Resource Bibliography on the Saeed and Naghmeh Abedini Situation

On This Page:

  • About This Bibliography
  • Basic Facts and Timeline of Imprisonment, 2012-2015
  • Essential Introductory Reading
  • Idaho Statesman and Other News Agencies. Chronological Links, Late 2015 – Early 2016
  • Survivor Blogs and Mainstream Christian Media. Chronological Links, Late 2015 – Early 2016
  • Saeed Abedini Develops His Post-Imprisonment Platform – April/May 2016
  • Critical Responses to Christianity Today’s Interview with Saeed Abedini – April/May 2016
  • Chronological Links Starting May 2016
  • Chronological Links 2017
  • Archive: 2007 Abedini “Domestic Assault” Court Case
  • Archive: State Department Travel Warnings – 2011 and 2012

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Regardless of which New Testament translation we use, we can’t get away from the essential mandate in 1 Timothy 3:3-7 — that those who want to be in public roles for the Church automatically subject themselves to ongoing “background checks” about their character and actions. ~ brad/futuristguy, February 2, 2016.

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ABOUT THIS BIBLIOGRAPHY

Initial edition compiled by brad/futuristguy; link selections, issue analysis, and opinions expressed are his own unless otherwise noted.

This resource bibliography contains links primarily from bloggers, abuse survivor bloggers, and select mainstream secular and Christian media. It is not intended to be comprehensive, but to focus on key primary sources and analysis – especially by those with series of posts on the situation. It also includes a few procedures for those wanting to do some of their own online research.

Main sources for links in the bibliography sections:

Idaho Statesman. The Idaho Statesman – and especially John Sowell – have provided very substantive news reporting on the Abedinis’ situation, which is to them both a local and national story.

nakedpastor/David Hayward. For many people, artwork helps them tap into the emotional component of concepts, issues, and events. David is an artist and blogger. He has been in touch personally with Naghmeh Abedini, and has created a series of posts with cartoons directly related to the Abedini situation. His cartoons are especially evocative because they reflect his advocacy for survivors of abuse and violence.

Phoenix Preacher/Michael Newnham and Kevin H. Michael has served as one of the moderators for the “Free Saeed” campaign Facebook page. He also has many connections in the Calvary Chapel movement, which is where the Abedini family attended. Michael also writes regularly about issues of abuse and violence. (Special thanks to him for permission to copy and paste material her from his blog posts.)

Spiritual Sounding Board/Julie Anne Smith. Julie Anne got involved with abuse survivor blogging when her former pastor sued her and four other defendants for $500,000 for alleged defamation for negative reviews and statements about him and his church. Her posts on this situation have addressed issues of dynamics of abuse, couples versus individual counseling, and qualifications and credentials for public ministry.

The Wartburg Watch/Dee Parsons and Deb Martin. Dee and Deb have been blogging about issues related to spiritual abuse of power, victimization, and recovery since early 2009. Their posts on this situation are especially helpful in addressing theological and practical dynamics of gender issues in abuse and violence.

NOTE: Additional links, notes, summaries, and/or timeline information may be added to these listings if opportunity allows – and without notice unless it is some kind of substantial correction, addition, or revision. If you find items that need correcting, please note them in the comments. Thank you ~ brad/futuristguy.

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BASIC FACTS AND TIMELINE OF IMPRISONMENT, 2012-2015

The following “quick facts” and concise timeline of Saeed Abedini’s background and imprisonment in Iran was posted by the American Center for Law and Justice. ACLJ served as legal representation for the Abedinis until after Saeed was released in January 2016. This timeline was apparently prepared through the DeMoss agency, and covers up to early June of 2015.

Backgrounder: Pastor Saeed Abedini.

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ESSENTIAL INTRODUCTORY READING

Global research indicates one of three women worldwide is the victim of physical or sexual violence. So, it is crucial that we gain understanding about the dynamics of these forms of abuse.

This section lists six articles that I believe, as a set, provide the best combined overview to the core issues involved in this situation. They summarize:

(1) The historical background on Saeed Abedini’s imprisonment and Naghmeh Abedini’s allegations about his abusive behaviors.

(2) Personal impacts of the alleged abuse.

(3) Reasons for seeking individual counseling for abuse issues before entering couples counseling for marriage issue.

(4) Mr. Abedini’s lack of being under pastoral oversight or organizational accountability.

(5) Questions of Mr. Abedini’s personal and organizational trustworthiness that represent potential disqualifications from a role of public ministry.

This set of articles focuses on the period of November 2015 through April 2016 when the majority of major events occurred. An understanding of the timeline and topical “big picture” of these core issues will help reduce confusion and increase discernment; it is not a case of “he said/she said.” There are, in my opinion, points and patterns here that clearly remove this from being a 50/50 responsibility situation, to one where Mr. Abedini holds primary responsibility for perpetuating the problems through his continued refusal to acknowledge or address abuse issues, or to submit to any authority other than his own autonomy.

#1 – February 03, 2016. Love, Joy, Feminism, Naghmeh Abedini, Franklin Graham, and the Silencing of Evangelical Abuse Victims, by Libby Anne. If you only read one post for background on the entire story, this should probably be it. I selected this post as an essential article for its:

  1. Inclusion of excerpts from key press releases, statements, and online articles that provide the backbone of narrative context to the situation as it unfolded.
  2. Perspective of advocacy for survivors of abuse and violence.

I believe Libby Anne’s understanding of the dynamics of victimization from abuse and power dynamics, plus support and recovery, are essential components to interpreting this situation more accurately.

#2 – March 02, 2016. Phoenix Preacher, Naghmeh Says ACLJ Told Her To Lie, Says Saeed is Under Church Discipline, by Michael Newnham. If you only read one post for the big picture of how difficult this situation has turned out to be Naghmeh Abedini and for many who advocated to “Free Saeed,” and how deep the impact and confusion and sense of betrayal has been, this should probably be it. “In an amazing and troubling Facebook thread, Naghmeh Abedini has made some startling statements.” Quote and analysis sections include:

  • The American Center For Law and Justice told her to lie about Saeeds prison conditions;
  • On her prior claims that she went weeks without communicating with Saeed;
  • Saeed Abedini is under Matt 18 church discipline;
  • On Saeed being abusive in prison and why she cut off communication;
  • On her marriage;
  • Meanwhile Saeed claims he was in solitary confinement for two years, but was still able to convert 1000 Muslims. He has made the rounds doing interviews and appearing with politicians.
  • The bottom line here is that all of us have been lied to by a lot of people…but only one person has confessed and repented.
  • It’s way past time for all involved to tell the whole story minus the lies…and not just on personal Facebook pages.

#3 – February 15, 2016. Spiritual Sounding Board, Saeed Abedini and Franklin Graham Promote “Couples Counseling” to Reconcile the Abedinis. Because of Saeed’s Abuse, is This Counterproductive?, by Julie Anne Smith, with contributions by Brad Sargent. The post was reviewed by Naghmeh Abedini. Contains excerpts from and/or links to public posts and press statements by Saeed Abedini, Franklin Graham, experts on counseling for abuse, etc.

Experts on the dynamics of abuse strongly recommend separate, individual counseling for abuser and victim, not couples counseling. If abusers refuse to work through individual counseling on their personal issues, that creates a stumbling block to relational reconciliation. Key Points:

  • Counselors with expertise on dynamics of abuse recommend individual counseling – for both the husband and wife – not couples counseling. Couples counseling implies the abuse is equally both partners’ fault, when this type of abuse is definitely more one-sided. It will never be “fixed” if the abuser does not address the personal problem first, and couples counseling gives the abuser multiple opportunities to manipulate the situation and triangulate – get the counselor to side with him against the victim.
  • On Valentine’s Day, Saeed Abedini sent a Facebook message about love to his supporters, thanking them for their love, prayers, and encouragement. But, in his post, he also implied that his wife, Naghmeh, is blocking progress in their relationship by not joining him in couples counseling. The context and the language give an example of manipulating the situation to get public opinion to side with him.
  • Franklin Graham, who has acted as an advocate/promoter for Saeed Abedini since his release, has no known expertise on the dynamics of abuse, yet has pressured Saeed and Naghmeh Abedini toward couples counseling.

#4 – February 02, 2016. Spiritual Sounding Board, Vetting, Accountability, Licensing, and Promoting for Pastor Saeed Abedini: Exploring What Went Wrong and How, by Julie Anne Smith. To date, this post is the most in-depth one I’ve found that has the research and interpretation needed on concerns directly related to Mr. Abedini’s qualifications and credentials for ministry, and who exactly – if any person or organization – he is directly accountable to and that could remove him temporarily or permanently from public ministry if he proves disqualified. This post includes sections on The Qualifications Case of Pastor Saeed Abedini, and the Roles of:

  • Pastor Bob Caldwell of Calvary Chapel Boise.
  • Franklin Graham of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
  • Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice.
  • The American Evangelistic Association (which licensed Mr. Abedini).

It has numerous links and screenshots documenting various overseers, handlers, and partners who previously held roles of authority/influence over Saeed Abedini. However, to me it seems increasingly clear that Mr. Abedini believes in a type of authoritarian theology which leaves him autonomous. This means he is ultimately accountable to no one other than himself, and is free to do exactly as he pleases with no responsibility to any other person, pastor, non-profit board, or other authority.

#5 – May 03, 2016. I wrote a series of three articles that overviews issues of Mr. Abedini’s trustworthiness, plus his apparent personal autonomy instead of submission to any credible authority for personal/organizational accountability, and his lack of answering allegations of abuse. I believe this examination is urgently needed because Mr. Abedini is currently attempting to reengage in public ministry through speaking and writing. He presents himself as someone worthy to be trusted, supported, and emulated. Should he be? I believe this is problematic.

Links: Challenging Christianity Today’s Interview with Saeed Abedini:

Part 1 of 3: Introduction, and He Gave No “Answer” to the Allegations.

Part 2 of 3: He Raised Unchallenged Accusations About His 2007 Domestic Assault Case.

Part 3 of 3: Apparent Assumption of Trustworthiness Left Unexamined, and Final Thoughts.

Here are some the key points this series addresses:

  • Mr. Abedini may or may not be ordained (an indicator of adequate theological preparation and vetting by peers). Although the Wikipedia entry for Saeed Abedini states he was ordained in 2008, although it does not indicate by what church, denomination, or other certifying body. I have found no confirming information about ordination. This is important because there may be instances where an ordination council or its convening organization can exercise discipline if an ordained minister later fails to meet biblical qualifications of character, behavior, and/or doctrinal beliefs for public ministry.
  • He is apparently not commissioned or functioning within any kind of denomination or official network (an indicator of responsibility to a sending organization).
  • His licensing credentials with the American Evangelistic Association appear to have been given with no particular vetting process, and AEA licensure appears open to anyone who applies and pays membership fees.
  • Public records for his non-profit agency – Saeed Ministries, which was established in 2011 – list his wife and his two sisters as members of the board of directors. An all-family board has inherent conflicts of interest, and would be insufficient to exercise appropriate oversight of Saeed, who is the organization’s Executive Director. To complicate the concerns about his accountability even further, Saeed and Naghmeh are in the process of dealing with legal separation.
  • There appears to be a consistent personal behavior pattern of dismissing any allegations (abusive behavior, use of pornography, plagiarizing someone else’s material on revival), giving vague reasons and refusing to give specifics, and labeling any critics or accusers as liars.
  • In his recent interview in Christianity Today (April 25, 2016), Mr. Abedini explained away of facts about his conviction on misdemeanor domestic assault charges in 2007. So, Mr. Abedini has, according to tweets by @XianAtty (April 26-29), misrepresented the court process; apparently accused his wife of (1) tricking him when he pled guilty to the charges and (2) helping perpetrate fraud on the Idaho State court system; and apparently accused his attorney of serious malpractice. @XianAtty called on Christianity Today to investigate the matter, but there has been no response yet.

The reason it is important to investigate these issues and patterns is the same as for vetting anyone who seeks a prominent profile as a spokesperson and role-model of Christianity: To protect members of the Body of Christ and its reputation from those who are UNqualified to serve due lack of spiritual maturity or ministry skills, and from those who are DISqualified to serve due to falling short of character and behavior standards set forth in the New Testament.

#6 – May 09, 2016. Christian Feminism Today, What We Can Learn from Christianity Today’s Interview with Saeed Abedini, by Dr. Christy Sim. This article by Dr. Christy Sim – an expert on intimate partner violence – digs deeper into the April 24th Christianity Today (CT) interview with Saeed Abedini. She provides two important resources for our community, along with showing us how to implement a process that leads to better discernment.

First, she uses a list of 13 well-documented characteristics of abusers to analyze Mr. Abedini’s own words for evidence of fitting patterns in that objective profile of abusive individuals. Her incisive evaluation demonstrates how extensively Mr. Abedini uses “double-speak” language and self-contradictory statements to deflect personal responsibility and inflict guilt and shame on others. When analyzed by this list, his harmful words clearly fit with the entire profile.

Second, Dr. Sim critiques CT’s use in this instance of an interview format and types of questions which allowed Mr. Abedini to control the narrative and further shame his wife, Naghmeh. She also considers the potential destructive impact on other survivors when abusers are given such a platform. Hopefully, Christian media will learn from Dr. Sim’s fair, professional, and practical analysis, and do better in considering the potential for harm in articles they publish about abuse.

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IDAHO STATESMAN AND OTHER NEWS AGENCIES

CHRONOLOGICAL LINKS, LATE 2015 – EARLY 2016

These reports have been put in one section to maintain the overall flow of news events. Annotations may be added later.

November 13, 2015. Idaho Statesman, Naghmeh Abedini, wife of jailed pastor, backs away from spotlight after disclosing claims of abuse, by Statesman Staff.

January 16, 2016. Idaho Statesman, Saeed Abedini among 5 Americans released by Iran, by Erin Fenner.

January 16, 2016. CBN News,“Daddy is Coming Home,” video interview with Naghmeh Abedini, on the announcement of Saeed being released. Approximately 12 minutes.

January 17, 2016. Idaho Statesman, North Carolina congressman flies to Germany to greet pastor freed by Iran, by Greg Gordon.

January 18, 2016. Idaho Statesman, Boise pastor held in Iran won’t be back in Idaho until he gets medical treatment, by Katy Moeller and Matthew Schofield.

January 18, 2016. Idaho Statesman, Boise pastor released from Iran to head to North Carolina retreat center Thursday, by Statesman Staff.

January 22, 2016. Idaho Statesman, Abedini’s wife talks about Monday’s reunion in North Carolina, by Erin Fenner.

January 22, 2016. Idaho Statesman, Released Iran prisoner’s wife talks about Monday’s reunion in North Carolina, by Erin Fenner.

January 26, 2016. Idaho Statesman, Saeed Abedini, pastor held in Iran, has returned to Boise, by John Sowell.

January 27, 2016. Idaho Statesman, Naghmeh Abedini: ‘I long more than anyone for reconciliation for our family.’

January 28, 2016. Idaho Statesman, Domestic abuse, national spotlight: Pastor’s wife speaks further about problems: we have learned that Saeed Abedini pled guilty to domestic violence in 2007, by John Sowell.

January 30, 2016. Idaho Statesman, Three North Carolina friends pushed for Boise pastor’s release, by John Sowell. This companion article to Saeed Abedini’s statement, also from the Idaho Statesman, gives some important timeline information and also identifies “Three North Carolina friends pushed for Boise pastor’s release” — the Rev. Franklin Graham, U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger and the Rev. David Chadwick.”

January 30, 2016. Idaho Statesman, Boise pastor ‘hoping and praying for healing and restoration’ in marriage, by John Sowell.

February 01, 2016. Washington Post, The strange case of the pastor released from Iran and his wife’s abuse allegations, by Bob Smietana. Many of the former reps and promoters distanced themselves from the Abedini situation. These three paragraphs from this article summarize it well:

A spokesman for the ACLJ [American Center for Law and Justice] said the Christian legal nonprofit is no longer representing the Abedinis, now that Saeed has been released. The family is no longer working with the DeMoss Group, a prominent Christian public relations firm based in Atlanta, which does media relations for the ACLJ and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

DeMoss handled media relations for the Abedinis when Saeed returned from Iran and stayed at the Cove, a retreat center run by the BGEA [Billy Graham Evangelistic Association].

“Now that Saeed has left the Cove and returned to Boise, we are not in a position to navigate his or Naghmeh’s movements, statements or wishes relative to interviews,” a DeMoss spokesman wrote in an email.

Despite any potential attempts to revise the history of these organizations’ involvement, it will never be as if they weren’t connected with Saeed Abedini, and/or that their representatives apparently failed in doing some due diligence to portray the situation fairly and accurately. As it turned out, it seems a lot of supporters and prayer warriors ended up confused and feeling betrayed. Hopefully, the more that situations are revealed and analyze where they weren’t handled well will help change the barometer to better due-diligence in the future.

In my opinion about the biggest picture of things here, some very damaging things happened in and to the Church through the larger support system that was in play. So, looking at the system issues is always important to upgrading the reliability of our organizations’ reputations in the future. Those public aspects of how things work or don’t work won’t go away because the Abedinis become more private about their situation.

February 04, 2016. Idaho Statesman, Saeed Abedini beaten in prison, had use of cellphone much of the time, by John Sowell. There have been questions about Saeed Abedini’s access to a cellphone while in prison. Julie Anne Smith notes: “Here’s an important article discussing the use of cell phones in Iranian prisons. If you have had questions about Naghmeh’s testimony, it is becoming more and more clear that Naghmeh has been telling the truth all along.”

February 04, 2016, Idaho Statesman,Abedini domestic violence incident in 2007 triggered by laptop argument,” by John Sowell.

February 05, 2016. Idaho Statesman, When religion, domestic abuse collide; experts speak on Abedini case.

February 25, 2016. Idaho Statesman, Saeed Abedini thanks Congress for support during his Iranian captivity.

April 02, 2016. Inquisitr, Pastor Says Life At Home Worse Than Iranian Prison Due To Marital Problems, by Donna Brown.

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SURVIVOR BLOGS AND MAINSTREAM CHRISTIAN MEDIA

CHRONOLOGICAL LINKS, LATE 2015 – EARLY 2016

November 4, 2015. Phoenix Preacher, Free Saeed, by Michael Newnham. Because Michael Newnham has been one of the moderators of the Facebook campaign for “Free Saeed,” and also advocates for victims of abuse, his regular Wednesday reports are significant.

Today, like every Wednesday, we will remember Saeed Abedini.

We do more than just remember, however…we stand with him by using our social media to advocate for his release.

We ask that you change your Facebook profile picture to his and that you “like”  the “Free Saeed” Facebook page and participate in some of the activities that promote his cause.

We ask…that you remember him and his family in prayer…and that you refuse to give up on efforts to secure his release.

You can follow Naghmeh Abedini for the latest news on her Facebook page…

November 11, 2015. Phoenix Preacher, Free Saeed, by Michael Newnham. This week’s “Free Saeed” post contained the same text as the previous week.

November 12, 2015. Christianity Today, Pastor Saeed Abedini’s Wife Halts Public Advocacy, Citing Marital Woes and Abuse, by Bob Smietana.

November 12, 2015. Christianity Today, Pastor Saeed, Globally-Known Iranian Prisoner, Is Accused of Spousal Abuse — Five Ways We Can Respond, by Ed Stetzer. “Moments like this they remind us of important (though painful) realities.” This article includes several paragraphs for each of the following five points:

First, we need to care about the accusations and the situation. It matters that a wife has spoken up. We should take seriously any accusations from those speak up about abuse. Therefore, we are hurting with Naghmeh in this moment.

Second, we still need to care about religious liberty and Pastor Saeed still needs to be freed.

Third, we need to pray for the Abedini family.

Fourth, we need to be aware of the weight of domestic abuse.

Fifth, we need to remember things aren’t always as they seem, especially in religious marriages.

November 12, 2015. Phoenix Preacher, Saeeds Wife Ceases Public Advocacy, by Michael Newnham. The content of this post is typical of the kinds of confusion people wree expressing in the wake of the allegations of abuse from Naghmeh Abedini.

Naghmah Abedini has accused her imprisoned husband of abuse and ceased public advocacy for his release according to a bizarre story in Christianity Today.

“Those troubles include “physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse (through Saeed’s addiction to pornography),” she wrote. The abuse started early in their marriage and has worsened during Saeed’s imprisonment, she said. The two are able to speak by phone and Skype.”

While these sins are common to all men (including Christians), the timing and purpose of these allegations is puzzling, to say the least.

Why would she release them now?

Who were the emails containing these allegations written to and why were they released publicly?

I believed that the only communication that she had with Saeed was through letters…now it’s asserted that they speak on the phone and through Skype.

They allow porn in Iranian prisons?

Nothing here adds up…and we would do well to reserve judgment until more facts are known.

November 18, 2015. Phoenix Preacher, Free Saeed, by Michael Newnham. [Edited only to create paragraphs and conserve space here.]

On Wednesdays we encourage people to advocate for the release of Saeed Abedini. We ask that you change your Facebook profile picture to his and that you “like”  the “Free Saeed” Facebook page and participate in some of the activities that promote his cause. We ask…that you remember him and his family in prayer…and that you refuse to give up on efforts to secure his release. We will continue to do so until he is released.

The allegations of spousal abuse by his wife do not change the fact that Abedini is being unjustly held in a foreign prison for his faith. The reactions to those allegations have followed the same course as is usual when dealing with well known Christians.

One group will deny the allegations are true and insist that the wicked media has created them from whole cloth. Their heroes must be sinless and pure, modern day saints who have yet to be beatified. Because they have done the beatification in their minds already, they will allow no information or evidence to taint their beatific vision. These people are rank idolaters. They will continue to support a fallen Christian, not for his sake, but for theirs.

Another group will discard the fallen one immediately. They too demand that their heroes be sinless and pure, but they will do so because they believe they are practically holy and their leaders must be too. These people are the modern day Pharisees who have removed any sort of spiritual mirror from their lives.

Both sides deny the faith once delivered. Between these extremes there will be those who know the Gospel…who know that we are all sinners saved by grace and we remain sinners kept by grace until we get home. We do not diminish the allegations against Saeed, we recognize that should the whole truth be told of any of us that truth would speak of our own sins and failures. We do not negate the need for accountability for sin, we simply will wait until Abedini is free to hold him accountable. We will never diminish or negate the impact of domestic abuse on its victims. We are committed to pray for this family and to intercede for the freedom of a man in chains for his faith.

November 20, 2015. The Wartburg Watch, Naghmeh Abedini, Wife of Imprisoned Pastor Abedini, Is a Victim of Domestic Abuse While Owen Strachan/CBMW Reports That Complementarians Handle Abuse Really Well , by Dee Parsons. Why #IBelieveNaghmeh. Includes background on Saeed Abedini and the “Free Saeed” campaign, his wife Naghmeh, her allegations that Saeed is both abusive and a user of pornography, and her stepping away from the public eye. There is also analysis of reactions to this news, and how it fits with larger issues of mistreatment of women in the Church.

November 25, 2015. Phoenix Preacher, Free Saeed, by Michael Newnham. By the time of this Wednesday’s “Free Saeed” post, it had been several weeks since Naghmeh’s allegations about abuse had been leaked and become prominent in the news. [Edited only to create paragraphs and conserve space here.]

I never though this campaign would ever be controversial, but in the light of Naghmah Abedinis accusations of domestic abuse it has become just that.

Because victims of spousal abuse and child abuse have so often been marginalized or ignored (especially in the church) the expectation now is that all accusations of such acts be accepted without question and without any due process.

I have much sympathy with this stance. I’ve seen victims ignored or worse, revictimized by those in authority. I’ve seen more cover ups than I can count.

However…I’ve also been lied to. More than once. There have been allegations sent to me with the hope of my advocacy that upon minimal scrutiny have collapsed like a house of cards.

The necessity to hear both sides of a matter is both a Christian and democratic ethic. I do not disbelieve Mrs. Abedini, but I believe Saeed Abedini has the right to answer these charges before we convict him. He has to be home to do so. Remember Saeed.

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December 2, 2015. Phoenix Preacher, Free Saeed, by Michael Newnham. This Wednesday’s “Free Saeed” post repeated the content of the November 25th post.

December 9, 2015. Phoenix Preacher, Free Saeed, by Michael Newnham. This Wednesday’s “Free Saeed” post gave the full text of Naghmeh Abedini’s statement issued earlier in the week. In it, she talks of having stepped back a month earlier, and why, and that she would be going into a 21-day period of prayer and fasting beginning on January 5.

December 16, 2015. Phoenix Preacher, Free Saeed, by Michael Newnham. Because Michael Newnham has been one of the moderators of the Facebook campaign for “Free Saeed,” his Wednesday reports are significant. [Edited only to create paragraphs and conserve space here.]

On Wednesdays we encourage people to advocate for the release of Saeed Abedini. We ask that you change your Facebook profile picture to his and that you “like” the “Free Saeed” Facebook page and participate in some of the activities that promote his cause. We ask…that you remember him and his family in prayer…and that you refuse to give up on efforts to secure his release. We will continue to do so until he is released.

I’ve posted the reminder above every Wednesday for quite some time. For the last few weeks it has been difficult to do so. To be blunt, I no longer believe the narrative that has been presented to the public about this situation. I don’t know what to believe. What I do know is that an American is in an Iranian prison, supposedly for the sake of the Gospel. I do know that I made a commitment to keep this mans plight in front of people until he’s released. I will honor that commitment without forgetting or ignoring the questions we all have.

December 23, 2015. Phoenix Preacher, Free Saeed, by Michael Newnham.

On Wednesdays we encourage people to advocate for the release of Saeed Abedini.

We ask that you change your Facebook profile picture to his and that you “like” the “Free Saeed” Facebook page and participate in some of the activities that promote his cause.

We ask…that you remember him and his family in prayer…and that you refuse to give up on efforts to secure his release.

We will continue to do so until he is released.

For some time (since the last big social media push) Facebook has turned yellow on Wednesdays with profiles promoting the release of Saeed Abedini.

Those yellow profile pictures are now few and far between.

This campaign is dead in the water, killed by his wife’s accusations of spousal abuse.

There are still a few pockets of fervent support, but most of the emotional energy is now spent or re directed toward Naghmah.

I have a hard time believing that she didn’t understand that this would be the result of taking her charges public.

I have a hard time understanding why there has been no statement from her pastor, Bob Caldwell.

I have a hard time understanding the whole situation, period.

What I do understand is that we are capable of doing two things concurrently.

We can support Naghmah Abedini in light of her statements and wishes.

We can continue to demand the release of an American citizen held illegally in Iran.

Conscience demands that we do both.

December 31, 2015. Phoenix Preacher, The PhxP Year in Review, by Michael Newnham. A compilation of key stories featured on the blog.

The third story has to be Naghmah Abedinis accusations of spousal abuse against her husband Saeed after three years of tireless work to see him freed from an Iranian prison.

The charges left the advocacy community in shock and killed any momentum it had generated.

My instincts tell me that there are more shocks to come and that we don’t know as much as we think about this story…

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January 16, 2016. Phoenix Preacher, Open Blogging, by Michael Newnham. “Saeed Abedini has been released.”

January 16, 2016. Spiritual Sounding Board, Saeed and Naghmeh Abedini — Two Kinds of Violence, Both Still a Prison, by Julie Anne Smith. Includes public posts by Naghmeh Abedini from November and December 2015. Given the continued unfolding of facts and questions at that time, this post offers an important compilation of key details, mostly in chronological order.

January 17, 2016. nakedpastor, Free Saeed and Abuse, cartoon and post by David Hayward.

January 18, 2016. Phoenix Preacher, Things I Think, by Michael Newnham.

1.While I rejoice with those who rejoice that Saeed Abedini has been released, I have grave misgivings over what happens next. Naghmeh Abedini has not retracted her accusations of spousal abuse as some believed she would after he was free. I am thankful that she sounds like a woman who has set definitive boundaries and will demand that the abuse be dealt with honestly.

She will have a hard time doing so…part of the church will canonize him as a hero and make it very easy for him to escape accountability. I will continue to stand with her as she navigates even deeper water than she has thus far.

January 27, 2016. Phoenix Preacher, The Latest From Naghmeh Abedini, by Michael Newnham. This includes the text of Naghmeh Abedini’s public statement about Saeed’s return to Boise, Idaho, and her view of the then-current situation. This post is notable for having nearly 350 comments.

January 27, 2016. The Wartburg Watch, Saeed Abedini’s Wife Files Legal Papers in the Wake of Her Husband’s Release , by Deb Martin. “I sincerely had hoped that this horrible situation Saeed has had to go through would bring about the spiritual change needed in both of us to bring healing to our marriage. Tragically, the opposite has occurred.” – Naghmeh Abedini. This post has a link and screenshot of Naghmeh’s statement of January 27th on Facebook that includes the above quote. It also includes links to related articles from Boise-area Local 8 News and the Baptist Press.

January 29, 2016. The Wartburg Watch, To the Naghmeh Abedini Doubters: Saeed Abedini Pled Guilty to Domestic Violence in 2007 , by Dee Parsons. “Saeed Abedini has a history of domestic violence. TWW continues to stand with Naghmeh!” This post shares a number of screenshots of critical comments about Naghmeh and how the news of abuse was leaked via what was intended to be private emails. It also goes into some of the typical techniques used to silence victims, including the “two sides to every story” tactic used by Franklin Graham, who has been highly involved publicly with Saeed since his release from Iran.

January 30, 2016. Phoenix Preacher, Saeed Denies Charges, by Michael Newnham. This gives the text of Saeed’s public statement, which he said would be his last for the time being: “It is not my intention to speak further publicly—through social media or any other channels—at least until I believe we have made significant progress in private. I thank you for your understanding and support.”

January 30, 2016. Spiritual Sounding Board, Pastor Saeed Abedini Releases a Public Statement Denying Abuse Allegations Against His Wife, by Julie Anne Smith. Has the text of the public statement issued by Saeed Abedini, from the January 30 article by John Sowell in the Idaho Statesman, “Boise pastor ‘hoping and praying for healing and restoration’ in marriage.”

January 31, 2016. AshleyEaster.com, Pastor Abedini and the Double Standard of Abuse, by Ashley Easter. Includes several representative comments from social media. Quote:

When I read through the comments on Naghmeh’s statement I was appalled by many of the insensitive and down right cruel remarks made by confessing Christians. A large number of commenters engaged in doubting, victim blaming, guilting and shaming; they even expressed their desire for her silence.

January 31, 2016. The Wartburg Watch, For the Continuing Naghmeh Doubters: Yes, Saeed Really Did Plead Guilty , by Dee Parson. “Further reality check for Naghmeh Abedini persecutors.” This article includes what may have been the first posting of a screenshot of the 2007 domestic assault court record for the case involving Saeed Abedini. Though some details had been posted by the Idaho Statesman newspaper, accessing the actual court records required online research. Prior to this screenshot, numerous online doubters questioned the reality of the claim about the case.

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February 01, 2016. nakedpastor, Franklin Graham: Saeed is Freed. Free Naghmeh too!, cartoon and post by David Hayward.

February 01, 2016. Phoenix Preacher, Things I Think, by Michael Newnham. He offers this opening thought – “Before we attempt to discern the things unknown, I think it would be wise to mark out what we do know” – and then lists 10 points of what is known, even where questions remain. Here are some key points and excerpts. (Paragraphs have been combined for the sake of space.

  1. In the strange, sad, case of the Abedini’s, facts are in short supply. Before we attempt to discern the things unknown, I think it would be wise to mark out what we do know. We do know that Saeed Abedini was convicted of domestic abuse in a court of law. We know that as far back as 2007, his spousal abuse and addiction to pornography was known to the pastor he worked under, Bob Caldwell of Calvary Chapel Boise. We know from sources that Caldwell briefly put Abedini under discipline for this, a time our sources put at 31/2 to 4 months. Therefore, what we know is that Saeed Abedini had no business being in the position he was in after that.
  2. It takes more than a few months to overcome whatever issues lead one to abuse the wife of their youth and consume pornography. Those issues effectively disqualify someone from the ministry…for a very long time. The issues themselves have to be dealt with, then the damage they have caused needs to be addressed and healed. The failure to view these issues as seriously as they should have been has led us to the morass we have today. […]
  3. According this (excellent) article the DeMoss public relations group and the ACLJ have moved on from the Abedinis. This should be no surprise. Before the abuse allegations came out and before the evidence of abuse was shown, Saeed Abedini was worth a small fortune to those who would have capitalized on his experience. Those organizations depend on donated money and nothing brings in the bucks like a living martyr. Now that the Abedini’s halos are tarnished they will be consigned to the evangelical flea market. Nothing personal, you understand…business is business.

February 01, 2016. The Wartburg Watch, Do the Complementarian Mandates of Submission and Male Leadership Attract Domestic Abusers?, by Dee Parsons. Complementarian churches that preach submission will naturally attract abusers. Includes sections detailing and analyzing the following topics:

  • Complementarian leaders say they are against domestic abuse but often act differently.
  • Complementarian supporters run when domestic violence gets reported.
  • Complementarians often do not believe women who report being abused by pastors, leaders, heroes, etc.
  • It is unsafe for women (and men) who are victims of domestic violence to report this to many religious leaders who are ill trained in responding to domestic violence.
  • Pedophiles and trust=Complementarians and submission
  • The problem with teaching a generic submission
  • What I have learned from Naghmeh Abedini and her reports of her abuse.

February 02, 2016. nakedpastor, the evangelical demonization of women, cartoon and post by David Hayward.

February 02, 2016. Spiritual Sounding Board, Vetting, Accountability, Licensing, and Promoting for Pastor Saeed Abedini: Exploring What Went Wrong and How, by Julie Anne Smith. The Qualifications Case of Pastor Saeed Abedini, and the Roles of Pastor Bob Caldwell, Franklin Graham, Jay Sekulow, and the American Evangelistic Association. It has numerous links and screenshots documenting various overseers, handlers, and partners who previously held roles of authority/influence over Saeed Abedini. However, to me it seems increasingly clear that Mr. Abedini believes in a type of authoritarian theology which leaves him autonomous. This means he is ultimately accountable to no one other than himself, and is free to do exactly as he pleases with no responsibility to any other person, pastor, non-profit board, or other authority.

February 03, 2016. Love, Joy, Feminism, Naghmeh Abedini, Franklin Graham, and the Silencing of Evangelical Abuse Victims, by Libby Anne. I selected this post as an essential article for its (1) inclusion of excerpts from key press releases, statements, and online articles that provide the backbone of narrative to the situation as it unfolded, and (2) perspective of advocacy for survivors of abuse and violence. I believe Libby Anne’s understanding of the dynamics of victimization from abuse and power dynamics, plus support and recovery, are essential components to interpreting this situation more accurately.

February 05, 2016. Phoenix Preacher, New Information On Saeed, by Michael Newnham. “The Idaho Statesman has uncovered some info on the prison conditions in Iran. This would seem to verify Naghmeh Abedinis narrative, at least in part.”

February 08, 2016. Spiritual Sounding Board, Domestic Violence is NOT a Marriage Issue, but an Abuse Issue, by Julie Anne Smith. Contains excerpts from an online discussion about abuse, believability of victims, etc.

February 09, 2016. Visionary Womanhood, Three Nasty Things (some) Women are Saying About Naghmeh, by Natalie Klejwa. This post analyzes these three prototype statements that have been used to dominate discussion on the situation, and/or to silence the victim.

  1. People are confused. Why would a Christian woman fight tirelessly for three years to free her imprisoned husband only to admit right before he comes home that he abused her?
  2. She should have kept the abuse private.
  3. There are two sides to every story.

February 13, 2016. Lydia Centre, The Heroic Abuser? Christian Media Headlines about Saeed and Naghmeh Abedini, by Valerie Hobbs and Mark A Garcia. This is an important piece of media content analysis. Quote:

This is part one in a series examining media headlines about and reader response to Saeed Abedini’s abuse of his wife Naghmeh. In this first part, we focus on the headlines of 15 Christian media outlets, asking such questions as:

  1. What coverage do Christian media outlets give to Saeed’s abuse of Naghmeh, relative to their reports of his imprisonment and release?
  2. What language do Christian media outlets use to identify the abuse?
  3. In what ways is abuse emphasized and/or minimized via discursive strategies?

February 15, 2016. Phoenix Preacher, Things I Think…, by Michael Newnham. “4. Saeed Abedini made his first post imprisonment appearance on Facebook…and ended his thank you note by throwing his wife directly under the bus. My over/under on the beginning of the speaking tour is 4/6 weeks…”

February 15, 2016. Spiritual Sounding Board, Saeed Abedini and Franklin Graham Promote “Couples Counseling” to Reconcile the Abedinis. Because of Saeed’s Abuse, is This Counterproductive?, by Julie Anne Smith, with contributions by Brad Sargent. The post was reviewed by Naghmeh Abedini. Contains excerpts from and/or links to public posts and press statements by Saeed Abedini, Franklin Graham, experts on counseling for abuse, etc.

Experts on the dynamics of abuse strongly recommend separate, individual counseling for abuser and victim, not couples counseling. If abusers refuse to work through individual counseling on their personal issues, that creates a stumbling block to relational reconciliation. Key Points:

  • Counselors with expertise on dynamics of abuse recommend individual counseling – for both the husband and wife – not couples counseling. Couples counseling implies the abuse is equally both partners’ fault, when this type of abuse is definitely more one-sided. It will never be “fixed” if the abuser does not address the personal problem first, and couples counseling gives the abuser multiple opportunities to manipulate the situation and triangulate – get the counselor to side with him against the victim.
  • On Valentine’s Day, Saeed Abedini sent a Facebook message about love to his supporters, thanking them for their love, prayers, and encouragement. But, in his post, he also implied that his wife, Naghmeh, is blocking progress in their relationship by not joining him in couples counseling. The context and the language give an example of manipulating the situation to get public opinion to side with him.
  • Franklin Graham, who has acted as an advocate/promoter for Saeed Abedini since his release, has no known expertise on the dynamics of abuse, yet has pressured Saeed and Naghmeh Abedini toward couples counseling.

February 16, 2016. A Cry for Justice, A thought on the Abedini case, by Jeff Crippen. Quote:

There is actually nothing different about the case of Naghmeh Abedini than the myriads of other abuse cases we have had reported to us. The very same patterns are being played out. The only difference is that due to Saeed’s imprisonment there was a high level of publicity. But all the rest is the same. The abuser working to gain allies, successfully. Churches and Christians enabling the abuser while furthering the suffering of the victim. The victim not being believed by many. Pressure on the victim to reconcile with the abuser and “save the marriage.” It’s all the same. Perhaps one good thing that will come out of all this, besides Naghmeh getting to freedom, is the publicity of how abusers operate and how many of them pretend behind a “holy facade” of Christianity.

February 16, 2016. Love, Joy, Feminism. Saeed Abedini, Franklin Graham, and the Manipulative Abuse of Couples Counseling, by Libby Anne.

February 16, 2016. Watch the Shepherd, Naghmeh Abedini and Responding to Marital Abuse, by Virginia Knowles. Includes quotes and questions from social media comments that oppose Naghmeh and her sharing of her story. Quote (edited only to split one paragraph into a list of sentences, for easier reading and reference):

How dare she do this to Saeed after what he has been through?

Aren’t there two sides to every story?

Maybe she’s lying, or at least exaggerating?

What about his feelings?

Why won’t she reconcile with Saeed?

Why won’t she agree to couples counseling?

Why won’t she play nice and be a good wife?

Or is she hiding something?

Maybe she’s greedy and wants to keep all the money she raised while she was trying to get him released?

Or maybe she is covering up an affair?

February 18, 2016. Phoenix Preacher, Loose Ends, by Michael Newnham. “Why can’t bloggers and social media leave Saeed and Naghmeh Abedini alone to work out the crisis in their marriage? Because some of us have information that leads us to believe that real reconciliation isn’t a priority for Saeed and his camp. The priority we believe is to force Naghmeh Abedini into a “counseling” situation that does not compel Saeed to deal with his (alleged) abuse, but provides “holy cover” for him to begin a lucrative speaking career with Franklin Grahams help. […]”

February 25, 2016. Phoenix Preacher, Loose Ends, by Michael Newnham. This post is important for noting that Michael Newnham has been one of the moderators for the “Free Saeed” Facebook page.

February 25, 2016. World, Saeed Abedini: Please pray for my marriage, by Evan Wilt. This post gives some details of how Saeed got access to a cell phone while in prison (his father bribed the guards to provide the phone, and he charged the batteries periodically). These details proved important, as there were questions earlier on about whether Saeed had a phone or not.

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March 02, 2016. Phoenix Preacher, Bob Caldwell Resigns, by Michael Newnham. “Bob Caldwell, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Boise has resigned. Caldwell is a member of Calvary Chapel Association board and was the pastor for Saeed and Naghmeh Abedini. He says he will stay on the church board for up to a year…”

March 02, 2016. Phoenix Preacher, Naghmeh Says ACLJ Told Her To Lie, Says Saeed is Under Church Discipline, by Michael Newnham. “In an amazing and troubling Facebook thread, Naghmeh Abedini has made some startling statements.” Quote and analysis sections include:

  • The American Center For Law and Justice told her to lie about Saeeds prison conditions;
  • On her prior claims that she went weeks without communicating with Saeed;
  • Saeed Abedini is under Matt 18 church discipline;
  • On Saeed being abusive in prison and why she cut off communication;
  • On her marriage;
  • Meanwhile Saeed claims he was in solitary confinement for two years, but was still able to convert 1000 Muslims. He has made the rounds doing interviews and appearing with politicians.
  • The bottom line here is that all of us have been lied to by a lot of people…but only one person has confessed and repented.
  • It’s way past time for all involved to tell the whole story minus the lies…and not just on personal Facebook pages.

March 10, 2016. Phoenix Preacher, Saeed Denies All Allegations, by Michael Newnham. “In a phone interview with me last night, Saeed Abedini denied all charges of abuse made by his wife Naghmeh.Everything she said was untrue’, he told me unequivocally, repeatedly.”

March 14, 2016. Spiritual Sounding Board, Pastor Saeed Abedini Unwilling to Seek Abuse Counseling, by Julie Anne Smith. Includes the text of a public statement by Naghmeh Abedini on her Facebook page, and the related link.

March 17, 2016. Phoenix Preacher, Kevin H: The Abedini Tragedy, by Kevin H. This post offers details and analysis for two reasons why Kevin H. believes “this story needs to stay public.”

First, we all know by now that we were given a false narrative during the large majority of our advocacy for Saeed’s release from Iranian prison. […]

The second reason I believe the Abedini case unfortunately needs to remain public revolves around the allegations of abuse. […]

I really wish this could all go away from the public arena. I really do.

But for the given reasons of the ACLJ’s complicity in the false narrative and Saeed’s spoken desires to obtain a platform of influence in the Church, it can’t. I wish it weren’t so.

March 31, 2016. Hello Christian, Pastor Saeed Abedini On Abuse Allegations: “They Are All False.” Links to and summarizes a KTVB interview of March 30th.

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April 01, 2016. The Christian Post, Saeed Abedini on Marriage Troubles: ‘My Life Is Harder Now Than When I Was in Prison,’ by Stoyan Zaimov. Opening lines of the article:

Pastor Saeed Abedini says his life is harder now than when he was being held hostage in an Iranian prison because of the media attention surrounding the troubles in his marriage and “false accusations” against him.

April 19, 2016. Phoenix Preacher, Abedini Responds To Plagiarism Allegations, by Michael Newnham. Here is the overview of the situation, and there are screenshots in the post:

On April 13, Pastor Mike Sasso of Calvary Chapel Eagle posted this summary on the subject of revival on his Facebook page.

On April 15, the Christian Post published this article by Saeed Abedini...which looks a lot like Mike Sasso’s outline.

[…] I reached out to both Abedini and Sasso for comment. […]

April 22, 2016. Phoenix Preacher, Loose Ends, by Michael Newnham. The section on Saeed Abedini is as follows:

Saeed Abedini is getting ready to cash in… For a fee he will describe the terrors of an Iranian prison, especially the torture of constantly being interrupted when you’re trying to catch up with “Breaking Bad” on Netflix.

From his bio…

“Today, Pastor Saeed continues to share the gospel and tell the story of the persecuted church. The Abedini family has been greatly impacted by Saeed’s imprisonment and continue to resolve the emotional trauma felt by many held in captivity.”

This guys a piece of work…

April 25, 2016. Phoenix Preacher, Calvin’s Corner: Saeed Abedini and the State of American Evangelicalism, by Michael Newnham. “Why do evangelicals continue to support someone who has been accused of spousal abuse, lying, and plagiarism without providing any real response to those allegations?”

April 27, 2016. nakedpastor, Naghmeh Abedini, Women Survivors, and the Church, cartoon and post by David Hayward.

April 27, 2016. Phoenix Preacher, “He Plagiarized My Dad” , by Michael Newnham. “So says Tracy Sasso Cruzado about Saeed Abedini on my Facebook page. Her father is Pastor Mike Sasso who made plagiarism allegations against Abedini last week.” Includes a screenshot from Tracy Sasso Cruzado’s Facebook page, and notes the following:

If the Sasso’s are telling the truth, Abedini lifted an entire teaching which turned into a series of posts on his Facebook page.

He then lied about where he got the teachings and tried to smear Sasso’s character.

Abedini claims that all of the allegations against him are lies and that he is a target of Satan who does not want his ministry to prosper.

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SAEED ABEDINI DEVELOPS HIS POST-

IMPRISONMENT PLATFORM – APRIL/MAY 2016

In late April and early May, much of the news of the Abedinis’ situation revolved around (1) Saeed launching a post-imprisonment platform with launching his speaking and website, and then (2) with the publishing of and responses to an interview with him by Christianity Today. These two developments are in separate sections to make it easier to research them, and then the bibliography picks up chronologically again with developments starting May 10, 2016.

April 2016. Premiere Motivational Speakers Bureau, launched their page for Saeed Abedini. This is an international agency with one U.S. branch office (Franklin, Tennessee) and four international branch offices (Calgary/Canada, London/UK, Brisbane/Australia, and Rio de Janeiro/Brazil). It appears from various sources that the set-up for this page was begun as early as April 8 – the date a page was set up (see Google search screenshot below) and a first blog article posted: Saeed Abedini Urges Christians to Pray for Female Church Leader Held in Prison for Helping His Minis[try].

April 8 2016 - Premiere Speaking - Saeed AbediniMr. Abedini noted on his Facebook page on April 21, that he was “getting back to the work I love,” and included a link to his Premiere Speakers page. Premiere Motivational Speakers Bureau linked to his page in their Twitter announcement on April 28.

April 30, 2016. Saeed Abedini launches the Pastor Saeed Ministries website.

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In the last weeks of April and early May 2016, Mr. Abedini appeared in articles or interviews with at least the following Christian media and news outlets. Some were based on an originating interview with him, others primarily on some of his Facebook posts.

Saeed Abedini Denies Abuse Allegations

April 24, 2016.* Christianity Today, The CT Interview: Saeed Abedini Answers Abuse Allegations, by Katelyn Beaty.

The following articles pick up details from the interview and/or reference Mr. Abedini’s related Facebook post linking to The CT Interview article.

April 26, 2016.* Christian Today, Saeed Abedini denies abuse allegations; ‘Satan wants me to stop preaching the gospel’, by Carey Lodge.

April 27, 2016. KTVB.com, Saeed Abedini talks about 2007 assault charge.

April 29, 2016. Christian Daily, Pastor Abedini: Wife’s allegations of abuse are ‘false’; receives support from US Congressman, by Christian Deguit. This article also references a statement from U.S. Congressional Representative Robert Pettinger that appeared in a February 1, 2016, article by CBN News.

April 29, 2016. The Christian Times, Pastor Saeed Abedini says domestic abuse allegations are not true, by Suzette Gutierrez Cachila.

Saeed Abedini Reflects on Decision to Go to Iran in 2013

The following articles are based primarily on new information from Mr. Abedini’s Facebook post of April 23, 2016.

April 25, 2016. Christian Post, Saeed Abedini: God Called Me to Leave My Children, Serve Jesus and Face Persecution in Iran, by Stoyan Zaimov.

April 27, 2016.* Charisma News, Pastor Saeed Abedini: God Called Me to Leave My Kids, by Jessilyn Justice.

April 30, 2016.* Christian Daily, Pastor Saeed Abedini: God is calling me to leave my children and return to ministry in Iran, by Lorraine Caballero.

Saeed Abedini Contrasts Revival versus Church Growth

April 29, 2016.* Christian Post, Saeed Abedini: Americans Crave Revival but Some Pastors Only Care About Church Growth, by Stoyan Zaimov. This article drew from a Facebook post by Mr. Abedini on approximately April 29. The following articles referenced this Christian Post article and/or the Facebook post.

May 01, 2016. Fox News, Saeed Abedini: Some Pastors Only Care About Church Growth, taken from April 29 article in Christian Post.

May 02, 2016. Christian Today, Pastor Saeed Abedini says some Church leaders care more about congregation’s growth rather than revival, by Czarina Ong.

May 05, 2016. Christian Daily, Pastor Saeed Abedini blasts Church leaders more concerned about growth than revival, by Lorraine Caballero.

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CRITICAL RESPONSES TO CHRISTIANITY TODAY’S

INTERVIEW WITH SAEED ABEDINI – APRIL/MAY 2016

In late April and early May, much of the news of the Abedinis’ situation revolved around (1) Saeed launching a post-imprisonment platform with launching his speaking and website, and then (2) with the publishing of and responses to an interview with him by Christianity Today. These two developments are in separate sections to make it easier to research them, and then the bibliography picks up chronologically again with developments starting May 10, 2016.

April 24, 2016. Christianity Today (CT), Saeed Abedini Answers Abuse Allegations, and Responsible Freedom Editor’s Note, by Katelyn Beaty (CT managing editor).

April 26, 2016. Thoughtful Pastor, The Problem with Uppity Women, by Christy Thomas.

April 27, 2016. nakedpastor, Naghmeh Abedini, Women Survivors, and the Church, cartoon and post by David Hayward. [Article quoted from in: Hello Christian, Friend Of Naghmeh Abedini Claims “Saeed Is Lying.”] Quote from the opening of the article:

The other day, Christianity Today posted an outrageous interview with Saeed Abedini concerning his ministry, his marriage, and the allegations of abuse against him made by his wife, Naghmeh.

My primary concern as her friend is for the safety and happiness of Naghmeh.

But my other concern is the response of the church to her claims that Saeed was abusive to her.

I believe her. I believe Saeed is lying. I also believe he’s being instructed to lie and to withhold the truth. Even in the interview he clumsily reveals Franklin Graham told him to be quiet about the abuse allegations. The interview, for those who have eyes to see, is such a compromised piece of work that it simply can’t stand with any integrity. CT should be embarrassed that it published such obvious propaganda filled with Saeed’s pompous self-adulation, outrageous claims, and hollow denials.

In the comment section for this article, commenter D.L. asked, “I do wonder if [Naghmeh Abedini] has addressed the interview (beyond this post) and whether or not she was asked to respond in that particular publication. As someone who writes occasionally for CT I am very invested in the answer! I stand with Nagmeh (sic) and pray for true justice to be brought forth.”

Ms. Abedini is not currently posting articles or updates on social media, but occasionally comments. She responded to D.L.’s question as follows:

DL. They reached out to me months ago. They never reached out to me in regard to this article and wanting a statement or response from me. At the time they reached out to me, Saeed was just released and I was hoping for reconciliation and healing in our marriage and did not want to add fire to the fuel and so I had decided not to do any interviews.

Naghmeh Abedini Responds To Question About CT

May 03, 2016. The Lydia Center for Women & Families, To Be Pompilia: Reading the Abedini Saga Virtuously, by Mark A. Garcia.

May 03, 2016. Spiritual Sounding Board, Challenging Christianity Today’s Interview with Saeed Abedini, by Brad Sargent (aka brad/futuristguy).

Part 1 of 3: Introduction, and He Gave No “Answer” to the Allegations.

Part 2 of 3: He Raised Unchallenged Accusations About His 2007 Domestic Assault Case.

Part 3 of 3: Apparent Assumption of Trustworthiness Left Unexamined, and Final Thoughts.

Notes copied from the summary of this article, as posted in the “Essential Reading” section of this page:

I wrote a series of three articles that overviews issues of Mr. Abedini’s trustworthiness, plus his apparent personal autonomy instead of submission to any credible authority for personal/organizational accountability, and his lack of answering allegations of abuse. I believe this examination is urgently needed because Mr. Abedini is currently attempting to reengage in public ministry through speaking and writing. He presents himself as someone worthy to be trusted, supported, and emulated. Should he be? I believe this is problematic.

Here are some the key points this series addresses:

  • Mr. Abedini may or may not be ordained (an indicator of adequate theological preparation and vetting by peers). Although the Wikipedia entry for Saeed Abedini states he was ordained in 2008, although it does not indicate by what church, denomination, or other certifying body. I have found no confirming information about ordination. This is important because there may be instances where an ordination council or its convening organization can exercise discipline if an ordained minister later fails to meet biblical qualifications of character, behavior, and/or doctrinal beliefs for public ministry.
  • He is apparently not commissioned or functioning within any kind of denomination or official network (an indicator of responsibility to a sending organization).
  • His licensing credentials with the American Evangelistic Association appear to have been given with no particular vetting process, and AEA licensure appears open to anyone who applies and pays membership fees.
  • Public records for his non-profit agency – Saeed Ministries, which was established in 2011 – list his wife and his two sisters as members of the board of directors. An all-family board has inherent conflicts of interest, and would be insufficient to exercise appropriate oversight of Saeed, who is the organization’s Executive Director. To complicate the concerns about his accountability even further, Saeed and Naghmeh are in the process of dealing with legal separation.
  • There appears to be a consistent personal behavior pattern of dismissing any allegations (abusive behavior, use of pornography, plagiarizing someone else’s material on revival), giving vague reasons and refusing to give specifics, and labeling any critics or accusers as liars.
  • In his recent interview in Christianity Today (April 25, 2016), Mr. Abedini explained away of facts about his conviction on misdemeanor domestic assault charges in 2007. So, Mr. Abedini has, according to tweets by @XianAtty (April 26-29), misrepresented the court process; apparently accused his wife of (1) tricking him when he pled guilty to the charges and (2) helping perpetrate fraud on the Idaho State court system; and apparently accused his attorney of serious malpractice. @XianAtty called on Christianity Today to investigate the matter, but there has been no response yet.

The reason it is important to investigate these issues and patterns is the same as for vetting anyone who seeks a prominent profile as a spokesperson and role-model of Christianity: To protect members of the Body of Christ and its reputation from those who are UNqualified to serve due lack of spiritual maturity or ministry skills, and from those who are DISqualified to serve due to falling short of character and behavior standards set forth in the New Testament.

May 09, 2016. Christian Feminism Today, What We Can Learn from Christianity Today’s Interview with Saeed Abedini, by Dr. Christy Sim. This article by Dr. Christy Sim – an expert on intimate partner violence – digs deeper into the April 24th Christianity Today (CT) interview with Saeed Abedini. She provides two important resources for our community, along with showing us how to implement a process that leads to better discernment.

First, she uses a list of 13 well-documented characteristics of abusers to analyze Mr. Abedini’s own words for evidence of fitting patterns in that objective profile of abusive individuals. Her incisive evaluation demonstrates how extensively Mr. Abedini uses “double-speak” language and self-contradictory statements to deflect personal responsibility and inflict guilt and shame on others. When analyzed by this list, his harmful words clearly fit with the entire profile.

Second, Dr. Sim critiques CT’s use in this instance of an interview format and types of questions which allowed Mr. Abedini to control the narrative and further shame his wife, Naghmeh. She also considers the potential destructive impact on other survivors when abusers are given such a platform. Hopefully, Christian media will learn from Dr. Sim’s fair, professional, and practical analysis, and do better in considering the potential for harm in articles they publish about abuse.

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CHRONOLOGICAL LINKS STARTING MAY 2016

In late April and early May, much of the news of the Abedinis’ situation revolved around (1) Saeed launching a post-imprisonment platform with launching his speaking and website, and then (2) with the publishing of and responses to an interview with him by Christianity Today. These two developments are in separate sections to make it easier to research them, and then the bibliography picks up chronologically again with developments starting May 10, 2016.

May 10, 2016. Naghmeh Abedini posted several photos and a note on her Facebook account about Mother’s Day. She also noted:

I am also thankful for my Facebook friends. Although I might not have met some of you in person, you have become my true friends and God has used you in my life through your prayers and messages.

Some of you have asked updates on our family. I don’t have any more update than the last one I provided in March. I love Saeed and our family and am praying for healing and restoration. Things do not look promising right now, but I have not given up in praying.

May 10, 2016. Christian Post, Naghmeh Abedini Unsure If Marriage With Pastor Saeed Will Be Restored, but Is Praying, by Stoyan Zaimov. Similar stories appeared May 11 in Charisma News, Christian Today, and The Gospel Herald.

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September 27, 2016. Saeed Abedini Facebook post. Quote:

Dear Friends

As you all know I was in prison for more than 3/5 years because Jesus met me 16 years ago and told me ; ” I am coming back soon Go to preach my Gospel ” and until today I didn’t disobey him and I will never disobey Him.

I want to start a preaching Ministry to hundred thousand people and for this new start, I don’t have any financial support yet.

I need to have 200 people in 2 months who can support my ministry monthly with donating just 20 $ each month to start. You can be one of them, specially if you prayed for me for years.

I need your help to make Jesus known and I can’t do it without your help.

Please send me a massage [sic] and your email in my inbox which I can know when our team is completed to start and send you a news letter.

October 4, 2016. Naghmeh Abedini Facebook post. Quote:

It is with a heavy and broken heart that I inform all of you who have prayed and wept with our family the last few years, that Saeed has rejected counseling for anger and abuse and has filed for a divorce. There will be a time to share more fully, but for now, we appreciate your prayers.

October 5, 2016. Saeed Abedini Facebook post. Quote:

PASTOR SAEED ABEDINI ISSUES STATEMENT REGARDING HIS IMPENDING DIVORCE

“There are no words to describe the ongoing effect of the trauma I experienced and my family has experienced both during and in the aftermath of my imprisonment…”

BOISE, ID. – After being sentenced to years of prison in Iran for converting to Christianity, enduring countless forms of torture, and sharing his faith in a predominately Muslim country, Pastor Saeed was released after spending three years in one of Iran’s toughest prisons, as part of the United State’s high-profile negotiation with Iran that included over $400 million in cash given to the Iranian government. Pastor Saeed was not involved in the negotiations, and he recently broke his silence on the circumstances surrounding them.

Upon gaining his freedom, Pastor Saeed returned to his wife Naghmeh, family and church community in Boise, ID where he had been living before his imprisonment where the couple has been separated for several months.

Pastor Saeed issues the following statement regarding the couple’s impending divorce:

“My heart is deeply saddened to be sharing the news that Naghmeh and I will be divorcing. She has been my wife of 12 years and she will always be the wonderful mother to our amazing children. While we have experienced struggles, she, along with my children will forever be my heroes, both for what
they had to deal with during my imprisonment in Iran and for how they never gave up fighting for my freedom.

There are no words to describe the ongoing effect of the trauma I experienced and my family has experienced both during and in the aftermath of my imprisonment. We are different people, and we are hurting people. It pains me to say, but I have decided the only path toward healing is apart, and not together. Sometimes as Christians, we experience pain for which there is no explanation in this life, yet we must continue, even in the hardest of times, to look to Christ for strength, grace and comfort. I am trying to do that now, and I know Nagmeh is doing the same. Even in our disappointments, when we don’t have all the answers, Christ is still Lord. He is good now and forever.”

Pastor Saeed continues his speaking, gospel and humanitarian ministry around the world working on behalf of persecuted Christians in Iran and the countless others who have been subject the humanitarian abuses of that country’s despotic regime.

“My personal pain, and our family’s struggle, does not diminish my commitment to Christ or my resolve to preach his Gospel to Iranians and to Muslims around the world. It also doesn’t effect my resolve to stand up to the Iranian government whose human rights abuses are among the worst in the world,” says Abedini.

October 5, 2016. Idaho Statesman. Months after public domestic abuse allegations, Abedinis apparently will divorce, by Katy Moeller.

October 5, 2016. Spiritual Sounding Board. Saeed Abedini: Files for Divorce, Seeks Money for New Ministry, and Recently Arrested for Violating Restraining Order, by Julie Anne Smith.

October 6, 2016. Charisma News. Pastor Saeed Abedini and Estranged Wife Naghmeh to Divorce, by Jessilyn Justice.

October 7, 2016. The Christian Post. Pastor Saeed Abedini Files for Divorce From Wife Naghmeh, Says ‘Only Path Toward Healing Is Apart’, by Leonardo Blair.

October 7, 2016. Divorce Minister. Update: Freed Pastor Saeed Abedini Files to Divorce Naghmeh, by Rev. David.

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CHRONOLOGICAL LINKS 2017

February 14, 2017. Idaho Statesman. Saeed Abedini sentenced after violating restraining order, by John Sowell.

April 9, 2017. Spiritual Sounding Board. Saeed Abedini’s Strange Online Behavior, by Julie Anne Smith.

April 10, 2017. Christian Post. Pastor Saeed Abedini Claims Franklin Graham Used Him, Offered Little Help, by Leonardo Blair.

April 11, 2017. Christian Post. Franklin Graham Disputes Pastor Saeed Abedini’s Claim That He Used Him for Personal Gain, by Leonardo Blair.

April 12, 2017. Christian Post. Church Files Lawsuit to Determine Who Is Entitled to $200K Raised for Saeed Abedini’s Family, by Leonardo Blair. Uploaded court documents: Joshua Springs Calvary Chapel vs Abedini.

April 12, 2017. Fox News. Who is entitled to $200G raised for Saeed Abedini’s family? Church files suit to decide. This includes a news report video, article, plus link to the Christian Post article of April 12th.

April 12, 2017. Phoenix Preacher. Saeed Abedini Wants Some “Help”…, by Michael Newnham.

April 13, 2017. Christian Post. Pastor Saeed Abedini’s Divorce Finalized Amid Adultery, Conspiracy Allegations, by Leonardo Blair.

** NOTE: with the Abedinis’ divorce being finalized, you may see the former Mrs. Abedini referred to more frequently by her maiden name, Naghmeh Panahi. For instance, she is not actively posting on Twitter at this time, but has changed her account name to @NaghmehSPanahi. **

April 15, 2017. Christian Post. Pastor Saeed Abedini Says He Called Out Franklin Graham to Cleanse the Church, by Czarina Nicole Ong.

April 15, 2017. Christian Post. Mariam Ibraheem Deplores Saeed Abedini’s Public Tirade: ‘This Is Not What the Bible Taught Us,’ by Samuel Smith.

April 17, 2017. Christian Post. Saeed Abedini Promises to Stop Venting on Social Media, Doesn’t Comment on Adultery Allegations, by Leonardo Blair.

April 26, 2017. Christian Post. Pastor Saeed Abedini Says He Doesn’t Want $200K at Center of Church Lawsuit, Blames Ex-Wife, by Leonardo Blair.

*     *     *     *     *

ARCHIVE: 2007 ABEDINI “DOMESTIC ASSAULT” COURT CASE

Click on the image below for a larger version of this screenshot of the 2007 Idaho Court Case History for the “domestic relations” case involving Saeed and Naghmeh Abedini.

2007 Saeed Abedinigalangashi Case History 2

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For those interested in doing their own research, I (brad/futuristguy)  posted a comment on Spiritual Sounding Board with the following procedure for accessing both the 2007 misdemeanor domestic assault case, and the 2016 case on legal separation. These are listed in the Idaho/Ada County Magistrate Court online repository. I have separated out these procedures and edited them slightly.

NOTE: The crucial piece of information for locating the case came through “crowdsourcing.” Commenter XianJaneway at Spiritual Sounding Board mentioned Saeed Abedini’s long-version last name as it appeared in 2007. She found that detail on civil court case information posted by the Idaho Statesman.

TO ACCESS THE LISTING OF THE 2007 “DOMESTIC ASSAULT” COURT CASE:

Step #1. Link to the IDAHO REPOSITORY for court cases:

https://www.idcourts.us/repository/start.do

Step #2. That page gives you important background information about the Idaho Repository, how it works, what details are available, etc. On the left-hand side of that page, click on NAME SEARCH. That will take you to this page:

https://www.idcourts.us/repository/partySearch.do

Step #3. Fill in names [Saeed Abedinigalangashi] and hit ENTER.

Step #4. Then you have to enter in text to prove you’re not a robot, and it will take you to the page with cases for the person you’re searching for.

Step #5. The most current case is at the top of the page. Click on the option for “Case History with ROAs” in order to have the line-items listed.

*     *     *     *     *

DETAILING THE LEGAL INFORMATION

I (brad/futuristguy) posted the following information on posts at both Spiritual Sounding Board (SSB) and The Wartburg Watch (TWW). I posted it first on the January 30, 2016, article at SSB – Pastor Saeed Abedini Releases a Public Statement Denying Abuse Allegations Against His Wife – as a series of comments as I found additional items. I later edited together that material with other information, and posted the research steps below on my comment of January 31st at a TWW article entitled, For the Continuing Naghmeh Doubters: Yes, Saeed Really Did Plead Guilty.

For those doing research, here is additional information. This doesn’t give us all the details of how the relevant statute read in 2007/2008 when the case was filed and the final disposition noted, but these specifics should help clarify the questions for searching to find those answers.

START WITH THE SCREENSHOT

Working from the screenshot of the 2007 domestic assault court case as posted on The Wartburg Watch at …

http://thewartburgwatch.com/tww2/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Screen-Shot-2016-01-31-at-6.10.26-PM.png

… confirms that section 18-918(3)(a) is the relevant statute.

NOTE: One trick for seeing a larger version of the image is to press [CTRL] and the [ =/+ ] key simultaneously. To reduce the image, press [CTRL] and the [ -/_ ] key simultaneously.

OR: Use the larger screenshot at Spiritual Sounding Board …

https://spiritualsoundingboard.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/2007-saeed-abedinigalangashi-case-history-2.jpg

IDAHO STATUTE 18-918(3)(a) AND (3)(c) – PUNISHMENTS FOR “ASSAULT AND BATTERY”

Then, go to the Idaho state code for that statute at …

https://legislature.idaho.gov/idstat/Title18/T18CH9SECT18-918.htm

Section 18-913(3)(a) states:

(3)(a) A household member who commits an assault, as defined in section 18-901, Idaho Code, against another household member which does not result in traumatic injury is guilty of a misdemeanor domestic assault.

At the bottom of the page, the “History” footnotes show that the last amendment to this section of statutes was made in 2009, and before that, in 2005. [We’d have to track the legislative records to find what specifically changed in 2009 to figure out what was current in 2007/2008 when the case was active.] Click on the link at the bottom of the page for “How current is this law?” and we find that the version listed is current as of the 2015 legislative session, and that the website is updated July 1st after the sessions.

See also section 18-913(3)(c) for what is current about a second conviction within 10 years of the first, whether it was pleading guilty or found guilty. (NOTE: I split this into three paragraphs to make it easier to read. The first one is for first conviction, the second for a second conviction within 10 years, the three paragraph is for three convictions within 15 years.)

(c) A first conviction under this subsection (3) is punishable by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) or by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed six (6) months, or both.

Any person who pleads guilty to or is found guilty of a violation of this subsection (3) who previously has pled guilty to or been found guilty of a violation of this subsection (3), or of any substantially conforming foreign criminal violation, notwithstanding the form of the judgment or withheld judgment, within ten (10) years of the first conviction, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for a term not to exceed one (1) year or by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000) or by both fine and imprisonment.

Any person who pleads guilty to or is found guilty of a violation of this subsection (3) who previously has pled guilty to or been found guilty of two (2) violations of this subsection (3), or of any substantially conforming foreign criminal violation or any combination thereof, notwithstanding the form of the judgment or withheld judgment, within fifteen (15) years of the first conviction, shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a term not to exceed five (5) years or by a fine not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000) or by both fine and imprisonment.

IDAHO STATUTE 18-901 – DEFINITIONS OF “ASSAULT AND BATTERY”

Statute 18-913(3)(a) referred to the definition of “assault” being in section 18-901. The link to that statute, and the content, is as follows:

https://legislature.idaho.gov/idstat/Title18/T18CH9SECT18-901.htm

18-901. ASSAULT DEFINED. An assault is:

(a) An unlawful attempt, coupled with apparent ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another; or

(b) An intentional, unlawful threat by word or act to do violence to the person of another, coupled with an apparent ability to do so, and doing some act which creates a well-founded fear in such other person that such violence is imminent.

According to the History section on that statute, these definitions were added to the Idaho state code in 1979, and no amendments have since been noted.

*     *     *     *     *

ARCHIVE: STATE DEPARTMENT

TRAVEL WARNINGS – 2011 AND 2012

Reader at Spiritual Sounding Board, Gary W, asked a question in the comment thread on the February 2nd post, Vetting, Accountability, Licensing, and Promoting for Pastor Saeed Abedini: Exploring What Went Wrong and How. He asked:

Does anybody know if the U.S. was restricting travel to Iran at the time Saeed entered? It seems that, at present, the State Department only has a warning in place (with special caution to dual U.S./Iranian citizens), but not an outright prohibition. I have found an old, not necessarily reliable, list of countries, including Iran, as to which travel was prohibited.

Anyhow, if Saeed traveled to Iran in violation of a U.S. travel prohibition, or even just a warning, he becomes a much less sympathetic figure, at least to my way of thinking. Regardless, the case could be made that somebody with a wife and family ought just possibly to have put their interests first.

On February 3rd, I (brad/futuristguy) posted the following State Department travel warnings in response:

@Gary W. — for your research question. Hope this is of help in answering it.

I went on the Wayback Machine internet archives to the State Department pages on travel warnings. Here is a series of the warnings for travel to Iran from late 2011 through late 2012, plus the most recent update.

October 21, 2011.

April 27, 2012.

December 7, 2012.

January 29, 2016 (Most current update).

I didn’t check every month in 2012 for changes in the advisory, but if you want to do that, here’s the main page, click on 2012, and go for it!

https://web.archive.org/web/20130901000000*/https://travel.state.gov/

Gary W posted a note of thanks on February 4th, and I responded with the following comment later that day:

@Gary W. said, “Thanks for the links! Although one couldn’t know for sure without spending more time than I wish to spend, it looks like Saeed’s entry into Iran probably wasn’t illegal, just foolish.”

The thing is, if vetting had been done properly before such an entry decision was made, the decision would not even need to be made. There was substantial reason in that era to find Mr. Abedini as disqualified from ministry leadership, and in need of time away from ministry to focus on personal conformity to the image of Christ. Therefore, he should not have been expecting to go elsewhere to serve.

It seems to me that his decision to go was at the least not wise, even if it was taken with knowledge that it was a calculated risk — but those who either declared him qualified to go and/or failed to stop him from going were likewise culpable, weren’t they?

In my opinion, part of why the situation with Saeed Abedini is important for the Church to think through relates to what I stated at the beginning of the post on Vetting, Accountability, Licensing, and Promoting for Pastor Saeed Abedini: Exploring What Went Wrong and How:

Regardless of which New Testament translation we use, we can’t get away from the essential mandate in 1 Timothy 3:3-7 — that those who want to be in public roles for the Church automatically subject themselves to ongoing “background checks” about their character and actions. ~ brad/futuristguy

We need these to discern who and what deserves our trust (or doesn’t), and I have to wonder how much unnecessary suffering could be avoided if there were better “due diligence” about those placed in roles of public ministry, missions, and support.

*     *     *     *     *

17 comments on “Resource Bibliography on the Saeed and Naghmeh Abedini Situation

  1. Brad,

    You do stellar work compiling key articles and summarizing them. This is important for people so they can see the bigger picture, the timeline, the response from people, etc. Thank you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If there is a cellphone record of what went on, and portions were kept–I’m guessing someone at least told her to do so–one would hope that that would bring people to repentance very quickly.

    Like

  3. Gail Marie ‏@0301479341 Apr 26
    Gail Marie Retweeted Christianity Today
    P. Saeed said on 3-15-16 @ ChristianPost: “I believe we should work on our relationship in private & not on Social Media.”
    Really dude, then why are you being interviewed so much?

    Thank-You Brad for being diligent in keeping the facts straight. Even though I admit I haven’t looked at all the links you provided. I believe Naghmeh Abedini, why would she lie? Breaks my heart. He is all over SM giving his spin. Not buying his version of events.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. See, this is what happens when Brad gets worked up about something. He gets in his archival-mood mode, and watch out, it’s a treasure trove of links and info, enough to keep an average person up for many days worth of reading, all in one nice spot. He rocks this stuff!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. FWIW, probably half of the annotations on links, and all of the research procedures, were things I wrote in real time over the past few months when other people posted articles on this situation. So, it was a matter of finding those pieces on a dozen or so posts and compiling them to create the base for this bibliography. And the actual intent behind this particular post was as part of my own “due diligence” for writing a response to Christianity Today about their interview with Saeed Abedini that they posted early this week. More on that later … But in the meantime, hope readers find this material helpful in analyzing and interpreting this situation, and asking more/better questions about Christians in leadership roles.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I had almost 3 hours to kill downtown waiting for my daughter’s concert to start so I read some comments on Phoenix preacher you linked to and they broke my heart.

    It is obvious that so many people do not understand the pathology that goes with being married to a narcissistic abuser but a patriarchal wannabe pastor to boot!

    They are not taking Nagemahs situation into consideration. She was a housewife in a sort of Stockholm situation where her support system are all of the same tribe. She has everything to lose by speaking up. Still does.

    And he continues to exhibit narcissistic traits. He claims his devotion while throwing her under the bus as a liar.

    People have no clue how it works. It was wearying to read. No wonder Abused Women rarely come forward in those types of situations.

    Many thanks for this resource post!

    The worst part of this entire situation is that people will be reluctant to support others who might be in a similar situation.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You are so right, Lydia. The church as a whole does not understand abuse. No wonder there are so many Naghmehs out there. How can they come forward when they are going to be met with such angst from their own Christian community?

    Like

  8. @lydia00 … as I was reviewing posts and compiling this bibliography, probably the one line out of everything I read that most struck me was this one from Michael Newnham’s Phoenix Preacher article of March 02 on “Naghmeh Says ACLJ Told Her To Lie, Says Saeed is Under Church Discipline”:

    “The bottom line here is that all of us have been lied to by a lot of people…but only one person has confessed and repented.”

    http://michaelnewnham.com/?p=24837

    With a reported 1.1 million people participating in the “Free Saeed” campaign, Naghmeh’s public apology to them is quite a stunning act of contrition, isn’t it? What does she get out of her admissions, beyond a cleared conscience and course corrections in her discipleship journey toward greater Christlikeness?

    Sadly, many people seem to have made her courageous statements into magnets for their anger, criticism, and desire to silence victims. Thankfully, the story is not over for either of the Abedinis, nor for any of us for that matter …

    Liked by 1 person

  9. He sounds like sociopath. I don’t think sociopaths can be cured unless they believe they have a problem. But if they believe they have a problem, they might not be a sociopath. At any rate, they are very good at deceiving the many while loving to destroy the closest to them, all the while playing the victim. That is why he still abused her from prison. I’m not sure if I’ve read all the articles, does Neghmeh ever say exactly what he said to her while on the phone?

    Like

  10. Thank you, Brad. The truth is being exposed and Saeed is being shown for the charlatan he is. Did anybody see anything from Franklin Graham apologising and repenting for his part in this?

    Like

  11. I’ve seen no such thing, Forrest. I have good info that he still thinks he needs to be meddling in this situation (which is far beyond his area of expertise).

    Like

  12. What’s the problem with this? She ought to follow Kirk Cameron’s advice and submit. After all, he tells us specifically that it only takes one person to do what the Bible says in order to keep the relationship. The only thing he says even close about abuse is that if a husband abuses his wife he isn’t protecting her. So if we want to overlook Cameron presenting this stuff in churches throughout the country, why don’t we want to apply it? She should stay and try harder to submit–and by the way, it is also a sin for her to complain about it. She needs to be content in the Lord.

    Like

  13. Brad, she gets NADA from public confession and admissions. There is no material upside for her.

    My guess is that many folks have no idea what her situation was like starting with being married to a narcissistic bully in a patriarchal environment. (I note they blame her for not leaving) Then, it is not hard for me to understand her being out of that toxic home environment when he is in Iran with room to breathe a bit and think. (which is why many judges give mandatory 3 year separations for DV. They get the whole co dependency stockholm syndrome thing. It takes that long to figure out normal without the bully)

    Then she is thrust in that evangelical world of celebrity and speaking to save her bully husband. She is behind the stages. She is starting to see what a scam it all is but these precious people have come out to support her husband but her handlers and the pastors see her issue as a way to bring people in and make bank off it. She is seriously stuck in a no win situation.

    Her confession and repentance cost her a very cushy life of book deals, travel, speaking gigs, etc.

    I often wonder how people can stay in that back stage world long term with a conscience. Which is one reason I never trust people in it or people who take the church authority view . My view of her confession and repentance is VERY different than most people because that world she was in is totally fake and I know it up close and personal. I see her as having major big time guts. It is a nightmare for women to leave that world who are invested in it. Out of all the discussion, I have not heard one word spoken of how Nagemah is to make a living for the rest of her life and how hard that will be now.

    Saaeds entire focus has been on a ministry career and her as a ministers wife. Now what?

    Like

  14. Pingback: Articles on Naghmeh Abedini, who is bravely exposing the abusive behaviour of her husband, Pastor Saeed Abedini | A Cry For Justice

  15. Reading between the lines of his latest interview, I get an uneasy feeling there is more to his story. The way he speaks, his big disappointment is the lack of welcome when he got back to the US. I’m not entirely sure how he defines welcome; he seems to have had very definite expectations of the kind of acclaim and celebration he would come back to, and to feel cheated by the fact that it didn’t come about that way. This is what he articulates as his great disappointment. Where did he get the expectations he did and why was he so invested in it?

    Like

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