“Are you as brave as Katrina Lantos Swett?”
That was the subject line of an email I received yesterday from the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice.
Its founder, Katrina Lantos Swett, is also the chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in Washington, D.C.
She’s in the news this week because she and six other human rights activists have volunteered to take 100 lashes each of the 1,000-lash punishment that Saudi Arabia is meting out to a blogger accused of heresy against Islam.
Raif Badawi, a 30-year-old Saudi writer and father of three, is currently serving a prison sentence for “insulting Islam” on his website Free Saudi Liberals (which has, ironically, been shut down). Badawi is supposed to be whipped every Friday with 50 lashes until he has been lashed a thousand times. He endured the first flogging in January, and his health was so damaged that the government has postponed (but not prohibited) further whipping.
Some background: She grew up Jewish, the daughter of two Hungarian Holocaust survivors. Her father served as a Congressman from San Francisco for 27 years, passing on to his children the importance of protecting human rights around the world.
While a teen at Yale (she got her B.A. when she was just 18), she was introduced to the LDS Church by her older sister, who was also a student, and started attending Institute classes taught by a doctoral candidate named Jeffrey R. Holland. (Wouldn’t you have loved to be a fly on the wall for those classes?)
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