Iran recently declared two people enemies of God and executed them. While executions are nothing new in Iran (or anywhere else for that matter), using this sort of justification is apparently a change in Iran.
On the face of it, this sort of charge is absurd. After all, since God is all powerful and all knowing, then He knows who His enemies are and can take any action He deems appropriate against them. Of course, God’s enemies cannot do a damn thing to Him (He is, after all, all powerful) so they are hardly any threat to God. As such, God would really have no justification in harming such people. He cannot, after all, claim self defense.
But, if God does exist and has real enemies, then He would certainly smite them. After all, the old testament features numerous cases of God smiting people. So, it is reasonable to infer that God’s failure to smite His enemies shows that either these folks are not His enemies or that God does not exist (and so cannot smite anyone).
However, the charge does have a certain logic to it. According to the official line, Iran is an Islamic Republic and is supposed to be following the laws of God. Therefore, anyone who breaks the law is breaking God’s law. Going a bit more extreme, the rulers might cast themselves as God’s agents and hence those who oppose the regime would be enemies of God’s agents and thus of God. This, of course, assumes a great deal about God’s relation to the rulers and laws of Iran. I see no evidence that God is on their side, but perhaps they know things that I do not.
My main thought is that this will be used as a terror tool against people opposing the regime. After all, many folks in Iran are religious and being officially declared an enemy of God might have more threat value than mere secular threats. Also, the state executes enemies of God, so it can also be seen as a way of saying “we are going to kill you” with a theological twist.
This sort of thing reveals a great deal about what is going on in Iran. First, the folks who use this justification are either using it as a tool or are functionally insane (or both). Since they are close to being a nuclear power, this is rather worrisome. I am inclined to think that the folks in Iran are as sincerely religious as other political rulers-that is, not at all. Second, these folks seem to be desperate-when people resort to such extremes, that is a good sign they are afraid. Third, the opposition is strong enough (or seen as strong enough) to merit such threats.
Of course, this could also be mere rhetoric-something we see from politicians around the world (including our own).