It is certainly good news that Asia Bibi has been acquitted and is to be released, but very sad that she and her family will now have to flee the country and find refuge somewhere else in the world than her home land. You can read the story here

This poor woman has spent eight years in prison, much of it in solitary confinement, because she had an argument with a group of other women about a bucket of water. It is quite extraordinary what human beings do to one another. A few loose words have caused a huge amount of suffering for her, turmoil for millions of other people arguing about the case, expense to the public purse, nearly resulted in an execution and still leave the risk of murder hanging in the air. What possible justification can there be for such delusion and cruelty?

She is a Christian woman in an Islamic country. Many of the citizens think that being an Islamic country means that one should not be allowed to say anything disrespectful about that religion so they have blasphemy courts to try and punn ish people for saying or thinking the supposedly wrong thing. This is the antithesis of what religion should actually be - a force for love, compassion, peace and acceptance.  If God is great, I'm sure that He does not want to see people being punished and killed because of an argument over a bucket of water, or even because they express their faith in unorthodox ways.

Also, the idea that you can be polluted by touching a person of a different religion, or that you cannot use water because such a person has touched it, is superstition, not religion. There is surely nothing in the Koran to this effect. If the idea of spiritual pollution has any meaning at all, then what is polluting is greed, hate and delusion. We need the faith to pass beyond these things.

In a wisely compassionate church there are people with a wide variety of interpretations of their beliefs. This means that people can be true to their actual experience of spirituality. True religion is not conformity, it is encounter with spiritual power and the form that that takes is dictated by that power, not be human institutions.

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