Robert P. George is a Catholic scholar, a Princeton professor, an expert on jurisprudence and a leading advocate for religious liberty.
And he’s just offered to receive 100 lashes from the Saudi government.
George is more famous for his natural law theory and for defending marriage as a union between man and woman. But he is also the vice chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. With six others, he has called on Saudi Arabia to stop “the horrific torture of Raif Badawi — an advocate of religious freedom and freedom of expression in the Saudi Kingdom.”
Raif Badawi is a Saudi Arabian blogger and activist. He has been sentenced to 10 years in goal and 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam.
Badawi has already received 50 lashes about two weeks ago. Yesterday, the Saudi government revealed that it has postponed the next round because Badawai’s wounds haven’t yet healed. Yeah, let him “heal” so we can flog him again properly.
If the Saudi government won’t stop, George and others are offering to take 100 lashes each so that they can suffer with him. The other six are:
- Mary Anne Glendon (Becket Fund for Religious Liberty)
- M. Zuhdi Jasser (Islamic Forum for Democracy)
- Daniel Mark (Villanova University)
- Hannah Rosenthal (Milwaukee Jewish Foundation)
- Eric Schwartz (University of Minnesota)
- Katrina Lantos Swett (Lantos Foundation for Human Rights & Justice)
The letter they sent to the Saudi government explained,
Compassion, a virtue honored in Islam as well as in Christianity, Judaism, and other faiths, is defined as ‘suffering with another.’ We are persons of different faiths, yet we are united in a sense of obligation to condemn and resist injustice and to suffer with its victims, if need be. We therefore make the following request. If your government will not remit the punishment of Raif Badawi, we respectfully ask that you permit each of us to take 100 of the lashes that would be given to him. We would rather share in his victimization than stand by and watch him being cruelly tortured.
The Saudi government will not accept the offer, of course.
That doesn’t make it any less courageous or any less effective in drawing attention to this injustice.
Religious liberty is a precious right because it helps us to worship God and “serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.” (Lk 1:74-75) It is not, as the Catechism points out, “a moral license to adhere to error, nor a supposed right to error” (CCC #2108) but a result of the dignity of every human person.
Every human person, created in the image of God, has the natural right to be recognized as a free and responsible being. All owe to each other this duty of respect. The right to the exercise of freedom, especially in moral and religious matters, is an inalienable requirement of the dignity of the human person. (CCC #1738)
Please pray for Raif Badawi and his family.
Pray for Prof. Robert George and all those fighting for religious freedom.
Pray for all those suffering from religious persecution today.
Pray for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, especially with the news coming in this morning that the King has died and has been succeeded by his brother King Salman. I have no idea what that will mean for this case or for Saudi Arabia — but I don’t have high hopes.
Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us.