The good news first: The White House yesterday condemned the conviction and death sentence against Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. He has been found guilty of the capital crime of being a Christian. Here is his story, if you’re not familiar with it.
The bad news: It took two years. That’s how long it’s been since Nadarkhani was originally convicted of apostasy by the 11th Chamber of The Assize Court of the Province of Gilan. (Here is a translation of that court’s verdict.)
And it wasn’t a matter worthy of the President’s time or direct influence–it was just another brief statement by the press secretary.
But maybe I should be more generous, and just call it eleven months. That’s how long it’s been since the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom urged the President to press for Nadarkhani’s immediate and unconditional release.
Sadly, what must surely be abundantly clear to Ahmadinejad and Co. is that this isn’t something the Prez feels strongly about. Or is likely to actually follow up on. It’s just something he was kinda forced to say a little something about after it finally became a popular issue in the mainstream media.
As of the morning of the White House statement, Google found 142,000 articles on the web about Nadarkhani. 51,000 of these–over a third–had appeared in the 24 hours before the press secretary’s statement. In spite of the fact that human rights activists and Christian mission organizations have been reporting on him for two years, critical mass in the mainstream media had just been achieved Wednesday and Thursday of this week. And that’s when the President finally found his bully pulpit.
Or was it a bandwagon?
Here is a form, provided by Christian Solidarity Worldwide, from which you can email the Iranian Embassy on Mr. Nadarkhani’s behalf. Please do–and help provide some of the President’s missing moral fervor.