Christian Iranian Pastor Is Still Alive

09.30.11 | Sarah Harnisch

Christians around the world are rallying for Iranian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, who was supposed to be put to death Thursday for his faith. But he wasn't. For some reason, the courts have held off on the death sentence, and he is still alive today. Nadarkhani is the head of 400 churches in Iran. He was ordered by judges 4 times to repent of his Christian faith. In his latest court appearance, Nadarkhani said "repent means to return. What should I return to? To the blasphemy that I had before my faith in Christ?" The judges replied, "to the religion of your ancestors, Islam." To which he said, "I cannot." Last night, both the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, and the White House issued statements calling freedom of religion a universal human right. Boehner called on Iran to grant Nadarkhani a full unconditional release. As of this afternoon, he has not been hanged-- but is still sitting in a prison cell, waiting.