Lawyer: Iranian Supreme Leader to weigh in on pastor’s execution
October 10th, 2011
11:35 AM ET

Lawyer: Iranian Supreme Leader to weigh in on pastor’s execution

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) –-  The possible hanging of an Iranian pastor, who may face execution for refusing to recant his Christian beliefs, reached the highest levels of the Iranian government over the weekend with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei being asked for his opinion on the possible death sentence.

Mohammad Dadkhah, attorney for Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, told CNN that Nadarkhani was still alive and that the court has asked the highest religious leader in Iran for his input. Though Khamenei has the ultimate authority in Iranian affairs, the move is unusual for a case that was supposed to be decided Monday.

Nadarkhani, the leader of a network of house churches in Iran, was first convicted of apostasy in November 2010, a charge he subsequently appealed all the way to the Iranian Supreme Court. In an appeals trial last month at a lower court in Gilan province, Nadarkhani refused to recant his beliefs.

After the trial, however, reports by the semi-official Fars News Agency on September 30 indicated that the charges against Nadarkhani have since changed and the pastor is now charged with rape and extortion. "This issue has nothing to do with his abandoning his religion," reported Fars.

"He is a Zionist and has committed security-related crimes," Gholomali Rezvanii said in the Fars News report. Renvanii is the deputy governor of Gilan province, where Nadarkhani was tried and convicted.

In a 2010 Iranian Supreme Court brief obtained by CNN, the charge of apostasy is the only charge listed.

"He [Nadarkhani] has stated that he is a Christian and no longer Muslim," states the brief.

"During many sessions in court with the presence of his attorney and a judge, he has been sentenced to execution by hanging according to article 8 of Tahrir – olvasileh."

The case has drawn international attention, with governments from around the world, including the United States, Britain and France, issuing statements on the fate of the pastor.

Nadarkhani "has done nothing more than maintain his devout faith, which is a universal right for people," a White House spokesman said in a statement. "That the Iranian authorities would try to force him to renounce that faith violates the religious values they claim to defend, crosses all bounds of decency and breaches Iran's own international obligations."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Interfaith issues • Iran

soundoff (955 Responses)
  1. Master Scott

    Islam; The religion of peace and tolerance NOT!!! I HATE MUSLIMS! ALL MUSLIMS!

    October 10, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • Qutubuddin

      DEAR FRIEND READ: The Torah states:
      If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which [is] as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; [Namely], of the gods of the people which [are] round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the [one] end of the earth even unto the [other] end of the earth; Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely KILL him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to DEATH, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And thou shalt STONE HIM with STONES, that he DIE; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
      —Deuteronomy 13:6–10

      October 10, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • Jesus

      True, BOTH the Bible and Koran are INTOLERANT of those who have a different God before them. KILLING the nonbeliever is mandated in BOTH books.

      October 10, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
    • KK

      The Torah and the quran are similar but the New Testament is much different from the two. Jesus taught us to love our neigbor.

      October 10, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
    • 2011cnn2011

      Maybe all Christian nations should start hanging people for being muslim....I mean since its ok and everything to hang someone for not believing the same as the majority...

      October 10, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
    • Patrick from Minnesota

      Well done. Hitler would be very proud.

      October 10, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
    • pepsee

      I told my husband to get my head examed if I started to worship god and shoot me if I converted to Islam.

      October 10, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • Brandon

      Anyone quoting Deuteronomy 13:6–10 in this case is taking scripture way out of context. That was an old covenant between the Israelites (God's chosen race) and God, back in old testament times. That covenant was done away with Christ's death and resurrection. Jesus came to save the lost, not kill people... Also, I think it's sad that people take an offended view point in the idea that there is only one true God. And if this is true, why wouldn't there be only one true way of attaining salvation? Instead, Christ is a stumbling block to unbelievers who are too prideful to look at the bigger picture. This world is the way it is because of us, and our decision to live our lives apart from our creator. Jesus is trying to rescue us, not condemn us. But no one is interested in looking at it from that perspective. Let's not look at the fact that our creator sent his own son to earth to die on a cross and take upon all of our sins for this very purpose. Sure, God is really just a big meanie wanting to send everyone to hell... People, we're fallen because of our own actions, not God's. We deserve death, but God has reconciled us to him. That's amazing and could only come from a loving God. I'm tired of people spinning off Christianity as some kind of doom and gloom religion. It's the opposite and the reason I have hope in this life. If someone is in a building on fire and a rope is thrown to help them escape, are they going to throw the rope back because there should be multiple ways of escape? But that is exactly what the majority of the world is doing.

      October 11, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • hmmm

      this statement is from old testimony... KK is right we live in 21th century, we need to live with New testimony, when Jesus said to love each other..."...Do not kill.." one of the Commandments!
      I am not religious, but i love God... when i talk to any of the muslis ppl, they are full of hate, anger, rudeness, bcoz u r not muslim im just wondering is this what their "god" teaches them?
      They do not respect ANYTHING! the only thing what i know, is if this man killed, then his life will be happy and easy as he will see Jesus, no more trouble, no more pain, he will be with JESUS!!! if he gets released, Praise God!

      October 11, 2011 at 12:21 am |
    • Michelle

      Hatred is not anything like the true God – whether God be Christian, jewish, muslim, etc – I am a Christian but I do not by any means believe that God would not welcome a son/daughter of His should they have been brought up by a different faith – after all, where does one usually begin the walk with a God? God does not punish but allows us to find Him in whatever religion that may be and He shows himself through the old testament and again in the new testament by sacraficing his only Son for us. Please don't be judgemental for any people who might be raised to believe something else as God and only God can touch them and no matter how they were raised or what they believe, He can send the Holy Spirit to show them Peace, love and forgiveness – we are all brothers in Christ even though some of us are not exposed to this love – this is the greatest commandment of God – "love thy neighbor as thyself". God put NO conditions on this and I am thankful for this as I surely would not want to be judged myself.

      October 11, 2011 at 1:19 am |
  2. Joel

    This isn't about apostasy, this isn't about Islam, this is a power struggle among factions within a corrupt, tyrannical government. Apostasy is simply a convenient excuse. If it wasn't that, they'd find some other pretext.

    October 10, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  3. OregonTom

    Something like this would NEVER happen in the western world. We in the west have learned by our mistakes. We once tortured the inocent for their beliefs. We kept slaves. We abused our women and children. It is time for the middle eastern mind to evolve.

    October 10, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • Larry L


      October 10, 2011 at 12:51 pm |

      Oh really? Where was the outcry from the political Right when doctors who performed abortions were murdered? It may not be as 'extreme' – YET – but allow our politics to be run by current fundamental zealots and the threat of some form of 'punishment' will return if strict adherance to one dominate group's religious interpretations – if not outright killing, then certainly the 'killing' of one's livelihood or dreams of success.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • Dee

      Many more women have died from abortions than the handful (and you can count on a few fingers) of abortionists have died since 1989. Islam has murdered probably into the millions by now. Just go to Africa and see the destruction for yourself. How can you even COMPARE?

      October 10, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Greg

      Okay, before you move into discussion on abortion and defending indeed totally incorrect outrageous act of killing a 'doctor' (I cannot really call anyone who harms people a doctor, for doctor is to heal and not to kill) please see 180movie dot com, and think if we really learned ANYTHING. We are as capable of killing as those rulers in Iran are. We are not only capable but we will. Country without God will have no choice as to fall down for no country can do without God, as well as no man can do without Him, who is source of love, light, truth, and goodness.

      October 11, 2011 at 3:39 am |
  4. steelerguin

    Just another chance for Islam to truly be the religion of peace and tolerance as they say they are. Hopefully, they won't fail (again) to show this. Unfortunately, this poor man will be charged with something, anything in a kangaroo court to convict him. He is a wonderful witness to others about Christianity.

    October 10, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • Chuckles

      I can't seem to find where it says that Iran speaks for the entire religion of Islam, can you please provide a link? Thanks

      October 10, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • Radioman909

      Well Chuckles, you show me the nation where Islam is the majority religion and in ever one of those nations they (Islam) persecute people's of other faith! That is a fact not my opinion and I dare you to prove me wrong? Iran is only showing the true colors of Islam and every Western nation is afraid to say so.

      October 10, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • Chuckles

      No Problem

      Take a look at indonesia, or the UAE. These nations are predominantly muslim and have problems of their own but generally do not persecute as heavily as you seem to think they do. It's cute though that you think Iran still somehow is the perfect spokesperson for islam because you dislike islam and iran is doing something you dislike in the name of islam.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • tayres

      "I can't seem to find where it says that Iran speaks for the entire religion of Islam, can you please provide a link? Thanks"

      Where are the Islam people stepping forward in Iran to defend this man and ask that he be freed? They sit silent and let the Iran speak for them. OH, thats right they cant speak up for him because then they too would be punished.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • J.W

      I think that Turkey is majority Muslim and they have freedom of religion.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • J.W

      It seems like it is more the Middle Eastern culture than the religion itself to me.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Chuckles


      I fail to see how this bolsters your point in anyway. So you're saying a tyrannical governement is holding its people hostage with a threat of violance against anyone who dissents and so even though you yourself just pointed out that there are people there who are against this violance, they're too afraid to step forward for fear for their lives. How does this make Iran anymore of a spokesman for Islam? Please think before you type, it'll probably save you from some embarras.sment in the future.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Patrick from Minnesota

      Don't blame Islam for this. Blame the so called "Islamic" Republic of Iran.

      October 10, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
  5. SoldierOfFortunes

    Those dusty history books deserve to be opened up and read. History depicts wars over religions, people, land and what ever other excuse to fight came up. What was wrong? What was lacking? then repeat the exercise for current events...ask the same two questions again. there is your answer. Humanity is connecting like never before with technologies ( internet, I phones, cell phones ect) and we can communicate and deliberate alot faster than any government can...sorry but true...
    so whatever happens to this guy is Iran to deal with, and they are aware of consequences that are frowned upon as well...
    I don't think they would waste their time for crimes not committed...USA is number one at that scam you know...lol..

    October 10, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
  6. Karen

    That man is a true Christian in the most sincere meaning of the term. I would rather die than say I don't believe in Jesus Christ our loving Saviour. For what good does it do any person to gain the world and lose his or her soul? As the the Holy Bible says, if anyone loses their life for Christ then they will surely gain a greater life.

    May God have mercy on his servant, Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani's, soul. May God protect and keep him and destroy his enemies.

    October 10, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Aaron

      That is so well said, I fell 100% the same way.

      GodBless Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani

      October 10, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • QS

      Gotta love how people of one religion can claim that this other religion promotes violence against others; then those same people making that accusation turn around and say they would never do such a thing....while asking their version of god to visit violence upon their enemies.

      One more reason why we non-believers look at all religious people through an extremely skeptical lens – on a very basic level all religions are the same and as long as each and every religion in existence claims to be the only true belief, then every other religion will, not unexpectedly, lash out violently to prove its dominance over other religions trying to do the same.

      Relgiion – it's the most ridiculous, hypocritical and counter-productive thing I think I've ever encountered in this life.

      October 10, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Larry L

      This is the same old nonsense religion always creates – my myth is better than yours... It is particularly amusing when the religious zeolots use the ancient language from their own theology to make a point with non-believers. All religions were written down in a book by people with an agenda. None of those writing can be validated and all have caused enormous death and destruction around the world. None of the super-heroes ever make an appearance yet the faithful all beg them for favors and eternal salvation. All of the gods get credit for good outcomes and bad outcomes are explained-away as "his mysterious ways...". It's all nonsense used to placate fearful people unable to come to terms with their own mortality.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • warmesTghosT

      Spot on, Larry.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • Dee

      That's why it's called faith. Why would a non-believer understand?

      October 10, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • joejoe

      religious zealotry run amuck

      October 10, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Cogito

      Actually Dee, I think the full and proper term is "BLIND Faith."

      October 10, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Greg

      @Karen: Jesus Christ does not want you to die for Him. He wants you to die for others. Including your enemies.
      Jesus Christ has use of our service. If we want to serve He wants us to serve others.
      He wants us to show the world that love really exists and this is not only a 'fabble'.
      Saint Francis said 'preach all the time and if in need use words.'

      @Laryl: I understand what you say and you believe in. But the same way I could say that you never existed for I never met you. And I definitively can reject any story about your ancestors that do not live any more. And please, don't show me their pictures. They are also falsifiable. You are no the lost position no matter what you can say. You are unable to prove God does not exist. But I can die to people who persecute me speaking to their hearts that God loves them so much, that His Only Son died also for them, and if He loves them so much, who am I not to love them too. God will do the rest. The history is filled with these cases (this history thing is for you. I don't need this prove. My hear has been already changed, and I know God exists and we exist out of His Love.)

      October 11, 2011 at 3:49 am |
  7. Steve

    This guy should be happy to become a 'martyr' for the christian faith and the Supreme Leader better watch his step or make all his meeting 'turban-bomb free'!!! LOL

    October 10, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  8. Tom

    and these people want nuclear weapons.

    October 10, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
  9. pat

    The scarriest religion is the one that claims 80 percent oft he population in my country. I always worry that in a democracy, they may be able to force control over my life.

    October 10, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • warmesTghosT

      Precisely. Despite all the fear mongering of the corporate media, American Christians scare me far more deeply than Islamist Extremists half a world away.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Dee

      What country do you think you're in? Oh, Hollywood. Just because you've been indoctrinated by liberals and didn't learn American History doesn't mean this country is somehow falling apart because of Christians. By all means, please move to a communist country that is so PC you won't be able to blink your eyes without a license.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
  10. Yakobi.

    Want proof there is no god? Because no supreme being in his right mind would put such a vast natural resource under the feet of such barbaric people.

    October 10, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • Bob

      What makes you think that God is obsessed with what we humans do? We may be no more important to Him than a culture in a petri dish.

      October 10, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Jesus

      The best evidence of intelligent design is the female human's mouth. It fits perfectly around my favorite organ! What other evidence do I need? Case closed!

      October 10, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
  11. Zeeman

    Off with his head, off with his head!

    October 10, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • Jesus

      Will they televise the beheading? I hear FOX TV needs some better ratings.

      October 10, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
  12. Jon

    It is interesting that brainwashed terroist supporters on these blogs defend how it is okay to kill people as part of the Islamic faith based on what people did hundreds of years ago as part of the crusades.

    Amazing. Even atheists will agree that Islam is a cult that breeds murder and bloodshed. Just ask any Evolutionary Biologist.

    October 10, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Can you please show me where one supposed "brain washed terrorist suppoter" is and what they have said to make you believe this statement has any merit whatsoever?

      October 10, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • J.W

      Give an example of one comment on here that supports terrorism.

      October 10, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • warmesTghosT

      All religions are cults that breed murder and bloodshed.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  13. Dorothy Pearce

    In response to Chuckles' comments, the pastor is apparently a man of character and integrity. He won't tell a lie or deny his God just so he can live. Many of us believe in living by our word. Yes, Bigot Alert. Bigots do not use reason, they simply react to what they have already decided. It would be well if you actually looked at the facts.

    October 10, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • Dorothy Pearce

      By the way, CNN, FOX has been reporting on this story for some time. This is the first I have seen on any other network. Congratulations for catching up.

      October 10, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Or dear Dorothy,

      It looks like you're not in Kansas (Fox) anymore.

      First and foremost, this is the third (count it, third) story that's shown up on CNN. I can promise fox news isn't exactly leading in that category.

      Secondly, that's fine by me that someone wants to stick to their guns and apparently have intergrity, it's funny you said many of us believe in living by our word because apparently for this guy that's a contradiction, he'll sure die by his word though. Tell me Dorothy, if this situation was happening to say, a Muslim in a christian area who refused to disavow Muhammed in favor of Jesus would you have the same reaction? Would you still call that man very brave because he was so sure that jesus was in just a guy who lived a little while ago and supposedly spoke to/was god?

      Please also don't give me that crap that the situation wouldn't happen because christians would never do that, because they have and if given the opportunity will again.

      (For all you DamianKnights and JW's out there I know that's again a very broad stroke over christianity, but you do know I mean the most conservative and fringe elements of christianity and not everyone)

      Lastly, Dorothy, I don't think you understood what I meant about Kuwait being a bigot. You see, he claims that Islam is not a religion because, for some reason, since Islam commands obediance and in some places uses violence to get that obediance that makes it less of a religion somehow, even though I'm fairly certain this same attribute can be found in pretty much every religion.

      October 10, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • James PDX

      I first read about this case on CNN weeks ago.

      October 10, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Trent

      CNN's been reporting on this for weeks. Get a clue.

      October 10, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  14. Vince

    Wow...a country that basis its laws on religion...that sounds horrible....hmmmm...where have I heard that idea floated around recently for the direction America should take....possibly a GOP debate?

    October 10, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  15. Darwin was right

    It's only after 300 years of brave opposition by SECULARISTS AND SKEPTICS that CHRISTIANS no longer have the power to hang and burn heretics and apostates. If you listen to the bigotry and hatred spewed by Evangelicals, you get the feeling that they would like to have that power back to punish people they don't agree with!

    October 10, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • QS

      Great point! Seems to me that every religion has the same inherent potential for theocratic tendencies as the next....it's just a simple matter of how much power and influence the rest of us are willing to allow these religions to amass.

      October 10, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • BEAR


      October 10, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Dee

      I don't know about evangelicals, but the 'hatred spewed' around these threads are from people like you who are clearly prejudiced against anyone who doesn't agree with your worldview.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • LUCY

      Here is something a little mind likes your should remember most European countries are officially Christian and they also have more human rights for all people then any other form of government, be they atheist or Muslim governments, They have no separation of church and state, and yet they allow anyone to practice their religion. . Christians or anyone who lives in a democracy have rights to debate on life style issue.

      its called democracy.

      October 11, 2011 at 2:01 am |
  16. Reality

    Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

    This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

    And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

    Current crises:

    The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

    October 10, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • BEAR

      My friend you are correct but you need to be careful. These fanatics have been known to find out who posted something and in one case came back and killed the entire family a few years back in NJ.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • Reality

      Saving Muslims is quite easy!!!
      The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:
      ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

      Are you ready?

      Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

      The First Five of the 77 Branches:

      "1. Belief in Allah"

      aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your cleansing neurons.

      "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

      Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

      "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

      A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

      "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

      Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

      Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

      Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

      "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)
      Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

      Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

      Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the "two-minute" cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.

      Analogous steps are available at your request for deprogramming the myths of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism..

      October 10, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Dee

      Bear, are you saying that we do not have freedom of speech to post on CNN out of fear that our families will be murdered? If this IS true, then we are all in far more danger than we ever believed possible.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • hmmm

      DEE..with these muslimic ppl, everything is possible...hehe...

      October 11, 2011 at 12:32 am |
  17. Jon

    This is proof that Islam is not a religion. Islam is a cult; plain and simple. It is no different that other cults that kill people based on their beliefs. Although I don't agree with Buddhists or Roman Catholics, they are religions. They do not kill people as part of their religious beliefs. Some people have claimed to be religous and kill others claiming it is part of their belief, but Islam directs people to kill other human beings to promote the Muslim "faith".

    October 10, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • Chuckles

      You sir, are a moron. Claiming one religion to be a cult and then to identify another cult and a philosophy and say they are different because they follow your definition of religion more than isalm is just plain moronic. You also disregard the fact that christianity tacitly and has in the past directed people to kill others in the name of jesus.

      Please, PLEASE point out that christianity says "thou shalt ot kill" and I'll tell you exactly why you have completely misread that specific commandment and what it actually means.

      October 10, 2011 at 12:05 pm |

      Hey Jon, although I consider myself a Christian, I'm wondering if you've EVER bothered to research the murders, genocide, and innumerable atrocities carried out in the name of Christianity? I mean, research the so-called "Holy" Crusades (an effort to recover the 'riches' in Jerusalem), the Spanish Inquisitions, the approval of the Slave Trade throughout Europe, North & South America, the genocidal practices here in America in the name of "converting" Native Americans??!!! It is exactly your type of denigrating rhetoric that will certainly bring about Armegeddon!!

      October 10, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • James PDX

      Pray tell, Chuckles, what exactly does the bible mean when it says "thou shalt not kill"?

      October 10, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Emilio Largo

      Of all the idiotic tripe I'll read today, I'm pretty sure this one will be the hands-down stupidest. To steal a quote from Billy Madison:

      "...what you have just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul. "

      October 10, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Chuckles


      I'm glad you asked! Well when it says "thou shalt not kill" it applies to ONLY Jewish people, it is prefectly acceptable, nay enoucraged, to kill someone who isn't jewish for any number of reasons. Jesus preaches the same shtick and it was only until Paul came along and opened up the jewish monotheism to the gentiles that it started to apply to a much greater portion of the world. However to this day, it's actually doctrinally fine for a christian to say, kill a muslim because the "thou shalt not kill" commandement really only refers to other christians.

      October 10, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • J.W

      What about when Jesus said love your enemies? I think our enemies would certainly include some people who are not Christian.

      October 10, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • Chuckles


      I could love you all the way up to killing you. Love doesn't exclude murder, it just means that you understand where they are coming from and will probably give you less reason to kill them, however it's not exactly a sin if you do end up killing them anyway.

      October 10, 2011 at 12:42 pm |

      @Chuckles: Wrong again, and frightening so! Jesus Christ was about to be crucified, and the people cried for the release of "Barnabas", in exchange, a Zealot who killed anyone that went against the Jewish faith. What does the Bible call this man, this 'hero' of the people? A MURDERER!! GOD is the ONLY justified "judge" of us all – be careful of your words which one day you WILL have to answer for!!

      October 10, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Hey RAYINNJ

      I think I'll take my chances, but thanks for your concern/gibberish. Please though, tell me what it's like when meet Hades in the underworld and he laughs as your idiotic misconception that you were even close to being write.

      October 10, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • Chuckles

      or "right" as I meant to write.....

      October 10, 2011 at 1:09 pm |

      @Chuckles: You tell ME, when you meet the Lord face-to-face! Talk about "gibberish", your rant(s) border on the insane if you truly believe killing ANYONE except Jews is fine under the teachings of the Bible. But you have the right to your "belief" but NOT to act according to that belief. When it comes to you however, you have me wondering....!

      October 10, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • J.W

      I don't know if I see that. I cannot imagine murdering someone I love.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • Chuckles


      Well first of all, I think you have completely misjudged me if you think I actually BELIEVE that crap. I think it's as stupid as having to keep kosher or not wearing clothing because of the materials. However, to ignore that those are the teachings is sugarcoating history in a way I find unacceptable. If you really believe that the jewish teachings do not condone any violence or killing, then look at the laws of what the punishment of killing a slave is, or the fact that its totally fine to kill a group of unbelievers and only ok to kill a jew if its done so accidentally.

      @JW let me be a little clearer, Jewish teaching, or the later teachings of jesus doesn't exactly say "go forth and kill every person who isn't jewish" or with jesus's update "do that, but you have to love them first" What it means is that if you were to kill someone who isn't jewish, it wouldn't be considered as breaking a commandment or a law, Jesus telling you to love your enemies, it was his hope that violence would subside if everyone loved each other, some real hippy crap there, but jesus asking you to love your enemy doesn't exactly say anything about killing or not killing him.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • J.W

      Yeah Chuckles he does not exactly say that. I guess I just assume that would be true. Usually the only ones that kill people they love are insane people.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • Chuckles


      Have you ever read Ender's Game (one of my all time personal favorites)? The way that Ender ends up killing the buggers is by loving them so completely he understands them, and then he kills them. You could argue that maybe he is insane at this moment, but he's not really supposed to be. Basically my point is, you're right that usually the people killing their loved ones are crazy and we see them as criminally insane, however I think the term "love" is too broad sometimes (like in this instance), loving someone could be a host of different things and I think loving your enemy is not the same as loving your family, or your friends or your phone or so on.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • J.W

      You are right that loving your enemy and loving your family are different. I see loving your family as being unconditional love. Loving your enemies I do not see this way, but rather more as an understanding and an acceptance. But if you understand an accept your enemy you will have the desire to be at peace with them.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Unless they don't love you back. I mean, this might bleed over into the "self-defense" postion, but no matter how much you love your enemy, or commanded to do so, they're aren't going to love you back and if they do something where you need to kill them, I don't think jesus would exactly send you straight to hell for such an act, whether you kill them because they're about to kill you in turn, or they try and kill someone in your family, or any number of reasons.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  18. DamianKnight

    This is really sad. Regardless of your religious beliefs, or lack thereof, that a man can be executed for his faith is a terrible injustice.

    October 10, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Chuckles

      I agree though I don't know whats sadder, that a person will be killed simply for his ideals, or the fact that this man can't recant and save himself, his life. It would be a lot easier for him to say he isn't a believer anymore, get free and leave the country that wants to kill him for another place that won't hang him for being an apostate.

      October 10, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • J.W

      Would you say that you believe in Jesus just to save your life Chuckles?

      October 10, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • Chuckles


      If someone had a gunt o my head and said, I will kill you right now unless you confess Jesus as lord and savior I would do so in a heartbeat. Because words are just that, words. I can say something and not mean it, it's what separates us from the animals, we can lie.

      October 10, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • J.W

      What if they sense that you are lying so the get mad and kill you for that. If you say no I wont do that they will probably respect you and let you go.

      October 10, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • DamianKnight


      This is where we differ, I suppose. I'd do the same thing the pastor is. Let 'em kill me. At least I know I never faulted in my faith.

      October 10, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • James PDX

      Personally, I'd simply tell them they are insane for claiming I believe in fairytales.

      October 10, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Chuckles

      I mean, it all depends on the hypothetical situation more than anything else. I mean, if it's one person with a gun I think it would be easier to lie than to say, a governement. The crux of the matter is, and I've been seeing it across all the boards that are about this story, many people are commending this man for sticking to his guns and is willing to die for what he believes in. On its head I can agree to that, I think if you believe in something so much that you are willing to die for it, our society has actually deemed it an admirable thing. However, maybe it's my darwinian impulse speaking, but comitting such self-destructive behavior, to die for something that in mind is literally nothing all for the promise that he may, just may be welcomed into this mythical heaven because he chose the right brand of christianity seems just crazy to me. I mean, if I could some true, beneficial way in which is death could serve a purpose, some way that would have a direct effect on society, or his family or anyone I could even understand that. But what it sounds like to me is that he decided he wanted to be a christian and when he was threatened with death he did an apparently "nobel" act by refusing to cooperate and will ultimately die and his sacrifice forgotten because he worshipped the same god in a different way and apparently that's a big enough deal to kill/die for.

      October 10, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • Chuckles


      And you wouldn't take door #3? I still fail to see how just saying you don't believe in jesus is enough for him to go back on his word. I mean, if your relationship with god is really just between you and him and you both knew in your heart you totally beleive in him and jesus was him/his son, then what do words matter? Words are wind.

      October 10, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • DamianKnight


      I suppose it comes down to Luke 12:8 "“I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God. "

      I don't agree with lying to anyone. That doesn't mean I haven't lied ever, I just think it's wrong, regardless of the reason. And that's a really, really hard thing to do. And I know, the example is, "What if you were hiding Jews in your house and the Nazis came knocking on the door and asked if there were any Jews in your household?" And I don't have a good answer for it.

      October 10, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Chuckles


      Ok, but do you believe in that quote or do you believe in your heart that god would forgive you if you said you didn't believe in him outloud to save your life? We've already discussed that you at least read the bible with a grain of salt, would these be one of those times?

      I totally get that lying in general should be avoided, but you don't even make exceptions to that rule for good purposes? I mean you've used a good example, but what about something as small as a "honey does this sweater make me look fat?" The answer might not be a "yes" but it may not be a "not at all" either, do you think that sometimes lies are necessary and can ultiamtely be harmless if used correctly?

      October 10, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • J.W

      You would say there is more of you to love dear. Oh wait is this why I don't have a girlfriend?

      October 10, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • DamianKnight


      I think you are fundamentally asking three seperate questions. The first is, "Is lying wrong?", the second is, "Will God forgive you?" and the third is "What would you (Damian) do?"

      The answer to the first, I think that lying is wrong, regardless. The Bible is clear. "Thou shalt not bear false witness." I don't think that needs any interpretation or can really be construed in any other way. Lying is wrong, regardless of the justification.

      The answer to the second is, I believe God would forgive me for lying. 1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." I believe Jesus forgave Peter when Peter denied Him. But the point is, don't live for forgiveness. It is better to not sin at all, than to ask for forgiveness.

      The answer to the third is, spiritually, I'd rather die than renounce my faith. However, I'm under no delusion that it would be an easy decision. I want to live and it would take a lot to sign myself over to death. Matthew 26:41 "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." Even Jesus was troubled by his impending death for God. Matthew 26:39 "Going a little farther, he (Jesus) fell with his face to the ground and prayed, 'My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.' "

      For your second point, you're referring to the "white lie." It's still lying and spiritually speaking, it's still a sin. Many times, you don't have to lie to answer a question like that and can still spare a person's feelings. "Sweetheart, I think other clothes look better on you. That sweater is not my favorite. You know what I really like? That blue blouse you wear sometimes. It really makes you stand out and look stunning!" See? Most women shouldn't be offended by that. You were still honest, but you spared her feelings.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Chuckles


      Interesting points. So you think there is never, ever any justification for lying ever? I understand that the bible does in fact expressly forbid it, but I guess to merge the 1st and 3rd question, can you ever think of a time where lying is completely justified? I mean, you brought up the hiding of jews during the 1940's but didn't really have an answer, you don't think theres a little justification in that?

      I do like the idea of living a life that you shouldn't have to apologize for later, but in the face of death does that really make sense? I mean you would much rather die than live and apologize? That seems completely bonkers to me to choose death over life because you would rather not repent in the future.

      As for the white lie part, that was just one example, but what about say, The tooth fairy, easter bunny and santa clause. Sure, there are times where you don't have to tell a white lie in favor of the truth and still stay out trouble, however what is the harm of a white lie now and then? Is it a strictly religious thing or do you think its more of a core character thing?

      October 10, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • DamianKnight


      Ok, going into Christian-talk here, so you've been warned. 🙂 Ok, you know the scripture in Genesis where God created man in His own image? (I'm absolutely positive that a learned, intelligent person such as yourself does, but for those also following, Genesis 1:27) I don't necessarily believe that is a physical likeness, as in, God looks like a human. I believe that God created man in three seperate parts. God has three distinct parts that make Him up. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Man has three parts. Flesh, Soul, and Spirit. The flesh is our physical body and our instinctual desires. Soul is our creativity and our independant thought. And Spirit is the part that communes with God. And the three parts can war against each other. A simple example is a Christian who is randy and wants to have se.x before marriage, but spiritually he knows it's wrong. Flesh desires se.x, spirit does not.

      Now why do I mention all of this? Spiritually speaking, God says lying is wrong. I can make all manner of justifications and reasons, why it makes sense for me to lie (like the hiding Jews from Nazi example) and on the flesh side, it absolutely makes sense! On the spiritual side, God still sees lying as a sin, because God is a being of Truth. We are supposed to live in the Spirit and not in the Flesh. And that is incredibly difficult and all of us fail (hence the reason for Christ's crucifixtion.)

      I have long thought about that, and I dunno what God thinks about Santa, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy. One can argue this numerous ways, and just like the Death Penalty discussion we had a week or so ago, I can see all sides of that discu.ssion. Because **SPOILER ALERT** you are flat out lying to kids since there is no Santa, nor an Easter Bunny, nor a Tooth Fairy.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • joejoe

      forget Iran – if you're black and live in Georgia you can be executed for a crime you didn't commit.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Chuckles


      Ok, I guess here is where I ask, aren't you relying too much on the bible? What's the maximum amount of lines you can quote and follow before you have to stop and say we need to glean the good moral from this and not believe its actually word of god or trying to dictate gods mind?

      I also find it had to believe that the christians that hid jews from the nazis would have to atone for the lying they did, I mean, do you not find that the least bit ridiculous? I mean, I get it, lying is a no-no but there HAS to be exceptions to the rule, whether they be yours or the big guy upstairs, we've both gone over what sort of person or being that deals in absolutes is.

      I also still fail to see why having premarital se.x is wrong, I mean I know that god forbids it, but this ties back into denying instinct, which I find nuts!

      As for lying about Santa: This can relate to the my issue above. I think you will probably tell me that god will punish a christian for lying to a nazi to save a jewish persons life just as much as a parent lying to a child about Santa, which is say not at all. Then again, it's only in our perception that both of these things are harmless or even good. What if god actually backed the nazi's and his followers that went against his word are actually being punished more?

      This is for debates sake and I would like to believe that if there is a god he probably didn't back the nazi's, but god has been known to back genocide so it's not a completely ridiculous as.sertion.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • DamianKnight


      You seem stuck on "well he reads it with a grain of salt, therefore he must not ascribe to it at all." And that's not what I meant. My point was, I have to take everything as one person (the author's) perspective. That doesn't mean I don't believe what the author said, it means I recognize there is some bias there. Similar to when you read a news story on (our beloved) CNN. Do you take everything as cold, hard facts? No, you recognize there is a bias, but there are basics of the story there that need to be accounted for. That's what I mean. I recognize the bias. The reason I was quoting the Bible was to backup my point from scripture.

      As to your idea of absolutes, yup, you're right. It's very difficult and nearly impossible to deal in absolutes. This is one of the conflicts of being Christian. Trying to be like Christ in a world where Christ is denied. I'm not positive on the idea of if Christians who hid the Jews from the Nazis had to repent. All I know is, the Bible says lying is wrong. So how do we judge that? Well, we don't. That's why Christ said, "Judge not, lest ye be judged." Because just like the authors of the Bible, you and I have a bias and sometimes we can't see past that bias. Therefore, we can't judge anyone's actions ultimately fairly because we all have an opinion and we may (and probably don't) have all of the facts. It is why, my friend, I have never judged you for your beliefs and tried to answer your questions to best of my ability. 🙂

      As for why premarital se.x is wrong, I think STDs and unwanted pregnancies are good enough reasons. Also people get emotionally hurt because se.x is the most intimate thing you can share with another human being. Plus, I think you'd agree, we'd be a bunch of angry apes if we didn't sometimes deny our instincts. That's what civilization seems to do; force us to deny our instincts for the betterment of everyone. And if you disagree with me, I'll throw poo at you. 🙂 Regardless, the righteousness of premarital se.x wasn't my point. My point was, if a person is trying to be a Christian AND have premarital se.x, they're conflicting their spirit and flesh at best, and being a hypocrite at worst.

      "This is for debates sake and I would like to believe that if there is a god he probably didn't back the nazi's, but god has been known to back genocide so it's not a completely ridiculous as.sertion."

      Ah-ha! I got you to postulate that there could be a God! I so win! :PPPP Just kidding. Yeah, I don't think God condoned the Nazis.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • J.W

      Throwing poo Damian? You must have evolved from a monkey.

      October 10, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      Yup, JW. Maybe you will too someday. 😛

      October 10, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • Chuckles


      Ok I can back off on the "grain of salt" thing but it really is more to get a feel for what exactly you do read as purely gods will and what you read thinking it's the authors way to illustrate a point and short of asking to go through every line of the bible to say yes or not, this is my only avenue.

      I also concede you are right that we deny some basic instincts in order to operate as a society, I guess it's when we deny such a basic, instinctual need like survival, to live that really boggles my mind. I mean, sacrifice is all well and good when the goal of the sacrifice is clear, but something like this just really confuses me and is somethng that I don't think I will ever understand about religion.

      Also I will freely admit that there very well could be a god, I just find it highly unlikely,


      October 10, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  19. BobZemko

    Gee, d'ya think Iran will eventually come into at least the 19th Century?

    October 10, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • victim of democrat hypocrisy

      No. I see them degenerating into the 14th Century...with nuclear weapons.

      October 10, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
  20. Kuwait

    Islam is not a religion (religion is not Dictate or put fear on people)

    October 10, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • Chuckles

      I'm confused, are you saying that because Islam fits the defintion of religion in every single way except in your definition we should go back to Websters and tell them to tweak it? Why is that, is Islam an affront to religions everywhere?

      Bigot alert!

      October 10, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • Kuwait

      Qur'an:9:5 "Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war."

      I gave up on the child rappist!

      October 10, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • James PDX

      What a silly OPINION. Doesn't Christianity claim that if you are a sinner and/or do not accept Jesus as the son of God and your savior that you will be sent to Hell for an eternity of horrific damnation and torture? That sounds like they are trying to scare you into joining their CULT to me. Clearly, by your own definition, Christianity is not a religion.

      October 10, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Greg

      @Kuwait: 'no religion' does not exist. The fact that Atheist openly reject God they unwillingly claim that there is something to fight for. And their religion is 'God – to me you are dead.' It is an ultimate denial and hell on Earth.
      Islam IS a religion, for it defines Muslim relationship with God. It does not mean that they really know God and they really know who God is and what God wants. They simply follow rules and most of them without using logic (same as in case of atheists)
      @James PDX: No. Christianity says that God does not need us, so His Love for us is without interest. He loves us so much that He sent His Only Son to die on the Cross for us. Christianity says that Love, Goodness, etc comes from God, and only from God, and it is His Grace that He gives to all of us accordingly to how we accept it. He is NOT a man with an ego. He does not change His love for us. It is us who can only reject him, and the way we reject is through sin. And if we do not repent we will land in this dark place where is willing and grinding of teeth. Hell already starts here in Earth and people, who reject God's warnings about how we make His Mercy and Love void, are already there, seemingly alive, but half dead. Living a lie trying to prove others that they are happy while they are doing whatever it takes to feel something (through alcohol, drugs, using other people for pleasure.) Christianity says that no one can come the the Father (God-Head) except through Him. It does NOT mean that people not knowing Christ will be damned. Jesus Christ is Truth (yes, Truth is a person, and not an idea.) Everyone who dies will HAVE to meet Christ. We will be judged not by how much we suffered but how much we loved. No matter, Christians, Muslim, atheists. Those who WILL reject Christ will reject Heaven (for you will have there, if you hated love here, and God cannot force you to be there, for it would be very, very bad place for you, and it would be against your free will.)
      So bottom line – Christ died for everyone. Not everyone will accept Him at the end. We are saved not through knowledge of Christ but through His merits on the Cross. We all will meet Christ at the end, so there will be no one left without chance to meet Christ.
      BUT there is one thing. Those, who reject Christ knowing Who Christ is, are much more responsible for what they do (yes, in case of Christianity knowing the law and breaking it will be punishable.)
      God Bless you.

      October 11, 2011 at 4:06 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.