Just imagine you sent a text to me, a Baptist minister, that somehow insulted Jesus. Maybe, in public or private, you used His name as a type of swearing. Maybe you somehow did some type of desecration to a copy of the Bible. Now imagine being turned in to the authorities, arrested, and charged with the crime of blasphemy for doing any of these things and potentially facing the punishment of execution for it.
Hard to imagine? Well, hopefully in this country it would be, but in other countries, it isn’t hard to imagine because it is reality. Take Pakistan for instance. In a recent story from the BBC, a Pakistani Christian couple allegedly sent a text to an imam in which they somehow insulted the prophet Mohammed. The imam file a complaint, the couple was arrested, charged with blasphemy and potentially face execution for this dastardly and heinous act. Now while if they actually did as alleged, it probably wasn’t a smart thing to do, but should it be criminal, let alone something punishable by death? Absolutely not, but this is the reality in countries which truly don’t appreciate or have the right of religious freedom.
In 2012, a 12 year old Christian girl was arrested for blasphemy. After being detained for several weeks in a high security prison, she was released and she and her family subsequently fled to Canada.
And this is one of our allies in the region.
The right of religious freedom, which includes the right to choose to which faith we will adhere or to also not choose a faith as well as advocate, support, and build it through proselytizing, is cherished in this country. It is unfortunate that this right is not seen in the same way in other countries with whom we are aligned.
I wonder how a country’s not valuing the same rights we do should impact our relationship with them.