Or so the government claims, but the true story is that any society is just a simple microcosm of the big bad world. Anything that exists anywhere in the world exists in any small society in the world because the world is essentially made up of these communities. Satanism exists in the world and is evident in many parts and regions, and it being camouflaged or in stealth mode in Jordan does not mean it doesn’t exist, you just don’t see it as openly as you do in the US (The home of the Church of Satan) for example. That being said, this situation is not a vice versa situation; homosexuality is not a prerequisite to Satanism and Satanism is not a prerequisite to homosexuality.