Daniel 2:18 He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
A lot has been made of yesterday’s visit by the President of Iran to Columbia University in New York. I watched the live debate yesterday because it was an historical moment. Right from the beginning, Ahmadinejad was put on the hot seat by the university’s President Lee Bollinger. Instead of courteously introducing the Iranian president to the audience, Bollinger interrogated the guest speaker and castigated him for the many human rights abuses that are taking place in Iran. In my humble opinion, it was a courageous and probably career-busting move to make.
The media, however, have condemned Bollinger for his discourtesy and undiplomatic confrontation of Ahmadinejad. A leader of any nation should be accorded respect because he or she represents their nation. Any insult against the president is taken to be an insult against the Iranian people. And sadly, into today’s divided world, any insult to an Islamic leader is considered an insult against the Moslem faith.
However, no matter what the diplomatic repercussions are, I believe that Lee Bollinger was right to do what he did. Ahmadinejad is a tyrant whose political regime terrorizes his people. A recent article in Time magazine, written by a female Iranian journalist, expresses some of the major concerns that free-thinking intellectual Iranians face in their country. People are imprisoned for expressing political views; women are killed for being raped; and young teenage boys are hung for being homosexuals. Much of what goes on in Iran is reported by Amnesty International. Ahmadinejad is a callous despot who only cares about power, not people.
When Daniel and his companions faced the possibility of execution, they turned to God for deliverance. They lived under a tyrannical king, whose anger at his advisers caused him to send forth an order to kill all of the wise men, clever teachers, and mathematical scholars in his nation. And that’s usually how tyranny manifests itself – by killing the educated people, in order to rule by fear and ignorance. In modern times, the names of Hitler, Stalin, and Phol Pot have been synonymous with such vicious cruelty. Perhaps Ahmadinejad name will also be entered into that Hall of Shame one day.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You alone know the hearts and minds of all people, so You know all of the atrocities that the president of Iran may have committed. If he is such a monster, then allow free people to castigate him for what he really is. Remind us that we have all promised never to let the Holocausts of the past happen again. Keep us from being bystanders and help us to confront evil wherever it exists. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.