I learned a couple of days ago that Sunday, July 11, is the International Day Against Stoning, and protests against this barbaric practice are taking place in at least Washington, DC, Beverly Hills, CA, London, and Sydney, Australia.

The obvious question that this raises for me is, why is it that in the Twenty-First Century, we have a need for such a thing as an "International Day Against Stoning"? Throwing rocks at human beings to put them to death, for "crimes" such as "illicit relations", is something that I learned about in Sunday School. It gave rise to one of Jesus' best known quotes, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."

This was two thousand years ago. The creatures who don't have any problem with casting the first, second, or third stones now live in Iran, Pakistan, Somalia, and Nigeria.

I'll write about Pakistan first. I've recently read two books by Greg Mortenson, Three Cups of Tea and Stones Into Schools. I recommend both of them highly, especially Three Cups of Tea, but if you don't have time to read a book, you can watch this video of an interview of Mortenson by Bill Moyers of PBS. Mortenson's low-cost efforts to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan have done far more good than the billions of dollars spent on bombs in that part of the world.

Now, about Iran. In Bill Maher's film "Religulous", Maher points out, near the end when he's summing up, that religious fanatics are making the world a dangerous place, and it's time for us to stop enabling their behaviour. (If you're a religious fanatic, and you're reading this, it's you I'm talking about.) (Click here to watch "Religulous" in its entirety, but the good part is the last ten minutes.)

If you've been paying any attention at all to events in Iran over the past 30 years, you know that the country is governed by religious fanatics who call themselves Shiite Muslims. You know that Iran has a president who denies that the Holocaust happened. He went to New York City and claimed that there are no Gays among Iran's 74 million people. He wants Iran to develop nuclear weapons, but keeps lying about it.

Now, who is enabling Ahmadinejad's behaviour? Two people who are doing it are Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela, and Daniel Ortega, President of Nicaragua. So, if you consider Chavez and Ortega to be friends of yours, it's time to find yourself some new friends.

One-half of Iran's government revenue (remember, this article is about the goverment of Iran that stones people for "illicit relations") comes from oil exports. These exports go to Japan, China, India, South Korea, Italy, Spain, Greece, France, and South Africa. If you drive a car, or ride a bus or plane in any of these countries, you're enabling the behaviour of the Iranian government.

If you live elsewhere, you can show your support for the International Day Against Stoning by placing a rock in a public place.

Story by Daphne Bramham in the Vancouver Sun: Public stoning the most repulsive form of capital punishment