Trent Franks: Pastor Saeed Abedini Must Be Released
February 13, 2013
You know, as a father there's nothing in this life that gives me more joy than my babies. I probably love telling them stories and tucking them in at night more than anything else in the world. So, when I read this article about Pastor Saeed Abedini, I was especially moved, because he liked to do the same thing; only his children at night, in recent days, have expressed to their mother how much they miss their daddy, because he's in an Iranian prison -- one that is notorious for torture; it's one of the worst prison's in Iran. All because of his faith, his Christian conviction.
There was a time in Iran when there was a modicum of religious freedom and he was there, building a Christian church in Iran, and within the law, and certainly within his rights as a human being. And then Iran chose Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president, along with some other things, and they essentially outlawed religious freedom in Iran. And what he [Pastor Saeed] did then became illegal and he stopped doing it. And yet, in recent days, because he tried to build an orphanage there, they've detained him and have made an example out of him before the world. What they've decided to do is to show that if you have a Christian faith that they don't like then they will simply put you in prison. And that's what they've done to him and they've done it on the basis of him doing something that was completely legal at the time that he did it. And they have abrogated his fundamental human rights, and I tell you if the state department does not respond to this they owe the American people a very profound explanation.
Recently, 80 of my colleagues and myself have written a letter to John Kerry and asked him to make sure that the State Department responds and helps Pastor Saeed get free from this terrible ordeal that he's in and to try to stand up for one of the foundational elements of this country, which is religious freedom. Because it is not just what America was founded on; it is a fundamental core right of the human heart. And if we don't have that, we have no freedom; it's the cornerstone of all other freedoms. So I really hope that the State Department will stand up and be counted here and we're hoping that this letter will have an impact. And I hope people all over America will pray for Pastor Saeed, his wife, and his two little babies at night when they wonder where their daddy is.