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Christian pastor - once sentenced to death in Iran - is released, group says
September 8th, 2012
05:26 PM ET

Christian pastor - once sentenced to death in Iran - is released, group says

By Michael Martinez, CNN

(CNN) - A Christian pastor sentenced to death in Iran for apostasy was reunited with his family Saturday after a trial court acquitted him, said a nonprofit group monitoring the case.

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, born to Muslim parents and a convert to Christianity by age 19, was released after being held in prison for almost three years under a death sentence, said Tiffany Barrans, international legal director of the American Center for Law and Justice.

Setting aside the death sentence, a trial court convicted Nadarkhani of a lesser charge - evangelizing Muslims - and declared that his prison sentence had already been served, Barrans said.

His case drew international attention after his October 2009 arrest, and the 34-year-old pastor refused to recant his Christian beliefs.

Nadarkhani was greeted by his wife and two small sons upon his release, but it's unclear whether the pastor will continue preaching, said the center, a conservative organization founded by television evangelist Pat Robertson.

"His ability to preach in Iran, I don't know," Barrans told CNN. "But I think at this point, he's going to have to some time to assess the situation and all the emotions wrapped up in that before he makes any decision."

Persecution of religious minorities in the Muslim country remains a problem, Barrans said. Hundreds of Christians are arrested, detained for months and then released without formal charges "as an intimidation tactic," she said.

As an ordained minister, Nadarkhani led a network of house churches in Iran.

He was arrested in 2009 after he lodged a protest with local education officials after learning his child was being forced to read from the Quran, the Muslim holy book, in school.

He was charged with apostasy and convicted in a provincial court - which sentenced him to death.

He appealed, and during a trial in a lower court, refused to recant his beliefs.

The case made its way to the Supreme Court, which said Nadarkhani's sentence could be overturned if he recanted. The pastor refused.

On Saturday, he was released by a trial court in the Gilan Province, Barrans said. The pastor had been held in Lakan prison in the same province, she said. Nadarkhani is from the province's city of Rasht.

Even though the constitution of Iran - a predominantly Shiite Muslim country - guarantees equality to members of religious minorities, that has not been the case in practice.

And while apostasy is not an offense codified in Iranian law, converts from Islam often face the death penalty, Amnesty International said.

Persecution has increased since Iran's disputed presidential election in 2009, with Baha'is, Christian converts and even Sunni Muslims bearing the brunt.

In April 2010, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom reported a rise in church raids and harassment of worshippers by Iranian authorities.

And Amnesty International, in a report released earlier this year, said "repeated calls by the Supreme Leader and other authorities to combat "false beliefs" - apparently an allusion to evangelical Christianity, Baha'ism and Sufism - appear to have led to an increase in religious persecution."

In February, the White House issued a pointed statement in the Nadarkhani case, strongly condemning the reports of an execution order.

"This action is yet another shocking breach of Iran's international obligations, its own constitution, and stated religious values," the statement said. "The United States stands in solidarity with Pastor Nadarkhani, his family, and all those who seek to practice their religion without fear of persecution - a fundamental and universal human right. "

From small churches to large organizations, Nadarkhani's case has galvanized American Christians.

The Voice of the Martyrs, an organization that monitors and attempts to assist with persecuted and minority churches around the world, has closely followed Nadarkhani's case and other developments involving Christians in Iran.

But the issue has not been solely spearheaded by Christian groups; Muslim organizations have also been vocal about condemning Iran.

The American Center for Law and Justice - a group "specifically dedicated to the ideal that religious freedom and freedom of speech are inalienable, God-given rights" - was asked by the pastor's lawyers last year to help publicize Nadarkhani's case, according to Jodran Sekulow, executive director of the group.

The ACLJ organized a Twitter campaign called "Tweet for Youcef."

The group says the campaign has been reaching more than 2.5 million Twitter accounts in 234 countries and territories around the globe each day.

In March, the U.S. House of Representatives passed on a 417-1 vote a resolution condemning Iran for imprisoning Nadarkhani, while calling for his immediate release.

In a letter posted May 30 on Voice of the Martyrs website, Nadarkhani seemed a bit taken aback by all the attention his case was garnering and by those using it for political purposes.

"I want to appreciate all those (who) are trying to reach this goal," he said. "At the end I hope my freedom will be prepared as soon as possible ..."

CNN's Dan Merica and Ed Payne contributed to this report.

 

- shirleyhenrycnn

Filed under: Christianity • Iran

soundoff (791 Responses)
  1. Steve Wilkinson

    Great news... as there should be religious freedom (and freedom of conscience) as a basic right.

    That said, he technically isn't Christian.

    September 9, 2012 at 12:51 am |
  2. rosethornne

    What a revolting place.
    We were there a couple hundred years ago, and if Romney Ryan Santorum and their ilk have their way, we will be there again.

    September 9, 2012 at 12:50 am |
  3. Hera

    I am happy to see this Christian freed from prison. It would be nice if he and his famly could come to America rather then seeing the continued immigration of Muslims into the US.

    September 9, 2012 at 12:46 am |
    • Angela Birch

      No evidence he and his family want to come to America, everyone doesn't.

      September 9, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • solomon

      Why is he supposed to come to America? He is not interested in that.Where ever God is that is the right place to live. If he comes to America American preachers teach him how to beg for money instead of living a true christian life.

      September 9, 2012 at 1:02 am |
  4. Reality

    One more time for our sisters and brothers of Islam,

    TAKE TWO MINUTES, READ THE FOLLOWING AND CHANGE YOUR LIVES FOREVER:

    From the studies of Armstrong, Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Richardson and Bayhaqi----–

    The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

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

    ( –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 self-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) alone."

    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.

    September 9, 2012 at 12:36 am |
    • Phazon

      Wow really?

      September 9, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • Phazon

      There is most certainly a God and you will hold your hand upon your head in lament.

      September 9, 2012 at 12:48 am |
    • End Religion

      If you've never smoked pot, don't. You'll only kill the buzz for everyone else.

      September 9, 2012 at 12:48 am |
    • brunette_barbie_SC

      If you don't believe in God and the fact that we are on this earth to learn and progress through trials and errors, fully understand ing what it feels like to go through things and sympathize with others, then you might as well just kill yourself now. Why continue your life if there is nothing after this? Because YOU DO THINK there is a reason and purpose to this life and YOU DO BELIEVE IN GOD. i think you just must be jealous of others or mad at God for not giving you everything you want. Try being humble and walking by faith.

      September 9, 2012 at 1:06 am |
    • End Religion

      @barbie: "If you don't believe in God and the fact that we are on this earth to learn and progress through trials and errors, fully understand ing what it feels like to go through things and sympathize with others, then you might as well just kill yourself now."

      Very Christian of you. i'm sure Jesus would weep that you're a follower and yet so vulgar as to presume you decide who lives and dies on the planet.

      "Why continue your life if there is nothing after this? Because YOU DO THINK there is a reason and purpose to this life and YOU DO BELIEVE IN GOD"

      I continue life because its fun. I also spawned a little devil and cherish every moment I spend teaching her about the hypocrisy of religious people. My only goals in life are to have fun, be nice to people until they deserve otherwise, and make enough money to put a roof over my head and food on the table. I don't see any purpose or reason to be here other than to spawn. Please know that while you are shouting at me that I believe in god because I won't kill myself, what you're really doing is projecting your own beliefs onto me. it's common for religious folks to not actually see any beauty in the world, and to fear they'd commit suicide if not for their belief in invisible friends. Just remember courage is not the absence of fear, its moving forward in the face of it. There's a lot of wonderful things in the world and none of it is brought to you by god.

      "i think you just must be jealous of others or mad at God for not giving you everything you want. Try being humble and walking by faith."

      Occasionally I'm a little jealous of people who have more money but I think its natural for most to wish they could make just a little more. Maybe a little nicer car or a little bigger house or a little better neighborhood. Heck some people are just jealous wishing they could have a little more food. Jealousy seems pretty common to me. But if you watch any TV its pretty easy to see that people who have a little more money are just the same. They want a little more too, and they sometimes have worse problems. So I actually feel pretty lucky to have the life I have. I don't have any problems a little more money would cure, and a little more money might make a little more trouble. I have a beautiful healthy child who gets straight A's. I live in a beautiful part of the country. I have worked hard to create a company so I can work from home. I have a few nice friends. It ain't perfect but it could be a heck of a lot worse.

      Of course I'm not mad at god. I don't believe there's one to be mad at. And as for humble, sister, i grow weary of the religious hypocrisy on this front. Your post exudes the opposite of humbleness yet you preach on about it. You are the perfect example of why Atheism is on the rise. Folks are tired of your smug hypocrisy and ignorance.

      Just for the record, whether you believe it or not, I am a Unitarian Minister. So when you preach to me, get your facts straight, even if they're religious "facts". And maybe you should begin asking forgiveness. I don't know if jesus would be too happy with you urging a Minister to commit suicide.

      September 9, 2012 at 1:50 am |
    • Francisco

      Believe it or not, but reading your points after all their beliefs, you actually making me become a muslim. Because what they believe in is WAY better than your way that none of that exists and believe in the big bang lmao. So how did the big bang come to happen? who created the big bang? Who created the atom? I mean, the way you believe just makes no sense. Stop posting this because you will make people become muslims.

      Now, lets try this for a second. GOD exists, GOD created EVERYTHING and that is how everything became to be!. ahhhhhhh Much better........ Lucifer was kicked out of heaven and he took 1/3 of the angels with him. He was able to change 1/3 of the angels minds that God was actually trying to be too controlling. So then Lucifer came to earth that God had created in SEVEN days, making the sabbath or the seventh day HOLY even before Adam was created. (so no, sabbath did not come from the Jews). Satan travaled to all the other planets with life that God created be he was not able to trick anyone until he came to Planet Earth and was able to trick Eve into eating the Apple. That certain tree had some fruits (people name it the apple) God told Adam and Eve NOT to eat, so that way he could create some type of obedience between then and God, their Father. God told Adam and Eve that if they eat that fruit they will die. This is the tree of knowledge of good and evil. See God created everything perfect and no one knew what bad was or pain or suffering. But God wanted to give the choice for Adam and Eve to do whatever they wanted, instead of controlling them, so he gave them freedom to do whatever is on their mind, but to create an obedience to the God their Father, he put that tree there. Just like parents today like to make their kids obedient by telling them to not touch or do something, like DISCIPLINE. So God just wanted to create the discipline, to still make sure they OBEY GOD. However, here is what happened: Satan told Eve when she was alone in the shape of a snake (proof that satan and his angels CAN go into animals) that if she ate the fruit she would indeed not die and she would be like GOD knowing good and evil. Again I want to reafirm that right now the only people that knew Good and Evil was God because he knows everything and Satan and his angels who were able to create envy and confusion and hatred and division between them, and that was able to make their minds change in a way that they knew evil. Another reason that even in heaven everyone is free but there is no evil, but surely there still a small little change to be evil, and Lucifer who is now called Satan was able to create. Satan was jealous of God and he wanted to be LIKE God, which is how everything started. So eve ate the fruit, however she didn't die, but what God meant was, If you eat the fruit you will be immortal, that is what God really meant, and indeed Adam and Eve were immortals until she ate the apple, she gave Adam the apple, and BAM that is how sin started. Eve and Adam was now able to see good and evil and now they would have pain, suffering, they would get hurt if something happened, and be able to EASILY choose something bad and wrong. And since then everyone is born with sin, Until Jesus came. He took EVERYONES SIN and everyone that would be born from then on and died for us. So, what Jesus did was, even though we were born with sin, but if we believe in God and Jesus and read the bible and believe in everything, and if we SPECIALLY, SPECIALLY, SPECIALLY, the 10 commandments. If you see the 10 commandments really do teach good things, regardless if you are a christian or an atheist, you know that the 10 commandments do teach good morals. Don't kill, Don't steal, Don't try to get your friends wife etc... you know what I mean, they really do teach good. However, it also says to Rest on the sabbath. Many religions rest on sunday but that all started with pagan laws that went inside Christianity, actually, it thats how the Catholic Church was created. When pagan people, who worshipped a god called Baal, which it was the god of the sun. When the Emperor Constantine noticed that the Christians had strong power and there was a lot of fight between the Christians and the Pagans which was Rome who believed in many Gods, specially god ball, the sun god. So sun god = sun day = sunday. Get it? So the Emperor of Rome who was Constantine wanted everyone to follow their religion but he also wanted to stop the fight. So he mixed pagan laws with the Christian laws, and with those 2 mixed together it became the Catholic Church. When that happened, many faithful Christians did not agree and escaped, but as you know the Catholic Church still killed many of the REAL Christians that they had to follow their religion or ELSE! So, all Rome did was stop killing Christians, then they United their laws with Christian laws creating the Catholic Church who called themselves (Christian) that stopped resting on the holy Sabbath, and started resting on sunday making it holy, but Constantine was just faking it that it was holy, that was just a cheap way so he could still worship his god Baal on Sunday without people thinking it was Baal and thinking it was God. So many real Christians died, those that worshipped the Sabbath, Gods REAL holy day. If you noticed on catholic pictures of Mary or Jesus or Saints. 95% of the pictures you will notice a yellow sun behind their heads. One thing I should mention, Mary should never be worshipped or prayed for that is another fake reason that Constantine did because there was also a Female god they worshipped so they put it as Mary by faking it so the Pagans could still worship their Female god (who i forgot the name). AND if you noticed the Catholics pray for a bunch of saints and make saints very special, well, that was just another way that Constantine did so people could worship even more gods. Remember the Pagans worshipped many many gods, so Constantine made sure it was all perfect so they could still worship their gods without people noticing it was Pagan. However the faithful real Christians knew that which is why they did not accepted it, and many were persecuted and died. Till today there are still many real Christians that knows the truth, thankfully I am one of then, and I was born a Catholic. Back in the day many protestant churches believed in the REAL truth. Protestant churches came to be when the real Christians PROTESTED against the Catholic Church. PROTESTED = PROTESTANT. Thats why the Protestants left Europe and Rome and all those European countries who were run by the Papal Power. However after so many years protestant churches started to mix a lot with catholic and they actually worship the sunday now and believe a lot in what the Catholics believe. BUT DONT FRET!, there are still people out there like me who still believe in the real truth. There will always be the real Christians out there. And believe it or not, there are REAL christians that believe in the REAL TRUTH in ALL the churches of the world. But cutting the story short (hehe), If you believe in the REAL truth, and follow the REAL 10 Commandments, the one that says Rest on the Sabbath. Read Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5:6 (See if the 4th commandment say to rest on Sunday or on the Sabbath? AND NO WHERE IN THE BIBLE IT SAYS such change was made) and believe that Jesus died for your sin and you will be saved. Jesus died for all our sins so ALL you have to do is Follow the 10 commandments, pray to God to forgive your sins because you will sin everyday because you are not perfect!, and be a good Christian! Believe, and Follow. Thats all you good do. Be a real Christian and Follow the REAL 10 commandments, the ones on the bible, and Believe that Jesus died for our sins and Believe in God. Thats ALL!. If Jesus did not die for our sins, things would be a lot different for us here on earth.

      And no I am not Jewish. Just someone that Actually follows the bibles and exactly what it says. Not Pagans laws. I am a Real Christian who actually follows the Real truth. Where is the truth for us Christians? The BIBLE!, I follow the bible. Goodnight.

      September 9, 2012 at 2:01 am |
    • End Religion

      ***
      "Believe it or not, but reading your points after all their beliefs, you actually making me become a muslim. Because what they believe in is WAY better than your way that none of that exists and believe in the big bang lmao."

      I'm not making you do anything. Take some personal responsibility. If you become muslim, its a choice you made. Don't blame me or god.

      ***
      "So how did the big bang come to happen?"

      google the theory. its a mouthful.

      ***
      "who created the big bang?"

      I don't know what created the big bang though a current hypothesis I like is Lawrence Kraus' "why is there something rather than nothing".

      ***
      "Who created the atom?"

      Not who but rather what, and again, google it. Try this link http://www.physicscentral.com/explore/poster-stardust.cfm
      But fair warning... when you google this stuff you'll find the answers are full of science n' facts n' stuff, which i feel you may be allergic to. Tread carefully. I can't be held responsible for you learning something.

      ***
      "I mean, the way you believe just makes no sense."

      Appreciating the big bang requires a subscription to science. Science is based on hypotheses that are tested repeatedly. If found to be defective a given theory is tossed out and others work to find a better replacement, until a hypothesis has been tested so often it becomes as much a fact as any other theory we rely on to describe our reality. The example used often is gravity. Its only a theory but has been tested so often its accepted as fact so we can get on with learning more complex things it may be based on. Even though gravity is just a theory, I'd bet you believe in it. There's always a chance we'll run into someone who doesn't believe in it, but its likely they wouldn't live so long.

      ***
      "Stop posting this because you will make people become muslims."

      Your religion doesn't subscribe to free speech I guess. Not many do. Fortunately I'm in America and this is one thing we get right, putting your religion to shame and allowing me to post whether you grant permission or not.

      ***
      "Now, lets try this for a second. GOD exists"

      I find it unlikely but I don't know for sure.

      September 9, 2012 at 6:28 am |
    • End Religion

      @francisco
      ***
      "GOD created EVERYTHING and that is how everything became to be!. ahhhhhhh Much better........ "

      We disagree on "better", but certainly easier. It keeps you from having to learn about all that science n' facts n' stuff. It's simpler to fill in the gaps of your ignorance with magic. It allows you to get back to your Sunday football or NASCAR more quickly.

      ***
      "Lucifer was kicked out of heaven and he took 1/3 of the angels with him."

      There seems to be some discrepancy about this, but I'm sure you're used to that with religious texts. Since god is infallible and created the universe in perfection is there any video of this fall from heaven?
      http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_are_the_names_of_the_12_fallen_angels_which_was_banished_from_Heaven_along_with_Satan

      ***
      "He was able to change 1/3 of the angels minds that God was actually trying to be too controlling."

      too controlling? how did the infallible god who created everything allow angels to think this? he obviously wasn't in control of everything nor infallible. Maybe he had a team of midgets helping him create the angels, and this is where things went awry.

      ***
      "So then Lucifer came to earth that God had created in SEVEN days, making the sabbath or the seventh day HOLY even before Adam was created. (so no, sabbath did not come from the Jews)."

      unproven and contested gibberish, even within your own religion. Every religion feels it is the "true" one yet none have a shred of proof to such claim. It is a fact of our reality that life on this planet evolved from a universal common ancestor and that man was not placed on the planet whole. To believe in a literal 7 day creation myth, with adam and the whole bit, when we understand for certain that is false, is simply to abandon any logic or reason. At this point, its not worth going on since you agree you do not subscribe to scientific facts such as gravity. If you can't agree to what is reality, we have no basis for discussion.

      ***
      "Satan travaled to all the other planets with life that God created be he was not able to trick anyone until he came to Planet Earth and was able to trick Eve into eating the Apple."

      I'm sorry but I had to laugh. This is like a bad comic book. So far all these shenanigans and contradictory explanations to which no one agrees sounds more complex than evolution.

      September 9, 2012 at 6:30 am |
    • End Religion

      @fran
      ***
      "See God created everything perfect"

      Except the angels who rebelled, right? The angels who thought he was too controlling? Were they perfect or imperfect? And the bible, with all its contradictions, which had gospels accepted or rejected willy-nilly by mortal clergy men, and was revised and edited and translated into other languages? This is the part where you look us in the eye and without a pause or a blink assure us that yes, it was all perfect.

      September 9, 2012 at 6:33 am |
    • End Religion

      @fran
      ***
      "so he gave them freedom to do whatever is on their mind"

      except any of the 10 commandments, which get them booted out of the after-school club. But they can take women by force, murder and otherwise pillage during their entire lifetime as long as they truly repent right before death.

      ***
      "ramble ramble ramble. However, here is what happened: Satan told Eve when she was alone in the shape of a snake (proof that satan and his angels CAN go into animals)"

      man... if this is your threshold for proof then we really are done. You have no grasp on reality. A fictional book told you it is so and boom, that's all you need for proof? Even the majority of nutters here don't believe in the talking snake anymore. It just tags you as a loon right out of the gate. I really want to skip the rest but it is starting to get laugh out loud funny now.

      ***
      ""incessant rambling... Satan was jealous of God and he wanted to be LIKE God, which is how everything started."

      I thought it all started with God and the 7 day thing. You mean the rebellion started because satan was jealous of the jealous god? There's a lot of human emotion of jealousy rolling around in that perfect universe your infallible god created.

      ***
      "but what God meant was, If you eat the fruit you will be immortal, that is what God really meant"

      why are you interpreting what god meant? You don't feel this supreme being could just come out and say what he meant? You don't feel that's a tad arrogant to reinterpret god's words?

      ***
      "And since then everyone is born with sin, Until Jesus came."

      you must have missed the part where most people in the world agree to the fact man arrived via evolution and not from any garden, and therefore is not passing on any type of sin.

      ***
      "So, what Jesus did was, even though we were born with sin, but if we believe in God and Jesus and read the bible and believe in everything, and if we SPECIALLY, SPECIALLY, SPECIALLY, the 10 commandments."

      its like talking with an 8 year old...

      ***
      "If you see the 10 commandments really do teach good things, regardless if you are a christian or an atheist, you know that the 10 commandments do teach good morals."

      That's simply false. I reject the claim the 10 commandments teach us good morals. Many of the gospels even disagree on what the heck they actually are. Exodus 34 rambles on about SACRIFICES, ending with some gibberish about mother's milk. It's ludicrous. But let's just talk about the common ones. The first 4 common ones have nothing whosoever to do with personal morality and only exist to perpetuate the stranglehold over the religion's believers and satiate the vanity of your loving god. The common ones, paraphrased...
      1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
      2. Thou shalt not make thee any graven images or bow down to them, and if you do I'll get you and your kids and their descendants.
      3. Thou shalt not take the name of the lord in vain.
      4. Keep the Sabbath holy.

      then we have...
      5. Honor thy father and thy mother
      ...which further establishes the authoritarian hold on someone. I mean, sure, its a decent thought for about 3 seconds. Then you begin factoring in things like parents who abuse their children, who leave them or otherwise endanger them. These parents are not deserving of honor. Your god is simply passing on some immoral bad advice to flat out honor parents whether they deserve it or not.

      Fortunately, 50% of the way through the list your infallible god finally gets to some points I agree are good advice, if not always practical.
      6. Thou shalt not kill
      7. ^^^ commit adultery
      8. ^^^ steal
      9. ^^^ bear false witness
      ... there's still a little trouble with these flat out rules. I mean, #6 he doesn't really go into specifics. Can we not kill plants in order to eat them? #7 I agree with but humans are evolved animals. We aren't meant to be monogamous. We've agreed to this concept of marriage, although it disintegrates at over 50% now. Maybe our society would be better off in a polyamorous situation. #9...? Don't lie? What if your wife asks you if the dress she's wearing makes her butt look big, and it does? We go to hell if we make her feel better by lying about that?

      And #10...? Oh boy, what a field day.
      10. Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbor's wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbor's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or anything that is thy neighbor's.
      ... why is the wife lumped in with what is basically a statement about not desiring others' property? Why did your infallible god think to mention "ox" and "ass" but not the neighbor's Porsche 911? Didn't he know about the future?

      So your god thinks "don't kill" ranks lower than "don't make graven images". How screwed up is that? What's worse than your preposterous assertion that these commandments are all wonderful are the things NOT on the list. What about "be kind to children?" Don't you think a loving god might have listed that? "Volunteer your time to those less fortunate" – that's a nice thing. Certainly better than "don't think about a house that's better than yours (coveting)". Almost anyone could come up with 10 items better than the ones god came up with.

      ***
      "Mary should never be worshipped or prayed for that is another fake reason that Constantine did"

      I was sure we wouldn't get out of this without the typical "all religions are fake and a bit kooky except mine." And there it is... don't worship Mary she's fake. Every religious person argues this. You can't all be right. Of course none of you are, but I'll leave it to you guys to thumb wrestle it out.

      ***
      "AND if you noticed the Catholics pray for a bunch of saints and make saints very special, well, that was just another way that Constantine did so people could worship even more gods"

      dude, you don't need to sell me on catholicism being false. I'm an atheist. You're all equally deluded in my eyes.

      ***
      "real Christians" "the truth, thankfully I am one of then" "churches believed in the REAL truth" "BUT DONT FRET!, there are still people out there like me who still believe in the real truth." "the REAL TRUTH"

      you're making my head spin. How many "real truths" do you believe in? ANd what in the world is your hangup with the sabbath? Man you're fixated on this one tiny aspect without seeing the big picture is all false. Wow...

      ***
      "Be a real Christian and Follow the REAL 10 commandments, the ones on the bible, and Believe that Jesus died for our sins and Believe in God. Thats ALL!. If Jesus did not die for our sins, things would be a lot different for us here on earth."

      Yeah, imagine, we might all get on with making the human experience better for each of us in the here and now on this planet. Good thing jesus died for us so we could instead spend this lifetime in a rigid purgatory, persecuting each other over our various god delusions.

      September 9, 2012 at 6:34 am |
  5. solomon

    LET JOHN HAGEE,KENNETH COPLAND,ALL THE BEGGARS ON TBN AND OTHER SO CALLED "CHRISTIAN CHANNELS" LEARN FROM THIS MAN OF FAITH.ALL THEY KNOW IS BEG FOR MONEY AND NOTHING MORE.

    September 9, 2012 at 12:34 am |
  6. solomon

    THIS GREAT PASTOR WORTH MORE THAN A MILLION AMERICAN PREACHERS(BEGGARS). ALL THEY KNOW IS APPEAR ON TV AND ASK FOR MONEY.

    September 9, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • Francisco

      Thats why you got to become a real Christian and follow exactly what the Bible says to do instead of human made laws. Follow the real 10 commandments. You know, the ones that says to worship the Sabbath and not sunday? Read Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5:6. The word sunday is not even there. Actually the day of sunday is mentioned in the bible as the first day of the week. But anyways, people should leave the TV and stop begging and actually preach out the TRUE gospel. The one that is in the bible. We have to follow what the bible says. That is what God left for us.

      No i am not Jewish. Just someone who follows exactly what the bible says to do and exactly what the bible teaches. Jesus is the only way to heaven. Amen! Goodnight.

      September 9, 2012 at 2:21 am |
    • Parrot Puss McGill

      I C A N S C R E A M L O U D E R T H A N Y O U !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      September 9, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  7. Jeff

    Leadership of Iran are a bunch of religious nutcases. Hard to believe Iran will have nuclear weapons soon that will be able to annihilate us "infidels" which they would use in a heartbeat. Alllah Ahkbar.

    September 9, 2012 at 12:24 am |
  8. Sanguine

    Dude needs a MAJOR nose job!

    September 9, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • Jeff

      What a worthless comment. Post your ugly face.

      September 9, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • random

      I think he's beautiful.

      September 9, 2012 at 1:04 am |
    • Jeffision

      All your comment does is highlight that you can't think outside of the media images that you've been brainwashed with. This guy is a very attractive man, and his nose is part of what makes him attractive.

      September 9, 2012 at 1:30 am |
    • End Religion

      Aren't we all supposedly created in god's image? You calling god ugly?

      September 9, 2012 at 1:55 am |
  9. Ron

    His nose was probably broken by the ruthless guards. what a horrible place to live. He's a brave man who sticks to his beliefs. He lost a few years of his life but it's great that he's free now and able to return to his family. Lets hope that they leave him alone.

    September 9, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • J.B.B.

      Well said Ron! It's so refreshing to read an intelligent, POSITIVE comment. I have yet to see any "Comments" columns
      with ALL positive comments, and I have been reading "Comments" online for quite some time. It is scary to see so many cynical, negative people in the world. With that said, let all the negative comments begin regarding my comment ...

      September 9, 2012 at 1:02 am |
  10. Keksi

    "The United States stands in solidarity with Pastor Nadarkhani, his family, and all those who seek to practice their religion without fear of persecution – a fundamental and universal human right. "

    Thats not true,if USA was looking for freedom of religion they would not interfere in this since in Islam apostasy is wrong so if USA supports freedom of religion they need to respect what it says in Islam.
    Trying to prevent religion from exercising their words is not freedom of religion.

    September 9, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • solomon

      There is no human right in christian faith.

      September 9, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • Carlos Marin

      Freedom of religion means you should be allowed to practice the religion you believe in, not that you should be allowed to force others to practice it. If your religion believes it's ok to kill others who don't share your beliefs, you may BELIEVE that, but cannot be allowed to kill others.

      September 9, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • Marlin

      Freedom of Religion means that you are allowed to practice whatever religion you want so long as it doesnt interfer with other peoples rights and the freedom of them to practice theirs.

      As a note, Iran's own laws grant such freedom and this apostasy charge isnt even codified. All the US and the rest of the world is asking for is for Iran to do what it says it will.

      September 9, 2012 at 12:36 am |
    • solomon

      IT IS HARD TO TEACH TRUE CHRISTIANITY TO AMERICANS. LISTEN THERE IS NO SUCH A THING AS "FREEDOM OF RELIGION " I TELL YOU NONE.WHY DON'T THE APOSTLE PAUL CAN'T PRACTICE HIS RELIGION? WHY IS HE JAILED? BECAUSE THE BIBLE NEVER TEACHES THAT.GO TO AFRICA AND ASIAN COUNTRIES WHERE CHRISTIANS ARE PERSECUTED FOR THEIR FAITH AND WILL KNOW WHAT TRUE CHRISTIANITY IS. ALL AMERICANS KNOW IS CHRISTIAN MEANS ANY BODY WHO ATTENDS CHURCHES AND NO MORE THAN THAT.AFTER ATTENDING CHURCHES THEY CAN CHEAT ON THEIR WIVES,DRINK AND GET INTOXICATED,AND SO FORTH. DON'T FOOL YOURSELF AMERICA.

      September 9, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • Keksi

      Make up your mind,if you claim there if freedom of religion than apostasy is punishable,if you are trying to allow apostasy then you are not allowing freedom of religion.

      September 9, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • Marlin

      Solomon

      You get more flies with honey than with all caps rants.

      September 9, 2012 at 1:06 am |
    • Marlin

      Having a law which forbids changing your religion is not freedom of religion.

      I wont say it anymore because if you still dont get it, there is no help for you.

      September 9, 2012 at 1:08 am |
  11. Anna

    Wow 58 days and counting and Mexico has caught our border agent's muderer (fast and furious) and Iran has released a political prisoner, what power Obama has when he wants something so badly – think the world is trying to get O re-elected, I do and that is why I will not vote wha the world wants I will vote for the man who wants America to succeed and do what is bes for America!!!!!!!!

    September 9, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • Ron

      Romney isn't going to make America better lol, it will be a huge step back if he were to be elected. Fortunately it doesn't look like that will happen

      September 9, 2012 at 12:23 am |
  12. Jules

    How dare anyone comment on this man's nose. He's been on DEATH ROW in Iran....pretty sure there isn't a plastic surgeon on site offering cosmetic procedures. How shallow can you be? He and his family are just happy he's alive.

    September 9, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • Bman

      Funny I didn't notice his nose until you mentioned it... You got an issue with big nosed christians?

      September 9, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • Schnozz

      Yes, Jules, happy all around... sometimes people celebrate with a bit of humor. Honk, honk. 😯

      September 9, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I think he's kinda cute, myself.

      September 9, 2012 at 12:25 am |
  13. P Ness

    Another proof that Religion is responsible for more death/violence than any war

    September 9, 2012 at 12:13 am |
  14. human

    google:

    TUNISIA KILL CHRISTIAN CONVERT see true face of ISLAM

    September 9, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • Bman

      Hey I want to go to the stadium and see lions eating christians! Football is for child molesters.

      September 9, 2012 at 12:14 am |
  15. axolotl

    Islam is about where Christianity was in the year 1400 – sentencing non-believers to death, repressing women, burning witches. Give them another 700 years to catch up to the current "enlightened" state of Christian belief. Then the world will be just fine ....

    September 9, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • J-Pap

      And give christians another 700 years to catch up to the enlightened Atheists who's views of the world are based on repeatably proven science.

      September 9, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • Phazon

      First of all if you would stop believing in evolutin because they tell you that your ignorant if you dont and look at how bias their reportings are maybe you could un blind your eyes and see the truth

      September 9, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And if you actually knew how to write a coherent sentence, I might have a moment's thought about the validity of your ideas.

      But that isn't the case, since you're a fvckin' idiot.

      September 9, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • A Frayed Knot

      axolotl,

      I said something similar earlier about Islam being where Christianity was when it was 1400 years old. The difference is that, with the capability of radical Islamic nations to destroy such a huge amount - even most of civilization - we don't have 700 years to wait for them to grow up and mellow out. Secular law stopped Christianity's abuses. Frankly, I do not know how we can do it this time, but we really must.

      September 9, 2012 at 1:08 am |
    • End Religion

      see page 1 of this thread, at bottom. Already answered, as Knot points out.

      September 9, 2012 at 2:10 am |
    • Parrot Puss McGill

      Give them another 700 years to catch

      Sorry, times up.
      Put down your pencils and grab your ankles.

      September 9, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  16. Bman

    What about all the people forced to read the bible? Human sacrifice next lesson!

    September 9, 2012 at 12:11 am |
  17. solomon

    LET THOSE AMERICAN BEGGARS(PREACHERS) LEARN A GREAT LESSON FROM THIS PASTOR. EVERYBODY IN AMERICA IS FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM OF RELIGION. IF YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN A TRUE CHRISTIAN YOU DON'T COMPLAIN ABOUT FREEDOM OF RELIGION YOU WILL BE JAILED. THAT IS WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES. BUT AMERICAN PREACHERS ARE BLIND THEY DON'T TEACH THIS BUT TELL THEIR CONGREGATION TO FIGHT FOR FREEDOM OF RELIGION WHICH IS NOT WRITTEN IN THE BIBLE.

    September 9, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • Bman

      Do you see that little button that says cap lock. don't try to post until you figure out how that works ok?

      September 9, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • Sandra

      A rant from a man who follows a religion invented by a pedophile. Any man who marries a 6 yr old, and 'consumates' that marriage when she is aged 9 is a pedophile.

      September 9, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • callnews

      Check your punctuation while you're at it.

      September 9, 2012 at 12:25 am |
  18. Zoby

    I hunger for tacos.

    September 9, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • End Religion

      mmmm... hairy tacos....

      September 9, 2012 at 12:55 am |
  19. Nobel

    Iran has no respect for human rights at all. BTW, Muslims want freedom to preach their religion everywhere in the world but totally deny any other faith in their countries. Is this a peacefull religion?

    September 9, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • Herman Munster

      Intolerance

      September 9, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • Saud

      Are you kidding me? Cause all these countries are sending Muslim missionaries to the US to convert us, right?

      September 9, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • solomon

      IF YOU ARE A TRUE CHRISTIAN YOU DON'T FIGHT FOR FREEDOM OF RELIGION. THERE WILL BE NONE.

      September 9, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • End Religion

      you're all like animals fighting over scraps. The cure is not one religion over another. It is to abandon all god delusions, whatever flavor they are. They only divide us and incite violence.

      September 9, 2012 at 12:54 am |
  20. Herman Munster

    Religiosity is on the decline in the U.S. and atheism is on the rise, according to a new worldwide poll last month.

    The poll, called “The Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism,” found that the number of Americans who say they are “religious” dropped from 73 percent in 2005 (the last time the poll was conducted) to 60 percent.

    At the same time, the number of Americans who say they are atheists rose, from 1 percent to 5 percent. Making it the fastest growing philosophy in the United States of America.

    September 9, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • Saud

      Laziness is on the rise too?

      September 9, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • serdich

      actually the non-religious people, or people who said that religion does not play role in their life or have not been in church ever..is wait for it....32%

      September 9, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • callnews

      When you see God remember to get Him up to speed on what the polls say He should do. Heck, what do we waste our time for having elections. All we need to do is to authorize a consensus of the polls. Brilliant!

      September 9, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • End Religion

      @callnews: the Iron Age called. They want their god back.

      September 9, 2012 at 12:52 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.