175 Leaders Urge US Support in Christianity’s Historical Heartland; Egyptian Churches Not So Sure

From the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission

From the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission

From my latest article in Christianity Today, published May 9, 2014:

More than 175 Christian leaders crossed denominational and political divides this week to urge the United States government to do more to help the rapidly diminishing, historic Christian populations of Syria, Iraq, and Egypt.

The solidarity pledge—signed by National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) president Leith Anderson, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Al Mohler, and Samaritan’s Purse president Franklin Graham, among other prominent names—presented on Capitol Hill asks for the appointment of a special envoy on Middle East Religious Minorities, a review of foreign aid, and refugee and reconstruction assistance.

“These defenseless religious communities are facing an existential crisis, which threatens their very survival in the lands they have inhabited for centuries,” said Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), a longtime religious freedom advocate who helped create the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in 1998. “The faith leaders … recognize that unless the American church begins to champion this cause, the foreign policy establishment will hardly lead the way. They are committing to be their ‘brother’s keeper,’ whether in Nineveh, Cairo or Homs.”

But Egyptian Christians have a longstanding reticence about outside help:

“We value so much the prayers and concerns of our Christian brethren around the world, and in the U.S. especially,” said Fawzi Khalil, pastor at Kasr el-Dobara Church in Cairo, the largest evangelical congregation in the Middle East. “But we don’t believe outside pressure would be best for our daily life with our Muslim friends. The government of Egypt with local Christian leaders are best suited to fix our problems.”

Please click here to read the full article at Christianity Today, including testimony from other Egyptian Christians and one US Copt who is a signatory.

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