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I just read, with horrified fascination, an article (with graphics) on the laws and procedures for death by stoning. I tried to avert my eyes, but couldn't.

Both men and women are subject to a sentence of death by stoning for sexual misconduct. For women, sexual misconduct may mean being raped, even gang-raped.

Their heads are hooded. They are put into a pit in the ground.

Separate, but not equal, treatment. Men are lowered into a waist high pit, women into a much deeper chest high pit. Picture it: wedged in up to your shoulders in dirt, unable to move anything but your head.

The judge throws the first stone, and then the stoning by a group of men, usually relatives, begins. It stops periodically so that a doctor, most often not a willing participant, can check to see if the prisoner is dead. It continues again until death is pronounced (20 minutes to 2 hours).

One side note: if the prisoner can wriggle free of the pit, he is a free man.

It is, of course, much easier to get free if one is covered only to one's waist and has loose pants to slide out of.

Women...well, as you can imagine, it is exceedingly rare for a woman to work herself free, as her arms are wedged into the hole. I think that's the idea.

Tolerance and understanding for all religious beliefs and practices? I draw the line at religiously-sanctioned (or secular) murder and official persecution of women. And preferential treatment for men.

If I am thereby intolerant, so be it. The above law is wrong. Saying that Judaic or Christian law is worse doesn't make it acceptable. Torture is wrong. Period.

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