Friday, February 16, 2007

Be Careful What You Pray For...

Well folks, the same group of people who are constantly calling for having God put into politics, are now engaged in prayers, because of God being part of politics.

Uzbec map from CIA's World FactsOfficials in Uzbekistan have arrested Dmitry Shestakov (a.k.a. Pastor David), a Pentecostal preacher for inciting religious hatred, insulting Islam and distributing banned literature. Evangelical leaders in Uzbekistan, and elsewhere are crying foul saying that Shestakov's arrest is part of a pattern of religious intolerance by the government of this predominantly Islamic nation.

The Russian Orthodox Church is recognized by and registered with the government, as are some other Christian groups, but according to the Uzbek authorities, Shestakov was preaching without permission.

While I, by no means, support arresting people because of their religion, Uzbekistan's government and religious leaders make some good points about Shestakov and his ilk.

Some of Uzbekistan's Imams feel that Shestakov's arrest is a good thing because he and other pentecostal missionaries "set out their traps and our young people fall into them. We must punish in the harshest way those who poison the minds of our youth." Uzbek government spokesmen have questioned Shestakov’s being a real pastor because, "Earlier he abused alcohol and was dependent on drugs and now he presents himself as pastor David."

These claims have been confirmed by Shestakov's wife who also added that the good pastor had been in prison "several times." It has also been confirmed that Shestakov has been officially warned twice before about his "illegal religious activities."

The only person who has been allowed to see the pastor is his personal lawyer. According to Shestakov's followers his getting his own lawyer instead of a state appointed lawyer was in answer to their prayers. They didn't say why they didn't just get him released by praying for that.

Let me reiterate that I don't favor religious oppression, but if Pentecostals and other Evangelicals are going to rant and rave about having religion in government then they should shut up, and obey the laws put in place when a god is put into government. It is this exact type of situation that Jefferson saw happening in the American colonies and was trying to avoid by "building a wall of separation between Church & State." A wall which American Evangelicals are constantly trying to tear down.

Of course the issue here for Evangelicals would seem to be that it is not necessarily religious oppression that is the issue, but rather that this time they aren't the ones trying to oppress. When Evangelical leaders like Pat Robertson call Muslims "evil," and "Satanic," then compare the to Hitler and, say that Islam "is not a peaceful religion that wants to coexist. They want to coexist until they can control, dominate and then, if need be, destroy,", it is alright, but when drug addict/Evangelical preachers are called bad people it is "intolerance." When Evangelicals like Jerry Falwell say that America cannot accommodate ideas "that are diametrically opposed to Christian truth," it is "God's will," but when one of theirs is arrested for trying to control, and dominate children it is oppression.

Where are these self-proclaimed champions of tolerance when atheists are attacked by Christians, because they don't believe in God, or even when Evangelical Christians attack other Christians because they worship the same god differently (occurrences of which have according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have risen sharply in the last few years)? They were standing behind the attackers pressing them on, that's where.

Evangelicals, and other religious folk, need to stand back and face the truth--you can't have it both ways: if religion is involved with government things like this are inevitable, so my advice to these hypocrites is simple:
Shut the Hell up! And, Be careful what you pray for

Technorati Tags:

No comments: