How is it that in 2014, the Iran regime's Basij Paramilitary forces are being ordered to burst into a home-Church worship session, and arrest people for believing that Jesus is the Messiah? How can this be tolerated, let alone neglected by the hundreds of millions of other Christians and believers of personal and religious freedom, throughout the world? Perhaps most shockingly, how has the Vatican, who boasts a healthy relationship with the brutally oppressive Islamic Regime in Iran, maintained radio silence on this topic?
Although this is about religion and faith, it also isn't. It's about the regime being oppressive and ridiculous and stirring fear among citizenry again. It's also about tradition-- not one Christmas has passed in the last few years when Iran's Christian community wasn't somehow intimidated or oppressed by Iran's political leaders and Muslim clerics. A fact that cannot be ignored, especially against the backdrop of Iran's many recent attempts to obtain higher status on UN committees, and the fact that it's still not cooperating with the IAEA nuclear-watchdog agency like it committed to doing. With one hand, the Iran regime tightens the choke-hold on Christians (and thus anyone who deviates from its strict Islamic standard) and with the other it pushes forward towards obtaining military nuclear technology--a recipe for disaster for liberty-seeking Iranian people, the region and the free world.
Whether the Islamic regime should like or respect Christianity isn't the issue at hand; it's how does celebrating Christmas in private threaten public safety or national security so much that people must be arrested for doing so? It is utterly irrational and an inefficient, uneconomic, use of funds for the Regime to arrest and imprison Christian believers because it deviates from their Shia beliefs, but to let millions of Iranians live in poverty, without food, without work, without shelter.
But by pouring energy and resources into these arrests, instead of positive, society-building social programs that actually benefit the people, the world catches yet another glimpse of the regime's true colors behind the Rouhani smile. A regime bent on destroying 'the other,' and not dedicated to betterment for the 'self.' An embarrassment to 2014, and a greater embarrassment to Iran's grand history.
Here's to a Happy New Year--a 2015 without the Islamic Republic, but with a Free and Forward-Thinking Iran.
Originally published in Iranian.com