Thanksgiving, Conservatism, and Religious Liberty

As Conservatives, we stand up for individual right – and that includes religious liberty.  We take the Constitution at its word:  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” We understand that this does not mean that religion should be banished from the public scene, but that the government must protect the right of individuals to worship (or not worship) as each person may choose.  This is a bedrock principle, an important element in our nation’s foundation.  Without it, religion becomes a tool to exploit the masses and oppress a fundamental aspect of what it means to be human.

This Thanksgiving, as our nation expresses gratitude for the many rights endowed to us by our Creator, we need to also remember those around the world who do not enjoy the freedom to exercise the rights.  Despite our portrayal in the mainstream media, Conservatives do care about human rights.  Here’s one way we can stir up our own sense of thankfulness while simultaneously standing up individual rights and religious liberty.

Sayed Mossa is a husband and father of six.  He’s also currently imprisoned in Afghanistan for converting to Christianity from Islam.  In his own words, he is in jail “due to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, saviour of the world.”  Since he was arrested and put in jail earlier this past May, he has been beaten, spat upon, made to go hungry, kept from sleep, sexually assaulted, and more.

According to Justin Taylor, we can help Sayed by writing him letters.  These letter can raise awareness of his plight and mount pressure for his release.  However, we need to be careful in what we write.  Letters should be short and should have no explicit reference to Christianity or Jesus. Instead, we should address his situation as an issue of human rights and religious freedoms.

Here’s the text of the letter I am mailing to Sayed:

Dear Sayed Mossa,

I am so sorry to hear of your mistreatment and unjust imprisonment.  Your story is being told around the world.  Many people care about you and your family and hope to see you freed, including me.

You are in my thought,
Jake Porter

Letters can be mailed to:

Mr. Sayed Mossa
c/o International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
Charrahi Haji Yaquob
Shar i Naw

I hope you will join me in writing to Sayed, not only to raise awareness of his situation but also to provide him some encouragement.  As you write, please pray for him, as well.  Pray for his health and safety, for perseverance of faith, for his wife and children, and for those government officials who need to step out and boldly call for his release.

As Conservatives, we have to fight for our principles everywhere and at all times.  We can’t simply speak up when it is convenient or personal.  Truth is truth; right is right; wrong is wrong.  All men and women should be free from tyrannical governments, and free to worship as they chose.  Let’s take some time this Thanksgiving season to give thanks for our freedoms and to be a voice for those who are in need.