Mention of Saudi Arabia conjures images of a fundamentalist kingdom where the government prohibits women from driving and forbids non-Muslims from holding religious services. The roots of the country's puritanical code go back several centuries. In 1744, an unwritten compact was made between a religious reformer and the Saudi chief of a small oasis settlement near the present-day Saudi capital of Riyadh. The reformer's name was Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab. His Muslim adversaries dubbed his teachings Wahhabi, and the term stuck even though their adherents rejected it. For more than two centuries, Saudi rulers have backed Wahhabi doctrine, and Wahhabi clerics have blessed Saudi power.
Stephanie Coontz on sex and marriage rules, college chaplains on hookup culture, Rebekah Miles on Ursula Niebuhr's uncredited writings.
Lord have mercy
Apr 09, 2015
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).