I was already against capital punishment, legal murder, justified on the basis that somehow two wrongs make a right, but I find the news of the stoning death of a young couple for an improper sexual relationship or whatever they called it, particularly heinous and gruesome. It was said a crowd of at least 150 watched. It was done at the direction of the Taliban. And to think that we expend thousands of our own soldiers’ lives and our treasure over there when of course we know the end result is that once we leave they will revert, if they ever left it, to this kind of uncivilized behavior, because of course the Taliban will likely resume control of the whole nation.
The western world used to be in to this kind of thing, and it is biblical — he who has not sinned cast the first stone — but except for some jurisdictions in the U.S. and I guess elsewhere, most of that is gone. Executions in the U.S. I think are almost just as macabre, in that doctors are called in to make sure the person to be executed is healthy enough to be put to death — and I don’t know what I find more offensive, someone being hanged, shot by a firing squad, zapped and fried in an electric chair, choked to death in a chamber of gas, or subjected to a deadly injection.
And it’s not that I feel sorry for someone who has committed a heinous crime — I just feel bad for humanity.
And then there is the real problem that has come to light. We have discovered through DNA testing that many a person innocent of the particular crime they are being put to death for are innocent. No doubt a lot of innocent people have been put to death — of course many of those people were probably guilty of other crimes, and who knows? maybe even capital crimes.
But even if you are for capital punishment, surely you can’t call yourself civilized and be for death by stoning.
But our nation has taken upon itself the task of nation building and it tried to make deals with the Taliban and pays them off, even as our soldiers are killed. So the U.S. is in effect supporting death by stoning when it deals with the Taliban. And this notion that Al Qaeda has essentially been removed from Afghanistan is nonsense. The Taliban is Al Qaeda. Islamic extremists are Islamic extremists.
And I am no more comfortable with Christian extremists than I am with Islamic extremists, really.
I believe that all kinds of religious extremists threaten civilize society. Right now, though, the biggest push seems to be by Islamic extremists.
We’re all waiting for the so-called Islamic or Muslim moderates, who repudiate ancient methods such as stoning to death, to speak up, but we’re not holding our breath.
I belive in God or some kind of higher power — some forms of so-called organized religion worry me, though.
When I hear some of the rhetoric coming from Christian fundamentalists I sometimes wonder how they would act if they ever got in charge in the U.S. I’m not so sure you would be able to distinguish their actions from those of the Taliban.
While I pity innocent people in Afghanistan and Iraq and the whole Islamic world who just simply want to go about their business and live their lives in peace but who are subjected to the cruel intolerance of their religious leaders and the thugs who work in religion’s name, I do not think it is the business of the United States to change things for them, nor am I sure they want our help, and I am relatively sure it is all so terribly impractical.
From the news reports, apparently the stoned-to-death young couple were defiant to the end and said they loved each other. Once upon a time the idea of marrying for love rather than just a practical arrangmement for the families concerned was not considered right or not usually considered at all even here in the west, I have read. I won’t argue the merits of that here, but I do think that in terms of social tolerance and less violent methods in law, the west offers the better way, even though we have much violence nonetheless. And I am digressing here and not making much sense. I’m just trying to say, and please excuse the terrible and almost unintended pun, but the Taliban and its ilk would pull us all back into the stone age.
There are devastating floods in Pakistan and other areas of that region and the U.S. is supplying aid. That is the right thing to do — whether it is appreciated or not.