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Why Red, White, and Blue Countries Ought to be Better, Vol. 2 - CERisE's Testing for L

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March 23rd, 2006

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02:35 pm - Why Red, White, and Blue Countries Ought to be Better, Vol. 2
With thanks to theswede:

An Afghani man is standing trial for converting from Islam to Christianity. It's apparently derivative of an interpretation of Islamic law. Various leaders are calling for the man's death even if he's released. Additionally, they're raising the threat of an uprising (a la Soviet Union in the 1980s).

This sort of thing seems like it's been on its way for a long time. These are the hazards of nation-building -- the very thing which Bush said he wouldn't do in 2000 and the very thing he's done twice in his terms. Admittedly, the threat of an uprising doesn't have a lot of teeth behind it. Osama bin Laden did it with our help in the 80s. They'd require equivalent funding for military equipment in order to do it again. They may find it, but not to the same extent.

While I don't believe the man should be killed, I do agree wholeheartedly with a statement made in the article. Democracy is supposed to be the rule of the people. If the desires of the people are discarded, then how can you call it a government of the people, by the people, and for the people?

Let's bring this home for a moment. If we believe in saving this man, should the blue states then continue to South Dakota to save the women there? Perhaps to Mississippi to free so-called sexual deviants?

Defending one's values is honorable. Creating a place for people to live with those values is admirable. Imposing them on others is a very poor thing indeed. It is not the job of governments to legislate morality, but to punish actions which hinder people's lives. It was not the task of the Founding Fathers to create a new nation which would then take over the world so that everyone could have freedom of expression. It was to create a place where those of us who value it can live safely. I hope this man will be exiled to a place where his lifestyle won't put him in danger.

On another day, I just might quote John Stuart Mill on liberty and Thomas Jefferson on minimalist governing. On this day, I end the post here.

EDIT: With a nod to rockanachronism's series of "Why Blue States are Better", it occurs to me that this might well be titled "Why Red, White, and Blue Countries Ought to be Better".

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[User Picture]
Date:March 24th, 2006 05:25 am (UTC)
He's Afghani, but was just visiting. His conversion was more than a decade ago. If he is "exiled" -- it would mean "allowed to go home"; he hasn't lived in Afghanistan for years.

You described it as "apparently derivative of an interpretation of Islamic law." That's true, sort of, but this is Sharia law, and its interpretation on this point is pretty much universal. This is the Sharia law urged upon England, and upon Canada, and upon Australia and France and Germany -- that Muslims (or once-Muslims) be tried under.

You are correct in asserting that "a democracy is the rule of the people." But a Constitutional Republic, like the US, allows people to vote for elected legislators, who then draft laws within the confines of the Constitution, which can be changed only with great effort. It avoids some of the silly things we might do.

Still, that wasn't quite the issue here. Killing people for their choice in religion is bad, just as is putting them through a wood chipper for being related to someone disliked by the government.

And the blue states have converged upon South Dakota already; it's legal here.

I have heard that the man is a German citizen, but I've not confirmed this. Now -- what if it were an American citizen in those circumstances? We have Muslims -- and ex-Muslim apostates -- with family in Afghanistan.

CAIR's response is interesting -- palatable to the West, but theologically wrong. They defend freedom of religion by reporting parts of the Quran that don't force conversion TO Islam -- but they skip those parts detailing the penalty for converting FROM. I'll do a little write-up tomorrow.

This whole business puts a crimp in the "religion of peace" notion -- or the notion that only a tiny fraction are involved in radical behaviors. I do think that it's a minority -- but that minority is, more and more, the vocal folks running things.

There is work to do in Afghanistan yet -- but we knew that.

===|==============/ Level Head
[User Picture]
Date:March 25th, 2006 12:38 am (UTC)
I'd read that he'd been in Germany for many years before hand. I didn't know he'd actually moved.

I said derivative of an interpretation because there are at least some who believe that Sharia oughtn't be used secularly and some who believe that it requires reform.

My first thought was the parallel between how Muslims feel about Sharia and how Jews feel about Tanakh. Of course, the same applies to how Christians feel about the Bible. I imagine this is one of those natural conflicts involving the development of religion.

-- but I digress, my intention was to indicate that the validity in the affairs of the state was subject to interpretation.

I've observed previously that this country tends to be more conservative than we think it is. It certainly seems more conservative than I had thought it was prior to Bush being elected. In most ways, I'm OK with that. If people want their ten commandments in front of courthouses, "under God" in the pledge of allegiance, and the like, I can deal with that. People are entitled to their feelings of warm fuzziness that a creator is watching over them and will reward them in some period that's probably less than 100 years, but certainly less than 150.

Shoot, if they want to throw a person or two in a wood chipper, I could almost deal with that. Well, so long as it isn't me or someone I care particularly about, anyway. It's self-limiting after all.

It's my opinion that the work we're doing in Afghanistan is in many ways doomed to failure. Not because of Jihadists, but because the region is so volatile that it seems likely that any civilization erected will crumble in a short period of time. I feel the same about Iraq -- you're aware of my feelings on the validity of our presence there.

I dislike the idea of us telling other countries to not throw people in the chipper because I'd very much dislike other countries telling a theoretical republic of mine not to throw people in the chipper. I'm content to give them their own sandboxes to play (or bleed) in and I think it's ultimately spitting in the wind to go digging in theirs. I'm unconvinced that my morality's any better than anyone else's for anyone but me and I don't see convincing others as a way to do anything but exacerbate already strained relations.

-- get me off of this crazy planet, would you?

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