Dietrich Bonhoeffer born FEB 4, 1906

Dietrich BonhoefferAmerican Minute with Bill Federer

The National Socialist Workers’ Party leader, Adolph Hitler, became Chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933, and began implementing a plan of universal healthcare, with no regard for conscience.

The New York Times reported October 10, 1933:

“Nazi Plan to Kill Incurables to End Pain; German Religious Groups Oppose Move…

The Ministry of Justice…explaining the Nazi aims regarding the German penal code, today announced its intentions to authorize physicians to end the sufferings of the incurable patient…in the interest of true humanity…”

The New York Times continued:

“The Catholic newspaper Germania hastened to observe: ‘The Catholic faith binds the conscience of its followers not to accept this method.’…

In Lutheran circles, too, life is regarded as something that God alone can take…

Euthanasia…has become a widely discussed word in the Reich…No life still valuable to the State will be wantonly destroyed.”

When Germany’s economy suffered, expenses had to be cut from the national healthcare plan, such as keeping alive handicapped, insane, chronically ill, elderly and those with dementia.

They were considered “lebensunwertes leben”-life unworthy of life.

Then criminals, convicts, street bums, beggars and gypsies, considered “leeches” on society, met a similar fate.

Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger had been the editor of The Birth Control Review, a magazine that published in April 1933 an article by Ernst Rudin, one of the ‘fathers of racial hygiene.’

Ernst Rudin advised the Nazi Socialist Workers Party to prevent hereditary defective genes from being passed on to future generations by people considered by the State to be inferior mankind – ‘untermensch’.

Labeling the Aryan race ‘ubermensch’ (super mankind), the National Socialist Workers Party enacted horrific plans to purge the human gene pool of what they considered ‘inferior’ races, resulting in 6 million Jews and millions of others dying in gas chambers and ovens.

U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop stated in 1977:

“When the first 273,000 German aged, infirm and retarded were killed in gas chambers there was no outcry from that medical profession… and it was not far from there to Auschwitz.”

British Journalist Malcolm Muggeridge explained:

“We have…for those that have eyes to see, an object lesson in what the quest for ‘quality of life’ without reference to ‘sanctity of life’ can involve…

The origins of the Holocaust lay, not in Nazi terrorism…but in…Germany’s acceptance of euthanasia and mercy-killing as humane and estimable.”

Then there was an event of domestic unrest and violence.

The German Reichstag (Capitol Building) was set on fire in 1933, under suspicious conditions.

Hitler declared an emergency, suspended basic rights, arrested his political opponents and had them shot without a trial.

Hitler forced old military generals to retire, thus purging his administration of any who might resist him.

He swayed the public with mesmerizing speeches.

Then Nazis confiscated weapons.

An SA Oberführer warned of an ordinance by the provisional Bavarian Minister of the Interior:

“The deadline set…for the surrender of weapons will expire on March 31, 1933. I therefore request the immediate surrender of all arms…

Whoever does not belong to one of these named units (SA, SS, and Stahlhelm) and…keeps his weapon without authorization or even hides it, must be viewed as an enemy of the national government and will be held responsible without hesitation and with the utmost severity.”

Heinrich Himmler, head of Nazi S.S. (“Schutzstaffel”-Protection Squadron), stated:

“Germans who wish to use firearms should join the S.S. or the S.A. Ordinary citizens don’t need guns, as their having guns doesn’t serve the State.”

When a suspected homosexual youth shot a Nazi diplomat in Paris, it was used as an excuse to confiscate all firearms from Jews.

German newspapers printed, November 10, 1938:

“Jews Forbidden to Possess Weapons By Order of SS Reichsführer Himmler, Munich…

‘Persons who, according to the Nürnberg law, are regarded as Jews, are forbidden to possess any weapon. Violators will be condemned to a concentration camp and imprisoned for a period of up to 20 years.’”

The New York Times, November 9, 1938, reported:

“The Berlin Police…announced that…the entire Jewish population of Berlin had been ‘disarmed’ with the confiscation of 2,569 hand weapons, 1,702 firearms and 20,000 rounds of ammunition.

Any Jews still found in possession of weapons without valid licenses are threatened with the severest punishment.”

Of the Waffengesetz (Nazi Weapons Law), March 18, 1938, Hitler stated at a dinner talk, April 11, 1942 (Hitler’s Table Talk 1941-44: His Private Conversations, 2nd Edition, 1973, p. 425-6, translated by Norman Cameron and R. H. Stevens):

“The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing…

So let’s not have any native militia or native police. German troops alone will bear the sole responsibility for the maintenance of law and order.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt stated of Hitler, December 15, 1941:

“Government to him is not the servant…of the people but their absolute master and the dictator of their every act…

The rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness which seemed to the Founders of the Republic inalienable, were, to Hitler and his fellows, empty words…”

FDR continued:

“Hitler advanced: That the individual human being has no rights whatsoever in himself…no right to a soul of his own, or a mind of his own, or a tongue of his own, or a trade of his own; or even to live where he pleases or to marry the woman he loves;

That his only duty is the duty of obedience, not to his God, not to his conscience, but to Adolf Hitler…

His only value is his value, not as a man, but as a unit of the Nazi state…”

FDR stated in his State of the Union Address, January 6, 1942:

“The world is too small…for both Hitler and God…

Nazis have now announced their plan for enforcing their…pagan religion all over the world…by which the Holy Bible and the Cross of Mercy would be displaced by Mein Kampf and the swastika.”

Churchill, in From War to War, (Second World War, Vol. 1, ch. 4, p. 50) described Hitler’s Mein Kampf as:

“…the new Koran of faith and war: turgid, verbose, shapeless, but pregnant with its message.”

Originally, Hitler was going to allow Jews to be deported to Palestine, but the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammad Amin al-Husseini, convinced Hitler to pursue another solution.

Mufti al-Husseini attempted to follow Hitler’s example by expelling Jews from Palestine, as the Muslim Brother would also do in Egypt.

He recruited 30,000 Bosnian Muslims to join Hitler’s Waffen-SS.

Hitler gave al-Husseini financial assistance, and then asylum in 1941, with the honorary rank of an SS Major-General.

During the final battle in Berlin in April of 1945, around Hitler’s bunker, making their last suicidal stand, were 100 Muslims of the Mufti’s Arab Legion.

Hitler’s view was the Nazi’s had the right solution but the wrong religion, stating:

“Had Charles Martel not been victorious at Poitiers…then we should in all probability have been converted to Mohammedanism, that cult which glorifies the heroism and which opens up the seventh Heaven to the bold warrior alone. Then the Germanic races would have conquered the world.”

Hitler stated:

“The peoples of Islam will always be closer to us than, for example, France.”

According to Albert Speer, Third Reich’s Minister of Armaments and War Production, Hitler stated in private:

“The Mohammedan religion too would have been much more compatible to us than Christianity…with its meekness and flabbiness?”

Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels confided in The Goebbels Diaries 1939-41, that in reality Hitler “hates Christianity, because it has crippled all that is noble in humanity.”

Though early in his career Hitler pretended to be a Christian in order to get elected, once in power he revealed his nazified social Darwinism and became openly hostile toward Christianity.

Franklin D. Roosevelt stated December 15, 1941:

“To Hitler, the church…is a monstrosity to be destroyed by every means.”

Ministers who resisted Hitler’s attempt to “nazify” the German Protestant Church were imprisoned, such a founder of the Confessing Church, Rev. Martin Niemöller, who wrote:

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me-and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Another Confessing Church leader who resisted Hitler was Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born FEBRUARY 4, 1906.

He studied in New York in 1930, where he met Frank Fisher, an African-American seminarian who introduced him to Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church.

He was inspired by African-American spirituals and the preaching of Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., who helped Bonhoeffer turn “from phraseology to reality,” motivating him to stand up against injustice.

Bonhoeffer helped found the Confessing Church in Germany, which refused to be intimidated by Hitler into silence.

In his book, The Cost of Discipleship, Bonhoeffer rebuked nominal Christians:

“Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.”

Bonhoeffer stated in a 1932 sermon:

“The blood of martyrs might once again be demanded, but this blood, if we really have the courage and loyalty to shed it, will not be innocent, shining like that of the first witnesses for the faith.

On our blood lies heavy guilt, the guilt of the unprofitable servant.”

For the rest of the post…

When Grace is not so Amazing

Bonhoeffer by Eric MetaxasWell Bono’s words about Karma and Grace have proved to be a bit popular – so far over 170,000+ people have shared it on facebook.  But what is it about Bono’s words that so connected with people?

The power of grace

Some of it relates to the interest in what celebrities say.  Some of it is due the arresting combination of raw language and passionate conviction. But a key part is the subject matter itself: because the grace is at the heart of Christianity and Bono’s words captured something visceral and urgent about its relevance and power.

Ethical problems

And yet…doesn’t grace present ethical problems?  Isn’t Karma a lot more fair: you get what you deserve. Doesn’t all this talk of grace give people a free licence to do whatever they want?  If people are simply forgiven by unearned grace, how do we make sense of the Bible’s consistent message about loving your neighbour? And what about Jesus’ teaching about the radical generosity, justice and love in the kingdom of God?

Too often protestant theology has turned grace into a theory or formula which is detached from any ethical demands on how we live.  Grace is presented almost as a ‘get out of jail free’ card to evade God’s wrath and secure your place in heaven. In some churches it is even lined up against concerns for community action or social justice.  Such works are tainted as a ‘social gospel’ where people are seeking to earn their salvation.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The most eloquent and authentic voice against this form of grace is the German Pastor/theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer who ministered during the Nazi regime. He wrote The Cost of Discipleship in 1937 while running an illegal, underground seminary for trainee pastors.

No country had more of a heritage of reformed, grace-based theology than Germany.  But Bonhoeffer was deeply distressed with how ineffectively the Lutheran Evangelical Church made any stand against Hitler’s atrocities.

Cheap grace

Bonhoeffer coined the term ‘cheap grace’ to describe the way that his church’s emphasis on grace had stripped out the radical demands of Jesus:

‘Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate…Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church. We are fighting today for costly grace.”

In 1943 Bonhoeffer was arrested by the Gestapo.

For the rest of the post…

“No man can look with undivided vision at God and at the world of reality so long as God and the world are torn asunder. Try as he may, he can only let his eyes wander distractedly from one to the other. But there is a place at which God and the cosmic reality are reconciled, a place at which God and man have become one. That and that alone is what enables man to set his eyes upon God and the world at the same time. This place does not lie somewhere out beyond reality in the realm of ideas. It lies in the midst of history as a divine miracle. It lies in Jesus Christ, the reconciler of the world.”

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Ethics

January 31, 2016

Thanks Cd’A Press for the article, “The Right to Life” on the front page (1/24/16)! Your photographer took time to get some good shots of a variety of pro-life signs at the march. And thank you people for getting out to protest this worldwide tragedy of the killing of children; well over one billion children in the last 50 years (or about 44 million children worldwide per year).

The actor Jack Nicholson, who might have been aborted if his unmarried Mom had gotten pregnant today, said, “My only emotion is gratitude, literally, for my life (1984).” One sign that our family has not seen in about 38 years of attempting to stand up for the Civil Rights for unborn children and against the exploitation of their moms (and dads) is, “I have noticed everyone who is for abortion has been born.”

Elie Wiesel who survived the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz says, “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”

Regarding “signs depicting graphic abortion images,” Allied Commander Dwight Eisenhower had German civilians forced to visit Buchenwald concentration camp at the end of WWII. When looking at the depths of depravity to which their Nazi leaders had sunk, many said, “We didn’t know.”

Conversely, German Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer had the courage to speak out against Hitler’s murder of millions of innocent human beings and became a martyr at the age of 39 (1945). After the Nuremberg Trials (1945-1946), guilty Nazi leaders were hung.

For the rest of the post…

No, A Christian Cannot Recognize Muhammad as a Prophet

Posted January 29, 2016

Islam has an ally in the Roman Catholic Church. Allah, the god of Islam, is the same as Jehovah, the God of the Bible, according to Pope Francis. Wheaton College Professor Larycia Hawkins appealed to Pope Francis when she donned a Hijab to show “support” for Muslims and asserted that the god of Islam and the God of Christianity are one and the same (my response). Now Craig Considine, a Roman Catholic Sociologist, argues that Christians can recognize Muhammad as a legitimate prophet of God—similar in status if not quite equal in status with Jesus in this article.

Considine attempts to justify his recognition of Muhammad as a true prophet by defining a prophet as “a messenger of a Higher Power who works on earth to bring justice and peace to humanity.” As a Roman Catholic Considine it is not surprising that he does not appeal to scripture to support this definition of a prophet, but it would have been helpful if he would have provided at least some explanation of how he arrived at this definition. Even if we do not appeal to scripture, Considine’s definition of a prophet proves to be untenable. The assumption seems to be that anyone who seeks “to bring justice and peace to humanity” is a messenger from a “Higher Power,” that is, a prophet. What if a member of the occult becomes a humanitarian leader? Would Considine be willing to recognize a devil worshipper as a prophet? Probably not. Clearly Considine’s definition of a prophet is too broad.[1]

But the basic problem with Considine’s argument is not his definition of what a prophet is. His basic problem is that he is not a Christian. Considine anticipates that his recognition of Muhammad as a prophet  might cause people “to question my credibility as a self-professed Christian.” He explains, “People might say, ‘Jesus is the only way. You’ve turned your back on God. You’re no longer Christian.’” It does seem that Considine is indeed contradicting John 14:6 by teaching that Muhammad offers a way to God in addition to Jesus. However, Considine more clearly demonstrates that his claim to be a Christian is false in statements that do not have to do with how he views Muhammad.

For the rest of the post…

Tennille Richard   Jan 19, 2016

So I prayed about it some more, trying to figure out what God was calling me to. I eventually came across a post on Take My Hand, Not My Life that they were looking for a new administrator. It was started by a group of Filipino students for a class project, and the project was done and they weren’t able to keep up with it.

So I contacted them, and a few months later, I took over. I floundered around quite a bit, and then I noticed that a page from British Columbia was “liking” and commenting on a lot of the stuff that I was posting. So I contacted Heather Sudnik from British Columbia, realizing that she had just started up a page for her community, and made a new friend at the same time. We supported each other and helped each other out while we floundered along. A few other pro-life Facebook page administrators from different parts of the world also started asking me how to do certain things. So I started a support group of different pro-life page administrators. Eventually, out of that came the theme days for pro-life social media.

Shortly after The Center of Medical Progress released their first video from my heart’s desire was to have a theme day about Abortion Survivors. Just about everyone in the Pro-life community knows Gianna Jessen’s, Melissa Ohden’s, and Claire Culwell’s stories. However there are lesser known abortion survivors in the support group such as Carrie Fischer and Nik Hoot’s adoptive mother. I wanted to share their stories too. I really wanted the world to hear their stories, alongside with Gianna’s, Melissa’s, and Claire’s. That theme day turned out to be a big day all around.

CMP released video #4 that day, Planned Parenthood’s website was “hacked by extremists”, and RU-486 was approved by Health Canada. Satan was working overtime to block these people’s stories from being brought to light. The only good thing that happened that day (beside our first theme day) was the new release of CMP’s latest video. And God had ordained that day long before any of us were born. I was reminded of His Grace and remembered that He is much bigger than this; so let’s see what He has for us.

Since then, we have had many theme days, which included Adoption Stories Day, Pregnancy And Infancy Loss Awareness Day, Sibling Saturday (which was about siblings that lost other siblings due to abortion), and Father’s Friday (which dealt with father’s who lost children to abortion.) Over the years, it seemed like every time I shared a story or a meme on my page about how it’s wrong to abort babies who were conceived in rape, I would get some backlash about it. That is why it’s been on my heart to do a theme day celebrating the lives of those conceived in rape for quite a while. I just wanted the ideal timing for it.

Kevin Albin (one of my wonderful co-administrators) and I have been talking about it since November. I had the March for Life in the back of my head, thinking that the two should be close together. I remembered reading an article written shortly after the DC March For Life last year.  Women who were conceived in rape or had given birth after rape were marching together; so it seemed like a natural fit to put the two side by side. That’s how we chose January 19th, 2016 to celebrate the lives of those conceived in rape!

I have been friends with Juda Myers of CHOICES4LIFE for a while, and familiar with Monica Kelsey’s work with the Safe Haven Baby Boxes, and learning more about Rebecca Kiessling’s (pictured above) organization Save the 1. They have all been extremely supportive in what I am doing. I think that it’s so important to share their stories, to tell the world their lives have value and to end the stigma around babies conceived in rape and incest.

Kevin shared his thoughts:

“My reasoning behind wanting to celebrate the rape-conceived, is because A. No child deserves to live with the stigma that they are unwanted or a demon for their mother due to someone else’s evilness, and B. No mother should have to relive the nightmare by ‘correcting’ one vicious deed with another evil! I know three people personally who are rape conceived, and while they are the greatest people in the world, they are still too ashamed to talk about it because they are constantly being put down by family members and treated like a mistake!! I want to do my part to help erase this most unfortunate stigma”

Monica, Rebecca and Juda also shared their thoughts:

“As a person who was conceived through rape and almost aborted, I am reminded everyday how precious life is. As we celebrate the thousands of lives who were conceived through rape, I pray for a day when we value ALL life, every day, and that our worth exists simply because we do.  As a firefighter/medic that saves lives for a career, I am thankful that my life was saved so that today I may save others!” Monica Kelsey, Conceived in rape
“I’m very grateful to Tennille and Kevin for wanting to celebrate the lives of the rape-conceived in this way. I’m always in awe of people who aren’t in this people group themselves, but are able to empathize with the plight of all of those born and preborn who are. Save The 1 is thrilled to be participating in this special day!” Rebecca Kiessling, Conceived in rape

“Working with moms/children of rape conception my heart breaks hearing stories of abuse & rejection. It brings me to tears that Tennille, J.R. and Kevin would want to celebrate our lives when most are calling for our death. I was conceived in the mind of God not the loins of man. I’m so grateful to all who understand & do everything to defend our lives. You & our mothers are true heroes.” Juda Myers, Conceived after 8 man assault

So here I am, 2 years later, a girl still on her couch, reaching people she never would have imagined, meeting people from every corner of the world through her laptop, spreading the word on abortion in many different ways and sharing how it affects everyone. And now I am reaching you as well.

When it comes to the rape-conceived, my husband J.R. puts it this way:

“Dietrich Bonhoeffer stood in the cross-hairs of persecution and stigma. And yet the Grace of God maintained him. The truth is hardly deniable by his wise words, and yet he survived, flourished and blessed us, despite being appointed to die. We are told that it is acceptable to abort the children of rape victims because they are appointed to die. They stand in the same cross-hairs as Bonhoeffer did, but should be allowed opportunity to the same grace as he was. These children conceived in rape are viable, sacred and valuable.”  

Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his own words:

“Destruction of the embryo in the mother’s womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed upon this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder.”

For the rest of the post…

Note: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Bishop George Bell were good friends.

Highly respected Church of England bishop was a paedophile

Lambeth Palace Libray

A highly-respected 20th century Church of England bishop was a paedophile, it was revealed today.

The shocking revelations about the late Bishop of Chichester George Bell came when the Church of England disclosed it had apologised and paid damages following a civil sex abuse claim against him.

The allegations against Bell date from the late 1940s and early 1950s and concern sexual offences against an individual who was at the time a young child.

Bishop Bell, born in 1883 and who died in 1958, became Bishop of Chichester in 1929. He was revered as a leading light on the Anglo-Catholic wing of the Church and at one time was even in the running to be Archbishop of Canterbury. He had been a Queen’s Scholar at Westminster School and was elected after that to a scholarship at Christ Church Oxford where he studied theology.

He was a prolific author and also appeared in works of fiction by others, most notably in the best-selling novel Ultimate Prizes by Susan Howatch and as Francis Wood, Bishop of Cirencester in Anthony Horowitz’s TV series Foyle’s War. He was also a character in Alison McLeod’s novel Unexploded.

The current Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, said the news had brought “a bewildering mix of deep and disturbing emotions.”

In its effect on the legacy and reputation of George Bell, it “yields a bitter fruit of great sadness and a sense that we are all diminished by what we are being told,” Dr Warner added. “We remain committed to listening to all allegations of abuse with an open mind. In this case, the scrutiny of the allegation has been thorough, objective, and undertaken by people who command the respect of all parties. We face with shame a story of abuse of a child; we also know that the burden of not being heard has made the experience so much worse. We apologise for the failures of the past.

“The revelation of abuse demands bravery on the part of a survivor, and we respect the courage needed to tell the truth. We also recognise that telling the truth provides a legitimate opportunity for others to come forward, sometimes to identify the same source of abuse.”

For the rest of the post…

Earlier this month, I posted that on June 17, 1940 (the day France surrendered to Germany), Dietrich Bonhoeffer was with his close friend Eberhard Bethge “in the Baltic village of Memel. They were relaxing in an “open-air café when suddenly a special announcement came over the loudspeaker that France had surrendered. This moment was a defining point for Bonhoeffer! Bethge “asserts that Bonhoeffer’s ‘double life’ truly began. This Confessing Church pastor and theologian became deeply involved in the resistance movement against Hitler and the Nazis.”


For the next three years, until his arrest on April 5, 1943, Bonhoeffer lived an unsettled life. He became a courier for the resistance group operating out of the Office of Military Intelligence (the Abwehr), even as he continued to teach and minister to the young seminarians and pastors of the Confessing Church.

DB was a seminary professor and involved in the resistance movement against Hitler. He was dedicated in preparing young men for the ministry and he was dedicated in stopping the Fuhrer.

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Volume 16: Conspiracy and Imprisonment 1940-1945, 1-2.


An interesting read that ties DB with “The Donald”!

Justin DaMetz

I just started reading The Cost of Discipleship, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I knew the bare outlines of his life and death, but the edition I have had a great foreword documenting Bonhoeffer’s life and beliefs. Obviously, there was much about his principled and faith-filled stand against Hitler, the Nazis, and consequently, his own country.

This knowledge coincided this week with the visit of Donald Trump here to Tulsa, appearing at Oral Roberts University with Sarah Palin in tow yesterday. To me, Trump’s candidacy and the following he has inspired over the last year is positively fascist in its outlook, rhetoric, and goals.

Now, I don’t mean to say this for reasons of provocation, nor do I mean to intimate that I believe Trump supporters are fascists or Nazis. Far from it. I think the infatuation with Trump, and more specifically, with the message he is spreading, is appealing to…

View original post 1,510 more words

On Saturday, Saeed Abedini and four other Americans were released from an Iranian prison. Here is what you should know about Abedini, his imprisonment, and his release.

Who is Saeed Abedini?

Abedini is an Iranian-born former Muslim who converted to Christianity in 2000. He reportedly converted after becoming severely depressed from undergoing suicide bomber training by a radical Muslim group. After his conversion he became involved in the house-church movement and is credited with establishing about 100 house churches in 30 Iranian cities. He later moved to the United States, became an ordained minister, and in 2010 was granted American citizenship, becoming a dual Iranian-American citizen. Iran, however, never acknowledged his U.S. citizenship.

Why was Abedini jailed in Iran?

Since 2009, Abedini made a half dozen trips back to Iran. He had travelled back to the country in 2012 to finalize work on an orphanage when Iranian revolutionary guards detained him and said he must face criminal charges because of his Christian faith. He was arrested and sentenced to eight years in prison for “compromising national security.”

“Under Shariah, or Islamic law, a Muslim who converts to Christianity is on a par with someone waging war against Islam,” Lisa Daftai notes. “Death sentences for such individuals are prescribed by fatwas, or legal decrees, and reinforced by Iran’s Constitution, which allows judges to rely on fatwas for determining charges and sentencing on crimes not addressed in the Iranian penal code.”

The United Nations Human Rights Council declared in 2013 that Abedini’s imprisonment was “arbitrary” and violated the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Why was he released now?

The Obama administration had reportedly been meeting in secret with Iranian counterparts for 14 months to negotiate a prisoner exchange. Five Americans, including Abedini, were released in exchange for seven Iranians being held in the United States for violating sanctions. The sanctions were being lifted anyway as part of the Obama administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran.

Last September Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell scheduled a procedural vote that would block President Obama from lifting sanctions against Iran under the nuclear deal until Iran publicly released Abedini and three other Americans being held in Iranian prisons. That effort failed after 42 Democrats in the Senate voted to block the amendment.

Although the Obama administration says the timing wasn’t intentional, the release occurred on Religious Freedom Day.

What was the controversy with Abedini’s wife?

Since 2012 Saeed’s wife, Naghmeh, had been working publicly to secure his release. But in November 2015, Naghmeh suspended her public advocacy citing “physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse (through Saeed’s addiction to pornography)” in her marriage.

More recently she said the timing of her emails, which were leaked to media, was unfortunate, and that, “When he gets home, we can address the serious issues that have happened and continued.”

For the rest of the post…

February 2016
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