How often god’s moral decrees bear no resemblance to justice.

The five year-old daughter of an Islamic preacher is dead at his hand, and not quickly or mercifully.

The girl, Lama, was the daughter of Fayhan al-Ghamdi, an Islamic preacher who made regular appearances on TV.

He was arrested after Lama’s death in November but was reportedly absolved by the judge in the case.

The verdict has sparked an online campaign calling for punishment for violence against women and children.

Saudi media reports said that Ghamdi had paid 200,000 riyals ($50,000; £31,500) in “blood money” – a sum that can be paid to relatives of a murder victim and which, if accepted, can replace a death sentence.

The amount is half what would have been necessary if Lama had been male.

I don’t know if Islam’s history of older men wedding (in all the ways that word gets used in that culture) minors is to blame in this case.  But what I can assert, easily and irrefutably, is that religion does not make people better.  If ever god should have been moved to inject a modicum of compassion into a person, this was the time.  It didn’t happen.

Sure, sometimes people believe a god wants them to give a sandwich to a homeless person, and they do so.  Such beliefs, held by people with a proper amount of compassion, are like people who pray to find their car keys while searching the house for them.  Yes, there’s faith involved, but it’s the other influences that actually change the world.  All the faith in the world won’t fix a mind that can’t imagine the pain of others.  That’s what this story says to me.

That’s why a preacher could do something like this.  His faith wasn’t the issue, for he had plenty of it.  It was his humanity that was broken.

It was his faith, however, that set the worth of the suffering and death of a young woman with her whole life ahead of her at $50,000.  Far from being the source of morality, once again an egregious injustice, obvious to almost every human being outside this particular culture contaminated by faith, is allowed because of religion.  Even if this were truly the will of god, anybody who elevates it above the interest in the well-being of other people is a monster.  Without religion, this man could never have bought an exemption from justice.

Source of all morality my ass.

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