By now, you've likely seen the news reports.
The defendant, Abdul Rahman, was arrested last month after his family went to the police and accused him of becoming a Christian. Such a conversion would violate the country's Islamic laws. (The photograph at right shows a judge holding up the damning evidence, Mr. Rahman's Christian Bible.)
Consider how many Americans died so that Mr. Rahman could live in an American style democracy and enjoy the fruits of freedom.
Of course "democracy" is a misleading word. Without protections for individual and minority rights, democracy is little more than another form of tyranny or mob rule.
George W. Bush may be a champion of democracy but he is an enemy of individual and minority rights. Bush bases his "mandate" and his successes on the will of majorities, but he daily betrays the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights in particular.
Trapped in his own language, he stumbles over the Palestinian situation in which the majority of voters installed a terrorist organization and an Al Qaeda ally as their democratically elected government. This is an example of the price we pay for our president's simple-minded take on democracy in action. This becomes painfully evident when the majority of voters are swayed or intimidated by a false premises, misinformation, emotion rather than logic, anger rather than compassion, vengeance rather than mercy or fear rather than hope.
When we neglect the Bill of Rights, a body of law that ensures a basic framework for human and civil rights, in our campaign to spread democracy around the globe, we not only fail in our mission but we do great harm, not just around the world but at home as well.
This is a somewhat complex but essential concept that seems to be well beyond the understanding or interest of our president and most Republicans.
Furthermore, we seem to have abandoned our own principles as defined in the Bill of Rights because we've come to accept the barbaric notion that religion trumps human and civil rights, in virtually all cases. Some of our politicians work to exempt religious organizations and churches from civil rights obligations. Rape victims must be find their way to non-Catholic hospitals for emergency contraception. Church organizations can violate equal opportunity employment laws at will. Many Americans herald the triumph of democracy in countries where women are treated like property and even beasts of burden.
America spent and continues to spend billions of dollars, hundreds of American lives and the pain of American families to wash away a repressive theocracy in Afghanistan, the Taliban and to bring American style democracy to that country. But it is a bankrupt, soulless and false democracy that stands on a so-called constitution that is based on Shariah law, which states, among other many other horrors, that any Muslim who rejects their religion should be sentenced to death.
And just how perverse it must seem to this poor man, Abdul Rahman, that it was a Christian nation that liberated his homeland and now empowers a Muslim government that intends to kill him for finding Jesus.
The United States and Britain don't hesitate to meddle in the internal affairs of a sovereign state with massive invasions when it comes to oil fields and our various strategic needs; but when it comes to basic human and civil rights, we whisper faint protests.
On behalf of Abdul Rahman, I am ashamed of my country, ashamed of our Congress and both ashamed and disgusted by the man who swore an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights in particular.
The most recent development is this tragic tale is that the Afghan court is now suggesting that the defendant may be mentally unfit to stand trial and will simply be institutionalized and not executed. The rather weak and low-level protests from Washington, London and other western nations may be addressed by just locking Rahman up in a hospital rather than murdering him.
That's American-style democracy in action?