I missed Valentine’s Day!

Well… maybe “missed” isn’t the right word. I’m mostly indifferent to the passage of Valentine’s Day, mostly because I’ve successfully managed to avoid being in a relationship for many years, and while I am happy for my friends who have coupled up, the prospect doesn’t really appeal much to me. As with all things though, just because I don’t like something, it doesn’t mean I have cause to stop other people from doing it (unless it directly harms me or someone else).

This, among many other reasons, is why I will never be elected to office in Malaysia:

Islamic morality police in Malaysia have arrested more than 80 Muslims in an operation to stop them celebrating Valentine’s Day. Officers raided budget hotels in the central state of Selangor and capital, Kuala Lumpur, detaining unmarried Muslim couples who were sharing rooms. The religious authorities in Malaysia say Valentine’s Day is synonymous with immoral activities. Those arrested could be jailed for up to two years if convicted.

While I like the idea of punishing people for religious hypocrisy (can you imagine what our society would look like if you were legally obligated to practice what you preach?), I am less in favour of doing so in a country where you can be declared Muslim by legislative fiat. I am even less in favour of laws being passed for reasons of morality, particularly when the religious are the ones deciding what is moral and what isn’t.

I’m sure that the lawmakers in this case think that they are acting to maintain a sense of good, chaste morality for the benefit of all society. While I would challenge them to demonstrate such a benefit, I would also point out that the religious sex fetish does little to prevent “immoral” sexuality, and seems to go a long way toward compelling the kinds of behaviours that they claim are so anathema, whilst simultaneously making people less likely to engage in the kinds of risk-reduction that prevent real harms from occurring.

Here’s the kicker line:

Human rights groups say actions such as the Valentine’s Day ban harm Malaysia’s image as a moderate and progressive Muslim-majority state.

This is what passes for “moderate” and “progressive” when we talk about Muslim theocracy. How sad. Again, as I said back in August, it’s a state that is making small inroads, but it’s still a crime to be gay there. If this is what is considered “moderate” and “progressive”, we’re clearly grading on the mother of all bell curves.

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