In the News: Protests, Polemics, and Pastries

A round-up of recent religion news.
 

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In the News: Westboro, Paris, Haiti, and Beyond!

A round-up of the week’s religion news. Continue Reading →

Preaching Out of the Closet

Amy Levin: It’s barely been a day and President Barack Obama’s personal endorsement (belief? affirmation? slow and agonizing compromise?) of same-sex marriage in an interview with ABC’s Robin Robert’s has spread like wildfire across the news, blog, and twitter spheres. Obama’s comments came just a day after North Carolina passed a ban on same-sex marriage, becoming the 30th state to do so. Reaction to Obama has been divided to say the least. Some are excited, some are livid, and others are confused. Continue Reading →

Liberalism Killing the Copts

Reuters reports that Egypt’s Coptic Christians are receiving an unprecedented amount of foreign support; subsequently they fear “a backlash from Muslims who could resent special attention to a minority at a time when all Egyptians are suffering economic hardship and political uncertainty.”  Which reminds us of a provocative article by Marc Michael that Al Jazeera posted in November.  Of the march by Coptic Christians on October 9th that led to 20 deaths– a march protesting not the Egyptian government but the burning of a building that was slated to become a church–Michael writes:

…this march inscribed itself in a liberal project of identity politics – a politics based around the notion that irreducible differences occur naturally in society, that the interest-groups coalescing around them have specific needs and rights, which the state ought to protect against the tyrannical rule of the selfish majority. To many Third-World ‘minorities’, this type of contemporary Anglo-Saxon liberal thought represents a certain temptation, a flirtation with a distant, spectacular and utopian modernity that happens in Europe or in the United States. Copts are in no way immune to that dangerous attraction, particularly so considering the very high proportion of the Coptic diaspora living in Canada, the US or Europe. It is in that sense that liberalism is killing the Copts: in cheering them to embrace their estrangement from Egyptian society, to value their alienation as an end in itself, and to seek the legal support of the state in establishing their difference as a social fact.

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Religious Ghettoization of Egypt

From Marc Michael’s “Is liberalism killing the copts?” at Al Jazeera:

Imperial liberalism not only reinforced lines of fracture in local social fabrics, but often engineered them, by inventing traditions and mythological pasts, linguistic and ethnic groupings. To this day a majority of Copts subscribe to the “Hamitic Hypothesis”: that Copts are a separate race with a separate language, that they are not Arabs but descendants of the pharaohs, the original Afro-Nilotic people of the land; in biblical terms, the accursed progeny of Ham rather than Sham.

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