Every once in a while I stubble across an article that gets me so aggravated by the sheer stupidity of the scenario that I feel I have to voice my thoughts. Last week it was Santorum and this week it is the zealous religious government of Iran. I actually made a comparison to Rick Santorum wanting an American merger of Church and State based on the teachings of the Bible – I quipped, how is this any different from the Taliban pushing Islamic law on its citizens? Where is the fine line?

This morning I read a news piece on an Iranian citizen by the name of Yusuf Naderkhani. He is a Christian Pastor in the Iranian city of Rasht. He is currently on trial for Apostasy or the formal disaffiliation and abandonment of a religion by a person. If found guilty, the punishment is death!  DEATH…. First, a Christian pastor in Iran? That makes about as much sense as snow in the Sahara. Secondly, punishable by death? Do we live in the medieval age? Trust me; I am no fan of Christianity and its social conditioning here in the west. Still, I feel sorry for Yusuf who is simply trying to exercise his faith and spiritual will on himself and probably a few loyal and willing parishioners. Where is the harm in that?

There are several problems that arise here – one is our quick condemnation of Islam which really is not the issue here. The issue is the power-hungry Iranian government that uses a peaceful religion like Islam and interprets it in ways that takes power and social rights away from women and keeps the poor majority from rising up against Government. Talk about a propaganda machine! The other thought is this – no matter what your religious affiliation, if you find the need to condemn and persecute others for their faith and beliefs, you are not even close to any form of religious or spiritual enlightenment. If there is not compassion in your voice and actions, you are back-sliding into something not sublime but archaic and barbaric. Oh boy, here come the death threats…

Good luck Yusuf Naderkhani – I am pulling for you buddy.

John C. Bader