Archives For Coptic Christians

1376594286520.cachedIn Egypt, that is.

For the Gospel announcement to be both intelligible and credible in the world, Christians must exist in fellowship and solidarity with one another as one, global Body of Christ for whom Cross and Empty Tomb are more determinative for our identity than flags, tribes, languages or markets.

This is all just empty bible-speak unless Christians in one part of the world know and pray for Christians in another part of the world.

Sadly, many Christians in America do not think Christians exist in parts of the world other than the ones to which they’ve sent missionaries.

Even more would answer ‘No’ if you asked them if there were Christian communities in the Middle East. And still more have never heard of a ‘Coptic’ (as in way, way, way older than any version of Christianity American Catholics or Protestants have ever run across) Church.

Meanwhile many liberal Christians think it unseemly to show concern for brothers and sisters in Christ in other corners of the globe- favoritism and all.

Lost in much of the news of Egypt (and the rest of the news in the Middle East) is how the Christians there are weathering the tumult. Which, to my mind, makes it all the more loathsome how pols in the US consistently present American Christianity as a besieged, persecuted minority within an unholy Empire.

There are real Christians out there dying for or at least because of their faith. But most often they’re in places we’re too busy for and in contexts that don’t fit into cute soundbites.

This from the Daily Beast:

During these volatile and violent days in Egypt, Coptic Christians have found themselves increasingly under threat. Some Morsi supporters blame the Christians for their downfall because Christians backed the army and participated in the mass protests that sparked Morsi’s overthrow. The attack on the church in Hakim was one of several that reportedly took place following the army’s brutal crackdown on Islamist protesters Wednesday.

The exact number of attacks across the country is still unclear. But on Thursday, Egypt’s interior ministry said that seven churches had been burned while a Christian activist group, the Maspero Youth Union, put the number at 17.  “This is a reaction,” said Saad.

On Wednesday, Egyptian security forces cleared a central square in Cairo where Morsi supporters had been staging a weeks-long protest. Ensuing violent clashes reportedly cost the lives of at least 525 people and injured 3,700 others.

In response to the bloodshed, President Barack Obama warned that Egypt was on a “dangerous path,” as he criticized both the crackdowns in Cairo and the church attacks in a speech on Thursday. “The cycle of violence and escalation needs to stop,” Obama said.

Obama also canceled an upcoming joint military exercise with Egypt and suggested that more changes could be in store. “While we want to sustain our relationship with Egypt, our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets and rights are being rolled back,” he said.

Officials from Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood told the Daily Beast that the group and its allies were not to blame for any church burnings or aggression. “Let me put it this way: the Muslim Brotherhood is completely against violence,” said Ahmed Aref, an official spokesman for the group. Instead, he suggested that security forces might be behind the attacks as part of a ploy to turn public opinion further against the Islamists. He conceded, though, that some hardcore Morsi supporters could have been involved. “This might be a reaction from some people who are angry, but that doesn’t mean that we agree at all,” he said.

“It is not Christians against Muslims. It’s Christians and Muslims against extremists who are taking down the country.”