Or is it? Several years after an American led coalition liberated Afghanistan from the rule of the Taliban, one has to wonder about the result. Of course, in a sense, ridding the world of the Taliban could never be construed to be a bad thing. But how different is Afghanistan? Today an Afghan citizen named Abdur Rahman (seen in picture with his Bible) is facing a death sentence in a trial set to get underway next week. His crime? Converting to Christianity.
Apparently that whole “religious freedom” thing just didn’t really translate in Afghanistan. If you’re a regular reader here, you know I don’t write overtly about politics much at all, but the question begs to be asked: Did the U.S. and its allies spend untold zillions of dollars and, more significantly, hundreds of lives in Afghanistan to prop up a state that perhaps could be labeled “Taliban lite?” What a disappointment this must be!
In an instance of tragic irony, the AP quotes an Islamic cleric who began his comments by saying, “We respect all religions.” He maintains that the penalty for apostasy is death, which doesn’t sound all that respectful, at least not to me. I think this says something about the brand of Islam that is dominant in many Islamic nations. I say “brand of Islam” because I realize there are variant interpretations of Islam, as with any religion. That said, however, it certainly seems to be the case that the fundamentalist version evidenced in Afghanistan maintains a certain militance against non-Islamic worldviews, particularly Christianity and the West. (And they probably see Christianity” and “West” as one and the same, which of course is not the case, as the millions of Christians in, say, Korea would remind us.) One wonders if sending American soldiers to this part of the world is the right way to overcome such hostility.
So we have the story of the convert and the pickle. The convert is no doubt content to let his case rest with God, who may use such a situation to further the spread of the Gospel in that part of the world. (Indeed persecution of Christians has often resulted in the spread of the faith.) The pickle belongs to Western leaders who put so much on the line only to get this kind of result. Of course, this kind of thing no doubt happens in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere without garnering so much attention. Maybe it should. In the end, the kings of the nations will do what they do, but the King of Kings will remain sovereign over them all, and His will will be done.
UPDATE: Apparently the charges have been dropped. Good news. Though Rahman will almost certainly have to leave the country to avoid the threat of execution by others.