Friday, January 17, 2014

Why I Support Naghmeh Abedini Protesting at the White House March 8

Sometimes there is a false conception within the church that those persecuted should never fight back legally, or that we should not use legal means to fight for them. This is not the Biblical example. Acts 22-28 records the events following Paul's arrest in Jerusalem. We see him arguing the injustice of his arrest and appealing to Caesar, as was his right as a Roman citizen. From the epistles he wrote from house arrest in Rome, we know that he was surrendered to the will of God - but that surrender was not listless resignation. It was an active rest, utilizing every resource God gave him while surrendering the results to God.

This is why I support Naghmeh Abedini not only as she calls us to Pray for Pastor Saeed Abedini but also as she makes the bold decision, along with several pastors, to protest outside the White House. I did some research last night, and learned of the zone outside the White House fence where protestors are arrested if they do not keep moving and walking past the building. This is the risk she is taking for her husband, an American citizen. This is her way, the only way she knows to "appeal to Caesar", in this case, to get the attention of President Obama. He is the commander in chief. God has given him the responsibility for our country, especially in dealing with threats. Iran is holding an American citizen captive in a prison with murderers and rapists, simply because he stepped foot in the country, checked on orphanages and ministries he started years ago and visited his family (something he had done 8 times previously). They were opposed to him when he fled his native Iran years ago because he was vocal about his Christian faith. Yet Iranian law allows for individuals to choose their religion. He has not even violated Iranian law. The only "charge" is "compromising national security", though specific details have not been stated.

What has the US government done in the face of this? The State Department "condemned" it, and Obama "mentioned" it in his historic phone call with the president of Iran. Other than that - nothing. His release isn't a condition of our talks with Iran. The other two Americans still held in Iran (Robert Levinson, held since 3/9/2007; Amir Hekmati, since 8/29/2011) are similarly ignored in the talks. Notably, Obama has not called Abedini's wife, who has vocally and publicly lobbied for his release (despite calling other notable figures such as Jason Collins and Sandra Fluke).

So Naghmeh has made the decision to risk arrest to raise the profile of the plight of these hostages. I stand with her, and I pray for her. In my understanding she is on solid Biblical ground.
I will use the voice God has allowed me to have in this free country to advocate with her.
With her, I trust God for the results.
If you are a pastor, or know a pastor who could get to DC, encourage them to support her by protesting on one of the Mondays leading up to March 8. Get involved yourself by advocating for all three of these men to be freed (check out @freeallthree and @naghmehabedini if you are on Twitter). Contact your congressman and senators. Email and tweet to @barackobama.

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