Tuesday, March 28, 2006

the abdul rahman case

I previously posted a link on this subject that I discovered, to my chagrin, went to an article that was basically a rant against other bloggers. Not my intention! I meant to post an interview with Rahman himself, where he explained his courageous stand. This is the posting I had intended to link to.

Now, you know I don't normally do posts on political issues. But this whole story is so incredibly fascinating to me, for so many reasons. Foremost among them, of course, is concern for this man's life.

It strikes me as so odd that people think they can force belief on others. Surely they must understand that they cannot. At most, you can force another to pretend he believes. But if that is the case, then what are they hoping to accomplish with a law that says you must die for leaving "the faith?" They want to force an appearance of faithfulness; in effect, they are forcing hypocrisy, the very thing that Jesus chastised the Pharisees for. I have heard Muslims claim to have a reverence for the teaching of Jesus. But perhaps those are different Muslims from the ones who enforce Shariya law, because those people clearly have no problem with hypocrisy.

And now they're saying he will be excused from punishment because he's mentally incompetent. That requires "forgiveness," not punishment. You have to wonder if that's just a desperate excuse to get them out of the very negative limelight they now occupy. In fact, an editorial at the Washington Times suggests just such a thing. The editorial also muses on the inherent conflict between a constitution that protects religious freedom while enshrining Shariya law as the law of the land. You can't have both, and it was only a matter of time before this issue came to a head.

Another thread of my reaction, though, says, What's so special about this one man, when literally thousands of Christians are persecuted or martyred annually? In India, Indonesia, Sudan, and many other countries all around the world, saying you're a Christian draws a big bulls-eye target on you. You risk your life just by being Christian in such countries and more. It's an act of courage to tell the truth. And if you dare to talk about Jesus to others, the ante goes up dramatically.

You may be aware that most Christians believe if they don't tell others about Jesus and his offer of salvation through belief in him, they are withholding from them the key to eternal life; in fact, to be blunt, they are withholding from them the information that will save them from eternal agony. Imagine the dilemma, to look at your neighbor and friend and ask yourself, "Do I love her enough to tell her about Jesus, knowing it could get me killed? Knowing she might not choose to believe in him anyway, and perhaps I will be killed without even having helped save her?"

It's a choice nobody should have to make. And it points out the importance of freedom of religion. Sso we're back to Ahmed Rahman. I'm glad he's had a stay of execution. But I wish the world would pay attention to all the other Ahmeds out there.


Anita said...

I get the point...But radicals are everywhere...in the US being a Muslim is worse than being a Christian in India. India is more tolerant than any othyer country. That is not to say that there are no problems. As fundamentalism increases all over the world, some Hindus have started to feel their religion is under threat (the one religion that does not believe in 'conversions' and believes even non-believers will go to heaven if they do right)...Hinduism sometimes does seem undermined in this predominantly Hindu country where we all try to be soft on non-Hindus, tred softly...so that we may appear just (while treating non-Hindus preferrentially!)

You probably heard of the Gladys incident in tribal areas of India...but have you not heard of 'dot-busters', and Sikhs being killed in the US to demonstrate hatred for Muslims (which would be no better!). Let'e not pretend that there is no racism in the world either...

Just as most of us believe we are all the same irrespective of colour, race, or religion, there will always be those who want to disagree...and express this in ways violent. some just preach to offer salvation though Jesus becuse that is the only way, while some others want to fix it for the 'rest of us'...

PatL said...

Hello, Anita, if you're reading this! I really appreciate your comments, and of course yes, I have heard of dot-busters (although not the term, but I immediately knew what you were referring to) and the like. I hope nothing in my post left you with the impression that I believe Christians are the only ones discriminated against in the world. It's just that Americans, and in particular those who would tend to be a bit on the liberal side, don't seem to be aware that in countries where Christians are in the minority, they are often the target of horrendous actions. And is it not true that the authorities in India, for instance, will often turn a blind eye to these actions? I have read and heard that it is so. I'm not aware of situations where that has happened in the US, although I certainly can't say that it doesn't.

I did hear about some incidents in the US in the months just after 9/11 ... in our area, the worst that was done (not to minimize this) was to boycott a Muslim-owned convenience/gas station. Of course, when the rest of us got wind of it, we made a point of frequenting the place and I believe financially it turned out to be a windfall for them! LOL

As you point out, there is racism in the world. Everywhere. And sometimes those of us who think we're not racists are tainted by it, and if we're not aware of it we will be inadvertent, well-meaning racists in small ways! Sigh.

Jesus was never a racist, and in fact he crossed race lines that traditional Jews never would. But he also confronted hypocrisy wherever he saw it, and I am convinced that he does not today approve of the Muslim emphasis on performance, or "works" as we Christians call it, over a heart that is transformed by true dedication to and relationship with the living God. So, coming from that perspective, all the fuss about whether or not Rahman demonstrated a hollow form of "faithfulness" was very perplexing to me.

If you do read this, may I ask you, do you believe that Shariya law is an example of radicalism? Because it was under that law that Rahman was prosecuted. Or were your comments about radicals more in response to my discussion of Christian martyrs?

Anyway, I so appreciate your response and having an opportunity to maybe dialogue with you. Have a great day!