Monday, March 18, 2002

Saudis Said To Let Girls Die in Fire
Monday, March 18,



DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Government-run newspapers in
Saudi Arabia have accused the country's religious police of preventing the
rescue of girls trapped in a school fire because they were not wearing the
long dresses and head coverings required in public.
Fourteen girls died in the catastrophe last Monday at the 31st Girls
Middle School in Mecca, about 470 miles southeast of Ri- yadh. Fifty
others were injured, while hundreds escaped.
The religious police, which have offices in every city, are routinely
criticized privately in Saudi society, but this was believed to be the first
time that newspapers in the kingdom have come out with harsh words
against them.
The newspapers accused members of the religious police -- the
Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice -- of
blocking rescue attempts by male firefighters and paramedics because
some of the girls were not wearing the mandatory Islamic dress, which
covers the entire body and hair.

It is difficult to comment on this horrifying news article. Ideally, the implications would be clear to everyone. Unfortunately they are not, so I add my thoughts here. This event was made possible by the fact that Saudi Arabia tolerates the existance of a "religious police" -- a better oymoron than even "military intelligence." I find the translation of the name of this police force, "The Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice," to be chilling.
Some may assume that conservative Mormon Utah communities have similiar "committees" -- informally if not formally. The truth is that they do not -- yet. But the seeds are there. Utah is, after all, the only state with a legislature-appointed "Porn Czar." I hope the would-be guardians of "public morality" in Utah will read this news story as a cautionary tale of a type of society we do not want to set up here.

Monday, March 04, 2002

Welcome to my new Blog! My name is Brian Ferguson and I am a Mormon Democrat. I realize that may seem like an oxymoron to some, but I not only believe that the two are not incompatible but that they positively reinforce each other.

I am currently wrting a book called "Why Good Mormons Must be Democrats" in which I will explain the above statement in detail. Here on the Blog I plan to offer commentary on items in the daily news and whatnot. We'll see if I have anything to say worth reading!