My wife has a classmate that recently married a Pakistani man. He's here only on a student VISA and is faced with returning to Pakistan as soon as he graduates. He has an application for greencard pending but the wheels turn slow. Anyway we had dinner last night with the two. They were friendly and amiable folks who wanted to meet new people. I was looking forward to an evening of cultural exchange but feared the religion issue would flare up. He is of course Muslim and she has just converted. They both reassurred us with a smile that they were broadminded Muslims, representing TRUE Islam not that of the Taliban etal. Ok, my hair raised as soon as they said that. In my experience anyone who insists they have the TRUE form of their faith is generally not broadminded. Though we tried to keep the subjects neutral is was not possible. The man boasted of his love of science and physics in particular, I also love science and so thought the topic was safe. Wrong. I made the mistake of asking how his faith accomodated long geologic history and biological evolution. He mocked both ideas. God made the world and all in it, it was as simple as that. He mentioned how there are fair skinned blondes in northern Pakistan and I responded that makes sense as generally lighter skin is adaptive to temperate climates with reduced UV exposure. He chuckled and said that was just ridiculous theory. I dropped it.
He ironically liked the Bush party despite their proChristian agenda because he hates gays too. I kid you not, they said hate. They claimed as undisputed fact that male gays are all closet pedophiles and should be arrested if not killed to protect the young. They insisted that the gays were the reason "America is collapsing". I could hardly contain my disgust with such bigotry. If I had not driven them to the restaurant I would have left them there. I asked if there were gays in Pakistan he said no, at least if there were they knew they had better never try to go public.
I tried in vain to inform them that their lables were not only wrong but deeply slanderous. I related the stories of two gay friends who I could recognize as gay when still very young but they retorted that they were perverts who must have been sexually molested as boys by other gays. As far as gay marriage is concerned, I said it made no difference to me if my gay neighbors were married, it would not threaten my marriage. They said it would, and I would be tempted to become gay by simply living next to them.
What an evening. These two imagined themselves moderates. Perhaps they are. How familiar their thinking was. They imagined themselves rational thinking people pointing out the obvious while asserting wild stereotypical rubbish. A man from a third world country which beats up or kills gays is suggesting America's tolerance of gays is responsible for our country's collapse? If this was true can you imagine what Pakistan would be like if they became tolerant of gays too?