American Rev. Saeed Abedini, 32, was sentenced on Jan. 27 to eight years in Iran’s most cruel prison for “threatening the security of Iran.”

His crime? Abedini met with fellow Christians in homes over six years “encouraging them in their faith.” On his last visit, which apparently triggered his arrest, he was inquiring with government officials seeking to establish an orphanage in Iran.

Iran appears afraid of dissenting ideas and differing approaches. This behavior betrays a deeper insecurity.

The president should press for Abedini’s release.

Juxtaposed to Iran, America’s response to differing religions except when they violate American law seems lacking in conviction; but it‘s not. The West has been tempered over time by antiquity’s clear teaching to “bear with great patience those who oppose you hoping that God will grant them repentance unto life.” This proverbial directive guides the West’s practice of government through debate, printed and broadcast dissent, noisy public protests; all that developing American public policy includes.

What a luxury.

Wayne Mayo