Last week a group of (mostly liberal) Christian leaders took out a full-page ad in Roll Call calling on lawmakers to support the recent Framework Agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. “As Christian leaders we are telling our political leaders: It is imperative that you pursue this agreement with integrity, commitment, and perseverance,” The ad says. “We will be praying for you.”
The support of the agreement is a mistake, says Nicholas G. Hahn III. Why focus on urging a nuclear agreement when Christians are suffering under the Tehran regime?
Christian pastors and lobbyists representing various factions of Mennonites, Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists and other denominations took out a full-page ad in Roll Call this week to “welcome and support” a deal they say “offers the best path to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear-armed state.” The letter cited Matthew 5:9—“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God”—as one Biblical motive for endorsing the framework. It also ticked off reasons why it was “better than alternatives” like “yet another U.S. war with a Muslim country.”
Pope Francis lent his imprimatur to the framework during his Easter blessing, and in an April 13 letter to Congress the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops went so far as to oppose congressional review. The bishops wrote: “Our Committee continues to oppose Congressional efforts that seek to undermine the negotiation process or make a responsible multiparty agreement more difficult to achieve and implement.” Bishops also reminded Congress not to “take any actions, such as passing legislation to impose new or conditional sanctions on Iran.”
The mullahs don’t seem moved by the display of Christian charity. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that the deal doesn’t close nuclear enrichment facilities, a goal the Christian leaders say they support. “The proud people of Iran would never accept that. Our facilities will continue,” he said. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweeted that “most” of what has been announced about the deal “was contrary to what was agreed.” Mr. Khamenei disputed what the pastors called their “greatest attraction” to the deal, that lifting sanctions depended upon passing inspections.