How fast can a country fall into the hands of the Evangelical Right.

What if I told you, that it would only take 2 years, for our government to fall and be replaced with a strict evangelical regime. It has happened before. Maybe in your lifetime.

Today in Texas, the evangelicals, won a battle that could, one day, threaten all of us.

SB17, a bill that would allow a Doctor to discriminate because of “religious views.”

This is no small win, for a religious right.

How long would it take for a country to go from the norm that we are use to, to a religion based government?

Unfortunately, we have seen this happen in 1979 in Iran, only in Iran the religion was Islam, here is will be Christianity. In Iran the change only took two years.

Let’s take a look at the Iranian Revolution.

In 1978 discontent in Iran, turned to protests. In January, members of the Shah’s security apparatus planted articles in Iranian newspapers calling Khomeini – who was rising in popularity at the time – a British agent and part of an anti-Iranian conspiracy.

This angered religious seminary students in Qom, a city south of Iranian capital Tehran, who took to the streets and clashed with the police.

A number of people were killed during these clashes.

The deaths added fuel to the fire; by February, through a network of bazaars and mosques, Khomeini’s messages were spreading across the country.

Protests began to breakout across Iranian cities and by March 55 Iranian cities were rocked by protests, riots and disorder.

A (two year) timeline of the Iranian revolution.

1978

Jan. 9 – Several thousand people protest in the city of Qom, a center of religious scholarship, and security forces attack, killing at least five people.

Feb. 18 – Protests are held in a number of cities to commemorate the fortieth day after the death of the Qom protesters. A number of protesters are killed in Tabriz.

Aug. 19 – Hundreds are killed in an arson fire at the Cinema Rex in Abadan in southern Iran. Protesters and officials blame each other, kicking off another round of violence.

Sept. 8 – Martial law is imposed and security forces fire on protesters in Jaleh Square in Tehran, killing at least 100 people, a day which is named “Black Friday.”

Oct. 3 – Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein deports influential senior opposition cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini from Najaf and he settles in the Neauphle-le-Chateau suburb of Paris.

Nov. 6 – After days of protests, the Shah broadcasts the message “I heard the voice of your revolution.”

Dec. 10-11 – Timed with a religious holiday, millions of Iranians protest around the country calling for the ousting of the Shah.

Dec. 29 – Shapour Bakhtiar, a long time opposition leader, is appointed prime minister by the Shah.

1979

Jan. 4 – Bakhtiar officially becomes prime minister.

Jan. 12 – Khomeini forms a Revolutionary Council to oversee the Shah’s exit and transition to a new government.

Jan. 16 – The Shah and his wife, Empress Farah Pahlavi, leave Tehran and fly to Aswan, Egypt.

Feb. 1 – Khomeini returns to Iran and is greeted by millions in Tehran.

Feb. 11 – Iran’s general staff declares the neutrality of the armed forces and troops are ordered back to their barracks, guaranteeing the Islamic Revolution’s success. Bakhtiar flees Tehran.

Feb. 14 – The U.S. embassy in Tehran is attacked and overrun but the crowds eventually leave the embassy grounds.

Feb. 16 – Iran’s revolutionary authorities start executions of leading supporters of the Shah and kill four top generals on the rooftop of a school housing Khomeini.

Mar. 5 – Iran resumes oil exports.

Mar. 30 – A referendum is held and approximately 99 percent of voters support the formation of an Islamic Republic. It should be noted that while 99% of the voters supported the formation of an Islamic Republic, only 51% of the voters showed up to cast a vote.

Aug. 3 – Iranians elect members of the Assembly of Experts for Constitution to write a new constitution for the Islamic Republic.

The aftermath

The philosopher Hannah Arendt once quipped that “the most radical revolutionary will become a conservative on the day after the revolution.” That was certainly true of Khomeini.

After taking power by uniting forces adhering to vastly different ideologies, Khomeini’s flexibility suddenly evaporated.

He distanced himself completely from leftist movements, accused his opponents of subversion, and repressed liberal voices with abandon, triggering four decades of tension between the Islamic Republic’s theocratic and democratic elements.

After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the legal system was greatly altered.

The legal code is now based on Islamic Law or sharia law.

Between 1979 and 1982, the entire pre-Revolutionary judiciary was purged, and their duties replaced by “Revolutionary Tribunals” set up in every town.

These tribunals ruled on “Islamic law”, but were in practice unfair, biased, and the judges were inexperienced and often incompetent.

Many people were executed or given harsh punishments for both political and criminal acts. There were no appeals either, and trials often lasted minutes in an un-orthodox “court”.

In 1982, the regular court system was reinstated, but with the judges now trained in Islamic law.

The Revolutionary Courts became a part of this court system, ruling in matters of “national security” such as drug trafficking and political and “anti-revolutionary” crimes, and were considered the “judicial arm of the regime”.

Between 1979-1989, the Revolutionary Courts ordered the execution of at least 10,000 political, belonging to anti-revolutionary opposition groups, and sentenced others to death for crimes such as drug trafficking, adultery, sodomy, kidnapping, “disruption of the public order”, and “terrorism”.

It is hard to know how many actual political prisoners were executed, because often of those executed for political crimes were also accused of “drug trafficking” or “sodomy”.

The Islamic Revolution of 1979 brought seismic changes to Iran, not least for women.

One area that has come under scrutiny is the way women dress and wear their hair – the old Shah, in the 1930s, banned the veil and ordered police to forcibly remove headscarves.

But in the early 1980s, the new Islamic authorities imposed a mandatory dress code that required all women to wear the hijab.

Here are some images showing what life was like for Iranian women before the institution of clerical rule, and how it has changed since.

Before the revolution

Studying at Tehran University in 1977: While many women were already in higher education at the time of the revolution, the subsequent years saw a marked increase in the number attending university.

This was in part because the authorities managed to convince conservative families living in rural areas to allow their daughters to study away from home.

“They tried to stop women from attending university, but there was such a backlash they had to allow them to return,” says Baroness Haleh Afshar, a professor of women’s studies at the University of York who grew up in Iran in the 1960s. 

“Some educated people left Iran, and the authorities realised in order to run the country they needed to educate both men and women.”

Window shopping in Tehran in 1976: Before the revolution, the hijab was already widely worn but many women also chose to don Western-style clothes, including tight-fitting jeans, miniskirts and short-sleeved tops. “The shoes haven’t changed – and the passion for shoes is in all of us! Women in Iran are no different from women the world over, and going shopping is just a means for women to get away from every day stress,” says Prof Afshar. 

Friday picnic in Tehran in 1976: Families and friends tend to get together on Fridays, which are weekend days in Iran. “Picnics are an important part of Iranian culture and are very popular amongst the middle classes. This has not changed since the revolution.

The difference is, nowadays, men and women sitting together are much more self-aware and show more restraint in their interactions,” says Prof Afshar.

Hair salon in Tehran in 1977: “This is a scene you would no longer expect to see in Iran – but even after the Islamic Revolution, hairdressers continued to exist,” says Prof Afshar. “Nowadays you wouldn’t see a man inside the hairdressers – and women would know to cover up their hair as soon as they walked out the door. Some people may also operate secret salons in their own homes where men and women can mix.”

Bodyguards surround the shah in 1971: A young woman approaches Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (far right) at a huge party marking the 2,500th anniversary of the Persian monarchy – the extravagance of the event was widely condemned by his left-wing and clerical opponents. “By this time, the shah was already very much disliked and some believe this image of excess and indulgence may have contributed to events leading up to the revolution eight years later,” Prof Afshar explains

Walking down a snowy street in Tehran in 1976: “You cannot stop women walking in the streets of Iran, but you wouldn’t see this today – her earrings and make up so clearly on show,” Prof Afshar says. “There is this concept of ‘decency’ in Iran – so nowadays women walking in the streets are likely to wear a coat down to her knees and a scarf.” 

After the Revolution

Women rally against the hijab in 1979: Soon after taking power, Iran’s new Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini decreed that all women had to wear the veil – regardless of religion or nationality. On 8 March – International Women’s Day – thousands of women from all walks of life turned out to protest against the law

Protest outside the US embassy in Tehran in 1979: Revolutionary students took dozens of US embassy staff hostage while thousands of anti-US demonstrators surrounded the compound. 

“At this time it was normal to see different types of people allied in their absolute hatred of America in Iran,” says Prof Afshar. “The Americans and the British have a long history in Iran of attempting to both influence and take over oil in Iran, so this deep-rooted mistrust of the US and UK goes back a long way.

Family heads to Friday prayers in 1980: “Friday prayers are a time for people who are believers or supporters of the Islamic authorities who don’t want to be labelled as dissidents to go out and get together – it’s a moment of solidarity,” says Prof Afshar. “But they are still very much within the male domain. The woman would not be allowed into the same room as the men – they would sit in a separate area for prayer, away from the men.

Wedding dress shopping in Tehran in 1986: “The wedding dresses on display are all western – Iranian women will essentially wear what they want as long as it’s behind closed doors,” Prof Afshar explains. “Weddings and parties are supposed to be segregated, so it doesn’t matter what you wear if there are only female guests present. But there are mixed-sex parties that do still go on – some people hire bouncers to watch the door, others pay the local police to turn a blind eye.”

Walking in Tehran in 2005: Not all women in Iran opt to wear the black chador, a cloak that covers the body from head to toe and only leaves the face exposed. Many prefer to wear loosely fitted headscarves and coats. “The real question is how far back do you push your scarf? Women have their own small acts of resistance and often try as far as possible to push their scarves back,” says Prof Afshar
Caspian Sea beach in 2005: Iranian women are forbidden from bathing in public wearing swimsuits. “Men and women aren’t supposed to swim together – but they find ways around this by renting boats to take them far out into the sea, where they can swim side-by-side,” says Prof Afshar.

Pro-hijab rally in Tehran in 2006: More than 25 years after the revolution, women backing the hardliners in the establishment staged their own rallies to protest against what they saw as the authorities’ failure to enforce the compulsory hijab law. Here, the women are all dressed in black chadors with the exception of a little girl. 

Watching football from a Tehran shopping centre in 2008: Though women were never officially banned from watching men’s football matches in Iran, they are often refused entry to stadiums and some of those who have tried have been detained. Before the revolution, women were allowed to attend sporting events.

In conclusion

The more we let the evangelical vote, run our country, the closer we come to a Christian religious revolution.

Only 51% of Iran’s voted in 1979, and while this is most likely due to fear, it still shows the importance of voting

We need to remember the past, to prevent it from happening in the future.

 

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