Phi Beta Cons

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In response to Candace’s remarks, let me say that the thought of students being executed in Iran is heart-breaking. As with other painful news, I won’t watch the video (perhaps especially because I am a parent).

I have just been reading another, similar heartbreaking story that goes back more than 300 years. Early in the book How the Scots Invented the Modern World, author Arthur Herman discusses at some length the 1697 execution of Thomas Aikenhead in Scotland. Thomas was still 18 when he made a careless remark on a cold day, saying that he would rather be in hell because he would be warmer. This blasphemy caused his death.

Yet Herman tells Aikenhead’s story to point out that “the execution of Aikenhead was the last hurrah of Scotland’s Calvinist ayatollahs.” Let us pray that this is the case in Iran, too.


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