Saturday, June 16, 2012

Religious Freedom: It Could be a Lot Worse

There's an old saying, "I wept because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet." I'm not happy about America's government decreeing what its subjects are allowed to regard as 'religious practice.' (May 4, 2012)

On the other hand: things could be a lot worse.

The last I heard, Youcef Nadarkhani is still on death row because he won't stop being a Christian.

Maybe that seems safely remote: Iran's a long way from America. Besides, America's government would never hurt people because they weren't 'the right sort:' Right?

I'd like to believe that this country has learned from the past, but I know my homeland's history, and what's happening today:
Here's what I've seen about Youcef Nadarkhani in the news (fairly) recently:
"Jailed Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani writes thank you letter to supporters from prison"
Perry Chiaramonte, (May 10, 2012)

"The Christian pastor on death row in Iran has reportedly written a letter thanking his supporters and blasting those who he said use 'insulting words' against Islam in what he considers a misguided effort to help his cause.

"Washington-based human rights group American Center for Law and Justice released what it says is a letter written by Youcef Nadarkhani earlier this week from a prison in the Lakan Province of Iran, where he is currently being held for charges of practicing Christianity and renouncing Islam. If the letter is real, it is the first time Nadarkhani has been heard from in a year.

" 'First, I would like to inform all of my beloved brothers and sisters that I am in perfect health in the flesh and spirit,' begins the letter, which is addressed to 'All those who are concerned and worried about my current situation.'

" 'From time to time I am informed about the news, which is spreading in the media, about my current situation…or campaigns and human rights activities which are going on against the charges which are applied to me.' Another passage from the pastor's letter reads, 'I do believe that these kind of activities can be very helpful in order to reach freedom, and respecting the human rights in a right way can bring forth great results in this.'

"Nadarkhani also mentions those who have used his cause to attack Islam, saying 'burning and insulting' is not 'reverent' behavior. He did not specifically mention controversial Florida Pastor Terry Jones, who claims to have burned Korans in April to show solidarity with Nadarkhani...."

"Iranian pastor's Muslim attorney faces nine-year sentence"
Michelle Bauman, CNA/EWTN News (May 4, 2012 )

"A Muslim attorney in Iran who has been representing a pastor condemned to death for his Christian faith has reportedly been sentenced to nine years in jail and is expected to begin his term soon.

"Mohammad Ali Dadkhah told The Guardian that he has 'been convicted of acting against the national security, spreading propaganda against the regime and keeping banned books at home.'

"He believes that he will soon be summoned to serve the jail sentence.

"Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, told CNA on May 4 that the news raises serious concerns about the plight of Yousef Nadarkhani, a Christian pastor whom Dadkhah has been representing.

"Nadarkhani has been in jail since 2009, when he was arrested after complaining to local authorities about his son being forced to read the Koran at school. He has been sentenced to death for apostasy...."

"Under international pressure, Iran shifts charges against Christian pastor"
Michelle Bauman (March 16, 2012)

"Iran has acknowledged to the international community that an imprisoned Christian pastor has been charged with faith-related crimes rather than rape and extortion, as the regime had previously claimed.

"Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, attributed this acknowledgment to increased media coverage as well as the involvement of other nations, especially Brazil, which has a key relationship with Iran.

"Sekulow told CNA on March 14 that the Iranian regime is under 'so much pressure that they can't deny' the religious nature of the charges any longer.

"Christian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani has been jailed in the country since 2009, when he was arrested after complaining to local authorities about his son being forced to read the Quran at school. He was found guilty of abandoning Islam, the faith of his ancestors, and ordered to recant or die. But despite repeated threats, he refused to renounce his Christian faith...."

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.