President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have made it clear that they support the protesters in Iran who began their protests over high food prices and complaints about how much their government is spending toward the funding of terrorism.
Trump pointed out in a recent tweet that the people of Iran “have been repressed for many years” and that it’s “Time for Change!”
Iran is failing at every level despite the terrible deal made with them by the Obama Administration. The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years. They are hungry for food & for freedom. Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted. TIME FOR CHANGE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 1, 2018
Pence promised that as long as he was VP and Trump was President that the “United States of America will not repeat the shameful mistake of our past when others stood by and ignored the heroic resistance of the Iranian people as they fought against their brutal regime.”
As long as @RealDonaldTrump is POTUS and I am VP, the United States of America will not repeat the shameful mistake of our past when others stood by and ignored the heroic resistance of the Iranian people as they fought against their brutal regime… (1/2)
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) January 1, 2018
However, not everyone is happy about the support coming from the Trump administration.
The New York Times, known for being highly critical of Trump, stated that the Iranian people would not appreciate help from the Trump administration because the “President has relentlessly opposed economic relief for their country and banned them from traveling to the United States” and is “threatening to terminate the nuclear deal.”
Regardless of how U.S. support is perceived, there appears to be another important reason why the Trump administration should get involved.
While about 90 percent of Iranians are Muslim and practice Shi’ism, the official religion in Iran, Christianity is reportedly the fastest growing religion in Iran and the second-largest non-Muslim religion there.
The exponential growth, especially of Iranian youth, is causing the Islamic government great concern.
Iranian law enforcement has gone to great lengths to oppress Christians in their efforts to practice their faith.
Christian converts have been arrested, harassed and even threatened with potential long-term prison sentences.
Could the current protests lead to Christians demanding and receiving respect for their religious choices?
An Iranian-born journalist Sohrab Ahmari recently told the Catholic News Agency (CNA) that while life in Iran was difficult for every Iranian, the situation for Christians and other religious minorities was “particularly perilous.”
Ahmari said, “They (Christians) are systematically discriminated against, are barred from various public offices and military posts, are prohibited by law from proselytizing, and so on.”
Ahmari continued by saying that the Iranian regime does give Christians and Jews “second-class protection” as “People of the Book” but that the protection is “limited protection” that only applies to “Armenians and Assyrians who are considered indigenous Christians.”
He was quick to point out that those who were converts from Islam, however, were not given protection.
According to Ahmari, “Sharia law views apostasy from Islam as a crime punishable by death.”
While it remains to be seen whether the protests will prove to be beneficial for those who are risking their lives for change, Ahmari is hopeful that Christians will advance in their protections.
He recalled a time before Sharia law that “wasn’t ideal” “(B)ut minorities thrived, and there was a sense that Iranian-ness wasn’t just about Shiite Islam but also incorporated pre-Islamic elements. Jews, Christians, Baha’i and others belonged to this identity. They were tolerated and even celebrated.”
Although, those days are clearly over in Iran, Ahmari believes that “If the protesters can recover something of that inclusive nationalism, then Christians and other ethnic and sectarian minorities will be better off than they are now.”
It may be a long shot at best for Christians to see an advancement of their religious “rights” in Iran at this time as a result of the protests.
However, God’s plan for and protection of the Christians should not be ruled out.
If the uprising in Iran is meant to free Christians from some or all of their oppression then nothing will stop that from occurring.
For as God reminds us, those who turn to Jesus Christ will receive God’s favor and “With favor You (God) will surround him as with a shield” (Psalm 5:12).
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