September 15, 2014
WASHINGTON (BP) -- Naghmeh Abedini has told members of Congress she is disheartened the Obama administration is not helping her husband, an American citizen who is being persecuted and tortured in an Iranian prison for his Christian faith.

Testifying March 15 on Capitol Hill, Abedini said, "I must say I am disappointed with our government. I am disappointed that our president and our State Department have not fully engaged in this case. ... I expect more from our government.

"I expect more from our government." -
Naghmeh Abedini, pastor's wife
"[W]e should know as American citizens that our government will stand up to protect our beliefs, our fundamental human rights," she said.

Her husband, Saeed Abedini, has reported that Iranian authorities at the notorious Evin prison in Tehran are torturing him and pressuring him to deny Christ. Iranian officials arrested and imprisoned him last year, and a court sentenced him in January to eight years in prison for endangering Iran's "national security" by planting house churches a decade ago in the Middle Eastern country. A father of two, Abedini, 32, is an ordained minister of Iranian descent who became a United States citizen in 2010.

Naghmeh Abedini joined others in testifying before members of the House of Representative's Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission about the eroding conditions for religious minorities in Iran, which is ruled by an extremist Islamic regime. Though invited, no representative of the State Department appeared at the hearing.

Others at the hearing criticized the Obama administration more strongly than did Naghmeh Abedini.

"The problem is that the State Department is AWOL," said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which is representing Abedini's family. "They act as if they are embarrassed about Mr. Abedini's faith."

"[W]hat our State Department is doing is abysmal," said Sekulow, who said its actions show a "stunning lack of concern for protecting human rights and religious freedom."

Rep. Trent Franks, R.-Ariz., a commission member, said the State Department "should be utterly ashamed for their failure to speak out" in behalf of Abedini and his family. He described the department's response as a "deafening and almost cowardly silence." Read More
BALTIMORE (BP) -- Baptist Press is live blogging the SBC annual meeting in Baltimore. Updates can be read here, at our Twitter account (, or our Facebook account ( Want more updates? Follow our SBC annual meeting feed at A schedule of the Wednesday meeting can be found at Watch the SBC annual meeting live here. Read More
NAMB spends day thanking Southern Baptists
ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- With many Southern Baptist churches focusing on North American missions during the month of March, North American Mission Board staff made nearly 8,000 personal contacts with Southern Baptists to express appreciation for continued partnership. Read More
Ken Weathersby named EC vice president
NASHVILLE (BP) -- Ken Weathersby will begin April 1 as vice president for convention advancement with the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee, the first African American to hold an EC vice presidential position.
Weathersby, who most recently has served as presidential ambassador for ethnic church relations with the North American Mission Board ... Read More
GuideStone garners another Lipper award
DALLAS (BP) -- For the second year in a row, GuideStone Financial Resources has been recognized in the Lipper Fund Awards, with the MyDestination 2025 Fund being named Best Fund Over Three Years among Mixed-Asset Target 2025 Funds. Read More
First Person
Ed Stetzer
FIRST PERSON: The media's desire for Catholics to 'get with the times'
There is no statistical evidence suggesting that people will return to the Catholic Church -- or any denomination -- if it embraces liberal social beliefs, says columnist Ed Stetzer.
Steve Silver
FIRST-PERSON: 5 ways to make the most of retirement
Author Steve Silver, who is 65, suggests five ways to transition mentally and emotionally into the retirement years.

Story Collections
Mideast Monitor
Texas Border
Crisis in Ukraine
The Persecuted Church
SBC Call to Prayer

 © Copyright 2014 Baptist Press. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use.

Southern Baptist Convention