An article in the Wall Street Journal by Ben Cohen of New York and Episcopal priest Keith Roderick of Illinois describes the death sentence against a long time Christian pastor in Iran. It is no surprise. (See my immediate previous post on Syria.)
Regrettably, it also is not much of a surprise that US official protests of this and other cases is so muted. Defending Christians or Jews is not a high priority of the Obama Administration, which on the domestic level is straining relations with Christian churches anyhow and beginning to test the patience of long-standing allies among American Jews. But, then, the official policies of the Bush Administration's State Department were not much better, at least in respect to protecting Christians overseas. Of all things, the United States seems to be embarrassed to defend persecuted Christians.
What surprises even more is the continuing failure of major Christian denominations, organizations and media outlets to protest more vigorously and imaginatively the abuse of religious liberty. Churches are burned and Christians are murdered in Mali or Kenya or Nigeria, and there is barely any notice in the pulpits of America. The government in this democracy reacts to public pressure, and so far there isn't much. That needs to change.
Why, for example, are we giving foreign aid to governments that will not protect their own people? The answer is, if it is not a high priority for us, why should it be for governments in Pakistan, Indonesia or several countries in Africa? A lot goes on behind the scenes, but often a low profile seems to embolden extremists and make our protestations seem weak and even craven.