We have discussed (with no small amount of mirth) the Islamic fatwas against Pokemon. Now an Italian bishop appear intent upon showing that Christians can be equally absurd. Antonio Stagliano, the bishop of the southern town of Noto in Sicily, has declared the game to be “diabolical” and is going to court to try to block the game which he insists turns people into the “walking dead.” Better undead than brain dead, in my view.
A father was most likely spared a rape conviction by a lawyer’s crash reading of the best-selling sadomasochistic sex novel Fifty Shades of Grey. The accuser was his daughter who admitted that she made the allegation to get back at her father. As we have previously discussed, such false rape case often do not result in charges for the false victim. In this case, there is no reference for such charges.
Like many Muslim countries, Turkey has a long and troubling history of child brides and arranged marriages. Some Islamic clerics have maintained that there can be no age limitation on child brides. They often note that Muhammad married Aisha when she was seven and consummated the marriage at nine years old.Just as Pakistan recently struck down its protection for girls from such abuse, the Turkish Constitutional Court has ruled annulled a provision that punishes all sexual acts against children under the age of 15 as “sexual abuse.” It is a major set back for girls and women in Turkey and another example of how the Islamic fundamentalists have taken over this once secular country under the authoritarian rule of our ally Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Cartoons and Muslim countries have a long and troubling history, including the Danish cartoons that led to a global spasm of violence where Muslims killed Christians and burned churches in retaliation of an insult to Mohammad. The fact that cartoons are satire or that this is an exercise of free speech has little meaning in countries that punish blasphemy and many which follow medieval Sharia law. Many view Jordan as one of the more progressive Arab countries, but that reputation has been severely undermined by a ridiculous and abusive arrest of Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar for merely sharing a cartoon deemed offensive to Muslims. Notably, the cartoon actually mocked terrorists and their expectations of virgins and heavenly rewards for murdering people. Mocking the terrorists over such beliefs was deemed as a criminal insult to Islam.
As made clear in a recent column, I am no fan of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) or its manifestly negligent decision to choose Rio as the location of this year’s Olympics. For the last year, the IOC has been in the full denial mode as various experts detailed the gross failures of Brazil to address shortfalls in pollution control and infrastructure (including the recent controversy over pools turning green and smelly). Even with the health of athletes at stake, IOC officials have dismissed every health warning concerning the raw sewage in the water events and the rampant crime around the Olympic facilities. The most recent example came with the latest robbery of athletes. In this case, an Olympic star and three other athletes were held and robbed at gunpoint at a gasoline station. Despite public accounts coming from Lochte and his mother, the IOC assured the world media that the story was absolutely false. Nothing to see here. Of course, the story was true but the IOC seems to put truth just behind the health of athletes on the list of its priorities. UPDATE: The police have released videotapes and accounts that sharply contradict the account of Lochte and his friends.
I have long been a critic of military tribunals as constitutionally dubious and practically ineffectual institutions. The tribunals at Guantanamo Bay have resulted in few actual trials and undermined the standing of the United States as a nation committed to the rule of law. The principle rationale cited by former officials in defense of Gitmo has been that it would not be used to try citizens. Now in a deeply disturbing interview, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has stated that he might try citizens at Gitmo — maintaining a shadow court system for stripping citizens of basic rights of due process just a few miles off the United States shore.