Today, the House of Representatives did something courageously, efficiently, and with strong bi-partisan support. (And yes, I’m talking about the United States House of Representatives!) They passed a resolution condemning Tehran’s crack down on the recent demonstrations over the election while blocking any electronic communications that report on them. Rep. Howard Berman-D, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and co-sponsor of the bill said, “…we must reaffirm our strong belief that the Iranian people have a fundamental right to express their views about the future of their country freely and without intimidation.” Amen, Mr. Berman, and thank you, House! It’s about time that someone from Washington showed enough bravado out of their love for freedom and democracy to make a stand in solidarity with a suffering people who want real peace and freedom.
There is much about my country and the direction of our society that as a disciple of Jesus I can challenge and critique. But one thing I will always celebrate about America is our insistence on upholding and protecting the unalienable human rights of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom to peacefully assemble. The current state of countries like Iran show us how easily tyranny can snatch those freedoms away. Tyranny, fascism, communism, and totalitarianism are easy ways to govern because they feed off our worst natures to gain and seize power over others in order to advance the will of the few. But true democracy and freedom must always be guarded and protected from our worst natures, even here in America.
President Obama had the perfect opportunity this week to uphold and advance the message of freedom to thousands of brave, persistent protesters who are putting their lives on the line for their freedom and a better Iran. Instead, in an effort to soften the stance of a notoriously anti-American regime, one he hopes to engage in dialogue, the President’s remarks were carefully worded, tepid statements. Couldn’t he offer both an open hand to that “clenched fist” along with a passionate defense of human freedom and dignity? As leader of the free world, I would have hoped so. Perhaps he still will, especially after such an overwhelmingly supported resolution from the House.
In the meantime, I’m remembering, supporting, and praying for the people of Iran and others like them in unfree places. I stand with them and pray for the day that they can reap the same dignity and freedoms I enjoy and often take for granted. And as a disciple of Jesus, I pray for the day that he will return, rid the world of evil and unrighteousness, bring all before the judgment of God, and create a new heavens and a new earth. Come, Lord Jesus!