Robert Lynn Green
- I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Free Abdur Rahman, NOW!
I find the silence from the religious right on the fate of Abdur Rahman very curious. Rahamh is the Afghan who faces the death penalty in Afghanistan for converting to Christianity. The Afghan consitution, based largely on Shariah law and which stipulates that no law in Afghanistan can contridict the Koran, apparently allows the death penalty in cases of "apostacy". Apostacy in Muslim countries means that once you convert to Islam, you cannot change your mind about your faith.
As I said, the "Religious Right" has been rather silent on this. I checked the web site for the Christian Broadcasting Network which Pat Robertson founded to counteract the "secular humanist media" has nothing about this on their front page. When I did a search on the name "Abdur Rahman", I got this as the result:
Your query [Abdur Rahman] returned  results.
You would think that a case where a Christian who was facing martyrdom for his faith in an Islamic country would be cause célèbre in the evangelical world, but apparently when the cause is caused by Mr. Bush's war, the right wing is not so, well, célèbre.
We liberals are often accused of being such relativists that we see nothing as immoral. We are condemned when we discuss cultural values for denying absolute truth. Yet here is a case where, if some moral value is not being violated, then one would think that no moral value can be absolutely firm.
This liberal, at least, see something very immoral over the fact that Rahman faces even the remotest possibility for being punished for his decision to adopt a new faith. I'm sure that I am not alone among my fellow liberals for thinking this. And I am looking beyond the fact for a moment that I consider any application of the death penalty immoral.
Rahman should be a free man. Free to walk the street of Kabul unmolested, free to adopt his faith, free to proclaim his faith to anyone who cares to listen. That's what we call freedom of conscience, and any society, any culture, any government that does not uphold it cannot be called a free society. That's why I thank God, and I am a praying man, for the fact that we have separation of church from state in America. I praise the Lord that the founders of our nation, the writers of our remarkable Constitution, wanted to create a secular government. A secular government is a moral government because it is the only type of government that can secure justice for all.
But back to Rahman, Afghanistan, and the government there, a government that exists only because our soldiers are still fighting and dying over there. Our president has said that he is "concerned" over Rahman's fate. Concerned hell! Supposedly, the reason we went into Afghanistan was that we thought the Taliban had created an oppressive dictatorship. Yes, we wanted to find Osama bin Laden and serve justice on him, dead or alive. But when we didn't get him, some say because we took the units necessary to complete the task out of Afghanistan and sent them to Iraq, we stayed around to defeat the rest of the Taliban and set up a better, a more just government in their place.
Look what we got for all our casualities, billions of dollars, and continued presence! I repeat, "Concerned Hell!" Our "leader" should be saying to the Afghan courts and government, you let this guy go about his business or we outa this place. We didn't give you the flower of our youth just so you could perpetuate the same system you complained so much about before.
I would say, "Free Rahman now, or we are already gone."
How about it, evangelicals? Time to stick up for what is right, what has been right, and what always will be right. Justice for all or you're on your own, Afghanistan.