Before we get to the post, I'd like to ask for a moment of silence as we mourn Germany's 1-0 loss to Spain in their World Cup semi-final match. Thank you.
Okay, let's talk about Iran. The puzzling and infuriating nation that now exists in the place where great kings like Cyrus, Xerxes, and Darius once ruled ... whose "supreme leader" is a glowering, insecure religious figurehead and whose president is a buffoon equaled only by Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, is back in the news again for two bizarre headlines.
First, an Iranian religious court has condemned a woman to be stoned to death on a charge of adultery. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two who was convicted of adultery after receiving 99 lashes, could be stoned to death as soon as this weekend. Those of you here in America who worry about police brutality might reflect on the Iranian penal code, which provides detailed instructions for how to stone a person to death: Article 102 states that men should be buried up to their waists and women up to their breasts in preparation for stoning, and Article 104 states that the stones used should "not be large enough to kill the person by one or two strikes; nor should they be so small that they could not be defined as stones."
While the case of Ms Ashtiani is a horrifying example of religious insanity, Iran is also able to demonstrate its ludicrous approach to society and governance in smaller ways, such as the imposition of new guidelines for appropriate men's haircuts. Pompadours, pony tails, and mullets are among the male hair styles now forbidden as "un-Islamic."
Personally, I think all three of those styles are fairly silly-looking, but religiously unacceptable? A bit of a stretch, if you ask me ... which, of course, you didn't. Oddly enough, though, religions seem to be obsessed with how we wear our hair. This article from The Telegraph online gives you a brief summary of what the major religions have to say about how men and women should wear their hair.
Maybe it's just me, but I somehow think that a God capable of creating the grandeur and majesty of the infinite universe with its countless billions of galaxies, and of creating the miracle of life in all its endless diversity, probably has better things to do than specify how you should wear your hair. Perhaps the most appropriate grooming commandment might simply read, "Thou shalt not look stupid."
Acting stupid is, naturally, an entirely different issue, and requires no particular guidelines, religious or otherwise.
Have a good day. Practice good grooming. More thoughts tomorrow.