Monday, August 26, 2013
Silent in the face of injustice
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere!"
Dr. Martin Luther King, jr.
Letter from Birmingham jail
April 16, 1963
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 will mark the 50th anniversary of the historic, "I have a dream," speech that was given by Dr.Martin Luther King, jr, at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.
In this historic speech, Dr. King prefaced his outcry's against racism with the famous opening line of, "I have a dream" and then spoke of the day when blacks and whites would join hands together instead of at each other's throats. Dr. King dreamed of the day when racial inequality would be a "thing of the past" and America would once again return to its godly roots.
Before this historic speech, Dr. King sat in a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama and wrote in a private letter proclaiming that, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
Today, my dear Facebook friend, Naghmeh Abedini, had to face a cruel twist in the ongoing injustices committed against her husband in prison in Iran. The Appeals court in Tehran rejected an appeal by Saeed Abedini and refused to reduce his eight-year sentence.
The news was a devastating blow to Naghmeh and the American Center for law and Justice which is handling her case. Once again the government of Iran has shown its disregard for the human rights of Saeed by refusing to allow him the God-given right to practice his Christian religion
Yet what is most offensive and troubling about Saeed's case is not only the reckless disregard of Iran to deny his basic human rights. That is expected. Iran treats it's own citizens that way, by imprisoning lawyers, political activists, journalists and bloggers for daring to speak a word of criticism against the brutal regime.
What is unexpected and even more offensive is that President Barack Obama, Commander and Chief of the freest nation on earth, refuses to speak a word of defense for Saeed. He has been utterly silent in the face of injustice. Perhaps if President Obama had publicly denounced the imprisonment of Saeed and demanded that Iran release him unconditionally, the decision today may have been drastically different. Why has our President been reluctant to decry the human rights violations of an American citizen who is rotting away in an Iranian prison? Why does our President speak out for gay basketball players coming out of the closet? Why is he quick to publicly denounce the evils of racism and yet remain silent in the face of evil?
Who will speak out for Saeed? Who will defend Naghmeh and come to her aid?
As I pondered this very sad news today, I was immediately reminded of a dire situation for Jehoshaphat in the Book of Chronicles in the Bible.
The armies of the Ammonites, Moabites and Menunites had declared war on King Jehoshaphat. Terrified by the news, Jehoshaphat sought guidance from the Lord and ordered an immediate fast. Soon after the prayer, The spirit of the Lord fell upon Jahaziel who gave a message of encouragement to the people.
"Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem. Listen King Jehospsohat! This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid of this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but the Lord's!"
These are incredible words of encouragement. Naghmeh is facing the battle of her life to free her husband and God is saying, "Naghmeh, don't be discouraged by armies that are against you. This is my battle!"
The armies of Jehoshaphat did not stand by idle. The next morning they went out to face their enemies and sang praises about the greatness of their God. God kept his promise and brought confusion among the armies and they ended up attacking each other. He confounded the enemies of Israel and brought a mighty victory to King Jehoshaphat.
In the midst of this terrible injustice God is reminding us that he is Sovereign,
that He is still in control. The Battle is His!
In one month, on September 26, there will be a worldwide prayer vigil for Saeed and all Christians enduring persecution for their faith. I believe as we go out and gather at our state capitols in obedience to God, that He will speak to the government of Iran.
He is calling us to rest in his faithfulness because He is God and the battle ultimately is His!