The Birth of Freedom of Religion

The new government in Afghanistan is at an interesting crossroad. I have to wonder why this particular man has been brought to trial and that trial is being made so public. Surely this is not the only Afghan who has converted from Islam to some other religion. While I think the International community most definitely needs to condemn the state sanctioned religious persecution that is happening, it is also important to allow the government of Afghanistan to find its own way in this matter.

I think it is important that the young government of Afghanistan be given the opportunity to make the right choices. Further, I think it is an important lesson that the government of Afghanistan learn the ramifications of making the wrong choices. From the various articles about the situation it appears that the government is trying hard to find the win-win solution by which they can maintain credibility with the populus at home while at the same time escaping the condemnation of the International community.

The expectation that, in four short years, Afghans would forsake their deeply held religious beliefs and adopt utterly foreign beliefs and customs is ridiculous on its face. Especially when Afghans believe that the very values they are expected to adopt are the values that their religion teaches are so utterly heinous. The process of moving any people group to a new set of beliefs is generally long and slow. Some parts of that process might go more quickly. Afghan women have, in four years, gained remarkable freedoms. They still have a long way to go but they’ve come quite far from the barqa coverings required by the Taliban. Moving to even more moderate positions within Islam can be expected to go more slowly.

Ultimately, I think the International community needs to respect the will of any people that have chosen their government through free and fairly held elections. The International community has the right to decide whether it will support, through trade and cooperation, that government. It is my understanding that the current government of Afghanistan was elected by the people. If that is the case, that government must be given the opportunity to govern. That government and the people it governs, must be allowed to learn through the ramifications of the decisions made.

The world is watching. I pray that Abdul Rahman does not die. I would like the government of Afghanistan to come out in support of his freedom to chose his religion. That will not happen. I pray that the government is able to make one small step toward religious freedom for the Afghani people. That might happen.

Democracy in Afghanistan, Iraq and other nation-states in the middle east will probably not look anything like the democracies of the West. Democracy will need to blossom and flower within the context of Arab Islamic culture which is significantly different from Western culture. It is entirely possible that the resulting governments will look not at all like a democracy to the West. However, in the end I think the West and indeed the world must respect the right of any given people group to choose the government that will govern them. A government of the people, by the people and for the people will necessarily be significantly different across different people groups.


Today’s run stats:

  • 4 miles in 38:26
    Yes, I finally got back out there.
  • Pulse one minute after finish: 148
  • Pulse five minutes after finish: 116

[posted with ecto]

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