Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Free Iran!

I was hoping that all the demonstrations in Iran would topple the oppressive theocracy and usher in some sort of democracy. I remember when the people demonstrated day after day in Eastern Europe, and toppled the communist governments. I remember when the people demonstrated in the Philippines and toppled the repressive Marcos regime. Why did Iran’s revolution fizzle?

I don’t know the answer to that question, but I believe we should pray for that country. The regime is repressive, plus Iran’s quest for a nuclear bomb is a threat to everybody. I would like to see Iran become like Turkey, which is overwhelmingly Muslim but a strictly secular state. The Turks did that to avoid just the kind of situation we are finding in Iran.

I believe in strict separation of “church and state” as the founders originally intended, not as it is being misinterpreted by the courts since 1946. Our Constitution allows people to practice their religion – any religion – freely as they choose. No particular set of religious beliefs, practices or observances are forced on anybody. That is a difficult concept for Muslims, yet a similar situation is working well in Turkey. A religion should be able to stand on its own, and shouldn’t need or require government help in enforcing its rules on the population.

That doesn’t mean, however, that certain standards of decency shouldn’t be enforced by governmental agencies, consistent with that culture’s concept of decency and indecency (and that concept may be rooted in that culture’s religious tradition). So if a culture feels that public nudity is indecent, for example, then those standards should be enforced.

Getting back to Iran, pray for that country, that they will be freed from the tyranny of the mullahs and will no longer be a threat to its neighbors and the world.

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