From the American Humanist Association web site: "Earlier this year, Indonesian civil servant Alexander Aan posted on Facebook that he doubted the existence of God. He was then attacked and beaten by an angry mob, and arrested for blasphemy.

"On June 14, Aan was convicted of “disseminating information aimed at inciting religious hatred or hostility,” sentenced to 30 months in prison, and saddled with a large fine. Now many Indonesians are calling for his death.

"By punishing Aan, Indonesia is violating its obligations to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees every person the rights to freedom of belief and expression. We petition the Obama administration to call upon the Indonesian government to immediately release Alexander Aan and improve its protections for religious dissidents and nonbelievers."

Guess what? If Michele Bachmann, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, or Rick Perry becomes president, atheists and freethinkers will be stoned to death or put in concentration camps. Theocracies are all the same: Live by dogma or die like a dog.

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I think the likelihood of any of the above-named former presidential candidates becoming president is vanishingly small.  Should any such candidate gain the presidency and attempt to implement such policies, I would fully expect a reaction, not just from atheists but from believers who find such policies extreme and against the interests of the United States.  Depending on how insistent this new president wants to be with such actions, I would expect responses which could range from civil disobedience to civil war, and the US's standing in the international community would take a very serious hit.

I'd like to believe that even the right wing isn't that stupid.  Problem is that the evidence says otherwise.

Suggest you watch the movie Seven Days in May and imagine, say, Bachmann instead of Burt Lancaster's James Matoon Scott.  The takeover probably could not be done without the armed forces, and that may explain why there is so much proselytization going on in the various uniformed groups, such that Americans United and other freedom of religion guardian groups regularly threaten suit (or actually file suits) to halt the obviously unconstitutional activities.  If a Bachmann managed to garner the support of the military-industrial complex, she could work a disaster upon the people.  Yes, I am paranoid.  A wise woman once said she always listens to the paranoids as "they are the only ones paying attention to what is going on." Also, we had a slogan popular in the 60s: "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean no one is out to get you."

[VERY LARGE GRIN!] James, I first watched Seven Days In May when it was in the theaters, and I own copies of the movie on LaserDisc and DVD.  It is one of my all-time favorites.

The time when Seven Days was made was a very different time.  Most people got their news from the daily paper.  National television news was still in its infancy.  Political cartoonists and newspaper columnists might get in jabs here and there, but I can't imagine someone lampooning General Scott back then in the same fashion or intensity that Bachmann and Huckabee and the rest have been today.  The mechanisms for scrutiny are more intense, and the 24-hour news cycle at least helps to expose some of their foolishness.  Should someone like them actually gain the Oval Office, I think the scrutiny from people like us would only become more intense and purposeful.

Could a right-wing nutcase still pull such a coup off?  Maybe, but I still think there would be a reaction, as I stated above, and at the extreme level of civil war, this country would never be the same again, or at least not for a long damned while.

Well, it would be akin to the nightmare visions of the late William S. Burroughs, who concluded that if such a coup did happen, they would have to go door to door because some people would simply not give in when the takeover happens. I see your point and I'd like to think I would fight back, old as I am, even taking one or two of them out when they kill me for their stupid ignorant beliefs.

I talked about just such a possibility in one of my first blogs not quite three years ago.  The intervening time has done nothing to change my opinion, sadly.

“disseminating information aimed at inciting religious hatred or hostility,”

The reaction to Mr. Aans posting was religious hatred and hostility directed toward him and I remember reading one observer saying the muslims turned up the volume to get him a harsher sentence. In other words the observer thought that the Indonesian judiciary could be influenced by extraneous matters in this way. However, whether or not Mr. Aans posting was aimed at incitement is another question and entails examination of his own words, knowledge and actions at the time.

"By punishing Aan, Indonesia is violating its obligations to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees every person the rights to freedom of belief and expression. '

In Indonesia people are guaranteed freedom of belief and there, as in most countries, no-one has complete freedom of self expression particularly in  relation to discrimination law in most western countries. Therefore, the international covenant on civil and political rights proclamation does not seem literally helpful.

Theocracies belong to history. I won't live by dogma and don't intend to die like a dog.





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