Daily Beast headline envy: Brunei Returns to the Stoning Age (N.b. not “Stoner Age,” which would mean death penalties all around)

The tiny oil-rich sultanate in East Asia just introduced some pretty harsh punishments for skipping prayer, getting pregnant out of wedlock and behaving “indecently,” whatever that means. The worst news? This is just the beginning.

A second phase of the law, set to be introduced this year or next, aims to punish sodomy and adultery with death by stoning. Theft and robbery will literally cost you an arm and a leg. Or at least a hand.

Sorry to be a downer, but Brunei isn’t alone. Death by stoning and other torturous and inhumane Shariah punishments are still legal and common in places like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. That’s been true for a long time. For Brunei to look at those countries as role models and apply Shariah law to its Muslim and substantial non-Muslim population is utterly appalling.

The United Nations condemned Brunei’s government last month when the sultan announced plans to introduce these new laws. Such condemnation is important, but not wildly effective. I’m more excited to see influential groups and big-name celebrities taking action in a language the billionaire sultan Hassanal Bolkiah will understand: $$$.

Bolkiah basically owns Brunei, which owns the Beverly Hills Hotel, where revelries would surely spell nightly floggings and stonings if it were under the country’s jurisdiction. The Feminist Majority Foundation was supposed to hold its annual Global Women’s Rights Awards there next Monday. Realizing the ridiculousness that’s unfolded, they’ve relocated the gig and plan hold a rally across the street instead.

Ellen Degeneres and Stephen Fry have also vowed to boycott the hotel and its government-owned sister sites, all under the Dorchester Collection brand. I’d do the same, but considering a night in one of those hotels is probably on par with what I make in a year, it’s kind of a moot point.


  1. Just to show what kind of autocratic hypocrite the Brunei royal family is, below are links showing the kinds of parties hosted by them




    Remember this is man who treats the GDP of his nation as his personal piggy bank and rules with the same level of accountability as Saddam Hussein or Bashar Assad.

  2. CarrotCakeMan

    Before American Christians overdo the “tsk-tsk,” they should be reminded that one sect of Christianity has similar plans for America. The founder of “Christian Reconstruction,” also known as “Dominion Christianity,” R. J. Rushdoony.

    “In the Institutes, Rushdoony supported the reinstatement of the Mosaic law’s penal sanctions. Under such a system, the list of civil crimes which carried a death sentence would include homosexuality, adultery, incest, lying about one’s virginity, bestiality, witchcraft, idolatry or apostasy, public blasphemy, false prophesying, kidnapping, rape, and bearing false witness in a capital case.[18] Although supporting the separation of church and state at the national level, Rushdoony understood both institutions as under the rule of God,[19] and thus he conceived secularism as posing endless false antitheses, which his massive work addresses in considerable detail. In short, he sought to cast a vision for the reconstruction of society based on Christian principles.[20]

    The book was also critical of democracy. He wrote that “the heresy of democracy has since then worked havoc in church and state … Christianity and democracy are inevitably enemies.” He elsewhere said that “Christianity is completely and radically anti-democratic; it is committed to spiritual aristocracy,” and characterized democracy as “the great love of the failures and cowards of life.”[8]


  3. Neon Genesis

    If fundamentalist Christians hate gays so much and think they’re being so horribly persecuted in America, they should pack their bags and move to Brunei or Uganda.

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