There is a truly bizarre story this week involving a former Indiana University law professor who resigned from West Point Military Academy’s law department as a disturbing article was published where he denounces other scholars who exhibit “pernicious pacifism” as aiding and abetting terrorists. The case raises free speech and academic freedom issues in handling controversial writings of academics. However, it also raises the poor standards for selecting faculty at West Point, a concern that I have had in the past with regard to its legal studies as well as those at other military educational programs. Not only does Bradford have extremist and disturbing views but he has been previously accused of exaggerating his credentials.
According to various media reports and Amnesty International, an all-male village council in India sentenced two sisters, including a 15 year old girl, to be raped as punishment for their brother running away with a married woman from a higher caste. The accounts state that Meenakshi Kumari, who is 23, and her younger sister, will then be paraded naked with their faces blackened through the streets as part of this disgraceful, primitive sentence.
We have often discussed the difficulty in maintaining the creationist view of the Earth being only a few thousand years old when carbon dating and other techniques show billions of years of existence. A new such conflicting data point has emerged from Russia where a peat bog yielded a wooden idol and is 11,000 years old. What is particularly cool is that this oldest wooden figure contains a code of some ancient language that has yet to be deciphered.
Today the briefs of the Brown family arrived at the Denver courthouse in the Sister Wives case now before the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. (The actual electronic filing was made the night before under the federal ECF system). I continue to serve as lead counsel to the Brown family in their successful challenge of the criminalization of polygamy in Utah. Last year, United States District Court Judge Clarke Waddoups issued the final decision striking down the cohabitation crime used against polygamist in Utah. The State has appealed to the federal court of appeals in Denver and below is our defense of that decision by Judge Waddoups. I want to thank my friend and local counsel (and GW Alum) Adam Alba and all of the students who have worked so hard on this case over the years. This brief benefited from the assistance of Patrick Fenior and Emily Hoyle as well as assistance from GW grad (and my local counsel in the Al-Timimi case) Thomas Huff and my assistant Seth Tate.
We have been following the disgusting acts of the Islamic State in wiping out any culture, art, or education not directly advancing Islam. The Muslim extremists have bulldozed or dynamited ancient church and temples as well as museums under its twisted view of Islam. Now one of the greatest jewels of ancient Syria reportedly has called, at least in part. Reports state that ISIS has blown up the famed Baalshamin Temple at Syria’s ancient ruins of Palmyra. The 2,000-year-old Roman-era city was also the site of the beheading of one of the world’s leading archeologists.
The Islamic State continued its campaign against civilization this week with the demolishment of a 1,500 year old monastery. ISIS views no religion but Islam as worthy of worship and kills non-believers as acts of true faith. ISIS has also abducted dozens of Christians and is known to sell girls as sex slaves — again claiming such rapes as acts of Islamic morality in its twisted reading of the Koran.
ISIS has continued its blood soaked campaign to impose its view of pure Islam on the world and to destroy all evidence of art and civilization in its path. The destruction of ancient works and structures has appalled the world. The Islamic extremists have now murdered one of the world’s leading experts on the history and art of the region — 82-year-old archaeologist Khaled Asaad. By all accounts, Asaad refused to tell ISIS where art was hidden. ISIS has been destroying large works while selling smaller works on the black market. Images show ISIS supporters laughing and rejoicing as their ancient history and art is destroyed with sledgehammers as the professed will of Allah. The standoff between Asaad and these murderers put the conflict between civilization and these Islamic extremists into the sharpest relief. It also shows who many Muslims continue to put their very lives at risk to protect their history and art. Indeed, they are protecting the art and history of the very nadir of civilization.