The NCC and Egyptian Church Burnings
The National Council of Churches (NCC), known for its superior-sounding rhetoric masquerading as balance and universalism, has issued a statement about the recent violence in Egypt, and particularly the concerted attacks on 64 Coptic churches in that country. The NCC has extended its "hopes and prayers for a return to a legitimate political process that will result in the guarantee of the rights and responsibilities of all of Egypt's citizens." Churches are being destroyed systematically and in greater numbers than at any time in more than 600 years, and this Council of Churches is concerned just as much about Egyptian "rights and responsibilities" as about that destruction.
Does this show how compassionate the NCC really is? Or does it really show how hollow that organization is and how far it has strayed from its mission to uphold Protestant churches and the exalted name of Jesus Christ? In the previously noted quote from their statement about church burnings, they use the term "legitimate political process." When has Egypt ever had a legitimate political process? Was there legitimate process under Farouk? Did they have it under Nasser? Under Sadat? Or under Mubarak? Was Mubarak deposed by a legitimate political process? These kinds of empty phrases suggest ignorance, not prescience.
The recent election of Morsi demonstrates how far the Egyptians are from understanding what "democratic process" is. One recalls Joseph Stalin's boast that he was "elected" on numerous occasions by 99% of the people! Where corruption and violence are the rule, not the exception to the rule, then what sense does it make to talk of "legitimate political process?" The entire history of Egypt points to a tyrannous mindset where a "strongman" in charge is the only thing the people understand, though they may grumble about him. Our Western tradition of "rights and responsibilities" is usually dated back to the Magna Carta in the 13th century. Later we have the Habeus Corpus Act and the English Declaration of Rights. There were so many milestones of rights laws in English history. What comparable tradition exists among the rage-filled peoples of the Middle East?
However, the NCC statement against Egyptian violence never oncementions the Muslim Brotherhood or the former Morsi government as being instigators of violence, nor of their violent Islamist philosophy of genocide for the Jews, and dhimmitude, death, and/or expulsion from Egypt of the Christians. There seems to be no awareness in their statement that they are dealing with at least two sets of bad actors in Egypt, and that the middle name of both these groups is "violence." The only action of many possible actions that could be taken by the U.S. (including condemnation of the destruction and systematic attack on Christians, which condemnation has yet to be made) is that we scrutinize the giving of aid to Egypt.
They contrast the present violence with the hopes engendered by the Arab Spring, as though that 'Spring' were a hippie love-in, a pastoral event that was free of violence. Is it not pretty clear to all of us who are not superior, balanced minds like the leaders of the NCC that the present situation is part of the Arab Spring, so-called, and that these supposedly democratic uprisings are nothing more or less than conflicting visions of tyranny?
Further, Dr. Makari, co-chair of the NCC's Interfaith Relations Commission, commends the Egyptian government "for offering to rebuild all of the churches and church institutions that were destroyed." Would it be inappropriate for this writer to suggest that there is a big difference between "offering" and actually rebuilding? Considering the track record of the Arab countries regarding restoration and restitution to harmed minorities (have any Arab countries offered to take in Palestinian Arabs displaced during and after the creation of Israel?), is it really too cynical to say, "I'll believe it when I see it"?
Despite the effort of the NCC to appear above the fray and well-disposed towards all, they state, "We expect that the new government, which has challenged extremist tendencies of the previous government, to more quickly demonstrate its moderation and tolerance toward their Christian neighbors by reining in those continuing extremist tendencies." Here, the NCC is dripping with sarcasm and mocking (in an intellectual way of course) the claims of the new government to be opposed to Muslim Brotherhood extremism. They have a point of course, but fail in their statement to state their view that indeed the Muslim Brotherhood was and is an extremist organization, and to reason through their grasp of the situation in light of that undeniable fact.
Lastly, for all those who want sentimentality more than truth, the NCC says, "We pray for the souls of our Muslim brothers and sisters in Egypt who have died trying to foster peace in the midst of chaos." For a Protestant organization this statement is quite surprising. Praying for the souls of the deceased is a decidedly Catholic doctrine, one highly suspect if not altogether rejected by the Protestant community. Praying for the souls of deceased Muslims would be carrying the novena to an even further point than that envisaged by the Catholic Church.
Although the NCC exists to represent Christian interests, in our modern, politically-correct society it is considered "unfair" to be partisan. Truth and rectitude are assumed, incorrectly, to lie with both sides in a dispute. We can only care about churches [sic] if we pray for those who destroy those churches as well as the victims. The politically correct commenters always remind us to keep this principle in mind. If someone breaks into one's home and threatens his/her life, property, and family, then he/she must take a moment to pray for the attacker and the innocent ones in the attacker's family. This idea of "balance" is supposed to be an updated version of "love your enemies." In fact, it makes no sense because it denies the very raison d'etre of government which is to protect the citizens from enemies both foreign and domestic.