Apr 252016
 

Saeed-Abedini-ACLJIt’s entirely possible that historians looking back at our time will find the story of Saeed Abedini to be one of the strangest they try to tell.

For over three years Christians worked fervently to get him released from an Iranian prison.

His wife spearheaded this movement until she stopped, alleging spousal abuse.

She revealed huge discrepancies in his prison narrative, leaving us all wondering about Iranian prisoners owning cell phones and watching Netflix while claiming horrible torture at the same time.

He was eventually released from prison into the waiting arms of Franklin Graham and and new handlers.

American evangelicals, who spent thousands of man hours and untold thousands of dollars advocating for his release waited for explanations and answers to all of these questions and more.

We’re still waiting.

Now there are new allegations of blatant plagiarism.

Abedini denies all allegations, always with a hint of wrong doing on the part of others and possible conspiracy afoot.

Iran is trying to hack his Facebook page, you know…evidently they don’t want anyone to know their prisons feature free wi-fi…

This morning his sister posted this on Facebook:

“Please pray for my brother Saeed Abedini. Two days ago he heard that my niece Rebekka is dealing with severe anxiety because of her Dady situation, and her doctor said she has to take medication for her anxiety. During these two days Saeed was dealing with an extreme pain in his chest till tonight its leads us to the Emergency Room.
Saeed in his last interview mentioned that his life in the U.S. after his imprisonment in Iran is harder than when he was in prison in Iran. That is so true!”

There was, of course, a picture of Saeed suffering in the hospital accompanying the story.

Think for a moment about all the reports of his suffering while in captivity…and the statement that life here is harder.

I’m sure his children are suffering…and that’s why he should disappear until his family issues are resolved and some answers given to the public that supported them.

Why do evangelicals continue to support someone who has been accused of spousal abuse, lying, and plagiarism without providing any real response to those allegations?

Because it is celebrity driven…and Jesus simply isn’t enough.

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  47 Responses to “Calvin’s Corner: Saeed Abedini and the State of American Evangelicalism”

  1. One of my daughters-in-law is standing by Saeed, or at least she was until rather recently. (She hasn’t posted about him on FB lately.) She an innocent, who thinks the best of everyone and does not read blogs. She has heard some vague rumors, as she would see it, casting doubt on the goodness of one’s of God’s missionary heroes and rather than probe into the allegations, chooses to think the best and pray for everybody concerned. I think the majority of Christians don’t follow blogs or other Christian news outlets and just choose to hope everything will work out for the best in the end if they pray and leave the mess for God to fix.

  2. Since I am not actively paying attention to him I am not aware of the support you are referencing. Is there still significant support for him?

  3. BD,

    Yes, his Facebook page is quite active and he seems to have a team of professionals guiding his new career as a speaker.

  4. Xenia,

    There’s a lot of truth in what you wrote…and that’s how Christians keep getting fleeced.

  5. What a strange story this is! I think Michael hit it on the head when he said, “Why do evangelicals continue to support someone who has been accused of spousal abuse, lying, and plagiarism without providing any real response to those allegations?” That is the key that he does not provide any suitable answers to the accusations being made against him. It is always someone else’s fault. It’s Iran’s fault; it’s his wife’s fault; I don’t see him taking responsibility for anything.

  6. @6
    Mannn! How are you supposed to cut away to the white bronco chase when the link doesn’t go through!

  7. Iran is such an enemy, many people want their guy to be the antithesis..the hero. (i.e. Cruz to Trump the enemy)

    As to support, I hesitate to think too much about social media clicks as “support” – not in the grand scheme of things. We can’t draw conclusions about massively large groups by such a small sampling. Any group can be viewed in the worst light by one person and a few thousand likes online. Just look at the retweets when someone suggests killing a cop.

    To use a political example – I look at Ted Cruz (and I have posted details elsewhere) and see a mockery of Christ and wonder about all of his support. Except, as we see, a loud presence in social media by rabid followers is not actual SUPPORT nationwide (since in politics there is this thing called the vote where people can express their support or lack thereof).

    Maybe when Saeed writes his book and inks his movie deal, we will better be able to gauge whether the support for him is really out there en masse among the Christian community (not sure why in the context of Saeed it is “the evangelicals” that are the focus because his story crossed denominational lines and I assume some of his continued support would as well)

  8. I guess I should add that the book deal might not tell us all….if he uses Driscoll or Jeremiah’s publishers and best seller “strategies” ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I have wondered about this since the first pictures of him after his release show a very healthy looking man. He did not look at all like he had been abused in prison.

  10. What ever happened to those internal injuries they said he had in prison? I have not heard of any treatment on those and he was up and running when he came out of prison.

  11. Ha! I wonder if Abedini is double dipping contributions from US supporters and offerings from his followers in Iran supporting his suffering for Christ in the states ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. I saw the Facebook post and the photo of him trying to look pathetic, and I immediately thought of something I had recently read about manipulators and abusers using sympathy to gain support from others. This man has been and continues to be dishonest about many things. I am embarrassed for all of the gullible folks who still believe whatever comes out of his mouth. To infer that the news of your daughter being on anxiety medication is worse suffering than being in an Iranian prison is pathetic. Of course, what is left unstated but clearly meant is that the current situation is all his wife’s fault and he is a victim.

  13. I listened to the video and money was brought into it as far as copyright and loss of income and also the incident with Phil so I’m going off in a tangent looking for some advice.

    We are going to have to purchase a new central air/heat system. This involves having folks coming out and giving you their price to do the job.

    In California tons of people get out of paying workers comp., payroll taxes, state unemployment insurance by different means.

    So our best quote so far seems to be from a man who may be claiming he has no employees and thus getting out of workers comp. He could do that if he is using independent contractors only.

    I’ve been told since the man does great work and is licensed then I should use him.

    How do you all deal with this? Do you check into these things? Do you only use people who can be verified to be paying all of these taxes? I would value comments.

  14. “Iโ€™ve been told since the man does great work and is licensed then I should use him.”

    I would…

  15. Also, how would you verify if he is paying all his taxes? You wouldn’t be on the hook for that aspect anyways.

    I would also call your homeowner’s insurance agent and ask them if your coverage protects you in the event that a general contractor uses a sub-contractor who has employees that aren’t covered by worker’s comp.

    You have the right to ask the general contractor to provide proof of coverage G/L & WC, or lack thereof, for anyone who works on your project.

  16. Scott, I use that site to check on everyone. The man who I’m concerned about talks about his crew and I plan on asking him about the WC. I never thought about calling homeowners insurance. Thank you!

    Michael, my concern is doing the right thing before God. I am trying to understand how that plays out here. The lowest price is what I’m after to be honest but if I have to pay more to be doing the right thing then I’m thinking I should.

    Let’s just say there isn’t agreement in our home about this. Thanks!

  17. Erunner – doing the right thing before God, even if it costs more, is a testimony. We just finished a large project, I told the contractor up front that we were going to do things according to the regulations here. It cost more, but God honored it, the project went incredibly well and He provided for the extra cost, and the contractor has started attending our church.

  18. Michael,

    As a corollary to this issues of Christian Celebrity worship/adoration/no-fault-of-their-own-doing…we still may be witnessing a general distrust and disbelief still at work directed towards bloggers.

    Christian news websites seem to enjoy being protected from watchful eyes, especially since more and more are ridding their websites of comments sections (e.g.. recently the Christian Post did away with their comment sections).

    Hard to believe though that some (most?) of these news websites (which many still pine away with positive stories about Mark Driscoll, Mahaney, Saeed, et al) seem to think that people don’t have access to alternative news sources that contradict their stories.

  19. Col46, Thanks for sharing. It seems most people aren’t aware of some of this stuff?? And I imagine others have varying convictions. It’s encouraging to read your experience. Thanks!!

  20. Erunner – your homeowners insurance is not going to cover any workers compensation exposure in a situation like that. And I really do not thing they have a duty to defend if someone tried to drag you into something by a lawsuit (though that is always a case by case subjective standard whether they choose to defend a suit they know you will not be liable for).

    The incidental workers comp coverage that is included, standard, in all homeowners insurance policies is not designed for such cases…

  21. Erunner, the only bit of wisdom that I can add is be cautious of those companies who advertise as a “Christian” business. Anyone can claim that title.

    A friend of mine went to work for an HVAC company that advertises solely to the Christian market on one of SoCal’s Christian radio stations and he was astonished how dishonest they were, from overpricing to doing work that wasn’t necessary. Apparently, when another shady but successful operation in SoCal was shut done, this company hired all their pushy salesmen to further their scam.

    My young friend is now actively looking for other work, embarrassed to be working for this “Christian” business. Again, this isn’t meant to slam the many good business owners who are Christian. Just a warning to look beyond just the label someone slaps on themselves as a marketing ploy.

  22. As for the ongoing saga of Saeed, we should give this soap opera a name. I suggest “As the Stomach Turns”, since it’s such a sickening thing.

  23. “…be cautious of those companies who advertise as a โ€œChristianโ€ business. Anyone can claim that title.”

    Perhaps this is the test – to the salesman – “are you a Christian company? Recite the Nicene Creed.”

    We could use this all over – To Donald Trump – “Are you a Christian candidate? Recite the Nicene Creed.”

    Is this a Christian Country? What percentage of the population can recite the Nicene Creed. – I think I’ll do that the next time someone hands me their card with a fish on it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. But Lord, what must I do to be saved?

    Memorize a profession of faith written in 325 AD.

  25. No, but it is a quick way to have him summarize his faith to see if the fish on his card is real.

  26. Maybe you could read it to him and have him affirm each point?

  27. Someone needs to unpuker. I actually said it in a light hearted way – note my ๐Ÿ™‚ at the end.

    But you bring up a good point, for the anti creedal folks I would need to – but they would think that such clarity of faith was a trick. Now watch this ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜‰

  28. My responses were light hearted as well. I just don’t use smileys that much.

  29. anyway – that will now become my method of weeding out contractors and vendors who prey on Christians.

  30. That should work.

    I’ll just ask them “Are you REALLLY SURE that you are saved?” ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. Perhaps Logos was duped by a bogus “Christian” cloud server ministry. ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. Steve, thanks for responding as I figured you are knowledgeable in these areas.

    Eric, why doesn’t that surprise me? As far as I know I haven’t talked to a “christian” (emphasis on the small c company.

    Yesterday I had a top rated company come out. The man had a nice folder for me showing all of their awards, a copy of their workers comp, etc. After he looked in the attic and outside at our unit he wanted to replace everything. Since I’m not educated enough re this I’m at the mercy of his integrity. So I have 3 or 4 more companies due in the next several days and it’ll be interesting to see what they have to say.

    BTW, if anyone has someone in the OC area they want to suggest I am all ears.

    I do appreciate the feedback. Thanks again.

  33. E,
    I don’t know for your stuff but I go to Home Depot or Lowes – then if there is a problem you have someone to go back to. The contractors have been vetted and they do not want to get kicked off the “good guys” list.

    It may cost more, but…

  34. Dallas – just where is the Cloud – isn’t it just someone elses’ computer?

  35. Erunner, look at Angie’s List.

  36. Erunner mentioned the use of subs – does an HVAC company use subs? my concern as i read this is something called a mechanicโ€™s lien – IF this man uses subcontractors the question is, does he pay them in full? in this state any worker who is not paid can place a mechanicโ€™s lien on your property and it will stay there until you pay (a second time, if youโ€™ve already paid the general) or will be part of the settlement should you or your heirs sell at some point in time

    BTW – the worst job we ever had done was by a Lowe’s contractor… my husband had to help him figure out the procedure – then again down the road we have a fence contractor who is on Lowe’s list and he’s a good guy – no sure things

    the Abedinis’ saga has gotten tiresome, but a red flag went up for me when i read that the daughter is on anxiety meds – those poor children

  37. i think that those “clouds” are great big data storage sites – due to our lower electric costs (hydro) there are several in this area and they are HUGE…

    has anyone come across a prophesy wonk who is spinning off this phenomena (“Lo, He cometh with clouds and every eye shall see Him?) ๐Ÿ™‚

  38. MLD, more or less… but technically probably some decent sized server farms. You would hope that, especially for something that costs as much as Logos, that they would have some serious redundancies in place so that what happened to Michael would never happen.

    If you are going to sell a product that uses that type of technology, it should be ultra reliable. The closest secular thing I can think of that works the same way is Adobe Creative Suite, which seems to run into the same issues, though I don’t know too what degree. Kind of figured that they should have waited for flawless implementation before rolling this kind of thing out, or at least spend the money to have a lot of redundancies in place.

    Pretty sure the move in that direction has way more to do with piracy than anything else though.

    That was a long answer to a short question, and a bunch of info you didn’t ask for. ๐Ÿ™‚

  39. MLD and Em, I just set up Lowes for tomorrow!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    London, I use both Yelp and Angie’s List and it seems most I contact are on Angie’s List. Thanks.

    Em, I have yet to run into anyone who subs things out. The legit companies will have employees to guarantee their work is done well at least from what I’ve seen.

  40. Erunner, how i long for good old days ๐Ÿ™‚ used to be so easy or so i seem to remember – sounds like you’re doing all one can to be cautious and smart

  41. @ #26….sigh……

  42. You like that one Alan ๐Ÿ™‚ ?

  43. I am waiting for the friend who will say she told them about the abuse BEFORE she sent the emails out. David said they are friends and they talk, but it looks like that conversation just started a few months ago.

  44. Not that I don’t believe her. I just think if someone knew about the alleged abuse before all the public drama, it would go a lot further than someone new to her life.

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