Sunday, June 14, 2009

Iran Erupts In Violent Protests

It seems Safari is doing better today though I still think all my Blog widgets also may be partly responsible for loading problems as well as Summer time web traffic. So let me know if you're having trouble too?

Anyways, over the weekend Iran erupted in violent protests almost akin to 30 years ago---except this time the cry is for a regime change that supports more progressive leaning political aims rather than the all familiar theocracy that was established 30 years ago. Americans who were alive then remember watching with much trepidation the unfolding drama of the Iran Hostage Crisis which was our first taste of the newly established Iranian theocracy---so of course this sole event colors any American political commentary on Iran. What can I say, we are biased by it---because most average Americans don't realize all the complex details that have shaped the Iranian political climate.

The Iranian Revolution is one of the single events in human history which shows us that theocracy is a bad idea. Though the Iranian theocracy is one built on militant Islam---we Christians don't have bloodless hands as we had our own Irans such as the Christian Iran of the 16th century---Calvin's Geneva. See also: TheoPoetic Musings: Fundamentalists Never Cease To Be Laughable and TheoPoetic Musings: Respect For John Calvin. Thankfully the majority of Christians moved beyond theocracy especially Baptists. Anti-theocracy tendencies have always been a part of the Baptist heritage. Consider these statements:
"Enforced uniformity confounds civil and religious liberty and denies the principles of Christianity and civility. No man shall be required to worship or maintain a worship against his will.”
“God requireth not a uniformity of religion to be enacted in any civil state; which enforced uniformity (sooner or later) is the greatest occasion of civil war, ravishing of conscience, persecution of Christ Jesus in his servants, and of the hypocrisy and destruction of millions of souls.”
“All civil states, with their officers of justice, in their respective constitutions and administrations, are proved essentially civil, and therefore not judges, governors, or defenders of the spiritual, or Christian, state and worship.”---Roger Williams

Wee do freely profess that our Lord the King hath no more power over their [Roman Catholics’] coonsciences than over ours, and that is none at all ... let [people] be heretikes, Turks, Jews, or whatsoever, it apperteynes not to the earthly power to punish them in the least measure.
Thomas Helwys

"When they [the Church] have opened a gap in the hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world, God hath ever broke down the wall itself, removed the Candlestick, etc., and made His Garden a wilderness as it is this day. And that therefore if He will ever please to restore His garden and Paradise again, it must of necessity be walled in peculiarly unto Himself from the world, and all that be saved out of the world are to be transplanted out of the wilderness of the World." Roger Williams, "Mr. Cotton's Letter Lately Printed, Examined and Answered," The Complete Writings of Roger Williams, Vol. 1, 108.

"Religious matters are to be separated from the jurisdiction of the state, not because they are beneath the interests of the state but, quite to the contrary, because they are too high and holy and thus are beyond the competence of the state." Isaac Backus, colonial Baptist from New England, An Appeal to the Public for Religious Liberty.

"The notion of a Christian commonwealth should be exploded forever. ... Government should protect every man in thinking and speaking freely, and see that one does not abuse another. The liberty I contend for is more than toleration. The very idea of toleration is despicable; it supposes that some have a pre-eminence above the rest to grant indulgence, whereas all should be equally free, Jews, Turks, Pagans and Christians." John Leland, "A Chronicle of His Time in Virginia," The Writings of the Later Elder John Leland, published in 1845.---Assorted quotes on Baptists and liberty

It should be noted that a large majority of Muslims have followed suit and are believers of separation of religion and government like the Republic Of Turkey. And like our Muslim friends, we too have nutcases in favor of theocracy: Pat Robertson, Worldview Weekend, the Religious Right, etc. to name a few.

We can only hope that an Ataturk will rise up in Iran to free his/her people someday for the sake of all the Iranians who are longing for a government that truly promotes freedom and democracy. More on Iran later until then see also: Shuck and Jive: Yeah, right..

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