In ward 350 of Iran’s notorious Evin Prison, an American pastor, Saeed Abedini, is incarcerated with 30 to 40 other prisoners, twice the legal limit for this section of the prison. Iranian authorities arrested Saeed while he was working in Iran, with permission from the government, to help build an orphanage for children.
According to the Iranian state, his crime is endangering national security — trumped-up charges. The real supposed danger is that he is an evangelical Christian, and that’s a threat to Islam — the peaceful religion.
Sept. 26 will mark Saeed’s one-year anniversary in Evin Prison. In conditions unimaginable for most of us, he has been relentlessly interrogated, psychologically harassed and beaten, resulting in internal bleeding and periods of solitary confinement.
I don’t know if Christians in our country will ever experience this degree of persecution, but there’s no doubt that our religious freedoms are being seriously eroded. Our children can’t pray aloud in public schools, and students who speak openly about Jesus Christ at public assemblies have their microphones shut off.
Our military is now hostile to soldiers who share and practice their faith, and even atheists now aim to become “chaplains” in our armed forces — which is fine, but don’t deny those of Christian faith to have their chaplains as well.
Rarely is a Christian portrayed in a positive light by the media, the current administration or by Hollywood. Homosexual activists and abortionists have their so-called rights protected and upheld, while Christians are becoming the victims of our country’s growing intolerance and misguided zeal for pluralism.
The name of Jesus Christ — which all those of Christian faith love — is increasingly hated by our culture. In light of the persecution of Christians and the burning of 50 Christian churches in Egypt, it’s time for Christians, as well as those who believe in freedom, to stand up in the name of humanity and bring this assault to a halt.