Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Progress and its Absence

Plus ça change...


On January 8, 1697, at some time between two and four in the afternoon, an eighteen-year-old student named Thomas Aikenhead was hanged in Edinburgh. Aikenhead had been found guilty of a serious charge: the previous year he had several times told other young men that the doctrines of Christian theology were “a rapsodie of faigned and ill-invented nonsense.” Aikenhead’s friends, testifying against him, told the court that he had spoken of “the Imposter Christ” and had rejected the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the Redemption. Aikenhead recanted all these sentiments—he said he had fallen under the spell of atheistical tracts—but no one defended him, and the jury voted for death.


An Afghan journalist has been sentenced to death by a provincial court for distributing "blasphemous" material.

Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh, 23, was arrested in 2007 after downloading material from the internet relating to the role of women in Islamic societies.

A primary court in Balkh province said that Kambakhsh had confessed to blasphemy and had to be punished.

The court also threatened to arrest any reporters who protested against Kambakhsh's sentence.


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