For the purposes of this discussion the personal confessional preferences of the now brutally slaughtered cartoonists, journalists, and staff of the Paris based Charlie Hebdo magazine is irrelevant. For the sake of their profession, these cartoonists and journalists were Atheists.
They did not hold anyone as particularly pious or beyond critic. From prophet to pope, these brave and honest liberals assumed the mantle of Atheism in order to better serve the people they sold their publications to.
With that in mind, we can safely say that the actions of the Muslim men who murdered them are a uniquely religious phenomenon, the murder and torture or Atheists at the hands of religious zealots.
This is not the first time nonbelievers have been butchered at the hands of the faithful, nor will it be the last! In point of fact, soon after this horror occurred the courts in Saudi Arabia decided that a journalist should be fined around a quarter of a million dollars, imprisoned for 10 years, and tortured on a weekly basis.
Raif Badawi, a journalist, blogger and father of three (although he would not put those in that order) suffers a form of tyranny so commonplace in the world that the false liberals of the western world seek to defend the rights of the tortures more so than the rights of the tortured!
He established a blog in Saudi Arabia for people to communicate freely about an assortment of topics, he wrote articles that condemned religious practices and criticized the faith and the state. He did exactly what the artists and journalists of Charlie Hebdo did, yet he lives in a place of religious tyranny and absolution.
His punishment started yesterday with the first 50 lashes of his sentence. For clarification, the practice of lashing someone with a whip is a deadly one. The organs can be skewered by the razor tip of the whip traveling at greater than the speed of sound. The skin on his back will be ripped and shredded by the brutal torture, his ribs scored with pain, his internal organs bruised and tormented.
His sentence is 1000 lashes, but that would kill anyone who had to endure it all at once so the courts spread out the torture across 20 weeks of torment. Every Friday following the afternoon prayer (an insult added prior to the injury) this man is going to be flogged 50 times. Each lash is a threat upon his life, each pass of the whip is a searing piece of pain that most milk fed pudgy white people will never have to feel.
Unlike the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo, this journalist with be tortured to the edge of his life’s endurance, allowed to heal for 7 days, then propped back upon the rack and tortured further. There are gods and men in Greek mythology who were driven mad by similar tortures.
So here we sit, comfortable in our climate controlled lives, reading the horrors online and wondering at the barbarity of it trying to convince ourselves that it is the work of a few mentally disturbed players. Contorting logic and reason to satisfy our never ending want to claim that religion itself is not the problem since the cherry picked ideas of it make us feel so warm and secure.
The cold hard fact of it is that religious people kill Atheists. They torture and butcher anyone who demonstrates any indication of Atheism from the perspective of blasphemy and/or apostasy. This is not news, nor is it new.
The way out of this
In suggesting a problem in society it is usually best to also suggest a solution, so here is mine: support human rights as a moral absolute.
If a country is supporting religion over freedom of religion then that country needs to be ostracized from the global community. No commerce can be allowed to support these barbarian states, no military assistance be offered unless they embrace and codify into law the human rights charter that states that all humans deserve equality, freedom of speech, and freedom of faith.
The uneducated always claim that western powers cannot impose their will against the backward and barbaric countries on the planet despite the overwhelming flood of evidence supplied daily to the contrary.
Apartheid in South Africa did not just magically end. The forces for human rights and liberal progress enjoyed support from other countries that represented those values for themselves. Where is the support for this man who is being tortured weekly from now until April?
Where are the countries of the world who claim the virtues of religious and journalistic freedoms when this man needs them? They are cowards hiding under a blanket of “tolerance” while being showered in the blood spray of the whip that lashes Raif Badawi’s back.
The “liberal” countries fail to actually represent the principles of liberty and equality and fraternity that defined the civilized world apart from the underdeveloped and barbaric segments of stupid that plagues humanity in such an overwhelming way. They cower in their comfort claiming the world is not that dangerous, not that bad.
Feckless and deliberately ignorant faux liberals focus on the remaining communist powers ignoring the much greater and more sinister threat. They feel safe in doing so because the origin of the red scare is a political ideology and not a religious one. As if both were not invented by men in very much the same way.
If we can blaspheme against communism, ridicule the dear leader or the tyrants of communist stupidity for the political faith they have accepted, then why not criticize the imams and the clerics, why not draw a funny image of the prophet or the pope?
If we can call out the Lenins and the Stalins and the Kim Jong-Uns of the world as being war mongers and murderers and genocidal maniacs, then why not the Moses’ or the Jesus’ or the Muhammad’s? Both the endeavor of communism and the religion of Islam require a leap of faith, both have resulted in the failure of societies and the destruction of basic human rights?
The same goes for Capitalism, Christianity, Judaism, Democracy, yet the consequences for speaking out against those controversial and sometimes idiotic practices is nowhere near as dire. No one is being shot for insulting Abraham Lincoln, no one is being lashed 1000 times and imprisoned for calling Jesus out as a myth or the god of Abraham as a rapist.
The human race has far to travel before reaching anything close to our potential for a just and equal society. The work of the liberal lion who roars for freedom is so far from done that the sheer distance is daunting and dissuades those seeking to walk the path.
For the sake of Raif Badawi and the millions of journalists, free-thinkers, satirists, and cartoonists who will come in our all too uncertain future I ask that people learn what the meaning of actual liberalism is. That the deaths of these professional Atheists and the torture of yet another of the voices crying out in the dark inspire actual liberalism of a more dedicated kind.
May the deaths of these men and women be a small but loud slap in the face of the faux liberals out there already apologizing for the vile barbarity of the faith that kills and maims on far too often a schedule.