Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Where Are the Voices of Faith About Iran?








Writer Jeffrey Weiss, a contributor to Politics Daily, writes an editorial questioning the silence of religious leaders during this Iranian crisis. Mr. Weiss sources AP and the Jewish Journal to make his point. I wonder, have you heard your priest in the pulpit speaking out about the present situation in Iran?

Watching the TV and Internet as events spin wildly in Iran, I went searching for what I was sure would be religious institutional voices weighing in. I've mostly come up dry. Usually such hugely public events mean that my e-box fills with official statements from the broad spectrum of institutional religion. So far I've seen nothing. So I went searching. I've done Internet news searches for "Iran" and a bunch of other religious terms: "Bishop" and "Catholic" and "Baptist" and "pastor" and "rabbi."

Aside from the leaders of a few U.S. congregations that include Iranian immigrants, I'm finding nothing.

Here's an AP story about Iranian Christian churches. They're praying.

And here is a blog post by the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles about a rabbi who leads a congregation with many Iranian families. He gave a sermon Saturday saying that "the events unfolding in Iran echo the Biblical promise of freedom."

There's nothing on the website of the Southern Baptist Convention. Understandable, perhaps, because the SBC's annual convention is set to begin in Louisville this week and pretty much anybody important is in transit.

The U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops is similarly silent. That body's semi-annual meeting just ended a few days ago, so maybe they too are in transit.

United Methodist Church, Union for Reform Judaism, Committee on American-Islamic Relations, Unitarian Universalists. These are all folks who usually jump pretty fast to take stands. All silent thus far.

Maybe nobody knows what to say that would be remotely useful. I know that's where I stand. It's thrilling to see so many people willing to risk their lives for freedom. But Tiananmen Square taught the world (if the lesson really needed repeating) who wins in a battle between civilians and a government that's willing to use whatever force is needed to maintain control.

Would statements from American religious leaders help or hurt?


Jeffrey Weiss is an award-winning reporter who covered the ins and outs of faith 'n values for more than a decade for the Dallas Morning


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