Yousef Nadarkhani, a 34-year-old Iranian father of 2, has been convicted of the crime of converting from Islam to Christianity. The sentence could be carried out at any time. We may wake up tomorrow to read of his death, or we might wake up as the Iranian government pats itself on the back for releasing him to show the world their tolerance. You can read more by clicking here.
His case highlights a global injustice. Particularly in Islamic countries, blasphemy laws make it a crime to choose one’s own religion.
In the West we pride ourselves on the freedom of speech. And we should. We believe it’s of value to protect the rights of minorities. And we should. We value freedom of conscience. And, of course, we should. I can think of no greater assault on these ideals of Western liberal society than the archaic, medieval, blasphemy laws that send so many to prison and sometimes, to death.
Our current president has been nothing short of abysmal on this issue. Under his watch Christians have been exterminated or forced to flee Iraq. Coptic Christians in Egypt are better candidates for the endangered species list than most of the wildlife threatened by the Keystone Pipeline. Our foreign policy should reflect concrete steps to reward those nations that extend complete freedom of conscience to its citizens while punishing those that do not.
In this year of presidential elections I have my ear to the ground listening for any sign that our elected officials, and those aspiring to be elected, understand the importance both pressuring these repressive regimes when it comes to religious freedom.
Please join with me in praying pastor Nadarkhani.