Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Separation of Church, State & Theocracy

No one should be surprised that Iran's pursuit of nuclear technology has continued, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently announced that its nuclear program is nearly complete (whatever that means). The 35 nation International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) didn't comment on his announcement, but their 4 page report raised concerns about Tehran's refusal to cooperate with the investigation of "certain aspects" of its program, that and the fact that they found unexplainable traces of enriched uranium and plutonium.

Iran became a theocracy in 1979 when the US backed Shah was overthrown. Reformist efforts in the 90's, while producing some results, pretty much failed, and a theocracy it remains. Ahmadinejad has called for the elimination of Israel and suggests the holocaust never occurred.

Pictured above is Atefeh Rajabi, a sixteen year old girl hung for talking back to a judge. She had been assaulted by some older men, and when the judge alleged it was her fault, she lost her temper. He was so enraged by her behavior that he personally put the noose around her neck. When you are hung in Iran, there is no scaffold. You are hoisted into the air by crane. It is not fast.

During the summer of 2005, Iran hung two teenage boys who confessed to having sex with each other. Whether they actually did is not entirely clear, but apparently the community perceived them as homosexuals. The blogosphere published a flurry of activity at the time. One was 18, the other 16 or 17. We are talking about kids. By the time of this photo, their minds are mush and numb. Will spare you the earlier photos--a sixteen year old kid, realizing his imminent execution, for what?

The wisdom of the founding fathers of the United States of America and what happened during the magical years of 1770 to 1800 can bring tears to my eyes. It is as if some magical force from above descended into the minds of the right people at the right time and the right place, to produce documents and a vision that has altered the course of human history. The people that came to this country fled religious oppression, and the people that laid its foundation were clear that the separation of church and state was a vital component to freedom in a society and the ability of each human being to enjoy what they called Liberty, the Freedom without which Patrick Henry preferred death.

The likes of Pat Robertson, Ralph Reed, Jerry Falwell, and others confidently proclaim that the United States is a "Christian" nation founded on Christian principles, but they make little note of the fact that Christ does not appear in our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution or its Bill of Rights. Christ is not mentioned on any of our currency, coin or paper.

God? Absolutely, but the founding fathers left each individual FREE to take it from there.

Under the Iranian penal code, boys as young as fifteen and girls as young as nine can be hanged. I find myself completely incapable of imagining what a nine year old girl does that warrants being hoisted into the air with a noose around her neck. There is an answer to that question, and those that wrote the Iranian penal code know what it is.

Some nine year old girls.

I am not a 21st Century Elected Official, and for good reason. Not sure I have what it takes to sit across the table from a human being that thinks hanging children is moral and just and the will of any God by any name.

Most unfortunately, this theocracy dominated by religious extremism (or is it, really?) is clearly reducing the distance between itself and the ability to attack with nuclear weapons.

North Korea is Dharmic. Iran is Abrahamic.

They are COMPLETELY different pitches coming over the plate. I assert one activity is critical in handling both: communication. We have got to listen, not smile and nod, not scream and yell, but listen. Both have said they want to talk. Let's hear them. Really hear.


Blogger sirocco said...

The problem with any theocracy, or, really, any debate with an "extreme" member of any religion, is so much of their belief system comes down to their absolute certainity in their interpretation of something which, really, will always be unknown -- the intent of "God" or "Allah" or "Yaweh" or whomever.

11/15/2006 7:31 AM  
Blogger x4mr said...


Don't disagree, but still assert that withholding or restricting communication is not the way to go.

I would "air them out" completely and see what shows up.

Granted, it may be the situation like the film "Independence Day" where we ask the aliens what they want us to do, and they respond, "Die."

Well, useful information.

I don't think we're there. Part of my point is that I don't think the Bush Administration adequately knows where we are or what real choices exist.

They are arrogant, and obviously this isn't a black and white thing. We're in a world of smoke and fog with a lot of gray.

The "keep friends close and enemies closer" thing.

11/15/2006 9:00 AM  
Blogger Framer said...

I don't believe the problem is that "Bush isn't listening" to Iran or other Muslim extremists. The problem is that not enough others are.

Not usually one to promote CNN, however Glen Beck is going to provide clips and translations of their regional press to show what qualifies as "mainstream" to them. I find it amazing that this has not been done before.

After seeing this get back to me and let me know how useful negotiating with Iran will be.

11/15/2006 4:55 PM  
Blogger Liza said...

How many wars do you think the United States can manage? I mean, if human rights and/or religious and political extremism are the real issues (and not oil) then we are going to be having a lot of wars now aren't we? As the watchdog of human rights and the protector of the free world, then I guess we'll be at war with most of Africa, huh?

11/16/2006 12:34 PM  

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