We are so blessed to be living in the Unites States of America. The freedoms we have enjoyed are beyond compare. Yet there are those Americans who will fight to have these very freedoms we enjoy stripped away to satisfy their own ideologies. How sad this is and what fools they are. Especially those who try to strip away religious freedom from those who disagree with them.
They call Christians "intolerant" because Christianity stands against their preferred mantra of hedonistic, secular "virtue". I wish that some of these people would try to imagine what it is like for so many people who live in countries without these freedoms. I wish they could get out of their own comfort zones, remove their shoes or sneakers, and try on the shoes worn by Asia Bibi.
When you slip into Asia's shoes you realize that you are now a poor farm worker, the mother of five children and you worked in the fields harvesting berries. You are 44 years old and your husband is a brick laborer, a man who mixes the mortar and hauls it to the brick layer. You both work very hard and put in long hours to care for your children. You are also Roman Catholic. Your full name is Aasiya Noreen, but you are better known as Asia Bibi. The country you live in is Pakistan.
You remember that hot, sunny day in June of 2009. You remember being out in the field working alongside the other women. They told you to go and fetch them water from the nearby well. (They are Muslim and you are a Christian. You are "beneath" their level and must do the menial tasks required). So you dutifully went to the well and pulled up the water. There was an old tin cup nearby and you picked it up, filled it with water and took a drink. You knew you were not allowed to drink from the same cup as the others lest you "defile" it, and you made sure you did not. But by taking that simple sip of water the die had been cast.
Alas, using the dirty, rusted cup to drink from mattered not. A field hand angrily tells you that you are forbidden to drink the same water as a Muslim. You are already considered "unclean" because you are Christian. The other workers hurriedly gathered around you and started cursing you and your religion. Your faith must have been exploding in you because you defended it immediately. You summoned your resolve and remember saying, "I believe in my religion and in Jesus Christ who died for the sins of mankind. What did your prophet Mohammed ever do to save mankind." WOW!
Later that day some of the workers reported to the local cleric that you had "insulted" Mohammed. A mob came to your home, beat you and your family and you had to be rescued by the police. The police investigated your remarks and arrested you for the crime of "blasphemy". Under the country's Sharia Law you are not equal to a Muslim, so what you had to say was only considered "half" as important as what they had to say.
Trying to defend yourself was an effort in futility. They hold you in a local jail for one year and then you are found guilty of Blasphemy. Your sentence is death by hanging. You are shocked and horrified and helpless. Your husband is sickened and your children lost inside themselves. You can do nothing. You are sent to prison and placed on death row.
It is now 2014. After a hearing that lasted a few hours, the Pakistani High Court upheld the verdict handed down in 2010. Your impending execution by hanging is affirmed. People and organizations around the world have been clamoring for your release. So far it is to no avail.
If you have had the guts to "try on Asia'a shoes" can you get a sense of what life might be like for Christians and others who have no religious freedom? Can you imagine what this Christian woman, the mother of five, must be feeling? She has been living in a dank, stinking hole for almost five years. The only visitor she can receive is her husband and a doctor. How disgusting and inhumane to do this to someone just because they have a different belief than you do. How reprehensible to vilify a wife and mom simply because she took a sip of water from an old tin cup. Is this what you want someday?
Asia Bibi is a human being just like all of us. She has family she loves. She has children she wants to hug and feed and nurture and tuck in at night and tend to their scrapes and runny noses. She is hard working, kind, and generous to her neighbors. She is not different than most other people. No different except for one thing. She is a Catholic in a Muslim world. Therefore, because of her "beliefs", she is hated and despised. In the highly "civilized" world of 2014 we are seeing more vicious and brutal murders of people who follow Christ than at any time in history.
Over 400,000 signatures have been collected on petitions asking for Asia's release. Pope Benedict XVI called for the charges against her to be dismissed. These pleas have fallen on deaf ears. In fact, a Christian minorities minister, Shahbaz Bhatti and a Pakistani official, Salmaan Taseer, were both murdered for defending Asia. Her family has gone into hiding because of all the death threats they have received. Finally, the word "on the street" is that if Asia is released she will be killed anyway.
Are you tired of walking in Asia's shoes yet?
I will never understand Americans who "fight" to get rid of religious freedoms. If you do not like religion you do not have to participate in any of it. You are living in a country which accepts and promotes this kind of freedom. The United States of America was NOT founded so people like you can destroy people who disagree with you. When you do that you are no different than those that want to hang Asia Bibi. The only difference is you do not use a rope and a gallows as a weapon of choice. The weapon you use to destroy your fellow American "enemy" is the U.S. Constitution. You have managed to turn it against itself to defile religious freedom. How clever you all are.
Many people around the world are praying for the safe release of Asia Bibi. Americans trying to destroy religious freedom in America might take pause and think of her also. She has been imprisoned for five years and is set to hang because she was a Catholic who took a drink of "Muslim" water from an old tin cup. This could never happen in America. Or could it?