For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 29 Sep 2013.
Last week veteran American evangelist, Billy Graham, took the extraordinary step of writing to Hassan Rouhani, the new President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, seeking the release from prison of Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American citizen arrested and sentenced to eight years in prison while building an orphanage in Iran.
Dr Graham said he was encouraged by the announcement on Monday that Iran had freed 80 political prisoners, and expressed the hope that Pastor Abedini might also be released. He warned that continuing negative publicity “may further harm the already fragile relationship that presently exists between our two nations.”
Friday marked the first anniversary of Pastor Abedini’s imprisonment. There was no action by Iran, and no indication that the prisoner might soon be released.
We often take religious freedom for granted. But it is a fragile freedom that must be defended and promoted at every opportunity.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.