February 23, 2008 – Guest: Christoph Wilcke, Human Rights Watch
Theocracy Alert features an example of our failure to bring a true understanding of freedom to Afghanistan, while at the same time failing to understand what democracy is ourselves. Democracy demanded the inclusion of sharia law in the Afghan constitution; and yet true freedom has to include freedom of speech, which can bring on the death penalty if you don’t say the right things under islamic law.
Sayed Parwez Kaambakhsh faces the death penalty, in a country the US controls, for saying something that we take for granted in the US:
His death sentence, imposed after a closed-door trial during which he was not allowed a lawyer or a hearing, has become a rallying cry for foreign critics who want Afghanistan to hew to international norms on human rights.
The student’s troubles began when he downloaded an article written by an Iranian writer living in Europe that questioned the Islamic precept of allowing men to take several wives. Kaambakhsh, who is also a journalist in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, was arrested in October after he circulated copies of the article at the city’s Balkh University.
He was convicted and sentenced to death on Jan. 22.kansascity.com
Why are we putting up with this crap? Either he is pardoned (hell, apologized to) or we pack up our troops and head home. What are we spilling our blood over there for? So these people can play their stupid religious games? I don’t think so.
Hudsonville Michigan wants to have the mission to Strive to Serve God. Wander by mLive.com and let them know what you think about the state explicitly serving the church. (kudos to infidels.org for the link)
“Hasn’t Michigan heard of the Bill of Rights?” -Annie Laurie Gaylor.
Julia Sweeney was on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson – Season 3 – Episode 137 (video no longer available -ed.)
Today’s guest, Christoph Wilcke discussed the plight of Fawza Falih Muhammad Ali who is also facing a death penalty, in Saudi Arabia, for witchcraft. Witchcraft? What century is this, again? These guys are our allies? what a (cruel) joke.
Campaigning group Human Rights Watch has petitioned King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to halt the execution by beheading of a “witch” who in 2006 was convicted of “witchcraft, recourse to jinn [supernatural beings], and slaughter of animals”.
Fawza Falih Muhammad Ali is currently languishing in Quraiyat Prison having “exhausted her appeals” against the sentence. The illiterate defendant was arrested back in 2005, and allegedly beaten and obliged to fingerprint a confession that she couldn’t read.
“Earlier, her interrogators blocked her access to a lawyer and the judges, and denied her the right to professional legal representation, thus depriving her of the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses against her. She claims that some of the witnesses were unknown to her and that others had made statements against her only as a result of beatings.”
Following Fawza Falih’s conviction in April 2006, an appeals court ruled in September of that year that she “could not be sentenced to death for ‘witchcraft; as a crime against God because she had retracted her confession”. However, lower court judges “then sentenced her to death on a ‘discretionary’ basis, for the benefit of ‘public interest’ and to ‘protect the creed, souls and property of this country'”.
Joe Stork, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, concluded: “The judges’ behaviour in Fawza Falih’s trial shows they were interested in anything but a quest for the truth. They completely disregarded legal guarantees that would have demonstrated how ill-founded this whole case was.”theregister.com
Freethinkers almanac featured WEB Dubois, and Yip Harburg’s poem, one sweet morning.
February 24, 2007 – Creationism at the Grand Canyon
Theology Alert features a discussion of media exposure given to FFrF through Jay Sekulow, Pat Robertson’s pet Rottweiler at the ACLJ on his radio program. This merits mention because Dan and Laurie take the time to rebut the maliciously uttered lies concerning FFrF and it’s merchandise. As usual, they’re response to the hatred is full of laughter.
The infamous Gideon Sticker:
The Gideon society placed this bible here for your edification. Just who was Gideon? One would suppose that he was a person of exemplary character and great worth to have a worldwide society named after him. Here are some of Gideon’s accomplishments.
- He slaughter thousands in battle by plotting with the lord to use treachery.
- He murdered thousands more for worshiping false gods.
- Gideon tortured and killed still more for daring to taunt him.
- Gideon plundered the bodies of his victims to fashion a jeweled priestly vestment for himself.
- Gideon fathered an offspring who killed 69 of his stepbrothers.
Read the bible for yourself. You will find the story of Gideon in Judges, Ch. 6 through 9. The tale of Gideon is just one of many horror stories in the bible, a book that glorifies behavior that you abhor. Millions of people have been hoodwinked by what their clergy and leaders have told them of the bible.
Make up your own mind about the bible, read it for yourself.
They then finish the subject with a few bible verses that prove that “Warning: Literal Belief in this book may endanger your health and life” is a true statement.
There was also a brief discussion of this segment on the Colbert show:
I voiced my personal thoughts on the subject here.
The interview in this episode was with Jeff Ruch of PEER concerning the faith based parks; political appointees overruling civil servants and ordering them to break parks service rules. Specific to the title of the episode, requiring the parks service to certify a book for publication concerning the Grand Canyon’s origin in Noah’s flood.
Anyone with children will probably find the subject troubling, since the issue here is formally adopting fundamentalist dogma as official doctrine, and passing this misinformation on to children.