The Spanish Inquisition is a great stain on the history of the church. People were killed for things they said. There are plenty of examples of this throughout the history of the church. It is tragic that such things happened. In fact, this is why Jesus died. He was killed for what he said. “The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?’ The Jews answered him, ‘It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God’” (John 10:31-33). It was this charge of blasphemy that led them to seek his death by crucifixion.
Killing for what someone says is not Jesus’ way. He said, “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27-28). He lived this out. For his enemies who put him on the cross to die he prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
Aasia Bibi is a Pakistani Christian who was accused of blasphemy in Pakistan and now is condemned to die by hanging. If the courts don’t carry out the hanging, a local cleric offered a reward for anyone who would behead her.
I don’t know what she said, but I know that nothing one says is deserving of death. We should pray for her safety. And we should pray for the people of Pakistan to learn that God desires mercy (I’m not implying that no Pakistanis understand this). God is Al Rahman (the Beneficent) and Al Raheem (the Merciful).
I was helped today when I read the analysis of Rafia Zakaria. She helps us see that the problem with the blasphemy laws goes deeper – into the prejudices many have towards non-Muslims (among other things). Such superiority does not come from a heart of understanding, love and peace.
Aasia Bibi’s case is thus a representation of the triad of terrors: an unjust, ambiguous and discriminatory law that allows for the persecution of minorities based on mere allegations, the socialisation of women to perpetuate prejudice against each other and the collective curse of poverty and illiteracy that ensnares millions of Pakistanis.
Read the whole thing. And be sure to pray for Aasia, her accusers, and her judges.