Christianity Today Middle East Published Articles

Egyptian Christians Face the Future Under New Islamist Law

Face the Future

From my new article on Christianity Today, published December 28, 2012:

Egyptian Christians spent this year’s Advent season awaiting more than the celebration of Jesus’ birth. Christmas Day dawned with Copts still processing the rushed passage of a new Islamist-backed constitution and its implications.

Days before voting began on the hastily completed charter—which, despite only 33 percent turnout and accusations of fraud, passed December 25 with 64 percent of the vote—more than 10,000 Christians gathered at an interdenominational prayer vigil in Cairo’s famous “Cave Church.”

Please click here and here for more information about this prayer gathering. But the article continues:

“Morsi has not kept his promises to be a president for all Egyptians when he had a chance to do so, and he is losing credibility,” said Ramez Atallah, president of the Bible Society of Egypt. “When the leader is not working for consensus, it makes it very hard for anyone else to do so.”

Yet Atallah still advises Christians to remain politically active while grounding their expectations in the necessary dual perspective of Christianity.

“We must be good citizens,” he said. “This panic is not justified in our faith, even if it may be justified in terms of politics.

And here is a section on liberal ‘hope’ for political reversal in the midst of anticipated economic difficulty:

But as liberals have consistently failed to win at the polls, some place a morose hope in Egypt’s expected financial difficulties to aid their parliamentary campaign.

“There is an economic disaster coming,” said Michael Nabil, an Egyptian accountant. Since the revolution, Egypt has lost more than half of its foreign currency reserve fighting inflation and devaluation. “This will affect the situation negatively for the Muslim Brotherhood and give the opposition more credibility,” he said.

I had hoped to write this week’s Friday Prayers for Egypt about the economy, but was unable to. Perhaps after the climax of the constitution nothing this week seemed so urgent for prayer. That is not true, of course, but like many in Egypt, I feel somewhat drained, and this week was a week of recovery. Western Christmas celebrations helped.

The main issue for the prayers would have been the feared coming economic collapse. It may well happen, but is also tinged with manipulative rumors that seem almost designed to produce a panic.

Finally, a quote on what seems a very proper perspective for Egyptian Christians:

“There is no connection to political stability and the success of the gospel,” said Atallah. “In fact, the opposite might be true: People depend more on God in difficult times.”Maybe God will use the Muslim Brotherhood to do his will in Egypt, even if we don’t want them to be in charge,” he said.

Please click here to read the entire article on Christianity Today.

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