This business of our ally, Afghanistan, having a law that anyone who converts from Islam to Christianity shall be put to death is raising interesting questions. Abdul Rahman is an Afghani who apparently converted 16 years ago, but is now on trial for his conversion and may be sentenced to death. It's a little jarring to think that in 2006, there are still people who are killed for no crime other than having the wrong beliefs.
Not that Christians don't have a lot to account for over the centuries. Over the past 2,000 years, millions of non-Christians and professing Christians whose beliefs happened to be out of line with mainstream Christianity, (such as my own Amish ancestors) have been put to death in the name of Christ.
But I thought the world had progressed (yes, gotten more liberal) beyond actually killing someone for committing no crime other than having faith in the wrong religion. Even in China, which had long been considered one of the most anti-religious societies in the world, Christianity is flourishing.
I could see something like this happening in one of the axis of evil countries; North Korea, Iran or Iraq (before its liberation,) but Afghanistan supposedly was liberated and is now ruled by freedom lovers instead of freedom haters. Or so we've been told. The Afghan government, which actually governs very little beyond the city of Kabul is propped up wholly and completely by the United States government. The president of Afghanistan doesn't even trust his fellow Afghanis to be his body guards; that service is provided by Americans. So why can't a phone call be made from the White House to Kabul with the message to put an end to this nonsense?
One reason that phone call couldn't be made is it goes against the "principles" for which we are supposedly in Afghanistan and Iraq in the first place. The wars are supposedly being fought to give their people the right of self-determination. Apparently another thing the Bush White House didn't think of before it jumped into that part of the world is what happens when the countries we "liberate" self determine that they want a fundamentalist religious government? Do we tell them "No, you can only have self determination if you determine by yourself that you will accept our values?" Then it isn't freedom and it isn't self determination. Palestine is another place where this problem has manifested itself. The minute the Palestinians were given a free election they elected the Hamas party to run their country, a party dedicated to violence and terrorism against Israel. Now what?
The problem of giving freedom to people who then use that freedom to make bad choices is a problem that has plagued mankind since God came up with the bright idea of putting the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden and then telling Adam and Eve they couldn't eat its fruit. Really, now, I know He would like for us to think He's omniscient, but what in the world did He think was going to happen? You didn't need to be omniscient to figure out that wasn't going to work.
It sounds like creative lawyering is going to find a solution to the problem of Abdul Rahman in Afghanistan. For Islamic law, like Anglo-American jurisprudence, has a concept that a crazy person is not responsible for his actions. The prosecutor says Rahman is just not talking like a normal person, he must be crazy, and if so, he will be accquited by reason of insanity according to the latest news.
Who knows, if Adam and Eve had consulted a lawyer we might all still be living in the Garden of Eden instead of having to earn our livings by the sweat of our brows. (I know, I know, some wag is going to say there were no lawyers with whom to consult in the Garden of Eden. The lawyers were all in hell. Well, to you wags, maybe the world would be a saner place now if there had been some lawyers back then to help Adam and Eve figure out the loopholes.)