Our Christmas has come and gone. But for the Coptic
Christians in Egypt, Christmas is commemorated on January 6, the day tradition
holds the wise men (the Maji) came from the East, bearing gifts for the Christ
Western Christians have celebrated Christmas on December
25, the date held early on as the day of Christ's birth. Eastern Christians
celebrate His birth on January 6. An early Church council tried to reconcile
the two dates. The best they could come up with is a compromise between the two
dates---hence, the origin of the Twelve Days of Christmas, December 26-January
But as Coptic Christians in Egypt prepare to celebrate
Christ's birth, there is danger in the air.
As January 6, 2014 approaches, so also does January 8, the
date when deposed Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi is scheduled to go on
trial. The Muslim Brotherhood, of whom Morsi is a prominent member, are out for
blood. Christians make an easy target.
We should recall that in July, tens of millions of
Egyptians took to the streets to protest Morsi and his attempts to impose
strict Islamic law, Shariah, on the whole country. The millions protesting
surely included many Christians. But also there were far more Muslims
protesting than any other group because of the largely Muslim make up of the
Then for three days in August (14-16), many angry Muslim
extremists went on a destructive rampage, targeting Christians as a means to
vent their rage for Morsi's downfall.
Norwegian writer Dr. Arne Fjeldstad is the director of the
Media Project, an international consortium of Christian journalists from all
over the world. The Media Project's headquarters is in Washington, DC. Arne is
also my brother-in-law. He had lived in Egypt for about five years, beginning
in the early 2000s.
Arne writes, "Over the last few months, Christians in
Egypt experienced an intense wave of attacks against churches, orphanages,
schools and other Christian institutions---in the name of God (Allah). A few
weeks ago, I visited Egypt once more and experienced many encounters with
Christians. This time considerably more tainted with uncertainty and fear than
I could remember from several previous visits (and my own time living in the
Arne quotes a Hudson Institute fellow, Samuel Tadros, a
Coptic scholar: “Egypt has not experienced anything similar to the attacks and
destruction of churches since 1321.”
Dr. Fjeldstad also notes that more than 100 Christian
buildings were destroyed during the August rampage and afterwards.
He adds, "Violence against Christians is not just
happening in Egypt. The last few months have shown horrific images from
Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria, to name a few. A year ago, the German chancellor
Angela Merkel said: 'Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the
Jesus warned that the day would come when men would kill
you (His disciples) and think that in so doing they were offering a service
unto God. Surely this is one of those times. Many of the Muslim extremists
think Allah is pleased as they shed the blood of the infidel.
A few years ago in Alexandria, Egypt, at the very beginning
of 2011, 2000 Christian worshipers were leaving a church when a suicide bomber
killed himself and at least 21 Christians, wounding some 100 more.
The scene was out of a horror movie. As body parts were
scattered all over, some Muslim extremists came out of the shadows and jumped
on these remains, screaming, “Allahu Akbar!”
Sen. John McCain said recently that that is the Muslim
equivalent of Christians saying, "Thank You, Lord." In reality, it
means Allah is the greatest---greater than all gods.
In a normal year, Christians in Egypt will celebrate the
evening of January 6 in church services. They likely will alter some of their
plans this Christmas time so as not to become easy prey for militant Muslims,
scapegoating the Christians for their own political troubles.
Any objective observer of the American media would have to
agree that the dominant mainstream media is biased to the left. Usually, this
bias is annoying. But their bias seems to lead generally to silence when it
comes to the plight of Christians in the Middle East. The media's sin of
omission is part of the reason we don't know about these things.
The Pope spoke on the plight of Christians on 9/25/13:
"When I think or hear it said that many Christians are persecuted and give
their lives for their faith, does this touch my heart or not?"
Even Prince Charles, often silent on such matters, spoke
out about the plight of Christians at this present time.
We should contact our representatives to request Egypt to
protect the minority Christians. But most of all, we should remember them
The great 4th century Christian leader Ambrose said,
"Not only for every idle word must man give an account, but for every idle
silence." It seems like an appropriate thought as we consider the danger
that our Christian brothers and sisters face in Egypt---as they are about to
celebrate their Christmas.
Dr. Jerry Newcombe is a key archivist of the D. James Kennedy
Library and cohost of Kennedy Classics on TV. He has also written or
co-written 23 books, including The Book That Made America: How the Bible
Formed Our Nation, (with Dr. Kennedy) What if Jesus Had Never Been Born?
and (with Peter Lillback), George Washington’s Sacred Fire. His radio
show airs Thursdays at noon (EST) on gracenetradio.com. www.truthinaction.org.