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In the Bible Belt, Christmas Isn’t Coming to Death Row

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When it comes to the death penalty, guilt or innocence shouldn’t really matter to Christians.  

NASHVILLE — Until August, Tennessee had not put a prisoner to death in nearly a decade. Last Thursday, it performed its third execution in four months.
This was not a surprising turn of events. In each case, recourse to the courts had been exhausted. In each case Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, declined to intervene, though there were many reasons to justify intervening. Billy Ray Irick suffered from psychotic breaks that raised profound doubts about his ability to distinguish right from wrong. Edmund Zagorksi’s behavior in prison was so exemplary that even the warden pleaded for his life. David Earl Miller also suffered from mental illness and was a survivor of child abuse so horrific that he tried to kill himself when he was 6 years old.
Questions about the humanity of Tennessee’s lethal-injection protocol were so pervasive following the execution of Mr. Irick that both Mr. Zagorski and M…

One in Five Indonesian Students Supports Islamic Caliphate: Survey

Indonesia: A rising tide of radical Islamism among the country's youth.
Jakarta. Nearly 20 percent of Indonesian high school and university students support the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in the archipelago, while many said they were, to varying degrees, ready to wage jihad to achieve this, indicating a rising tide of radicalism among the country's youth, a new survey shows.

The survey by Mata Air Foundation and Alvara Research Center focused on the potential for radicalism among high school and college students. It polled more than 4,200 Muslim students from the top five schools in Java and several larger cities in the rest of the country, as well as from Indonesia's top 25 universities.

The result of the survey released on Tuesday (31/10) also shows that around 30 percent disapprove of being led by a non-Muslim.

Slightly more than 82 percent of respondents further indicated that they disapprove of interfaith marriages, while 90.6 percent said they find the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community morally offensive.

"Intolerant teachings have already entered top schools and universities," the report said, alluding to the respondent's choice of an exemplary ulema and their perceptions on religion and state relations.

Respondents were most familiar with ulemas that are prominent on television, news outlets and the internet, as opposed to those who are charismatic or more experienced.

However, the students still recognize and feel closer to the country's two biggest Muslim organizations, Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, than to hardliners such as the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia.

The report concluded that intolerant teachings begin among high school students and are "further strengthened when they are college students, through Islamic study circles on campuses."

The Setara Institute, a Jakarta-based human rights group, drew a similar conclusion in a preliminary study on intolerance and increasing radicalism in Bogor and Depok in West Java. The institute also found that messages of intolerance and radicalism are disseminated through Islamic study circles on college campuses.

"This finding should alarm society, especially government and moderate Islamic organizations, to take tangible steps in religious teachings that match the trends among today's youth," the report said.

Source: Jakarta Globe, November 3, 2017


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but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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