From Under the Editor's Rock...
By Sheik Sebir
World Press Freedom

Some of us believe that Freedom of the Press and Free Speech are vital to keep ordinary people informed, and that the free expression of ideas is a basic requirement to an orderly, progressive, and growing society - and that this includes religious ideas. Other countries in the grip of fanatical despots or just common criminals believe otherwise. In Iran, the secret trial of Faraaj Sarkuhi may begin - then again it might not - it's a secret trial, the verdict has already been determined before it even begins - Guilty, guilty, guilty ! , of course. Because the nature of his offense is asking for a basic human right, he won't even get the lime-light of a show trial. His felonious crime is wanting to have the freedom to ASK for intellectual freedom in his country. Naturally the Mullet-heads who run Iran say that he's GUILTY because he wants to escape a regime that wants to imprison, kill or just "disappear" him !

Religious Persecution

In Medieval France an earlier despot reneged on something called "The Edict of Nantes"; an agreement to "tolerate" Huegenot Protestants. For a Huegenot the choices were simple: Become a criminal and leave the country to escape the King's general death sentance on Huegenots - a capital crime in itself; or be a Law Abiding Subject and wait for the State to find and execute you - or even better, be a Good Law Abiding Subject and voluntarily turn yourself in for proper death and disposal...

But, persecution for wanting to freely speak and write is just the beginning. Recently there's been some ideas run up the flagpole by the usual suspects about whether or not the U.S. Government should intervene when foriegn governments, or majority religions persecute minority religions in other lands - especially when the religion being oppressed is Xianity. Naturally - public opinion is either for or against it, depending upon what the pollsters say public opinion should think [I've always suspected this] or what some congressperson proclaims that they are thinking. In a supposedly modernistic World one would think that one's personal religious and ethical beliefs is nobody's #$%&@ business but one's own; and the beliefs of one's chosen religious community would be respected - even if they differed from one's own. Constructive criticism and discussion of other's beliefs isn't persecution, -- forcible "reeducation" (brainwashing) and conversion - making people belong to, or rejoin a religion by forcing baptism upon them; forcing them to recite various Creeds, and Prayers the persecutor's way of sticking a gun in their face; which includes employing humiliation, violence, terror and murder against those who don't share one's opinions about Religion - including burning heretics and their writings]] is.

Social predjudice and Economic discrimination by one religious community against another should have ended in the 18th Century, but many of today's hotspots it goes on day after day, unchecked. Before I begin, let me say that whenever Xtians are in the majority or have government favoratism, they've shown a great amount of zeal and fanaticism in persecuting their "Heathen" neighbors. Some say they're just getting what they truly deserve back in their faces - but that's just another excuse for more barbarity.

Some Muslims believe that they have a right to make their non believing neighbors, who are unfortunate enough to live in or near their communities, adhere to what they believe by forcing it on them, and that theirs is the only proper way to be a Muslim, often with their Government's aid. Xianity is both the most persecuted, and the most active in persecution of others, even if their of the same faith. Often the persecutor is the government !!. Communist China has decided that religious activity not regulated by the State is subversion worthy of being destroyed. If those, like the Tibetians choose differently, or choose to choose their own religious leaders, then they're likely to become excellent candidates for "reeducation" (lifetime slavery in a workhouse with a good dose of brainwashing for good measure).

Much of this could be considered as evil, but if the West tries to its values and ideas of Religious Liberty, nevermind Tolerance in such places, they will become just another persecuter !! Many nations have subjects who haven't the slightest idea of what freedom of any sort is. It's absurd to force them to adhere to "guidelines" on religious tolerance when they haven't got a clue as to what t means - especially (usually) when we'e here and they're there !! What are "we" going to do: station troops there to enforce our notions of tolerance ? This is called an Occupation which is usually preceded by an Invasion (War) ! And, when the Public gets bored with the whole idea and hopes it'll all go way, will it ? When the troops leave, so do the High Ideals, which the locals never shared or accepted in the first place. Many billions of dollars spent, many lives lost - for nothing - the American foriegn policy of the 60's and 70's !!

There are alot of narrow minded people in the World who want other people to believe what they do, and want their beliefs forced down the throats of any and all dissenters by "their" government. Before the 19th Century CE this was the rule not the exception. Religious Toleration is a new thing in the West, and Religious Liberty is even newer - most non-Western countries haven't gotten around to it - much less agree with it !

Evidently, that is not the case - and "we" don't have such a World yet. When majority religion, especially Xianity, is given a free reign to oppress unpopular or dissenting beliefs the opportunists among them zealously take every opportunity to do so !!

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