I have been sitting on this post for over two months. In fact, every time I would try to write another article I couldn’t because all that kept coming to mind was this subject. When I first thought of writing on this topic I was reluctant to do so. I was so dismayed at the time about the cold-blooded murder by Islamic militants of Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s minister for minorities affairs, on March 3, 2011 on the streets of Islamabad, the capital. Bhatti was the most senior Christian in Pakistan’s national government and the second Christian in the government to be murdered in Pakistan this year for speaking out against Pakistan’s blasphemy law which provides for the death penalty for insulting Islam. The population of Pakistan is 97% Muslim. The remaining 3% are made up of Christians and other non-Islamic religions.
I didn’t initially complete the article because I was worried about the negative impact my comments may have on some curiosity seekers who would read them. You see, I don’t want to contribute to the mounting rift between Christians and Islam. Rather, I am trying to educate my circle of friends on the dangers we face as Christians from the growing population and radicalization of Islamic extremists. The recent death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of the USA Navy Seals has sparked much world-wide publicity and controversy. I may add my two cents in a future article, but that is not the purpose of this article. Both positive and negative comments from well-meaning Christians about bin Laden’s death have convinced me that I must no longer hold back but speak out on the much lesser known death of Shahbaz Bhatti.
First, let me get a little personal. Those that know me are well acquainted with the fact that I am a Christian in the final quarter of my earthly life. Where I will spend my eternity has been settled with the one and only Almighty Jehovah God. I have confessed that I am a sinner in need of a Savior, have asked God for forgiveness, and have accepted God’s only son, Jesus, as my Savior. Jesus died on the cross of Calvary shedding his blood for me (and everyone else who will accept Him) to pay the price for the forgiveness of my (our) sins. He rose from the dead on the third day conquering sin and death, was seen by many eye witnesses and 40 days later ascended back into heaven where He now dwells with His Father God.
There are so, so many in the world that are misguided and are seeking other ways to get to Heaven. In particular and for purposes of this article, there are over 1.6 billion Muslims in the world that are trying to work their way to Heaven based on a method devised by man and clearly in conflict with God’s Word, the Bible (Acts 4:12: Roman 10:9-10). You might want to refer to my article comparing some of the basics of Christianity versus Islam. Here’s the link that will take you to that article: https://jimdavenport.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/christianity-versus-islam-2/
There is nothing I (or you) can do to work my (your) way to God’s eternity. It is a free gift obtainable only by accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. If you, too, want to know how to become a Christian, you can follow this link: https://jimdavenport.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/how-to-become-a-christian/
Up to this point in the article you might be saying to yourself, “Am I reading the wrong article? I thought this was about Pakistan’s blasphemy law!” I am getting to that but I first wanted to make sure that you knew I am not a paid journalist nor a radical Christian with an axe to grind against Muslims. I don’t take credit for doing the research that describes the death of Bhatti. I refer you to an article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal on March 3, 2011 by Zahid Hussain and Tom Wright for professional insight into the situation. I strongly urge you to view the video that is available as part of the Wall Street Journal article as Mr. Bhatti predicts the method of his death four months in advance and vows to continue his cause for Christ regardless of what he expects to happen to him personally. Oh that I would have such courage!!
Before turning to the blasphemy law in Pakistan, let me again state that I am simply an everyday Christian concerned about the lost, concerned about the abject lack of understanding of the modern-day radical Islamic threat to Christianity and world order, and in particular concerned about the direction and future of our nation and the American way of life. I fully recognize that a relatively small percentage of Muslims are radicalized. But this small percentage continues to wreak havoc on the world. There are also a small percentage of Christians that have extreme views. However, those extreme Christians do not generally resort to murder and violence to further their perverted cause.
Below you will find two sections of the Pakistan Blasphemy Law that are of particular concern to Christians. Section 295-B states the penalty for defiling, damaging or desecrating the Quran – life imprisonment. Section 295-C states the penalty for using derogatory remarks toward Mohammed – death or life imprisonment, and fine. Read them for yourself.
|295-B||Defiling, etc., of copy of Holy Quran. Whoever willfully defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of the Holy Quran or of an extract therefrom or uses it in any derogatory manner or for any unlawful purpose shall be punishable for imprisonment for life.|
|295-C||Use of derogatory remarks, etc.; in respect of the Holy Prophet. Whoever by words, either spoken or written or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.|
Do you wonder why the Muslim population in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran had such a violent reaction to the burning of the Quran by Rev. Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center? To me, that was a cowardly act performed by a perverted and mis-guided so-called Christian. Under Pakistan’s blasphemy law, Jones would most assuredly be condemned to death. Radical Muslims are predisposed to react violently when such acts take place. Many are taught as children to take such matters into their own hands.
On the flip side, I don’t know of any modern-day law elsewhere in the world that calls for the death of a person for defiling, damaging or desecrating the Bible. In fact, the first amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the right to burn the Bible, Quran or any other religious book. While it might not be advisable, smart and certainly not in keeping with the teachings of the Bible, it is perfectly legal to burn the Bible and Quran in the USA. The text of the first amendment reads “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Pakistan’s laws are diametrically opposed to those of the USA when it comes to the freedom of religion. Freedom of religion is a joke in Pakistan. Shahbaz Bhatti put his life on the line for trying to soften the Pakistan blasphemy law. As a result, he was killed … just as he expected … not by the government of Pakistan, but by those who want to see Islam as the only world religion and state supported theocracy. To date the government of Pakistan has taken no action to identify and bring to justice the murderers of Mr. Bhatti. With their blasphemy law still in place, are you surprised? Could it be possible that those in the Pakistan government believe that the murder of Mr. Bhatti was justified by Pakistani law? I wonder?
There are so many questions that still swirl in my mind as a result of this writing. I suppose I could write a lengthy book and not adequately cover them all. And needless to say, it would most certainly not be a scholarly work. What I do know is that God is righteous and that judgment will fall upon those who are not made righteous through the blood of Jesus. Let those of us who are Christians keep working to spread the message of Jesus to a world full of rejection and full of wrong answers. We are God’s soldiers and God’s Word, the Bible, is our sword. The ultimate judgment of evil is in God’s hands and the ultimate victor has already been revealed in the Bible. I am glad to know that I am on the winning side. I close with an appropriate verse from the hymn “Who Is On The Lord’s Side?”
“Fierce may be the conflict, strong may be the foe,
But the King’s own army none can overthrow;
’Round His standard ranging, victory is secure,
For His truth unchanging makes the triumph sure.
Joyfully enlisting, by Thy grace divine,
We are on the Lord’s side—Savior, we are Thine!”