Last week, on this site, I commented on Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s conviction and sentencing of death by hanging, in the state of Iran for apostasy of Islam, or more specifically, being a Christian. After a worldwide backlash over a proposed religious conviction, this backwards Muslim nation has accused this pastor of being a rapist.
In December of 2010, Judges Morteza Fazel and Azizoallah Razaghi signed a ruling that mentioned no crimes other than apostasy. It specifically states,
- “Mr. Youcef Nadarkhani, son of Byrom, 32 years old, married, born in Rasht in the state of Gilan, is convicted of turning his back on Islam, the greatest religion of the prophesy of Mohammad at the age of 19.”
- “He has often participated in Christian worship”
- “organized home church services,”
- “evangelized, has been baptized and baptized others, converting Muslims to Christianity.”
It was by all accounts a religious conviction.
However, on Saturday after the United States among many other western nations, called for Nadarkhani’s release, Iran changed its tune. Iran now claims that the pastor was sentenced to death for rape, not for the crime of abandoning Islam.
I just want to come out and say what everyone else already knows. This man is not a rapist but a deeply religious man of conviction and Iran is continuing to show us that they are not serious about entering the 21st century.
It is important to note, that the act of turning to Christianity is not even in the Iranian penal code but is simply a religious doctrine enforced by fatwa. As we question the legitimacy of Iran’s current regime, it seems relevant to put a microscope on leadership that punishes people illegally, for religious reasons, without due process of law and through ex post facto laws. This is a kangaroo court and a kangaroo government. And Iran’s leadership has made itself look like a fool on the world stage.
I do belief that Mr. Nadarkhani has a chance of being released in the same fashion that the “trespasser college students/CIA covert spies” were released. If history is any indication, the regime likes to try and make fools of people and nations before finally doing the logical thing. What it doesn’t realize is that every other nation in the world, save North Korea and some African nations, are trying to figure out how to grow their economies and raise the standard of living for their people rather than playing petty 16th century games with people’s lives. The Iranian regime is truly the fools.
There are some things we should be doing to better deal with Iran.
Short term, President Obama and Hillary Clinton should continue to call for his release. A statement by the President himself would go a long way. Politically, he could unite the ACLU and the religious right. Which is more uniting than Obama has ever done – so win/win for him.
Long term, the culture of American exceptionalism is the best weapon that we have. We have outsourced our music to the farthest corners of Asia and Africa, our shared our religions to the darkest corners of South America. We have even exported our political beliefs to Arabia. The younger generation of Iran does not want this madness. They want to practice their religion but they also want microwaves and cars. Not a failing regime. America should continue sanctions and I believe there is a good chance the people will tire of an Islamic state if it damns them to perpetual poverty.
Second, it has been a wise decision for Bush and Obama to avoid invading Iran. However, they are a much greater threat to our friends in Israel. This president as well as President Perry/Cain/Bachmann should take off the restrictions on Israel and let the Israelies defend themselves against the greatest threat they are facing. An Israeli win is an American win. Iran is a fierce opponent of Israel even existing and we should not prevent Israel from keeping them in check. As long as Iran knows that Israel’s hands have been tied behind their back, they are free to spread terrorism throughout the religion and pursue nuclear technology. Israel should be allowed by us, to defend itself against hostile nations.
Third, and this message applies only to my Christian brothers and sisters, we must continue to pray for and financially support the underground churches in China, the heroes that pull woman out of lives of forced prostitution in Asia in order to teach them a trade and give them a home, we must pray for the Christians in Africa trying to get a foothold for the Church and rescuing children from killer Armies, and praying for Christians in Muslim countries that are fighting against a culture that would rather stone them than permit them to live.
Spreading Christianity is the biggest thing that we can do towards creating a politically sustainable world. Please pray for Mr. Youcef Nadarkhani and his family.