Reports are coming in about an atheist blogger in the Palestinian West Bank who was caught in a sting via Facebook and now faces the death penalty. It seems the best he can hope for is life imprisonment. Even members of his family say so.
This should completely dispel any doubts anyone might have about the importance of America's strong separation of church and state. The fact that in the year 2010 there are still people being put to death for their religious beliefs should be repugnant to every civilized human, regardless of faith.
But that's what happens when you mix government and religion. History proves it. Down through the ages, whenever the two mix you'll find that the zealots eventually get into power and persecute everyone who doesn't agree with their views. Not just their religion, but their particular sect. Without strong legal limits on religious coercion (such as in the UK) or an outright separation (like our Constitution), it seems inevitable. Is there even one place in the world that has religious tolerance and religious leaders who are superior to the elected leaders?
I hope the civilized people of the world, whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindi, atheist, or any other faith or non-faith, will find common ground here and protest in support this man's right to religious freedom in the strongest terms.
I've tried to see both sides of the Israel/Palestine question, but this news has made me lose a huge amount of respect for the Palestinian government and culture.