Have you been following the sad case of Youcef Nadarkhani? He converted from Islam to Christianity, a crime punishable by death in Iran. Various human rights groups have gotten involved and even the Obama administration has condemned the death sentence.
Former Sen. Gary Hart, of my home state of Colorado, has written an extraordinary op-ed piece: "The Plight of Youcef Nadarkhani." starts off great but then takes a strange turn.
There are reports that an Iranian Christian pastor, Youcef Nadarkhani, is under threat of execution by the Iranian authorities for blasphemy for his refusal to renounce his Christian faith. Though there are reports of persecution of Christians in many countries, China included, it usually takes the plight of a single identifiable individual to make an otherwise generalized problem -- in this case religious intolerance -- take concrete rather than abstract dimensions.
The re-emergence of the religious right in America during this current presidential campaign, though mild by comparison to threatened executions by radical clerics, should give us cause for concern. Though well over two centuries ago, "witches" were burned in this country and a recent book documents the struggles of Roger Williams against fundamentalist intolerance. The persistent thread of intolerance springs from a narrow fundamentalist insistence on orthodoxy in an age in which strict religious doctrine in some quarters quickly emerged to fill the vacuum of failed 20th century political ideologies. And religious orthodoxy exhibits an almost demented insistence on conformity and intolerance toward political dissent.
And it continues in that vein. Religious conservatives in America are the worst! Not quite so bad as the Iranian mullahs but close.
I get that Gary Hart is still upset about Monkey Business (and losing Donna Rice, the woman he was cheating on his wife with, to Christianity). But now it looks like he's had a complete break with reality.