WASHINGTON -- A group of pastors is putting their freedom on the line to bring attention to the plight of Saeed Abedini, a U.S. pastor sentenced to eight years in one of Iran's most brutal prisons for his Christian faith.
They're calling for clergy from all over America to come to the White House and risk arrest every Monday from now till March 8, saying it's time for more than talk about persecuted Christians around the world.
"Part of our obligation as ministers is not just proclamation, but demonstration," Rev. Keith Tucci, with the League for the Defense of Christian Pastors, told CBN News before he was arrested in front of the White House Monday afternoon.
"We believe that our culture is dying for a model and we also believe that there are many courageous men in the pulpits in America who understand that it's time to act now," he said.
Be sure your voice is heard. Add your name to the hundreds of thousands calling for Pastor Saeed's release at BeHeardProject.com.
Rev. Pat Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, noted that Obama called Jason Collins after the basketball player announced he's gay. The president also called Sandra Fluke after the Georgetown University law student made a very public stand for the right of American women to receive free contraceptive coverage in their health plans.
"And yet he has not called the wife of an American citizen who is being brutalized in an Iranian prison," Mahoney told CBN News. "And if President Obama won't reach out to her and won't stand for her husband and the persecuted Church, then she's coming to his very front yard."
That's one reason Saeed's wife, Nagmai Abedini, will join the pastors on March 8. Mahoney, Tucci, and other pastors hope her participation will bring hundreds of clergy members to head for the White House and face arrest with her.
"She is personally going to invite pastors across the country to come and stand with her and her children because her husband is being neglected in a foreign jail with no representation except for the Church," Tucci said.
Mahoney said Pastor Abedini has come to represent the persecuted Church around the world. He said the eight-day protest has been dubbed the Hebrews 13:3 Project.
"Remember those in prison as if you were in prison with them," he quoted the passage. "And those who are suffering as if you were suffering with them."