Kind of jarring news, given that President Trump (geez, I hate to write those two words) just returned from his visit to Saudi Arabia, all enthused about how great his talks with Saudi officials/royalty were.
So today I come across a 2014 story in the Independent, "Saudi Arabia declares all atheists are terrorists in new law to crack down on political dissidents."
In a string of royal decrees and an overarching new piece of legislation to deal with terrorism generally, the Saudi King Abdullah has clamped down on all forms of political dissent and protests that could "harm public order".
The new laws have largely been brought in to combat the growing number of Saudis travelling to take part in the civil war in Syria, who have previously returned with newfound training and ideas about overthrowing the monarchy.
To that end, King Abdullah issued Royal Decree 44, which criminalises "participating in hostilities outside the kingdom" with prison sentences of between three and 20 years, Human Rights Watch said.
Yet last month further regulations were issued by the Saudi interior ministry, identifying a broad list of groups which the government considers to be terrorist organisations - including the Muslim Brotherhood.
Article one of the new provisions defines terrorism as "calling for atheist thought in any form, or calling into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based".
Well, I guess I'm a terrorist in Saudi eyes, since I embrace atheist thought and call into question the fundamentals of Islamic religion.
Which doesn't bother me, given that I don't live in Saudi Arabia.
What's disturbing, though, is knowing that quite a few religious zealots here in the United States mistakenly view Christianity as the foundation of our county. They probably wish American atheists could be singled out just as the Saudis have done -- though I doubt they'd go as far as to call us "terrorists."