The Plight of Christians in Iran
January 31, 2020
The ongoing protests against the Iranian government and the harsh blowback protestors are receiving from their regime have put Iran back into focus in the international news cycle. Yet, other human rights violations of the Iranian regime remain largely unreported, including the consistent and ongoing violations against Christians and Iran's other religious minorities.
Any Iranian Christian might become subject to harassment or arbitrary imprisonment by the government. Earlier this month, Iran sentenced a 65-year-old convert to Christianity to three years in prison for charges including "propaganda against the Islamic Republic" and "membership of a group hostile to the regime." For a judge in the Islamic Republic of Iran, what made these charges valid was because he had "promoted evangelical Christianity."
While this case might seem extreme, arbitrary imprisonment is a tool often used by the Iranian regime to harass and intimidate its Christian minority. And imprisonment isn't just a punishment for the Christian who is sentenced. The family members are also publicly humiliated by the sentence.
In 2009, Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh spent almost 9 months in one of Iran's most notorious facilitates for political prisoners, Evin prison. As Christian converts from a Muslim background, they were both passionate about sharing their faith with their fellow Iranians. Together, they handed out close to 20,000 copies of the New Testament in Iran. When the authorities finally caught up with them, they were charged with apostasy, blasphemy, anti-government activity.
Dabrina Bet Tamraz, an Assyrian Christian from Iran, has also experienced the fear and pain of imprisonment. Her father, Victor Bet Tamraz, was sentenced to ten years in prison in 2017 for "acting against national security by forming home churches, attending seminars abroad, and proselytizing Zionist Christianity." To escape international condemnation, regimes such as Iran often try to sell their policies of religious oppression as "national security measures." Yet, pastors of small Christian churches hardly pose a threat to national security. Whenever the opportunity arises, the international community should make it clear to Iran that this excuse doesn't give them a pass for their religious freedom violations.
On February 5th, 2020, Maryam Rostampour, Marziyeh Amirizadeh, and Dabrina Bet Tamraz will be joining Family Research Council to share their stories about dealing with persecution at the hands of the Iranian regime. Please join us as we hear their experience and learn how we can be praying and advocating for religious freedom in Iran. Click here to watch our live webcast or register to join us in person for this event.
Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.
Faces of Choice Are No Big Game
January 31, 2020
Pro-life group Faces of Choice recently created a powerful ad that seeks to show "the many faces of survivors of abortion, to put a face to the 'choice' of ending life." They spent considerable time and money hoping that the ad would air on Super Bowl Sunday. However, according to Faces of Choice executive director Lyric Gillett, when they pitched the ad to Fox Sports, they were completely ignored. After complying with legal inquires and storyboard approvals, Faces of Choice did not even get the courtesy of a "yes" or a "no" response.
The ad was inspired by an advocacy technique that proved very successful during the Civil Rights movement. People unaffected by or unaware of injustice often need to see with their own eyes what injustice is being done to other human beings. They need to see that the people being mistreated are, in fact, human beings. Each of the 14 abortion survivors featured in the ad looks the viewer in the eye and asks some variant of the question, "Can you look me in the eye and tell me that I shouldn't be alive?" When confronted with these "faces of choice," no reasonable viewer can deny their existence and humanity.
Prior to the invention of ultrasound technology, which allows women and men to see an unborn child while it is still inside the womb, many people did not believe that abortion was the killing of an actual human being. Today, many people do not believe that abortion survivors exist. Well, they do exist, and thanks to the Faces of Choice ad, anyone can look them in the eye.
Gillett is "convinced that the key to changing the cultural conversation about abortion is within the voices of the survivors. The idea behind this initiative is that every great civil rights or humanitarian movement of our era has had an actual face of a survivor attached to it, giving it meaning outside of a nebulous concept."
Abortion, much like black lynching and other past atrocities, is a horrifying injustice with many deniers. It must be seen and acknowledged by society in order to be righted. While Fox Sports may have denied it airtime, Faces of Choice's powerful ad was played in front of thousands at the March for Life -- and was introduced by Melissa Ohden, founder of the Abortion Survivors Network and an abortion survivor herself.
The 14 abortion survivors featured in the ad are as follows: "Dr. Imre Téglásy (1952, Hungary); Paula Page (02/24/54); Miriam "Penny" Hopper (11/29/55); Denisha Workizer (7/11/76); Melissa Ohden (8/29/77); Jennifer Millbourn (9/02/78); Jennifer Callender (7/18/80); Claire Culwell (3/06/88); Hope Hoffman (8/12/91); Josiah Presley (10/07/95); Asiimwe Ronald Williams (9/25/97, Uganda); Dona Marie Mendoza (Philippines); Jaylin Schoch (8/15/03); and Zechariah Hagan (10/20/13), who was one of the first abortion pill reversal survivors. "
Abortion and Sex-Trafficking Are Undeniably Linked Abuses Against Women
January 31, 2020
January is both Human Trafficking Awareness Month and Sanctity of Human Life Month. These issues have more in common than people may realize. Across numerous global studies of sex-trafficking survivors, abortion is a consistent part of the story. Both abortion and sex-trafficking are businesses that exploit women, sometimes in tandem as organizations such as Planned Parenthood enable the abuse for profit. And both are an affront to human dignity.
Pimps Use Abortion to Maximize Profits
The risk of pregnancy is part of the sex-trafficking industry. Pimps and sex-traffickers are most concerned with profits, so when their victims become pregnant, they often force or pressure them to abort so they can put them right back onto the streets.
It is not unusual for females to be traffickers and to oversee a harem of victims, including taking them to get abortions, according to a 2014 documentary featuring testimony from sex-trafficking survivors. On the other hand, male pimps will sometimes impregnate their victims to keep them under control.
January 31, 2020
This weekend while in Florida for our Stand Courageous men's conference in Pensacola, Tony Perkins will be preaching the 9:15 and 10:45 a.m. services at Marcus Pointe Baptist Church. If you are in the neighborhood, please join us for worship!