CLICK TO SHARE
Brunson, now the author of a memoir detailing the harrowing ordeal he endured in a nation where he preached for over two decades, has not abandoned hope that Christianity will bring light to a state under increasingly authoritarian Islamist rule. He also hopes his story, God’s Hostage: A True Story of Persecution, Imprisonment, and Perseverance, will pave the way to erasing the image of Christianity as a threat increasingly present in Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The pastor and his wife, Norine, were initially arrested in 2016 and brought to immigration authorities in the aftermath of the failed coup against Erdogan that year. Brunson was soon after accused of a host of crimes that 66 senators referred to in a letter to Erdogan as “random character assassination”: military espionage, a plot to overthrow the government, support for terrorist organizations, and, perhaps most indicative of Erdogan’s true objection to Brunson’s presence in his country, “Christianization.”
Hysterical pro-Erdogan Turkish media referred to Brunson as the “Rambo Priest.” He stood accused of leading the Jehovah’s Witnesses and membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, though he is a pastor and teaching elder at the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Prosecutors claimed he was a devotee of Fethullah Gülen, the U.S.-based Islamic cleric Erdogan accused of staging the coup against him (the elderly Gülen denies involvement). Brunson was also allegedly helping the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – a Marxist, U.S.-designated terrorist organization – by “running boatloads of cash to Israel to then transfer to the PKK,” he told Breitbart News in a phone conversation.
Prosecutors never clarified how Brunson could be an agent for multiple Christian denominations, a Muslim service movement, and a presumably atheist Marxist group at the same time. The charges were so convoluted, prone to erratic changes, and poorly presented that Brunson, at one point in God’s Hostage, asks, “How can I defend myself when I don’t even know what the charges are against me?”
“It doesn’t make sense, but it didn’t have to make any sense,” Brunson told Breitbart News. “They accused me of different things at different times. They were trying to find something that would fit, so they would change their minds a lot and then they would drop the previous accusations.”
Post a comment.
CLICK TO SHARE