Do American Christians Care About the Iranian Election Demonstrations?

We see you, Iran.

We don’t fully know what to make of what is going on, but we definitely see you.

For one thing, we don’t know for sure if the election that is being protested was fraudulent in the first place.  We know that a pre-election poll from May 11 (three weeks before the election) predicted much the same results that were officially released by Iran: a more than 2-1 victory for Ahmadinejad, with Ahmadinejad even winning in leading contender Moussavi’s home town.

And we don’t know what to make of Mir Hussein Moussavi: a man who took part in the Iranian Revolution that ushered in the rule of the ayatollahs; a man who governed with the full backing of the ayatollahs as Prime Minister; and a man who supported Iran’s nuclear program.  We don’t know that the man who may or may not have been usurped by fraud wouldn’t be better than, as bad as, or worse than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been.

What we DO know is that millions of Iranian demonstrators are out on the streets.

We also know that the Iranian regime is attempting to block the world from seeing these public demonstrations by restricting journalists and blocking demonstrator’s access to media, internet, and cellular sources.

And we know that demonstrators are being beaten and even killed.

The world IS watching, Iran.  And it DOES SEE what is happening.

You do not need to fear that no one knows or cares what is happening.  You do not need to fear that the regime can simply crack down by cracking skulls, and that no one in the rest of the world will care.

If you are living in Iran, you should know: we in America do not support the Iranian theocratic regime.  We do not support the Ayatollahs, and we want to see the “1979 revolution” defeated.

Nor do we support Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  Or Mir Hussein Moussavi, for that matter.

We do not even necessarily support the Iranian people.

What we DO support is liberty and democracy, not only for the Iranian people, but for ALL people of every race, and of every creed.

Nearly fifty years ago now, President John F. Kennedy said:

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

And while America has never perfectly defended liberty, we have always had the best of intentions in trying to defend and spread liberty to the world.

The United States fought against the evils of communism nearly alone.  The war in Vietnam was one battle in the Cold War which we ultimately won.  But in the aftermath of our defeat and withdraw from Indochina, millions were murdered or allowed to starve to death by the communists.  And in the decades that followed, the United States took the side of the oppressed Muslims against the Serbs in Bosnia.  That same United States would later overthrow Saddam Hussein, who had buried at least 400,000 of his own people in mass graves, and help bring about a stable democracy in Iraq.

In the 1980s, Russian dissidents – some of whom were literally being tortured in the gulags – expressed being “overjoyed” when an American president announced that the Soviet Union was an “evil empire” which the United States would oppose.  Great dissidents such as Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, Andrei Sakharov, and Natan Sharansky realized that they were no longer alone against a monstrous system.  That they had powerful allies on the outside who were aware of the crimes going on, and who sided with them against the brutal regime.

When freedom finally came to Poland, after decades of totalitarian control by the U.S.S.R., it turned out to be Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan who had been at the heart of the revolution.

It was Natan Sharansky who called George W. Bush “the dissident president” because of his goal of bringing democracy to countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan, and who predicted Bush would largely fight for democracy in the world alone.

Mr. Sharansky says of his adversaries among the Western intellectual elite: “Those people who are always wrong–they were wrong about the Soviet Union, they were wrong about Oslo [the 1993 Israeli-Palestinian peace deal], they were wrong about appeasing Yasser Arafat–they are the intellectual leaders of these battles. So what can I tell you?”

In the same way, the great writer and Soviet dissident Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, who likewise experienced the gulags, likewise found himself attacked by Western “intellectual” elites after he delivered his great address entitled “A World Split Apart.”  Following that address, the same “Western intellectual elite” that Sharansky would come to deride as “wrong about everything” attacked Solzhenitsyn.

And upon what value system did these great changes occur?

As you seek to throw off the yoke of theocratic oppression by Ayatollahs, allow me to humbly advise you not to sever yourselves from religion or religious principles, however.

It was George Washington who said:

“…And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion…  Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
– George Washington, Farewell Address, Sept 17, 1796

It might amaze you, Iranian Muslims, that your greatest allies in the West could be Christians.

Christians disagree with Muslims regarding the name and even the nature and purpose of God, but we can agree with any Muslim dissident that there is in fact a transcendent God who created human beings and intended them to have personal freedom, liberty and dignity.

Read Solzhenitsyn address, Iranian people.  Understand what he meant.  His speech excoriated the West for its immorality, materialism, and godlessness.  He affirmed traditional cultures against the all-encompassing mass culture of Western secularism.  He dissected Western materialism and its fixation on comfort and pleasure, which had drained away its capacity for courage and sacrifice.  He deplored the way our laws had been divorced from morality.  And he said, “Society has turned out to have scarce defense against the abyss of human decadence, for example against the misuse of liberty for moral violence against young people, such as motion pictures full of pornography, crime, and horror.”

Solzhenitsyn argued that both the communist East and the secularist West suffered from the same spiritual sickness.  And he concluded that, “No one on earth has any way left but – upward.”  Toward God and His transcendent values.  An outraged New York Times editorial summarized the very postmodernism Solzhenitsyn was damning: “He believes himself to be in possession of The Truth” (from “The Obsession of Solzhenitsyn,” New York Times, 13 June 1978).

But Alexandr Solzhenitsyn did have The Truth.  He had found it in the transcendent values of religion.  By contrast, he had NOT found it in Western secularism.

If the people of Iran truly want to throw off the shackles of brutal government control and oppression, we Christians in the West will stand with you.  Because we believe – as the American founding fathers believed – that every human being is created in the image of God, and possesses God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

We don’t care who you want for your president.  And we believe you have a right to be Muslims because God gives you the ultimate freedom – along with the ultimate responsibility – to be who you want to be, and to believe what you want to believe.

We care only about a peaceful and democratic Iran, where every citizen has God-ordained liberty and the right to pursue freedom, along with the happiness and prosperity that come with genuine freedom.

And it is as a Christian that I pray for the safety and success of Iranian demonstrators.

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6 Responses to “Do American Christians Care About the Iranian Election Demonstrations?”

  1. hl Says:

    Michael, you have outdone yourself with this piece. It is powerful and brilliant. I have been praying for Iran and those longing for freedom, my heart has been greatly burdened for their plight as I read and see the images coming out of Iran. The Christians in my sphere of association have been engaged in prayer as well.
    I read Natan Sharansky’s ‘The Case for Democracy’ last year and was so impacted by his telling of how much it meant to him and others in the Gulag to hear President Reagans’ condemnation of the human rights violations in the Soviet Union. He knew it was a matter of time before the regime fell.

    You are not alone, freedom fighters in Iran, we are praying for you.

  2. Michael Eden Says:

    Thank you, HL.
    I’m going to be citing an Iranian scholar named Dr. Fouad Ajami to argue that Bush’s (and Sharansky’s) theory was the one that would have been effective just now.

    Essentially, Ajami argues that by employing his “new politics” strategy of negotiating with the Iranian regime (among others), Obama has taken the moral politics of Bush (championing freedom and democracy) off the table just when it was needed. He points out that EVEN FRANCE has displayed more moral courage than Obama.

    Our founding fathers forged this country with a quintessentially Judeo-Christian worldview. The answer for Iran is to ditch their theocracy, and keep religion as a central unifying and foundational element in a Constitution that provides individual rights and limits the government’s ability to usurp such rights.

    While I wish that every Muslim could find Christ as Lord and Savior, I particularly want Muslims to know that I – as a Christian – am not their enemy. Rather, I pray for them to find their way, and to be safe and successful as they begin to cry for a better government that will respond to human rights.

  3. hl Says:

    We too pray that the Iranian people may come to true eternal freedom which is only found through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Michael, do you know anything about believers in Iran or the spread of the Gospel amongst the people? In one of the pictures I saw coming out of Iran there was a young man in a T-shirt which had a large cross imprinted on the back of the shirt. It stood out as it was unusual.


  4. Michael Eden Says:

    I saw that same footage. Just a flash as he moved past the camera’s field, but it was a cross for sure.

    There ARE Christians in Iran. There are – rather amazingly – even Jews in Iran, living more or less openly as a looked-down-upon but apparently not a singled-out-for-violence minority.

    Wikipedia has an article:

    The “Magi” that visited Christ in Bethlehem as they followed a star? They were Persians!

    We encounter their ancestors in the book of Daniel.

    The Magi were aware of the prophecies of Daniel concerning the coming of the Messiah, because he had once served as the Chief Adminsitrator of the Magi and had taught in the land that became Persia. Also, through one of his students, Daniel’s prophecies were written into the Zend Avesta, the bible of Zoroastrianism which Zoroaster wrote. At the time of Jesus’ birth, Zoroastrianism existed as the state religion of Persia.

    In addition, an ancient prophet from Mesopatamia named Balaam foretold the coming of a star that would precede the arrival of a great leader of the Jewish people. This is known from the book of Numbers (chapter 24) in the Old Testament and was also known to the Magi. Thus, there was significant inspiration and motivation to seek out the one who was to become the “king of kings” despite the cost.

    These “wise men” made a perilous journey to come to “worship He who was born the King of the Jews.” And there have been Christians in the nation today known as Iran ever since!

  5. hl Says:

    Thank you, Michael.

  6. Michael Eden Says:

    You’re welcome.

    The Book of Daniel contains the most amazing prophecy of the coming of Christ (the Prophecy of the Seventy “Weeks” of years) in Daniel chap. 9. The Book of Daniel ties in previous prophets (particularly the Book of Jeremiah) and looks ahead to the coming of Messiah.

    It is so fitting that he would not only TELL us when Messiah would come, but essentially even sent the Magi to visit Jesus when He DID come.

    It’s an interesting study to pursue: who were the Magi? Why had they come to believe a particular “star” would lead them to the King of the Jews? Why would these non-Jews have made such a difficult journey to worship Him?

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