In the wake of the State of Indiana passing into law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act—a law crafted to allow businesses to curtail services to customers based upon religious objections—Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and later Governor Jay Inslee issued executive orders prohibiting government funded travel of employees to Indiana in protest.
The proffered reasons of these executives is to voice protest in that Indiana’s statute is incompatible with either state anti-discrimination laws or is in alignment with the political values of these local governments.
Orders of this type are actually counter to the idea of sovereignty of each state and interfere with the judicial, executive, and legislative processes that are inherently reserved to the voters and citizens of, in this case, the state of Indiana.
A twenty seven year old Christian woman, who is presently eight months pregnant, has been sentenced to death by hanging for apostasy and adultery. Having been born to a Muslim father, the Sudanese government contends that Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, was Muslim and that she later converted to Christianity before marrying her South Sudanese husband, a Christian. Sudanese law considers marriages between Muslims and non-Muslims to be invalid. Under Sudan’s interpretation of sharia, a Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim man and any such relationship is regarded as adulterous. Thus, her pregnancy is considered to be resulting from an adulterous relationship, punishable by one hundred lashings.
Judge Abbas Mohammed Al-Khalifa sentenced Meriam to death and declared:
“We gave you three days to recant but you insist on not returning to Islam. I sentence you to be hanged,” The judge addressed her by her father’s Muslim name, Adraf Al-Hadi Mohammed Abdullah.
Ms Ishag reacted without emotion when the judge delivered the verdict at a court in the Khartoum district of Haj Yousef. Earlier in the hearing, an Islamic religious leader spoke with her in the caged dock for about 30 minutes. Then she calmly told the judge:
“I am a Christian and I never committed apostasy.”
Amnesty International said Ms Ishag was raised as an Orthodox Christian, her mother’s religion, because her Muslim father was absent.
Mark Zmuda announced he is suing Eastside Catholic school and the Seattle Archdioceses for wrongful termination after he legally married his male partner. The case stems from his employment as vice-principal to the school was satisfactory for years and that after he announced he had married his male partner, he was given an ultimatum to divorce his spouse or his employment with the school would be terminated. Mark refused to divorce and was fired.
While many, primarily Islamic, countries have received much press regarding flagrant abuses of religious and non-religious persons or views, seven of which have death penalty offenses for crimes such as apostasy, the true impact for most of the worlds citizens are not as stark but can be often a suffer a form of punishment, repression and imprisonment of some kind for their beliefs.