I share this true story because the pastor is a living example of what happens when religious freedom does not exist. It is these real life examples of solid faith in Jesus Christ that motivated me to write the fictional novel, Donovan’s Law. The law Donovan lived by was to STAND FIRM FOR WHAT YOU KNOW TO BE THE TRUTH IN JESUS CHRIST. The man in the story below understands the cost for that kind of committment:
Pastor Youef Nadarkhani has been in prison in Iran for the past three years and has been sentenced to death by Iran’s highest court last fall. Why? Initially the Iran officials accused him of rape and extortion. However, this past Monday, the United Nations Human Rights Council met in Geneva to discuss Iran’s abuse on human rights and named Pastor Nadarkhani as a victim of false accusations.
When Mohammad Javad Larijani stepped forward to defend the accusations of false imprisonment and sentencing, he stated that preaching to the youth without their parents’ permission, converting his home into a church, and offending Islam were the charges placed against the pastor. How did he offend Islam? He converted from the Islamic religion to Christianity.
It appears that the original sentencing came when Nadarkhani voiced a concern about his son being forced to participate in a class about the teachings of Islam. He was arrested and found guilty in a lower court for apostasy (abandoning one’s religion). Youef was offered the chance to deny Christianity and return to Islam. The fact that he remains in prison three years later tells us which choice he made. Would you be able to do the same?