I tend to focus on the immaterial here, this is a journal of my own spiritual journey, but this news compelled me to add my voice to the choir calling for mercy and a more perfect justice.
Link to CNN Story
Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani is a 34 year old Christian from Iran. Contrary to the CNN report above, most reports say that he was born to Muslim parents, but he never practiced the faith. He returned to Iran ten years ago to lead a network of Church Houses under the regime which makes it very difficult for Christians to erect churches. He has been arrested before for speaking out for religious freedoms, teaching heresy (religious teachings at odds with the Supreme Leader in Iran), and advocating for the right to teach children about non-Islamic faiths in their education.
He is presently under sentence of death after nearly two years in jail, and has declined his three chances to denounce Christ and convert to Islam under the Iranian version of Sharia law. He has held fast even in the face of being drugged, tortured, and having his wife arrested and being told she would also be killed (After this failed to sway him, she was released on appeal of her conviction). After the outrage this sentence has been generating among Christians and simply those of good conscience world wide, the Iranian media has started reporting that Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani is a known rapist and terrorist, but none of the court documents for his arrest, trial, or sentencing make any mention of even allegations of such conduct.
I am amazed at the faith of this man. Taking the Word of Christ into the land of his parents knowing how dangerous it was. Speaking up for his faith in the face of legal harassment, and standing fast in his vocation in the face of death. Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani is an exemplary Christian. I ask for prayers on his behalf, and for strength, courage, and a knowledge of God's love for his wife Fatemah Pasindedah and two sons, Daniel and Yoel (ages 9 and 7).