Don’t Worry! The Religious Left Is Making “Peace” with Iran
By Mark D. Tooley
FrontPageMagazine.com | February 28, 2007
On Friday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed that Iran will not backtrack on its nuclear program. And on Thursday, the International Atomic Energy Agency announced that Iran had ignored a United Nations Security Council ultimatum about potential nukes.
But do not fear! An ecumenical delegation from the U.S. is currently in Iran, meeting with the Iranian president and various ayatollahs. Peace is at hand.
“The headlines in U.S. newspapers talk about missed deadlines and stalemates,” recounted Quaker official Joe Volk in his report. “But sitting here in Iran, we see a different picture.” He promised that “the Iranians are willing to begin negotiations to return their nuclear program to full international safeguards.” After all, the Iranian deputy foreign minister has assured Volk’s delegation that this is so.
The U.S. religious representatives, representing United Methodists, Episcopalians, Quakers, Mennonites, “Sojourners,” Pax Christi, and the National Council of Churches, have found an “openness to negotiations here in Iran,” according to Volk. But, “sadly, the United States has not demonstrated a similar openness. The U.S. government has refused for many years to enter into any type of negotiations with Iran, focusing instead on a program of sanctions, isolation, and threats of regime change.”
Worried about Iran’s safety in the face of U.S. belligerance, the ecumenical delegation is meeting with whomever the Iranian theocratic police state will allow it to in Teheran, in pursuit of peace. The churchmen are in Iran at the special invitation of the Iranian dictator, anti-Semite and apocalyptic preacher, Ahmadinejad, who met with a much larger group of U.S. clerics when he was in New York last September.
Dave Robinson of the left-wing Catholic group Pax Christi explained in his dispatch from Teheran that the delegation therapeutically “plans to highlight and draw attention to the source of each nation’s pain and mistrust and to understand what divides us historically.” Robinson, of course, was pleased when assured by Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani that Iran’s nuclear program is not a weapons program and that in fact, nuclear weapons are incompatible with Islamic law.
“Our delegation has come to Tehran in a humble posture of listening and learning as well as to raise difficult questions,” Robinson explained. But the delegation seems to be eager to accept dubious answers to its supposedly difficult questions. When the ayatollah was asked about Iran’s “harsh” rhetoric about the U.S., the cleric responded, “What you mention is not against the American people. Our objection is to statements of the American government.” Undoubtedly, the ecumenical delegation liked that answer. The imam even assured his visitors, “Please consider Iran as your second home for Americans.” Such hospitality. The imam might be disappointed that this batch of American churchmen is likely to take his offer seriously.
Of course, sojourning in Teheran is not quite like jetting to the Virgin Islands. Jeff Carr of the evangelical left group Sojourners noted that as the delegation’s plane descended, the pilot warned: “By order of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, all women need to cover their heads for their own protection.” Welcome to the Shiite paradise!
Before taking off for the vacation land of imams, Mennonite official Daryl Byler dashed off an urgent letter to President Bush about Iran. “I wish you were the one meeting with President Ahmadinejad.” Byler wrote. “Not because I fear meeting Iran’s president. To the contrary, when I met him last fall in New York I found him to be bright and engaging. Like you, Ahmadinejad is a religious man. I believe you would enjoy one another’s company. Your conversation could signal a positive change in a relationship severed more than 25 years ago.”
Bush and Adhmadinejad, as religious men, would have much in common to discuss. The American president could discuss his Methodist church and his daily prayer devotionals. And the Iranian could talk about his dreams of destroying Israel in a final holocaust that would apocalyptically usher in the the Reign of the Mahdi in a sea of blood.
Byler fretted to Bush that the U.S. has captured several Iranian diplomats inside Iraq and dispatched a second U.S. naval carrier group to the Persian Gulf. “Many see these events as provocative,” he worries. “Of course, Iranian rhetoric and actions have added to the volatile mix.” he reclutantly added.
Will you be a “repairer of the breach” as the biblical prophets urged of leaders long ago (Isaiah 58:12)?” Byler asked of Bush. Byler and the rest of the delegation will meet with Ahmadinejad before leaving for home to begin their “education” of the American public about the reality in Iran.
Undoubtedly, the church delegation will be as charmed as they were last September. The Iranian president likely will courteously omit any of his rhetoric about killing infidels as he serves the American Christians hot tea and Iranian pastries.
For the latest updates about the delegation’s final adventures in Iran, check out: www.irandelegation.org.