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If you listen to the American mainstream media, you might have been under the impression that the world would be a tolerant place if it weren't for those darn, dirty Christians always persecuting people who don't think like them. If that's the case, you might have a hard time processing this:
The United States government voiced concern Wednesday about the plight of an Iranian Christian pastor sentenced to death for apostasy. Reports say his appeal to a higher court resulted in a stark choice - disavow the Christian faith or die.
"While Iran's leaders hypocritically claim to promote tolerance, they continue to detain, imprison, harass, and abuse those who simply wish to worship the faith of their choosing," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement.
"We join the international community in continuing to call on the Iranian government to respect the fundamental rights of all its citizens and uphold its international commitments to protect them."
Yosef (Youcef) Nadarkhani, a 32 year-old father and evangelical pastor who embraced Christianity at age 19, was arrested in October 2009, reportedly for objecting to the teaching of Islam to Christian children at Iranian schools. The indictment against him accused him of organizing evangelistic meetings, sharing his faith and inviting others to convert, running a house church and "denying Islamic values."
He was sentenced to death by hanging late last year, and he lodged an appeal with Iran's Supreme Court.
Late last month, the appeal was reported to have been granted, and his lawyer indicated as much to a news agency on July 3. But it quickly emerged that the ruling was not as straightforward as initially thought.
According to the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), an association established by Iranian human rights advocates in 2009, Nadarkhani and family members have been told that new charges may be brought against the accused man, or the case could be referred back to the original sentencing court, in northern Iran's Gilan province.
HRANA said the information it obtained indicated that the Gilan court would "question the defendant again in order to determine whether he believes in Islam or not. If he is a Muslim, Yosef Nadarkhani must be released. If it is determined that he is a Christian, he may repent from his faith. Otherwise, if he insists on his beliefs, the death penalty must be carried out."
The truth is that this kind of religious bigotry and persecution is happening all across the Islamic world. But in our politically correct culture - propagated by the same liberals who love to tell everyone how intolerant and bigoted Christians are - we can't bring it up. Islam, as a religious minority in America, is protected by the left from any derision, any condemnation, any evaluation or dissection.
Liberal U.S. human rights teams will scour the earth looking for any dude dressing up like a woman who might have been told that he can't use the women's restroom, to hold him up as the next Rosa Parks. If a minister refuses to marry two men, you can't find a microphone big enough to accommodate all the Hollywood liberals wanting to get face time condemning the bigotry and hatred.
But when Christians around the world are being persecuted and sentenced to death for their beliefs, you only hear about it when conservative media pushes the story - and then, only if the offending regime is one the U.S. is already at odds with (for instance, this story is discussed because it happens in Iran...but if it happens in Saudi Arabia, you'll never hear about it).
Countries founded on Christian principles like the United States are tolerant because that's what Christian principle teaches. Read the Golden Rule for a primer. But countries founded upon Islamic principles teach and embrace the exact opposite. That might be something to note as the left continues to push their idiotic dogma that all belief systems are equally valid and beneficial to society.
If you'd like some expert testimony on this point, please contact Pastor Nadarkhani. Pray for him and his family.