The fate of the Iranian pastor inIranaccused of preaching Christianity in the Persian country is still unknown.  He could be released if he rescinded  his own teachings and promise to no longer preach.  The pastor has refused and his case and life has now been appealed to the religious leader ofIran.  How this will unfold has far reaching diplomatic implications and follows the disclosure ofIran’s attempt to assassinate the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to theUnited States.  The design of this assassination would have included the death of many innocent Americans in aWashingtonrestaurant bombing.

 

TheUnited Stateswas founded on many basic tenants that provided freedoms to the citizens of this great country.  One of these tenants is the freedom to practice religion without government mandates and allow this freedom to anyone on American soil.  Other countries are not quite so understanding and government controlled religion discriminates against those that don’t profess to  the doctrines of the states official religion.

Some countries allow different religions to be practiced but the country still maintains an official state religion. IraqandEgyptboth have a Christian population but the countries are identified as Muslim. The Islamic country ofLibya, which just this week officially gained its’ independence from Mohamar Ghadaffi’s oppressive regime, not only allowed Christians to practice its religion but also had a Jewish presence.  TodayEngland, which has the official religion of the Church of England, is fully tolerant of other religions and in no way discriminates against freedom to worship as desired.

 

Other Islamic countries are not this open. Saudi Arabiais the official home of the Islamic Religion.  The two most holy cities in Islam,MeccaandMedina, are located in Saudi.  Christian services are no officially sanctioned; however, some areas have gathering places and the Christians would come together for quiet worship.  This is not legal as the only practiced religion inSaudi Arabiais to be Muslim.

 

An acquaintance of mine was named Tom.  He worked for our company and was transferred from theEasternProvincetoRiyadhwhere he was part of the Government Affairs organization.  His father had been a missionary in theMiddle Eastand Tom was very religious.  One evening he was arrested for leading religious services in a private house inRiyadh.  The government was willing to allow Tom to remain in the country and continue with his job if he would promise to not support any further religious services.  He refused and Tom lost a lucrative job and was deported fromSaudi Arabia. 

 

There is also a note of compassion here.  Tom was held in theEasternProvinceand met his family at the airport when he was being deported.  He sat handcuffed in the waiting lounge of the Dhahran airport and played with his five year old son.  A military guard sat on one side of Tom and a religious leader assigned to Tom sat on the other side.  As Tom talked and tried to play with his son the religious leader looked at the military guard and said, “Take off the hand cuffs.”  The guard looked at the religious leader with a questioning look and the leader repeated his demand.  The cuffs were removed and Tom played with his child and was saved any further humiliation.

 

This is not a ridicule of one government or another; instead it is a testament to people that are courageous enough to stand for their convictions and most importantly a testament to theUnited States of America.  It was our country that developed the model for tolerance that many countries follow today.

 

We live in a country where tolerance is more important than forced religion.  Our country is the hallmark of how true freedom is administered.  What we have to be cautious of is that  we don’t twist the laws provided by our great founding fathers and instead of continuing with freedom of religion we become so “politically correct” that we prohibit any public display of religious freedom.  As has been stated in the past, “Our form of government is not perfect by any means; but it is so much better than all others.”

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