Cranmer is right about this:
It really is quite incredible. Last week, a convicted murderer, Troy Davis, was finally executed in the United States, and it seemed as though the entire British (and EU) Establishment arose to denounce the barbarism. Even Pope Benedict XVI appealed for clemency.Yet today, Iran is scheduled to hang a Christian pastor for ‘apostasy’, and the collective silence from our scurvy politicians, trappist churchmen and hypocritical media is positively deafening.Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani was found guilty two years ago of ‘apostasy’, even though he was never a practising Muslim. His guilt was determined because he ‘has Muslim ancestry’ (which is a kind of convenient catch-all in a place like Iran), and he was sentenced to death. That sentence may be suspended if he renounce his faith. This week, in court, he has twice refused to recant. A third refusal today will result in his execution.[...] But this story does not involve ‘apartheid Israel’ or the ‘barbaric United States’. It is simply about one Christian in Iran who wants to worship God in spirit and in truth, in accordance with the Gospel of Christ. The British media won’t care much for that. So thank God for the blogs who can point you in the direction of the Iranian Embassy (or via here). Please make your protests known. Perhaps a word of support from the Foreign Secretary? Or is he too busy condemning Israel? The Prime Minister? Too preoccupied with planning? The Archbishop of Canterbury, perhaps? O, forget it.
As I say, all of this is accurate. But little of it is surprising, though not perhaps for some of the reasons some might think.
It is not Pastor Nadarkhani’s faith that has prevented his looming execution from becoming a cause celebre. No, it is the nature of the Iranian regime. There is less of an outcry about this act of barbarism because, alas, it is just the kind of barbarism we expect from Iran. We ask, or perhaps hope, for better things from the United States (and Israel too) because we recognise them as civilised countries.
There is a double-standard but it flatters the United States (and Israel). We hold no such hope for the Iranian regime and, though protests are worthy and necessary things, we do not expect that the awful Iranians might listen to any protests. That does not mean we should not protest and Cranmer is correct to note the Foreign Secretary’s apparent silence.
I dare say there are exceptions to this and that there really are people who think the US and Israel no better or not much different from Iran. But there is no need to waste too much time on souls as poor as those. Nevertheless, in case anyone is in any doubt: the government of Iran is in every respect a vile regime and the execution of Pastor Nadarkhani can only confirm that. We should protest and the press should do more to expose the true nature of the Iranian state but any failure to do so does not mean it is wrong to be appalled by the manner in which Georgia or Texas executes people either. Iran (and China) are worse but just being better than Iran and China is not much of an accolade.Tags: Americana, Death penalty, Iran, Israel