For more than three years, he was the face of Christian persecution while imprisoned for his faith in Iran, but Pastor Saeed Abedini is now jobless and struggling a year after being released to much fanfare in Christendom.
Abedini, whose wife Naghmeh filed for divorce last year, revealed his current circumstance in a recent post on Facebook, alleging that leading religious figures like Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, exploited his story to raise funds for their own operations but have done very little to help him since his release.
“We as persecuted church and Christian always have been used with famous and rich Pastors and Preachers who used us for fundraising and recently because of special media attention on me some of them tried to show themselves as saviors of the persecuted churches and me which it wasn’t true and right but their own benefit,” Abedini wrote in a Facebook post last Saturday.
“One of these pastors is Franklin Graham who has about 1000,000 $ salary and so many planes and private jets and every time he flies his gas price is just 10,000$…,” he wrote before painting Graham as a hypocrite.
Graham was criticized in a 2015 report for his annual compensation of $880,000 for his work with Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Samaritan’s Purse also has its own airplanes to carry out the mission of the organization. Graham, who will turn 65 in July, has said he wants to make enough money to be able to work for free when he turns 70.
Abedini claimed that his experience with Graham has been disappointing.
SOURCE: LEONARDO BLAIR
Saeed Abedini’s full Facebook post is below. (Edited for clarity.)
As the number one face of the persecuted church in the world today, I have this hard responsibility to speak about the serious problems that I see to help the church of God even if I lose everything .
I strongly believe the church of America has fallen into business instead of washing people’s feet and helping the wounded.
We as persecuted churches and Christians have always been used by famous and rich Pastors and Preachers for fundraising, and recently, because of special media attention on me, some of them tried to show themselves as saviors of the persecuted churches and of me. It wasn’t true and right; it was for their own benefit.
One of these pastors is Franklin Graham who has about $100,000 salary and so many planes and private jets…
He tries to show he is helping the persecuted a lot and he makes speeches about them, but this kind of life style shows he doesn’t have any idea of what life is like for persecuted churches.
These kinds of people ask others to come to repentance nationally, but, first, they need to start the real repentance which starts with changing their life style.
A week after I got released and Franklin Graham welcomed me home (because of the huge international media attention on me he badly wanted to be involve), he knew I didn’t have any place to go but he left me alone in Boise until I was forced to call him to ask money to rent a place.
When all cameras and social media attention were gone in my life, all the famous pastors and lawyers were gone too, and just a week after my freedom, I saw myself so alone.
During the last year and a half, I asked Franklin Graham to help me find a job to pay my bills but he didn’t, and he always gave me the worst and the lowest he could. Until today, I couldn’t find a job, and I am not financially stable yet. All this despite him knowing my financial situation and his shows on the media as a close friend to me.
When I asked Franklin to help me to meet Trump, whom I supported a lot, he said there was no need and then I found his daughter preached for Trump at the inauguration, and I told myself, “These people use opportunities for themselves but they don’t share with others.” Heartbreaking.
I feel that myself and persecuted churches are in a very dangerous place in the world.
The subject of persecution is hot in the media and it makes people’s hearts melt to give financially. But it also gives famous, rich pastors a good social media platform to keep themselves up on the stage, on T.V., and in the news. It simply gives them more power, fame, money, and success.
Some pastors who have large churches or ministries think the tithes or gift of their supporters and church members belong to them. They don’t think the money is for God’s kingdom, reaching the unreached, or even for persecuted churches and poor countries.
The Apostle Paul set an amazing example for us in the book of Acts by collecting money from rich churches for the persecuted church of Jerusalem. He never got money or opportunities from the persecuted churches for himself.
As I said before, I believe our country is ready for revival, but church leaders and pastors are the first group who should start repenting. At this time they are the ones stopping the true and biblical revival.
Revelation 2:5 (NKJV): Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.