Among the things I’m thankful for: the freedom to be Christian in this country.
Twelve Christians stood trial Easter Sunday in Iran, where they were called “apostates” in a courtroom and tried on multiple charges, according to sources close to Iran’s Christian community.
The Christians had been acquitted on the same charges, including “crimes against the order,” a year ago in Bandar Anzali, a city on the Caspian Sea. The group was first arrested when authorities found them drinking wine while taking communion, according to sources.
“It ultimately illustrates that being a Christian is illegal in Iran. No matter how clear or how open a pastor and a church may be, Christians are being brought to trial just for being Christian,” said Jason DeMars, director of the Present Truth Ministries advocacy group who is in daily contact with the Evangelical Christian community in Iran.
But converting, or more specifically, the act of turning from Islam, can be punishable by death. To leave the Islamic faith or to attempt to convert others away from the faith warrants capital punishment under Shariah Law.
There are many Christians around the world, and many who live in countries hostile to that faith, where they fear death during the simple act of taking communion. I don’t know about you, but I’m taking a moment today and thanking God that I was born in a country where, however frustrating it can be sometimes to be a practicing Christian, I am never at risk of being sentenced to death by the government for it.
Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed.