By Kelly Boggs, Editor
Yousef Nadarkhani, a Christian and a pastor in Iran, has been imprisoned since 2009. His crime according to Iranian clerics: converting to Christianity and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Muslims. His sentence is death by hanging, which could be carried out at any time.
The White House has condemned Iran’s plan to execute Nadarkhani and so has Speaker of the House John Boehner. However, conspicuously absent from the voices denouncing Iran are America’s death penalty opponents.
News stories about Nadarkhani’s plight are also few and far between.
Recently a cacophony of cries were being lifted by U.S. celebrities denouncing the State of Georgia’s planned execution of Troy Davis, who was convicted of murdering a Georgia police officer in August 1991. He was executed Sept. 21, 2011.
As Davis’ execution date drew near, news stories appeared in abundance offering countless reasons he should not be put to death. Celebrities like Alec Baldwin, Sean Diddy Combs, Kim Kardashian, Sandra Bernhard, etc., lent their voices to Davis’ cause.
Hundreds of thousands signed a petition calling on the State of Georgia to spare Davis’ life. Former President Jimmy Carter decried the planned execution and author/film-maker Michael Moore called for an economic boycott of Georgia if Davis was executed.
However, few opponents of the death penalty in America have spoken out on the plight of Nadarkhani. Additionally, the so-called major media outlets have pretty much ignored the story.
The contrast between Davis and Nadarkhani could not be more stark.
Davis was convicted of murder in the first degree, which in Georgia can result in punishment by death.
Nadarkhani has been convicted of apostasy – leaving Islam, and attempting to proselyte, which under Sharia Law mandates execution.
Davis was convicted of murdering a police officer and given the death penalty. He had twenty years worth of appeals in which to establish his innocence. In the end all Davis’ appeals failed and his date for execution was set.
Nardarkhani has been sentenced to death because he left Islam and has been accused of attempting to proselyte Muslims.
He has repeatedly given the opportunity to recant his beliefs and, as a result, have his life spared. However, Nardarkhani has refused and faces execution.
Death penalty opponents rallied to passionately defend Davis while mostly ignoring the plight of the Nadarkhani. The media called attention to the story of Davis and has neglected Nadarkhani’s situation. What gives?
If one is opposed to the death penalty in each and every instance, then why not protest Nadarkhani’s pending execution?
Opponents of the death penalty protest even when those who are obviously guilty of murder are executed. Where is the outcry for a man being put death for choosing to convert to a different religion?
By the time you read this, Yousef Nadarkhani may well have been executed, martyred for his faith in Jesus Christ. If so, I doubt you will hear much about it from the so-called death penalty crowd in America.
It appears that many death penalty opponents in the U.S. are hypocrites of the first order. They seem to only oppose execution for some. If you are convicted of killing a police officer they scream at the top of their lungs that your life should be spared. If you are arrested for apostasy in a Muslim country and sentenced to death, well, you’re on your own.