Sunday, October 19, 2008

Iran feeling the tensions between faith and religious freedoms

Iran-The Iranian Government is being asked to reconsider their highly controversial draft bill on apostasy.Al Janssen with Open Doors says, "The European Union has issued a declaration urging Iran to drop the apostasy bill and also to release Christian converts from prison. So, I'm hoping that other nations will get involved on that and that there will be a lot of pressure put on Iran."According to the declaration, the European Union reportedly "is very concerned at the deterioration in the exercise of freedom of religion or belief, and especially the freedom of worship in Iran where the pressure on people belonging to religious minorities has worsened in recent months."It goes on to say, in part, that "if adopted, that law would be a serious infringement of the freedom of religion or belief, which includes the right to change religion and the right to have no religion. It would violate Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which was freely ratified by Iran, and would threaten the lives of a number of Iranians who have been arrested and held without trial for several months on account of their religious beliefs."Is the declaration effective? Iran's response to the protest of their nuclear threat is telling. But Janssen says it makes a statement to believers, as does a special training course Open Doors is providing.Because the official church is under strict control, personal growth is heavily retarded. Open Doors believes the best way for these Christians to meet for growth, worship and fellowship in safety is to join in independent cell groups."We have been developing, for some time, a discipleship course for Muslim-background believers.They have not grown up in a Christian context; they really are starting from scratch when it comes to discipleship. Those have huge impact on their lives. How do they practice their faith while still remain in an Islamic context?"
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As in the days of Noah...

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