Reuters reported this morning that the leader of ISIS in Egypt has warned Muslims “to stay away from Christian gatherings.”
The hot news in the States this morning, however, is not about the persecution of the Coptic Church, but about healthcare.
Americans seem to have not yet figured out that when we allow the government to mandate and impose obligations upon us regarding our health care, it’s not going to work. It’s going to screw some folks over. So the biggest news, of course, is the voice of those distressed over the current health care debacle. I speak only for myself: My social media walls are overrun with the matter. Nobody’s talking about the Coptic Christians.
During Pope Francis’ visit to Egypt, he urged the Copts (and presumably all of us) to practice the fanaticism of charity:
“True faith is one that makes us more charitable, more merciful, more honest and more humane...it makes us see the other not as an enemy to be overcome but a brother or sister to be loved, served and helped.”
But the Copts are already there, aren’t they? Some would have us believe otherwise.
In a recent piece by Robert Fisk, we learn that foreign media, the West and the arms trade, the Sisi Regime (assumed somehow to be in league with the Copts, even though the Copts don’t appear to be reaping any benefit from such a connection if there is one), and even the Copts themselves seem to own part of the blame for Islamic terrorists targeting the Coptic Church. Interestingly enough, there’s one group Fisk never names in terms of culpability for attacks on Egypt’s Christians: ISIS. Admittedly, I don’t know Fisk, and I’ve never read him before, so maybe this piece just came off the wrong way to me. Perhaps he has and is more than willing to talk about ISIS taking responsibility for their actions—not only in Egypt but around the world. Is anyone talking about that, or are we content to continue scrubbing clean the bloodstains of ISIS’ victims on our streets and in our churches and in our nightclubs?
It used to be, I believe, that we instinctively knew as human beings that we had to own our behavior, that our choices were our own. Yes, there are always factors that play into our decisions. There are almost always a myriad of tenets to any dilemma that plays into the problem or fuels dissension. Several of the matters Fisk brings to light deserve our attention and our loathing. But they are not the reason ISIS is targeting Christians in Egypt.
So many Americans don’t seem to give two pennies this morning about the very real threat against Christians in Egypt, and others (i.e. Mr. Fisk) seem content to analyze and pull apart the problem so we know that the Copts have it coming to them, anyway. Meanwhile, Pope Francis has encouraged the fanaticism of charity, and I daresay many Copts are already there.
In a recent article from Christianity Today, we learn that the Coptic Church is expressing something remarkable towards their attackers: Forgiveness. Reportedly, the wife of the guard who encountered the suicide bomber at St. Mark’s on Palm Sunday (and was killed) said the following:
“I’m not angry at the one who did this…I’m telling him, ‘May God forgive you, and we also forgive you. Believe me, we forgive you.”
That sounds more like charity than culpability to me, but what do I know? It’s not like anything’s at stake, like the lives of innocent people who have been targeted as a “favorite prey” of ISIS in one nation, right?
It might be time to remember the sobering words of Martin Niemoller:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
It might also be the time to reacquaint ourselves with this problem, or we'll soon find that we ourselves are ISIS’ latest favorite prey.