Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Martyr in Iran

A 32 year-old Iranian pastor is fighting for his life in Iranian courts. His crime? He converted to Christianity as a teenager. He was arrested two years ago and charged with apostasy, a capital offense punishable by hanging under Islamic law, or at least as that law is being interpreted by Iran's clergy.
Yousef  Nadarkhani
The Iranian courts have given Yousef Nadarkhani a choice: either recant and renounce his Christian faith or hang. Here's the crux of the story which can be found in more detail at the link:
The case began in October 2009 when Nadarkhani protested at the local school of his two sons. The government had recently passed a law stating that Islam must be imposed on children in local school, and even on Christian children. Nadarkhani publicly protested at the school, stating the law was unconstitutional because it did not allow the free practice of religion. His protest caught the attention of the police and government.

Following investigation, the court in Rasht has ruled that Pastor Nadarkhani was not a practicing Muslim adult before becoming a Christian. However, the court has decided that he remains guilty of apostasy because he has Muslim ancestry. Pastor Nadarkhani’s lawyer, Mr Mohammed Ali Dadkhah, has made it clear to the court that the repeated demand for recanting is against both Iranian law and the constitution. The court replied that the verdict of the Supreme Court must be applied, regardless of the illegality of the demand.

The death sentence for apostasy is not codified in the Iranian Penal Code. However, using a loophole in Iran’s constitution, the judges in Rasht based their original verdict on fatwas by Ayatollahs Khomeini, the “father” of Iran’s revolution in 1979, Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, and of Makarem Shirazi, currently the most influential religious leader in Iran.
The clergy who interpret Islamic law in Iran have decreed that no person of Muslim ancestry can ever convert to another religion, and if they do they must be killed. Here's a question for American Muslims: Either these mullahs are misinterpreting Islamic law, or they are interpreting it correctly. If the former, then do you agree that their demand is barbaric? If not, why not? If the latter, do you hold that a law that calls for execution for one who converts to Christianity is barbaric? If not, why not?

More on Poverty in America

I don't know anyone who doesn't want to help the disadvantaged, but sometimes the disadvantaged make it awfully hard to want to help them.

A woman named Tracy, who herself has intimate acquaintance with those who fall below the poverty income threshold, writes to comment about our post titled Poverty in America and the subsequent follow-up. She says:
I agree with the comments the reader made about people who are considered poor in America who are abusing the system. I also believe they should be given a higher economic class status. The people who are considered poor are living better than the average working person. I know if you were to enter some of their homes you would think they worked for a living, or you might consider them living the good life.

The reason I can relate to this is because I know someone who takes advantage of the system and enjoys doing it. She has never worked a day in her life, is over thirty and has a beautiful home. I asked her one day out of curiosity why she has doesn’t want to work? This is what she stated, “Why work when you can get free money, food and someone else can take care of you, I would be considered a fool to work”.
Surely such people are in the minority yet these anecdotes are heard so frequently that it's little wonder that so many people are demanding that government reform the welfare and entitlement system. As Tracy points out, people who are themselves working hard and struggling to support their families should not have to see their tax dollars go to subsidize the existence of people like the acquaintance she describes above.

Government has two obligations with respect to the poor: To provide a safety net so that no one who, through no fault of their own, needs public help goes without it, and to use our hard-earned tax dollars in the wisest, most efficient, most efficacious manner possible. At present our federal government is failing to meet either of these responsibilities.