Given the election-related turmoil in the Islamic Republic of Iran, can democracy ever take hold in a theocracy? How should the Obama administration respond to the disputed election and to Iran’s ruling clerics?
Recent events are hard to understand from so far away and with such limited information.
While we all hope for Iran to increase democracy, reduce threats and become a responsible member of the international community it is far too soon to know whether June’s national elections and demonstrations in Tehran will make matters better or worse.
As a Christian and an American I cherish democracy and believe it is good for faith. Most of all, I call for freedom of religion. Everyone in every country should have full legal and governmental protection of their right to believe and worship as they choose, to present their beliefs and persuade others to their beliefs and to choose their religion based on their choices and not on government or other coercion.
The Obama administration has been appropriately soft-spoken on the internal politics of Iran. At this early point America should look to the people of Iran to promote democracy and political responsibility in their country without making current controversies any kind of a referendum on America. When the administration speaks let it be a consistent call for religious freedom in every country from Iran to North Korea and everywhere in between.