Iran is not a good place for anybody except a few mullahs and their thuggish cronies these days, but it is a particularly bad place to be a Christian. Via Meadia wrote in August about the plight of Pastor Yusef Nadarkhani, an Iranian Christian leader, who was imprisoned in 2009, pressured to convert back to Islam, and accused of apostasy and evangelizing Muslims. For those crimes, he faces the death penalty. In September, too, we lamented that his case has not been making headline news for elite, secular Americans who sometimes only seem to care about fashionably chic human rights.Over the weekend, Secretary of State Clinton did the right thing and called for the release of Nadarkhani and other “prisoners of conscience”. Around 200,000 Americans also petitioned the State Department seeking US help in releasing Nadarkhani. As the Christian Post reports:
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called on Iran to release a Christian pastor facing death due to his faith in Jesus…Nadarkhani was arrested in October 2009 for speaking out against new policies in the Iranian education system that would force his children to join Muslim students reading from the Quran. The charge against the married father of two was later changed to apostasy, and he was suddenly accused of attempting to evangelize Muslims. Nadarkhani was quickly found guilty and given the death sentence.The 34-year-old pastor was the leader of a network of Christian house churches, and is a member of the Protestant evangelical Church of Iran.
Bigotry like this, led by a government intent on executing those whose faith they dislike, must be publicized and fought. Religious intolerance in repressive states like Iran and Saudi Arabia (where a harmless, elderly woman was executed for “sorcery” over the weekend) marks a country as barbarous and backward, however much their highly paid western apologists try to hide the truth. Institutionalized religious persecution will not change tomorrow, and idiotic witch hunts by superstitious bigots in beards aren’t a reason to send in the Marines, but those who do these things, and those who represent these countries in the international arena, should understand the widespread contempt and revulsion such practices inspire.