Tuesday, March 08, 2011

A Sad Moment...

I heard about the assassination last week, but until it was brought to my attention by a friend, I didn't realize it had been a man I met (friend of a friend). I didn't know who Shahbaz Bhatti was at the time beyond being the Minister for Minorities in Pakistan, and the meeting itself was a bit rushed, but reading more I come to the realization that I met a great man and am reminded of what we take for granted (WashingtonPost):

American leverage in these matters is limited, but it is worth applying what we have - something the Obama administration, to this point, has not done. Its National Security Strategy avoids the topic. It did not appoint an ambassador at large for international religious freedom - a congressionally mandated position - until a year and a half after it took office. (The confirmation of that ambassador, by the way, is now held up by Republican Sen. Jim DeMint.) "This has not gotten," Clinton said at a recent hearing, "the level of attention and concern that it should. . . . I think we need to do much more to stand up for the rights of religious minorities."

This was precisely what Bhatti was doing - defending the rights of believers in every faith, not just his own. But the source of his courage in the cause of pluralism was clear: "These Taliban threaten me. But I want to share that I believe in Jesus Christ, who has given his own life for us. I know what is the meaning of [the] cross, and I am following the cross."

Which he followed all the way to the end.

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