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Seeping Sniping

December 27, 2019

U.N. experts are calling on Pakistan to overturn the blasphemy conviction of Junaid Hafeez, which carries a death sentence. Reuters reports:

In 2013 students at the university where Hafeez taught accused him of making blasphemous Facebook posts. Insulting Islam’s Prophet Mohammad carries a mandatory death penalty in Pakistan, which is about 95% Muslim.

His lawyers say he was framed by students from a militant Islamist party because of his liberal and secular views. This month a U.S. religious freedom commission placed Hafeez on its list of global victims.

Hafeez’s family and lawyers released a statement saying the trial had been marked by a “wave of fear” and intimidation after Hafeez’s initial defense lawyer, Rashid Rehman, was shot and killed in 2014 after agreeing to take on the case. No one has been charged with that murder.

The U.N. panel said, “We are seriously concerned that blasphemy charges are still being brought against people legitimately exercising their rights to freedom of thought, conscience, religion and expression.” Yes, well, that’s the whole point of a blasphemy law. There is no legitimate use of it.

Godzooks looks at our lawsuit for Secular Celebrants in Texas, and I thought this was an important and under-discussed point: government officials may be ostensibly “secular,” but, like, not really:

…considering that more than 70 percent of Americans are Christian, and, particularly in bright-red, exceedingly Christian Texas, its highly probable that even most of the state’s supposedly secular government officials are also Christian.

So, if an engaged, say, atheist, couple wants to be married in a resolutely secular ceremony presided over by a decidedly nonreligious celebrant, their odds of finding one are presumably slim and, at best, promise a tortuously difficult needle-in-a-haystack exercise.

Pete Buttigieg said something rather nice and banal about Christmas on Twitter, and Twitter, of course attacked. RELEASE THE NITPICKERS.

It seems that “revenge porn” is in a gray enough area of constitutionality that the Supreme Court is about to take up a case about it. I’m narrowing my eyes at Kavanaugh.

A dude in Salt Lake City busted up a Mormon temple with an axe because he “can’t get any LDS girls to date him.” I’d say it’s less about their Mormonism and more about the axe-wielding.

Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama goes the Full Jesus for her Christmas message, saying:

On this joyous day, we celebrate the gift of our Savior. The gift of Jesus is everlasting, and the gift He gave us so long ago, that is accessible to us, even now, is the peace we find when we have a relationship with Him.

As Hemant puts it, “This is Christian Nationalism, a reminder to everyone in her state that Christianity is the official religion.”

The Brazilian comedy troupe that did the “gay Jesus” sketch, Porta dos Fundos, has its headquarters nearly firebombed as Molotov cocktails are thrown into the building. A security guard saved everybody. Thank you, security guard.

Northern Ireland Humanists have recruited non-religious chaplains for atheist inmates at Maghaberry prison.

Fairfax County Public Schools will allow students time off for protests, or as they are calling it, “civic engagement activities.” Conservatives are mad, bro. The Post reports:

The controversy shows that the hyperpartisan sniping dominating America’s political stage has seeped into the nation’s school systems, said Meira Levinson, a Harvard University professor who studies education. Schools throughout the country are reckoning with a disturbing new reality, Levinson said: Every move by administrators and students, no matter how anodyne, is swiftly interpreted as a “win” or a “loss” for the right or the left.

This looks like it’s probably snake-oil-with-lights, but I could be wrong: A headband with sensors that purportedly knows when your brain is in an “active state” to help you know when you’re really focused on whatever is going on, and they’re putting it on the heads of kids with “attention issues.” It’s sort of like if a dunce cap could tattle on you to the teacher.

Nicole Saraniero at Untapped New York takes us to the Middletown State Homeopathic Hospital, which one would assume is a grain of concrete in the middle of a vast field. But no! It’s a real building!

The Main Building, the first to open in 1874, no longer exists, and many other structures have been lost to fire and demolition.

It no longer exists, but we have a memory of it. Now that sounds a little more homeopathic.

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is.