We’ve been reviewing commentaries about the recent Prayer Breakfast attended by the President. While we remain extremely grateful that President Obama acknowledged our brother’s, Pastor Saeed Abedini and Kenneth Bae, we wonder what current action the administration is taking to procure their release.
Pastor Saeed’s wife, and Kenneth Bae’s family were jubilant about the acknowledgement from the president and rightly so, but we remain cautiously optimistic. We believe God is working through both men to bring light into the darkness they are currently in. And pray for their families who are and have been inspirations to many Christians and non-believers alike. There also is evidence that Pastor Saeed has brought the Gospel to new believers in prison, when they may have never had an opportunity to hear the Word. God has a plan and is in control in the lives of these faithful men and their families.
Many were disheartened when President Obama didn’t officially mention Saeed or Kenneth in the last State of the Union Address. Reps. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) and Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) had invited Bae’s mother, Myunghee Bae, and sister, Terri Chung, to hear the president speak in the House chamber, so they both were present. Secretary of State John F. Kerry even met with Bae’s family ahead of the speech.
Thousands were extremely disappointed that Pastor Saeed’s release wasn’t made as a pre-condition to the recent nuclear talks with the government of Iran. At Davos, politicians started the talks with handshakes and smiles, followed by deals with the Islamic nation. But Pastor Saeed sat in a dark prison, suffering with internal injuries caused by beatings for nothing more than his faith in Jesus Christ. Pressuring him to deny his Christian faith, the Iranian authorities have caused him to endure much physical and psychological torture. A prison doctor now says he will need to undergo surgery for the internal bleeding he has been suffering for the past year. The Islamic regime has used Saeed as a pawn to further oppress Christian converts and the people of Iran. These two Americans have been denied their human/religious rights. And we will never accept the despicable treatment inflicted on our fellow Americans and family members in Christ.
In an interview with Steve Malzberg, former Ambassador John Bolton made some interesting statements regarding the president’s comments at the Prayer Breakfast. Bolton said he believes President Barack Obama’s mention of American Pastor Saeed Abedini — serving eight years in prison in Iran on charges related to his Christian beliefs — at the prayer breakfast may have been made to placate his family.
“He’s probably trying … to get them off his back and to get the American public off his back for not raising the issue enough. I don’t think it’s going to succeed,” he said.
“It wasn’t an official statement; it was just in the prayer breakfast because he hopes that with a bunch of religious fanatics in Tehran he can kind of pass it off as his obligatory religious gesture in this country.
“I mean really, it is a demonstration that the president is determined to have a deal with Iran on the nuclear program almost no matter what the cost.”
From the beginning of Saeed’s wrongful detention, many have pleaded for the president to speak out on the behalf of the imprisoned American pastor in Iran. He has remained virtually silent. Voice of the Persecuted joined thousands worldwide in holding a Protest/Prayer Vigil for Pastor Saeed on September 26, 2013— the one year anniversary of his imprisonment. The next day, it was reported that a senior Obama Administration official confirmed that President Obama had called for the release of American Pastor Saeed Abedini in a phone conversation with the new Iranian President Rouhani.
It was stated that President Obama raised Pastor Saeed’s case along with two other Americans directly with the Iranian President. According to the report, President Obama raised concerns about the imprisonment of Saeed and expressed our country’s interest in seeing the American pastor returned to his family.
While Secretary of State Kerry had already called on Iran to release Pastor Saeed, the call with Rouhani was the first time that Obama had himself spoken out about the wrongfully imprisoned U.S. citizen. Between that call and the mention at the prayer breakfast, he has been silent.
As Bolton claimed, were his statements only an appeasement? Does this administration believe Saeed’s supporters will stop pressuring our government leaders to do more for his release? If so, they’ve underestimated the unity and love we have for one another. When one suffers, we all suffer and his wrongful imprisonment by the nation of Iran is completely unacceptable. And our stance on North Korea’s detainment of our brother, Kenneth Bae is the same. Both men must be released.
As Christians, we are banding together in prayer and support for these brothers and their families. We want to remain positive and encouraging, wrapping them in love and the power that comes with a blanket of prayer and the Name of Jesus.
We encourage everyone to not give up or get lax. We must step up the efforts and keep the emails, letters and petitions going to the President and our elected officials. Let him, our government and the world know that we as Christians and Americans, will not forget while one of us is left behind. Be their VOICE, too many are still unaware. Encourage others to join in the campaign to save their lives. Keep the fires going and keep the light shining, so all may find their way. And most importantly PRAY!
HOW TO GET INVOLVED! Note: CAMPAIGN HAS ENDED
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Share this mission, every VOICE counts!
Sign the petition to help free Saeed
We encourage you to write a personal letter of encouragement to Pastor Saeed. You can personalize a card or letter by sending a family photo. Younger children may participate by sending a drawing, also encouraging him in this time of trial. Learn how HERE
Sign the petition to bring Kenneth back home.
A letter-writing campaign for Kenneth was launched by the two American journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, previously imprisoned in North Korea, because letters were what sustained them during their detainment.
Please send words of hope, strength, and news. Learn how HERE