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.