Sunday, March 26, 2006

Iraq Hostages and Afghani Christian Convert

First I have to say that it was great news that coalition forces in Iraq rescued the 3 remaining members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams who were being held hostage in Iraq. I believe it's a testament both to the effectiveness of prayer and the courageous action and effectiveness of the military personnel that carried out the rescue.

It's a little disappointing that Doug Pritchard of Christian Peacemaker Teams in Toronto would use the occasion to criticize the very forces that saved his colleagues saying, "We believe that the illegal occupation of Iraq by multinational forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping, and so much pain and suffering in Iraq. The occupation must end." The better reaction was from James Loney's family who celebrated mass in Sault St. Marie as a celebration of his rescue. Regardless of the reaction, the rescue is excellent news.

Second, there's disturbing news from Afghanistan that Abdur Rahman, may be executed in Afghanistan. His crime, converting to Christianity. Fortunately the response from the international community has been swift and effective. George Bush's Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with Afghanistan's president and foreign minister driving home the message, "The freedom of religion is a fundamental principle of democracy."

Pope Benedict XVI has also acted quickly writing to Afghan President Hamid Karzai asking that the charges be dropped. Finally the most encouraging news has come from Stephen Harper who talked personally with President Karzai. Harper said that the President assured him that "we don't have to worry" about Abdur Rahman being killed. One thing I have to say is it's encouraging to see such strong action taken by a Canadian Prime Minister, and to see it carry credibility because of our military commitment to Afghanistan.

One final thought, although I have concerns about religious freedom in Canada, this story reminds me that we still have a lot to be thankful for.

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