By Hal Lindsey
The Hal Lindsey Report
Last October, I reported on a young Christian pastor in Iran, 35 years old with a wife and two young sons, who had been sentenced to hang for renouncing his Islamic faith at the age of 19. At the time, his appeal was being considered by Iran's Supreme Court. That court eventually upheld the lower court's ruling, but remanded it to the original court for review of several "procedural" errors.
The Supreme Court gave the original judge the option of retrying the case, dismissing it, or executing the sentence. It also included a provision for annulment of the sentence if the pastor recanted his Christian faith and returned to Islam. The young Christian, Youcef Nadarkhani, had already been offered that chance three separate times. Each time, he refused to deny Jesus. Last week, the Church of Iran, to which Pastor Nadarkhani belongs, announced that the lower court had reconsidered the case and affirmed the original death sentence. The Pastor now has a date with the hangman.
Next door, in Afghanistan, three American soldiers were disposing of various damaged and unusable religious materials at NATO'S Bagram Air Force Base north of Kabul. Included in the items they were burning in the base's burn pit, were several copies of the Koran. These were Korans that the American government had purchased to provide free of charge to the jihadist prisoners held on the base. However, several of these books were damaged and some had been used by prisoners to pass messages and information, so the authorities decided to discard them.
When some Afghans who are employed by the U.S. government as workers on the base discovered that copies of the Koran were being burned, they pulled some of the unburned pages from the ashes and made a beeline for their friends. From there, word quickly spread that the Americans were desecrating the Holy Koran. Of course, the Taliban and al-Qaeda were only too happy to help spread the word and fan the flames, so to speak.
Before long, rioting spread across Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf region. Over the next several days, supposedly "loyal" Afghans turned on their American counterparts and killed them. As of today, six American soldiers are dead. The overall death toll now stands at about 40.
So the Obama Administration quickly got its act together and issued an... apology. In fact, several apologies. The President, the Defense Secretary, the American general leading the coalition forces all apologized. Obama by letter to the treacherous Afghan president Hamid Karzai, the others by television. The President even promised to "hold accountable those responsible."
So, how is that going to work? Unless something is buried deep in the Obamacare bill that former Speaker Pelosi hasn't discovered yet, I don't believe U.S. law forbids the burning of a Koran. On the other hand, some observers say that Afghan law may require the death penalty for desecration by a non-Muslim. American service members are governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), which is predicated on U.S. laws. Afghan law in this case could be translated "Sharia" law.
One can guess that this is going to be quite a headache for President Obama. Should he hand our soldiers over to the Afghanis to be tried in a Sharia court? That would be a sticky wicket for a government that screams about the "wall of separation" between church and state at every opportunity. That would also imply that he honors Sharia law above our own. Or, should he insist on whatever "discipline"—if any—that might be called for under the UCMJ. Keeping in mind, of course, that in America you can burn a Bible, a stack of Bibles, a cross, a flag, even a bra!
However, the thing that I find interesting is that the President can dash off a personal apology to an entire country and require his top military people to do the same over the proper (by the way) disposal of some already-desecrated Korans. Yet, all he and the State Department can manage are tepid press statements scolding Iran for sentencing a Christian to die for choosing, as a teenager, Jesus Christ over Mohammed. We should not be apologizing to Afghanistan and Karzai. We should be demanding that Karzai bring to justice those who have taken the lives of six Americans and dozens of Afghans. And, we should be demanding that Iran release Pastor Nadarkhani or suffer the outrage of America and the West.
But, don't hold your breath until that happens. I want you to stay alive for the next segment.
The reason the United States and Europe appear to be so clueless and helpless in our dealings with Iran is because we are clueless and helpless! John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, put it succinctly. He said that this Administration and other Western leaders are guilty of "mirror imaging." That's the tendency to assume that others think the way you do.
In the West, we are still operating—or at least thinking—according to the doctrine known as "MAD." That's an acronym for "Mutually Assured Destruction." It's a relic of the Cold War. And it worked okay during those times because the leaders of the Soviet Union and the West were, by and large, sane. Maybe evil, but still sane. Each of them knew that if they were to launch a nuclear strike against the other, the resulting counterstrike would mean utter destruction. In other words, if you struck first you would be committing both genocide and national suicide. And no one really wanted to do that.
But those rules don't work today for one reason: religion. More specifically, Islam. The whole equation changes when your enemy doesn't fear death, neither his own nor his nation's. In some cases, he actually welcomes it. It's even worse when that enemy longs for a fiery, chaotic death because he's convinced it will gain him glorious martyrdom and immortality. And it's really, really worse when that enemy is the President or the Supreme Leader of a soon-to-be nuclear power!
You guessed it. It's our old buddy Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his lovable sidekick, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, both of whom have publicly announced their belief that Islam's Messiah will be summoned back to life by a worldwide apocalypse that will kill a third of the world's population, with another third dying later. Ahmadinejad even spoke openly about it three times while addressing the United Nations General Assembly! Khamenei seems to bring it up quite often in his public speaking appearances.
Now, can't you understand why such rhetoric makes their announced target, Israel, a little nervous? The problem is, it doesn't seem to bother Western leaders too much. Why? Mirror imaging. We won't do anything that will call down the nuclear wrath of our enemy upon us because in the West—especially in America—we value life. And we value it because we believe it is a gift of God, the Creator. But not so in the Muslim mind. Especially in radical Muslim minds like those of Khamenei and Ahmadinejad.
Until our leaders come to understand and really believe that nuclear deterrence will not work with Iran because Iran's leaders are fueled by maniacal religious motives, we will never have the courage or determination to stop them from acquiring nuclear weapons.
And this is the truly stupid part. Our "political correctness" demands that we assign no blame for the Muslims' behavior to their religious beliefs. Yet our President feels that he must hastily apologize to the Muslims when they go ballistic and kill Americans BECAUSE of their religious beliefs—the very ones we think are of no real importance.
Maddening, isn't it?
Finally, as the Jewish world prepares to celebrate the Feast of Purim, I find it ironic that the greatest current threat to the Jews smolders in the same nation that originally gave us the inspiring story of Queen Esther—Persia or modern Iran. Many prayer warriors that I respect seem to have a sense that Purim 2012 may be the most important—and perhaps dangerous—since the holocaust of Nazi Germany.
Please pray as never before that God will protect His own, both in Israel and in Iran itself.
[PROGRAMMING NOTE: Once again, "The Hal Lindsey Report" will not be seen on Inspiration Network this week. It's still "Spring Campeeting" time! Don't miss this week's Report on TBN, Daystar, CPM Network, various local stations, www.hallindsey.com or www.hischannel.com. Please check your local listings.]
Iran pastor Nadarkhani is still alive, say sources • Christian Today
U.S. probe of Koran burning finds 5 soldiers responsible, officials say; clerics demand trial • Washington Post
Purim • Jews for Jesus
U.S. House of Representatives unanimously demands Pastor Nadarkhani’s release • Human Events (John Hayward)
Israel confirms plans to test missile system as Obama meeting looms • The Guardian