Iran sentences U.S. pastor to 8 years in prison, group says
Saeed Abedini is shown here with his 4-year-old son.
January 27th, 2013
12:02 PM ET

Iran sentences U.S. pastor to 8 years in prison, group says

By the CNN staff

(CNN) - An Iranian judge has sentenced an American Christian pastor to eight years in prison after he was tried for his religious beliefs, a U.S.-based religious group said Sunday.

Saeed Abedini was swiftly sentenced by a member of the Islamic Republic's Revolutionary Court, according to the American Center for Law and Justice, an organization founded by television evangelist Pat Robertson.

CNN was not immediately able to confirm what went on in the court proceedings.

Abedini, who was born in Iran and now lives in Idaho, has been jailed in Iran since September, the group said.

"This is a real travesty - a mockery of justice," said Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the ACLJ, in a statement. "From the very beginning, Iranian authorities have lied about all aspects of this case, even releasing rumors of his expected release."

"Iran has not only abused its own laws, it has trampled on the fundamentals of human rights," added Sekulow, who represents Abedini's wife and children, who are in the U.S. "We call on the citizens of the world to rise up in protest. We call on governments around the world to stand and defend Pastor Saeed."

Abedini's trial began Monday when he and his attorney appeared in a Revolutionary Guard Court to address charges of attempting to undermine the Iranian government, the center said. His attorney apparently was shut out of some proceedings.

"We condemn Iran's continued violation of the universal right of freedom of religion and we call on the Iranian authorities to respect Mr. Abedini's human rights and release him," U.S. State Department spokesman Darby Holladay said in written statement.

The group contends that charges stem from Abedini's conversion to Christianity from Islam 13 years ago and his activities with home churches in Iran.

On Monday, the pastor gave the judge a written statement and was questioned by prosecutors and his defense lawyer, whom he met for the first time that day.

The judge in the case has faced sanctions by the European Union "because of his harsh sentences for those on trial for exercising a fundamental human right," the center said.

Naghmeh Abedini, the pastor's wife, said last week that a few laymen with the Christian church in Iran told her husband's attorney that they had been called to testify in the case.

She said that when she last spoke with her husband on January 9, he was resigned to a fate of remaining in prison.

The Iranian state-run news agency ISNA reported Monday that the pastor would soon be released on bail - which Naghmeh Abedini charged Tuesday was "clearly a lie."

Saeed Abedini has been arrested nearly 10 times in the past by the Iranian authorities, his wife said. The last time he had been held was in 2009, when he agreed to stop supporting home churches. He has taken nine trips to Iran, where he was born and where his parents live, since then.

His wife said he felt that it was safe to go back repeatedly because he had had no dealings with the authorities since he promised to stop working with Christian home services.

Once he even went with his wife and two children. He and Naghmeh are both converts to Christianity from Islam, and they received threats during the most recent family visit, so she took the children home. He returned to their home in Boise, Idaho, later.

Last summer, the pastor was on a bus that was crossing from Turkey into Iran. Immigration officials took away his passport and he was later put under house arrest. In September he was jailed, in the notorious Evin prison, while he awaited trial.

- kramsaycnn

Filed under: Iran

soundoff (1,210 Responses)
  1. End Religion

    Zero empirical evidence for:
    – God of Israel
    – Miracle Baby Jeebus
    – Heaven
    – Hell
    – Satan

    "We’ve already seen that a Creator God, like the Christian Trinity, cannot be the ultimate necessary being, because for God to be real, the ultimate necessary being would have to be an all-encompassing reality that included both God and non-God. But besides that, Pastor Feinstein kindly supplies us with another disqualification: the Christian God is dogmatically asserted to be a person. God cannot possess that attribute unless the fundamental nature of reality itself is such that it permits a consistent distinction between that which is a person, and that which is not. Otherwise, the propositions “God is a person” and “God is not a person” are both statements that are equally meaningless and untrue. Once again, the nature of the Christian God makes Him contingent on the precondition of a greater, self-consistent universe." – Deacon Duncan

    January 28, 2013 at 8:24 am |
    • jul

      God is a spirit and those who choose to worship Him, worship Him in spirit and in truth.

      January 28, 2013 at 9:41 am |
  2. Jim

    Look no further than the mirror if you don't like the Iranian government.

    The Iranian revolution in 1980 where US hostages were taken was a direct result of the US supporting a brutal dictator in the Shah whose Savak murdered dissenters in their sleep. Mossadegh was the democratically elected leader of Iran until the US overthrew him in 1952 during project Ajax all because Mossedegh wanted to nationalize the oil supply and take it away from what is now the BP corporation.

    Just do a wiki on Project Ajax. It is all common knowledge....except in the US.

    January 28, 2013 at 8:21 am |
    • Jim

      Actually its Operation Ajax.

      January 28, 2013 at 8:24 am |
  3. Dark Helmet

    So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.

    January 28, 2013 at 8:21 am |
  4. aurelius

    Now he can try to proselytize his prison guards.

    January 28, 2013 at 8:16 am |
  5. Jim

    If he is dumb enough to go to Iran and try to spread Christianity he deserves much more than 8 years. Pure stupidity.

    January 28, 2013 at 8:14 am |
    • Brian

      Don't forget the part about bringing his family along.

      January 28, 2013 at 8:15 am |
    • Dark Helmet

      So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.

      January 28, 2013 at 8:23 am |
    • End Religion

      May the Schwartz be with you.

      January 28, 2013 at 8:27 am |
    • leader61

      Hey Talker – some people have something so valuable its worth dying for. Whatcha gonna do with your life, play video games? GAME OVER!

      January 28, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Reasonable, important and useful advice for everyone

      Especially christians, traveling to countries that do not have an overwhelming christian majority.
      1. Don't spit into the wind
      2. Don't p-ee up hill

      January 28, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
  6. Isaac

    America, we have a commission; never let us be indefernce to injustice!

    Iran, set this man free!!!

    January 28, 2013 at 8:11 am |
    • jul

      Why do those who do not have these freedoms want to come to USA?
      Why can we write what we want on this blog without fear of reprisal?
      Freedom of Speech. Freedom of religion.

      January 28, 2013 at 9:36 am |
  7. Ron Lambert

    The christian who went willingly into Iran is an idiot. By placing himself in the situation whereby he was inside a country where freedom of delusion is not protected- well... he is going to experience some rough times to say the least. Im sure in his mind this whole ordeal is some sort of trial put to him by the big "g"....what a moron.

    January 28, 2013 at 7:55 am |
    • leader61

      You are one calloused individual. Take stock of your soul. Your love have been snuffed out.

      January 28, 2013 at 12:39 pm |

    Everyone should be allowed to believe in what they want and make the decision for themselves!

    I was brought up Catholic yet as an adult have a completely different view of my own and respect others beliefs. If he is going door to door fine... When they come to my door I just let them know that I am not interested simple as that and they go away.

    The Iran government and the country itself I think is incapable of growing into a mature modern mature society! This is because its people are oppressed and until they stand up and revolt against the two main morons who run that country it will be that way for a long long time!

    January 28, 2013 at 6:56 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Hear, hear.

      January 28, 2013 at 7:00 am |
    • Brian

      Which is why he had no business going there, especially with his family. Reckless, irrational, and quite frankly just stupid. I hope he makes it out with eyes wide open. He put his family in extreme danger, and now his children will grow up for almost a decade without their father.

      January 28, 2013 at 8:14 am |
    • Jim

      Some cultures don't care about your opinions about freedom. Sorry, Iran is not the USA and never will be. Don't project your cultural biases onto others.

      January 28, 2013 at 8:17 am |
  9. JOSH P.

    If you are a Christian stop going around the world trying to convert others,who don,t feel the same about your religion,Frankly,I don,t see Muslims going door to door trying to convert anyone,but then again Christians, feel that their religion is the shi#$#,if you don,t accept Jesus you are going to hell.

    all religions are filth

    January 28, 2013 at 6:22 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      As long as they're not pushy, why shouldn't they try to convert people? Also, Muslims are too busy murdering each other (and Westerners occasionally) to convert people.

      January 28, 2013 at 6:32 am |
    • John C

      I share your feeling about religion in general, though perhaps not so vociferously, but I feel that the countries in question need to step up to the plate wrt freedom of religion or, if you will, freedom of ideas. You might not see the Muslim clerics beating down your door, but that is because in most western(ised) countries they are not much of a majority. Do note that Islam is a faith of conversion – one might equate Christianity and Islam to telemarketers as opposed to Buddhism (if you will accept the example) which is more word of mouth.

      I guess what I am trying to say is that so far they might just not be marketing in your area, just yet.

      January 28, 2013 at 6:51 am |
    • jul

      He was going to visit his family, correct?

      January 28, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • rigo

      Josh dont they have the sharia sp? law in scotland?

      January 28, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
  10. simplyput

    The pastor is simply doing his job. CNN needs to move this story to the front page to do its' job, because reporters have been jailed, too.....and a photographer at the Turkish border.

    January 28, 2013 at 6:11 am |
    • Brian

      Its no one's job to go anywhere you are not wanted with your religious beliefs. It's not a free world. He's just lucky his family made it out

      January 28, 2013 at 8:17 am |
  11. TED

    I cant wait till the JEWs NUKE IRAN, you all know its coming, and the best thing is the radiation will blow toward Afganastan then onto RUSSIA.

    January 28, 2013 at 6:07 am |
    • sasss31

      Get a life. You are as sick and depraved as the Mullahs.

      January 28, 2013 at 6:11 am |
    • Reality

      A much safer and saner solution:

      Putting the kibosh/”google” on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

      • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

      • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

      • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

      • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

      • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

      Added details available upon written request.

      A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

      e.g. Taoism

      "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

      Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

      January 28, 2013 at 6:12 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Northern Ireland isn't at peace.
      J.apanese terror? Who blockaded J.apan? They had every right to attack. Also, they attacked a military base. The US destroyed two of their cities killing over 200,000 civilians in the two greatest individual atrocities ever committed.

      January 28, 2013 at 6:26 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Wrong thread.

      January 28, 2013 at 6:28 am |
    • Rex

      I would point out, however, that vis-a-vis your example of Taoism, absurd 'miraculous' tales about Lao-Tzu's person (for example) are in no way necessary to the essential Taoist 'philosophical' worldview. Lao-Tzu himself, for that matter is not required per se for the worldview to maintain philosophical, cosmological, or even ethical 'internal coherence'. The particulars of his existence (or even that he existed) are inconsequential to the 'system'. Belief in the absurd miraculous legends about the wholly "unique" person's of Jesus, Moses, Mohammed, "Gabriel", etc. (and that they existed) are in fact 'essential' to the whole 'Abrahamic' worldview. (I'm not claiming Taoism is "true" or anything, by the way....)

      January 28, 2013 at 7:02 am |
    • Reality

      "A principal philosophy and system of religion of China based on the teachings of Lao-tzu in the sixth century B.C. and on subsequent revelations. It advocates preserving and restoring the Tao in the body and the cosmos." Another form of Buddhism and Confucianism with elements of yoga.

      Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/taoism#ixzz2JHyKyJSC

      January 28, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • Rex

      I think you misunderstand me. I am not saying that Taoism does not supposedly originiate with the semi-historical Lao-tzu. I am saying that in this case (and arguably others) the 'orginator' is irrelevant to a notion of balance and causality that any rational, observant person could theoretically arrive at (I'm not saying it's "correct"). A "Revealer" is not required for the coherence of the 'system' of thought itself. I am saying that Taoism is not a "Revelation From On High" as per Abrahamic mythic systems. Insofar as it does not postulate a "Creator" or require "deities" or even "deism" to maintain its notion of "Tao", it is simply not in the same conceptual category as the other examples you cite that require the concepts of "Revelation", the "miraculous", the "super-natural", and divine "intervention" in the temporal/phenomenal sphere (let alone the historicity of the bearers of said "revelations"...) to hold together their worldview. Fundamental difference, no?

      January 28, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • Reality

      So Taoism is a Revelation from Tao but him not having any connection to gods or angels is even more suspect in his "religious" ways.

      January 28, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • Reality

      Oops make that "a Revelation from Lao".

      January 28, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
  12. betty

    This is what happens when you believe in a 'God'. Brains go right out the window.

    January 28, 2013 at 6:05 am |
    • leader61

      Oh, Betty. How is it that your brain flew out the window? You obviously do not believe.

      January 28, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Betty's IQ is too high for her to believe in myths.

      January 28, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
  13. DickPerry

    That was a very soft sentence. I doubt anyone working against US would get anything less than a drone killing them and their family.

    January 28, 2013 at 5:49 am |
    • sasss31

      You are a sick and depraved moral relativist. The U.S. goes after terrorists. Not civilians and those with different beliefs. People like you drag down western civilization. Shame on you.

      January 28, 2013 at 5:57 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      All morality is relative, as an atheist you should acknowledge this. Also, regardless of whether the US is aiming to kill terrorists or not, lots of civilians also get killed.

      January 28, 2013 at 6:04 am |
    • Reality

      Our War on Terror and Aggression:

      An update (or how we are spending or how we have spent the USA taxpayers’ money to eliminate global terror and aggression)

      The terror and aggression via a Partial and Recent and Not So Recent Body Count

      As the koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror continue:

      The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

      ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

      and more recently

      1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

      2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

      3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

      5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

      6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

      7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

      8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

      9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

      10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

      11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

      12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

      13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

      14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

      15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

      16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

      17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

      18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

      19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

      20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

      21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

      22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) - Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

      23) "October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. "

      o 24) Mon Jun 4, 2012 10:18am EDT
      BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A suicide bomber detonated an explosive-packed car outside a Shi'ite Muslim office in central Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 26 people and wounding more than 190 in an attack bearing the hallmarks of Iraq's al Qaeda affiliate.
      The bombing on a Shi'ite religious office comes at a sensitive time, with the country's fractious Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish blocs locked in a crisis that threatens to unravel their power-sharing deal and spill into sectarian tensions."

      25) BURGAS, Bulgaria | Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:27am EDT

      (Reuters) – A suicide bomber carried out an attack that killed seven people in a bus transporting Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, the interior minister said on Thursday, and Israel said Iranian-backed Hezbollah militants were to blame.

      26 ) September 12, 2012
      Envoy to Libya dies in rocket blast

      Continued below:
      Other elements of our War on Terror and Aggression:

      -Operation Iraqi Freedom- The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles as of 09/15/2011/, 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      – Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed mostly due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror,

      – Sa-dd-am, his sons and major he-nchmen have been deleted. Sa-dd-am's bravado about WMD was one of his major mistakes. Kuwait was saved.

      – Iran is being been contained. (beside containing the Sunni-Shiite civil war in Baghdad, that is the main reason we are in Iraq. And yes, essential oil continues to flow from the region.)

      – North Korea is still u-ncivil but is contained.

      – Northern Ireland is finally at peace.

      – The Jews and Palestinians are being separated by walls. Hopefully the walls will follow the 1948 UN accords. Unfortunately the Annapolis Peace Conference was not successful. And unfortunately the recent events in Gaza has put this situation back to “squ-are one”. And this significant stupidity is driven by the mythical foundations of both religions!!!

      – – Fa-na–tical Islam has basically been contained to the Middle East but a wall between India and Pakistan would be a plus for world peace. Ditto for a wall between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

      – Timothy McVeigh was exe-cuted. Terry Nichols escaped the death penalty twice because of deadlocked juries. He was sentenced to 161 consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole,[3][7] and is incarcerated in ADX Florence, a super maximum security prison near Florence, Colorado. He shares a cellblock that is commonly referred to as "Bombers Row" with Ramzi Yousef and Ted Kaczynski

      – Eric Ru-dolph is spending three life terms in pri-son with no par-ole.

      – Jim Jones, David Koresh, Kaczynski, the "nuns" from Rwanda, and the KKK were all dealt with and either eliminated themselves or are being punished.

      – Islamic Sudan, Dar-fur and So-malia are still terror hot spots.
      – The terror and tor-ture of Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo and Kuwait were ended by the proper application of the military forces of the USA and her freedom-loving friends. Ra-dovan Karadzic was finally captured on 7/23/08 and is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the law of war – charges related to the 1992-1995 civil war that followed Bosnia-Herzegovina's secession from Yugoslavia.

      The capture of Ratko Mladić: (Serbian Cyrillic: Ратко Младић, pronounced [râtkɔ mlǎːditɕ], born 12 March 1943[1][2]) is an accused war criminal and a former Bosnian Serb military leader. On May 31, 2011, Mladić was extradited to The Hague, where he was processed at the detention center that holds suspects for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).[3] His trial began on 3 June 2011.

      – the bloody terror brought about by the Ja-panese, Na-zis and Co-mmunists was with great difficulty eliminated by the good guys.

      – Bin Laden was executed for crimes against humanity on May 1, 2011

      – Ditto for Anwar al-Awlaki on September 30, 2011
      – Ditto for Abu Yahya al-Libi on June 5, 2012

      January 28, 2013 at 6:14 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Northern Ireland isn't at peace.
      J.apanese terror? Who blockaded J.apan? They had every right to attack. Also, they attacked a military base. The US destroyed two of their cities killing over 200,000 civilians in the two greatest individual atrocities ever committed.

      January 28, 2013 at 6:27 am |
    • Reality

      The Twenty (or so) Worst Things People Have Done to Each Other:
      M. White, http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u (required reading)

      The Muslim Conquest of India

      "The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      Rank …..Death Toll ..Cause …..Centuries……..(Religions/Groups involved)*

      1. 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists/atheists vs. Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and "Shintoists")

      2. 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)

      3. 40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)

      4. 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)

      5. 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)

      6. 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)

      7. 20 million Joseph Stalin 20C (Communism)

      8. 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)

      9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

      10. 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)

      11. 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)

      12. 15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians vs. Pagans)

      13. 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C

      14. 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C

      15. 10 million Xin Dynasty 1C

      16. 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)

      17. 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans vs. Christians)

      18. 8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C (Christians)

      19. 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)

      20. 7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

      January 28, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • Reality

      Using h-omocide rates as a measure of peace:

      by Country Police
      Cases per
      100,000 population

      Mexico 18.1
      Estonia 5.2
      United States 5.0
      Chile 3.7
      Turkey 3.3
      Korea 2.9
      Luxembourg 2.5
      Finland 2.3
      Israel 2.1
      Canada 1.8
      Belgium 1.7
      Scotland 1.6
      New Zealand 1.5
      Slovakia 1.5
      France 1.4
      Hungary 1.4
      Poland 1.3
      Northern Ireland 1.2
      Australia 1.2
      Ireland 1.2

      January 28, 2013 at 11:59 am |
  14. Flos Sy

    I wonder what the Iranians who live in the US would think if we did this?

    January 28, 2013 at 5:24 am |
    • sasss31

      We Iranians are horrified by the heinous actions of this regime. We hope that the free world will stand with the Iranian people in getting rid of this regime. Everything this regime does stands against the values and culture of the Iranian people. 🙁

      January 28, 2013 at 5:29 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      We don't have a theocracy (not for the want of trying).

      January 28, 2013 at 5:35 am |
    • BigDaddy

      It's time for the Iranian regime to fall. They are heartless, lifeless and Godless.

      January 28, 2013 at 5:43 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I think Godful would be a more accurate description. They'd burst if they had any more God.

      January 28, 2013 at 5:46 am |
    • sasss31

      "It's time for the Iranian regime to fall. They are heartless, lifeless and Godless."

      I agree with everything except that they are "godless". It is more like there is too much god and religion. Take away religion, things are fixed.

      January 28, 2013 at 5:55 am |
    • Science

      @sass31 bullseye on removing god(S)/religion world wide maybe.

      Evolution won in the Dover court trial. ID/creation can not be taught in public schools in US.. Moving forward, take a blood test map your genes.

      Creationists' tactics also have a more profound impact on science education which goes beyond biology because they communicate the idea that there is something lacking or something wrong with evolutionary theory, an idea which is not actually true from a scientific standpoint. This causes students to develop very mistaken beliefs about the nature of science, the scientific method, and how scientific research is used. This cheats students out of the proper science education which they deserve.

      Attempts to use the law to restrict or dilute the teaching of evolution in public schools matters because science matters. As society relies more and more heavily on science and technology on ever more fundamental levels, it becomes increasingly more important that all citizens receive a proper grounding in science and the scientific method. Science education is becoming a key part of what it means to be a well-informed and well-educated citizen of today; therefore, any effort to temper science education in order to placate a vocal religious group cheats the students, cheats society, and cheats our future.

      January 28, 2013 at 6:08 am |
  15. John

    I'll pray for his release. I'm surprised the US isn't invading over this. I think we would if he was Jewish.

    January 28, 2013 at 5:01 am |
    • Peteyroo

      He would hardly be a pastor if he were jewish.

      January 28, 2013 at 5:09 am |
    • sam stone

      pray away, john

      January 28, 2013 at 5:09 am |
  16. Melchizadek

    for all of you who think that El Elyon was the 40th generation grandfather of Abrahams God. Chew on this. the book of Enoch the 7th generation from Adam, has a clear messianic prophecy declaring the son of man. this book predates the book of Job, was quoted by Jude (1/2 brother of Jesus) and Peter. so you can take all of you garbage to the trash. just because Abraham WAS in to other things before He received the call, doesnt mean anything. The son of man is a term that predates all false religion. In the beginning, was Christ. dont get drowned in deceptive religious mimicry.

    January 28, 2013 at 4:58 am |
    • DP

      Melch as much as i enjoyed the book.of enoch.. Why is it not in the bible. And why is God refered to as the Lord of Spirits... The only book he is ever refered to as this is enoch. Which tells the glory and falls of satan

      January 28, 2013 at 5:05 am |
    • Rex

      Just out of curiousity, why ought any supposedly "Bible-believing" Christian care what the non-canonical Book of Enoch has to say about anything? Why consider it's supposed "prophecy" as having any value? Because of a reference in Jude? I mean, If we want to play around with non-canonical pseudepigrapha, why not cite the Acts of John, or the Gospel of Phillip, or or the Book of Jubilees while we're at it? Something is either "scriptural" or it's "not", is it not? Does one pick and choose what is convenient for one's argument (though admittedly, the NT can be used to "prove" practically any theological position....as the historical plethora of competing, often contradictory Christian sects demonstrates). Just curious. Besides, Catholic and Orthodox bibles contain "authoritative" books that the Protestant versions don't......Decisions, decisions, eh? 😉

      January 28, 2013 at 5:11 am |
    • Melchizadek

      at the same point in time this is a slam in the face of the ones who say Jehovah is a borrowed myth. and to the comments they were making about the term "son of god" being borrowed and shared and brought down.. what is wrong with a term in Enoch that is not reused. Enoch was not in the torah(Lord of Spirits, which He is obviously, term or non term). If Jesus half brother Jude and Peter quote the book, it was obviously studied by all of them and accepted. I dont think it was necessary to be in the bible if it wasnt there. God is all powerful, He does it all. the term son of man and the messianic prophecy from that date of Enoch is pretty neat in the arguement of the religious mimicry that satan imposes on modern education. but i am not saying the book is "missing from the bible" It seems to be a credible messianic prophecy, it was found with the qumran dead sea scrolls.

      January 28, 2013 at 5:18 am |
    • Melchizadek

      @ rex if you are a big sports fan maybe you should read what the book of Macabees has to say about antiochus ep. and the ram rodding of the arena / hellenization of culture. my point is as a Christian, books like Jasher and Jubilees are totally worth while. Pastors in the seminary study these books.

      January 28, 2013 at 5:23 am |
    • DP

      Mel from christian to christian... Who is The Morningstar? Jesus or Satan The gospel says... Satan.. The book of revelations says Jesus

      January 28, 2013 at 5:30 am |
    • Rex

      Sure they study them. They are essential context of the religious thinking of a time and place. But the are not considered "authoritative". Or do you think they are?

      January 28, 2013 at 5:31 am |
    • Melchizadek

      when a book is directly quoted from that is a governing rule of authenticity . Paul quotes something about "cretans" from a book that isnt authoritative, but was obviously secular. I would not want to go against everyones opinion. if a book like Jasher is mentioned but not quoted then it doesnt give it authority. Enoch is part of the ethiopian cannon. I dont need it to be authoritative scripture, but i have a hunch that this was a prophecy from Enoch , the seventh son of Adam. that is my guess. what you are probably implying is that if someone states that the term son of man is bogus and borrowed, that this is no credible argument.? for me a historic book is useful, but not necessarily cannon. am i doing something wrong?

      January 28, 2013 at 5:46 am |
    • Melchizadek

      dp what is your poiint about morningstar. it was used for both , i remember something about that but still dont quite get your point.

      January 28, 2013 at 5:47 am |
    • Melchizadek

      enoch was very a very special man, didnt taste death. did he write that book. do you say he did not? i believe you if thats what you say and see my error and do not wish to add to the Bible.

      January 28, 2013 at 5:53 am |
    • Rex

      I just asked a question. I am implying nothing. It was merely an "academic" curiosity about your particular choice (and that of other Christians, for that matter) of source material. You are talking about your own take on your own religion. It's not for me, therefore, to say if you are "doing something wrong". Ask some leader in your sect, I suppose......I merely observe and ask the occasional question. I took my BA degree in academic Religious Studies (not theology...) some twenty years ago, and I remain fascinated by religious literature, mythology and contemporary religious 'psychology'. As I said, merely curious....... 😉

      January 28, 2013 at 6:44 am |
  17. Alex

    So you're saying Jesus only deserves worship in heaven? Because in Revelations it says the angels day and night worship the Lamb that was slain. If you believe in Jesus Christ, why wouldn't you worship Him? It seems like you're describing worship as an act, while its actually our relationship and life walk with God. When he was on earth, it says Jesus said numerous times to people "Your sins are forgiven". And the pharisees were bewildered and asked "Who is this man that has the power to forgive sin?". I don't see how you can say he wasn't God.

    The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14

    January 28, 2013 at 4:50 am |
    • DP

      Agreed but still dont leave out the part where jesus gave all his glory to God for ths miracles he did. This was to open people up to the belief in God. Not to worship a man as the Most High

      January 28, 2013 at 5:02 am |
  18. sasss31

    There is something called the UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS which some of you appeasers to evil seem to forget about. Regardless if he put himself into a risky situation, he committed no crime. All of us who value human dignity, human freedom and human free thought must stand against the heinous actions of the Islamic Republic and not only stand with this man but with all the prisoners of conscience inside of prisons inside of Iran. The only reason that this man did not get the noose is because he is an American. Free this man, free Iran. We must stand for the values of humanity and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights...

    January 28, 2013 at 4:38 am |
    • jhicks9

      It's all part of god's plan, why do people have an issue with this? God wants him to suffer in Jail to build his character, wants his children to never know him and wants his wife to raise their child alone. It is god's will, don't question the will of god.

      January 28, 2013 at 4:49 am |
    • sasss31

      @jhicks9: Stop talking stupid. This is about humanity and human morals. I am atheist. This has to do with everyone having the UNIVERSAL RIGHT to their thoughts and beliefs. We must stand by these universal morals at every turn. The very foundation of human civilization depends on this fact.

      January 28, 2013 at 4:58 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Some of the rights in the Universal Declaration are BS, but free expression must be safeguarded and promoted.

      January 28, 2013 at 5:08 am |
    • sasss31

      @Rational Libertarian: NONE OF THEM ARE B.S. They are the very foundations of human freedom and human morality that must be protected, safeguarded and defended at all times.

      January 28, 2013 at 5:14 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Article 4. Not clearly defined.
      Article 5. Not clearly defined.
      Article 12. Criminals need monitoring.
      Article 14. Why should a country be compelled to grant asylum?
      Article 16. (3). Open to abuse.
      Article 22. Social Security? Hippy BS.
      Article 23. (2). What about seniority?
      Article 25. More leftist BS
      Article 29. I have no duty to my community apart from minding my business.

      January 28, 2013 at 5:33 am |
    • jul

      Yes, the dignity and respect due every person.

      January 28, 2013 at 10:09 am |
  19. OhioPatti

    If you are born in Iran, and they are hostile to religions other than Muslim, then why is it news when someone is arrested for being a native Muslim converted to Christian on his 10th trip to Iran since being arrested for Church activity in 2009? Then, complain about it being unreasonable and lies. Wouldn't it make more sense, even to God, if he had stopped testing the Creator?

    January 28, 2013 at 4:24 am |
    • Gaunt

      Its actually not illegal to be Christian in Iran (It is in many other Middle eastern states). What is illegal is actively trying to convert people away from islam.

      January 28, 2013 at 5:00 am |
    • sasss31

      @Gaunt: It is illegal to convert to Christianity and leave Islam for any religion or non-religion. As an atheist, I would be executed in Iran (especially since I am Iranian). This man would have been executed too if it wasn't an international dilemma. We are both considered "apostates".

      January 28, 2013 at 5:15 am |
    • leader61

      This pastor has it right. Muslims must be born again or they will die in their sins.

      January 28, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
  20. Bob

    I love Jusus, however we just don't belong in others business.

    January 28, 2013 at 4:22 am |
    • Name*Jeff

      Bob: if it were your butt in trouble in a foreign country, would you have the same opinion?

      January 28, 2013 at 8:46 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.