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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Religious Freedom Not Just For Americans

Hey Everybody,
   Well, this might be a little off the beaten path, but variety is the spice of life right?  As Americans, we treat the Bill of Rights with the utmost reverence and seriousness.  We believe that the rights enumerated in this most precious document came not from any man-made government, but our Creator. Therefore, no form of government can take them away.  So when someone else's rights are threatened, we take it to heart.
  Pastor Youcef Naderkhani is a 32-year old Iranian.  Born a Muslim, he converted to Christianity at the age of 19.  He is married with two young boys.  He is also fighting for his life.  In Iran, like most Muslim countries, conversion from Islam to any other faith, especially Christianity or Judaism is called the sin of apostasy, and the punishment for this is death.  Pastor Youcef has been given three chances to renounce his faith and has refused.  Because the Iranian "justice" system is not like ours, his execution by hanging can take place at any time, even as his appeal is being heard.
  This is wrong on a basic human level.  But why, you ask, is a Wiccan compelled enough by this story to write about it?  There was a time in world history, and in particular, American history, when people, mainly women, were put to death for being Witches.  They were executed for what people thought they were practicing, not observances of moon phases, working healing and positive magick, and reverence for the Goddess and her planet.  Even today, people are killed for being "witches" all over the world.  In many areas still, if the crops fail, or the livestock is diseased and die, the locals will point and say, "witch!"
  Human Beings have held differing beliefs and faiths since time began.  It will always be.  Religious persecution is wrong no matter who it is directed at. And it must not be tolerated anywhere.  All freedom-loving people of the world must keep pressure on the Iranian government to make sure that this blatant violation of human rights does not happen.
  I can only hope that the courage and steadfastness of heart, mind, and spirit exhibited by Pastor Youcef can be an inspiration to us all.       

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