To the editor: As I began reading about Dina Nayeri’s plight as a young Christian in Islamist Iran, I thought that perhaps The Times had turned the corner. Alas, this piece was a deceptive attack on American Christians. (“The indoctrination of a young girl,” Opinion, June 25)
Christians in Islamist Iran have been beaten, locked up and even murdered for their faith. Los Angeles is filled with Iranian Jews and Christians who risked their lives to escape that brutal regime.
Yes, there are some extreme Christian groups that use mind-control and intimidation to shape their followers, but I am not sure the Campus Crusade for Christ that Nayeri joined at Princeton is as dangerous as she implies. Even so, they do not reflect the ideology or methods of most Christians in the U.S., and Nayeri probably knows that.
Worse yet, to compare Christian pastors and leaders to the Iranian Basij militias is egregious. The Basij are engaged in enforcing the hijab, arresting women for violating the dress code and arresting youths for attending mixed gender parties or being in public with unrelated members of the opposite sex. I have never been in a church where attendees couldn’t just walk out.
Chris Chrisman, Los Angeles
To the editor: The faithful must resolve whether religious teachings are divine revelation or expressions of culture. If God’s will is subject to interpretation, then by definition it is not divine revelation.
Seen this way, the desire to acknowledge the divine is universal, but how it is done is cultural. And if the cultural basis of religion is understood, then it will promote tolerance and discourage the indoctrinations that Nayeri (and the rest of us) endure.