We may be seeing the beginnings of a real backlash against religious fundamentalism. In the last few years, we have seen the actual agenda of the religious right revealed in America: a constitutional ban on any legal protection for gay couples, re-criminalization of all abortions, including rape and incest, opposition even to vaccines to prevent cancer, and so on. The situation is far more dire in many Muslim countries, where the conflation of politics and religion is far more complete and the violent methods of religious fundamentalists different in kind. But the essential goal is similar: the subjection of free people to religious doctrines they do not necessarily hold. In Indonesia, a beacon for hope in the Muslim world, the moderates may be fighting back:
"Indonesia's parliament, which contains a large bloc of Islamic-based MPs, is debating whether to amend the criminal code to outlaw anything that could offend decency or "arouse lust" in children.
That includes husbands and wives kissing in public, unmarried couples living together and homosexual sex, along with any flash of thighs, navels, bottoms or breasts, punishable by up to 10 years in jail and fines of more than $A100,000.
Other provinces like Aceh have moved to implement sharia laws, often without the wide support of ordinary people."
The gradual revolt against these policies may take time to formulate, because for many, the threat seems vague for a while. But then you see it up close. And it isn't pretty. I have a feeling we may be about to see a similar push-back in this country as well.