by Candace Salima, a regular contributor to US Daily Review
Youcef Nadarkhani, a 32-year old pastor, is facing execution today, because he has the temerity to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, rather than Allah. Despite being imprisoned for two years, and subjected to untold horrors and tortures, Nadarkhani has remained strong in his faith, he will not deny Jesus Christ.
In Iran, this is a crime punishable by death, and by the publishing of this article, the good pastor could already be dead, his wife a widow, and his children fatherless. Although, his defense is hopeful the appeals court will give Nadarkhani a full acquittal before it’s too late.
I could go into a long, passionate dissertation about the fate of those in Iran who do not walk in lockstep with the faith the mullahs of Iran have decreed to be the only faith acceptable to the courts. But I will not. Instead, I want the focus of this article to be on the conviction, strength, and courage of Nadarkhani and the young family he may leave behind.
When the Iranian courts asked Nadarkhani to repent, he stated: “Repent means to return. What should I return to? To the blasphemy that I had before my faith in Christ?”
“To the religion of your ancestors, Islam,” the judge replied, according to the American Center for Law & Justice.
“I cannot,” Nadarkhani said.” Source
This tragic story, whose end will likely be equally tragic, has caused me to look, long and hard, in the mirror and to ask myself, “Would I have such conviction in the face of such vicious adversity?” That question was naturally followed by an in depth look at America, and wonder what kind of person it takes to stand so strongly for what they believe.
One cannot have been raised without faith, conviction, or a belief system if they are to stand against adversity such as that facing Nadarkhani. Neither can one have the lack of a true north. In America, there are those men and women who have drawn that line in the sand. Who have continued to fight, day and night, in order to restore America to the glory she once held. They draw deep within themselves, for that unique American spirit which gives them the conviction, and strength, to continue that fight.
Yet, on the other side of this equation are those who mock such devotion to the nation, the U.S. Constitution and the American flag. These are also the same people who would crumple in defeat should they be asked to give their lives for their cause, or lack thereof.
Are there those in America who would willingly lay their lives down for God or country? I believe there are. I believe we find them in the men and women of the military who risk their lives as they defend the United States of America and the cause of freedom. And I believe there are those, willing to lay their lives down for a heavenly Savior, as has Nadarkhani of Iran.
I know Iran’s history toward religious minorities in their country, and Christianity is certainly one of those. As of the writing of this article, it is 6:26 a.m. in Tehran, Iran. Is this Youcef Nadarkhani’s last day, or have the Iranian courts found a soul and released him to his family?