This isn’t a brand new article, but still, when I read it going through things I’d saved to do a little cleanup it did make me realize something. I’m all for freedom of religion, even though I grew up in a very repressive, regressive religious environment. Mainly I support this freedom because it’s up to each and every individual to figure out what is true for them, or also choose to blindly follow a particular faith because it is what they were taught and socialized to do from birth. Some people will never question anything or engage in self reflection. Some people, like myself, have an innate questioning mind. It’s my natural state to question and want to know what is true and real, as opposed to what is not truth, and not real. I would even go so far as to say that some divine energy that I can communicate with seems to delight in my desire to know truth, and seems to actually steer me in a particular direction so as to indulge my need to know.
Even though I support this freedom, and an individuals right to choose what they believe, and are thereby willing to support, I cannot support or encourage, or accept, a belief system that is so regressive and archaic that it openly supports harm to women, for starters. This is a step backwards, and it has been taken far beyond the individual. This mind set is being spread like virus, that should be fading away, yet is actually making a comeback. Even if I, as someone who was raised as a Christian, believe in Jesus Christ, I could not, would not, support the many horrible things that have supposedly been done in his name (such as the inquisition). I also know that there are people of every race, color, belief system, lifestyle, and so on, that are truly good, conscientious people. We need to draw a clear line between individual rights and the rights of organizations that are openly trying to cause humanity to basically de-evolve, go back to the so called Stone Age.
I must also add that I am fully aware that these types of articles can be taken out of context. In other words, the governing bodies in my home country clearly involve themselves in lots of things that are harmful in so many ways I could go on for days describing just a small portion, so this isn’t to call out Iran either. I know “they” (those that profit from these things) really want to get a war going, and I do not support that either. I think there are multiple groups that are vying for the opportunity to take mankind in a regressive direction. It’s up to each of us to increase our awareness, so we do not judge those of different belief systems, but also are not afraid to speak our truth and make sure our values match up with our actions when we see what is clearly harmful going on around us. We can’t change what is going on across the globe, but we can often stick our necks out more right where we each live.
I’ve noticed even when I’m in a grocery store we have a lot more different ethnic groups than I’ve ever seen before, people clearly from other cultures and countries. It’s interesting to me, because I know that some cultures don’t like it when you make eye contact, and I’ve even lived where it’s not really okay to smile at strangers. So I try to be cautiously aware, but always willing to smile and make eye contact when it seems appropriate. I know if I came to another country it would be challenging to adapt, especially at first. For those who are kind in heart, though, I am always on the lookout, regardless of appearance. I am willing to share a smile, and an “I see you” moment with anyone.
And I have no idea how I got off on this tangent, so think I’ll quit now. All just food for thought. I guess I’m saying individuals are individuals, so while I may say harsh things about certain belief systems, especially those that are backed up by unwarranted violence and harmful actions to others, we should not assume that all in any group are all bad. Kindness, forgiveness, and acceptance can dissolve many barriers. I know I adhered to some belief systems in other lives (heck, even in this life!) I would not support now in my understanding of things. We are all a work in progress. Except for the true narcissist. Usually they do not change, and even when they act different it’s usually just for show. It’s up to us to learn the difference.
https://womenintheworld.com/2019/03/11/ ... rmZf_Dnb6U
Iranian lawyer who defended women’s right to remove hijab gets 38 years, 148 lashes
MARCH 11, 2019
After two trials described by Amnesty International as “grossly unfair,” Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been sentenced to a total of 38 years in prison and 148 lashes.
Sotoudeh, who has dedicated her life to defending Iranian women prosecuted for removing their hijabs in public, has been in the crosshairs of Iran’s theocratic government for years. In 2010, she was convicted of conspiring to harm state security and served half of a six-year sentence. Then, in June of last year, she was rearrested on an array of dubious charges. Tried in secret, details of her ordeal have often come via her husband, Reza Khandan, who wrote of her new, much harsher sentence on his Facebook page on Monday.
Sotoudeh was ultimately charged with seven crimes and given the maximum sentence for all of them. Five additional years were added from a 2016 case in which she was convicted in absentia. The total 38-year sentence was severe even by Iranian standards — a country often accused of human rights abuses, particularly involving women. Observers say it may signal a newly hardline approach to political dissent. Last week, a radical cleric linked to mass executions in the 1980s was appointed head of the Islamic Republic’s judiciary.
Critics from around the world decried the outcome of Sotoudeh’s case. Amnesty International said it was harshest sentence documented against a human rights defender in Iran in recent memory. Hadi Ghaemi, the executive director of the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran, told CBS News it exposed “the insecurity the regime has to any peaceful challenge.”
The same day Sotoudeh was sentenced, the UN investigator on human rights in Iran held up her case as a sign of the country’s increasingly brutal oppression of those who defend the rights of women. “Worrying patterns of intimidation, arrest, prosecution, and ill-treatment of human rights defenders, lawyers, and labor rights activists signal an increasingly severe state response,” he said.
Read more at the Guardian.