Me Too?

The song by the same title, sung by Meghan Trainor, is about a woman who respects herself.  Toby Keith also sings a song by the same title about a man who loves his wife.  Both have powerful messages about love and respect for one’s self as well as for a loved one.

The Me Too that comes to mind in 2018 is the “new” Hollywood revelation about the sexual abuse of women by influential men in the industry. Everyone has heard stories of “casting couches” throughout history.  It’s only now that the women of Hollywood have decided to shed light on what should have been exposed years ago.  The stories of their “bravery” include Twitter hashtags and donning designer gowns that costs more than you or I earn in a year. Some members of this movement decided a long time ago to keep quiet even though they knew fellow actresses were being raped and abused.  Their choice silenced victims, thereby enabling predators, in the name of furthering their own careers. The hashtag that should be trending is #Shame.

True bravery is not found on Twitter or in designer showrooms.  It’s found where everyday men, women, and children deal with evil, have systematically called out bias and abuse, and are met with threats, name-calling, blackballing, jail, and even death—but  have never given up the fight.  Two groups were on display the 3rd week of January who claim to do all the above.  We saw the March for Life followed the next day by the Women’s March. The March for Life consists of diverse groups who have been protesting abortion for over 40 years. In fact, their walk is the largest human rights march in the world but goes unnoticed every year with little to no recognition or media coverage.  The Women’s March, on the other hand, is in its second year and is made up of mainly President Trump protestors and promoters of abortion on demand.  This march was covered on every television channel and news outlet for days.

If you watched the March for Life in Washington, DC or even one of the smaller marches held in cities across the US, you were struck by first, the young age of the participants, their contagious enthusiasm, happiness, smiles, and inspiring signs. The Women’s March was spiked with anger, hate, vile signs, hats, and costumes—not by all, but by too many.

I have a question for those members of the #Me Too/Women’s March.  If you can make a stand for equal pay, against sexual assault, and all abuses and injustices against women, why can’t you stand against the slaughter of future women in the womb?  Why?  Or should I ask #Why?

I’d also like to ask that question to most of the Democrats in the US Senate1 and the two female Republican Senators2 who voted down the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act held January 30, 2018.  Doctors and scientists have confirmed that infants in the womb can feel pain at the 20 week mark and probably earlier, yet these fellow humans still want to murder babies up to and including the moment before birth. This bill excluded cases of rape, incest, and the health of the mother so why didn’t they vote for it?  Why? #Why?

A Knights of Columbus-Marist Poll3 published in January of 2018 concluded that more than six in ten Americans support a ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy; this includes 56% of Pro-Choice Americans, 56% of Democrats, 74% Pro-Life Americans, 73% of Republicans, and 64% of Independents.  Those numbers are staggering.  So why did they vote against it?  We need to demand an answer.  However, our request will be met with the same disdain and silence as they bestow upon the peaceful protestors who attend the March for Life.

Question: Why does the modern feminist movement only relate to certain women?  Shouldn’t it relate to all women—even those who have had abortions and have suffered greatly because of it?  What about the millions of aborted baby girls?  Who would they have become?  Does it even cross the average Women’s March protestor’s mind that one of those aborted girls could have been their wife, sister, best friend, co-worker, teacher, supervisor, scientist, inventor, or even the organizer of a women’s march? I wonder how many Women’s Marchers even know Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and other leading suffragettes were vehemently against abortion.  Instead they idolize Margaret Sanger, eugenicist, Nazi sympathizer, and racist.

Anger at the indifference for human life is not just targeted at politicians and protestors.  Days before the March For Life a story broke by the Lepanto Institute4, and confirmed by Dutch radio that Lilianne Ploumen was honored by, of all people, Pope Francis, with the title of Commander in the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great. Ms. Ploumen is responsible for She Decides, an organization that funded over $300 million dollars to international agencies for the sole reason of performing or promoting abortions worldwide.  Ms. Ploumen was also the Director of Programs and on the Board of Directors for CORDAID, the Dutch Catholic aid relief agency that was caught funding Planned Parenthood and dispensing contraception.4

This action has infuriated and confused many Catholics and non-Catholics alike.  Not only does it baffle the faithful who have been praying and peacefully protesting for an end to abortion, it’s also a direct slap in the face to those millions of marchers who come from all over the world for 40+ years to participate in the March for Life. Not to mention the priests, nuns, and laypeople who have dedicated their lives to end this culture of death and minister to young mothers and babies as well as their parish congregations.

 History will judge us.  More importantly, God will judge us—all of us.  If you haven’t already, it’s time you stand on the side of good, the side of truth.  On that note, I’d like to ask the members of the #MeToo movement and the Women’s March, are you sure your Twitter key phrase is #MeToo, or is it really #Me-NotYou?

 

1 Joe Manchin (D-WV), Bob Casey, Jr. (D-PA) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) Democrats who voted in favor of Act

2 Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) Republicans who voted against Act

3 Knights of Columbus-Marist Poll, January, 2018.  To view all results or to view or print a pdf version of the Poll click here: www.kofc.org/en/news/polls.html#/

4 www.lepantoinstitute.org/pope-francis/pope-francis-awards-architect-safe-abortion-fund-potifical-honor/

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BE NOT AFRAID

This is the official theme for Respect Life Sunday1, which is always celebrated on the first Sunday in October.  In fact, October is Respect Life Month. If your church isn’t celebrating life this month…find another church.

I never thought here in the United States of America that any citizen would be afraid to take a stand for life.  It’s the first inalienable right mentioned in the Declaration of Independence and we, as Americans and Christians, have the right and the obligation to defend it. If we do not, it could be taken from us.  We are living in a time where the 1st Amendment2 is under attack along with common sense, civility, morality, basic science, and possessing a spine. Why are we so quiet when we should be up-in-arms?

Abortion is murder.  There is no way around it.  It brings about death—period.  A fetus in the womb is a little human. What would happen if someone had the audacity to destroy a field of cocoons before the mature butterflies could emerge?  We all know what would happen.  Social media would light up, celebrities would be outraged, and news outlets would interview lepidopterists to tell you how butterflies impact the planet.  Death threats on the fiends and their families would ensue, and Jimmy Kimmel would be crying on his talk show.  I just used the example of butterflies but I could have substituted any animal3.

The most vocal among us are the hundreds of thousands of mainly young people who march through the streets of Washington, DC each January, braving the cold, snowy, or rainy conditions, to participate in the March For Life, the largest pro-life event in the world.  Although huge, it’s rarely if ever covered by any mainstream media outlet in the 40+ years of its existence.  Why?  Because they don’t want you to see it, hear it, or even know about it. And thinking about what abortion is and does makes everyone uncomfortable.  Well it should.  Murdering babies for the sake of convenience is the real inconvenient truth.  These pro-life advocates are fervently trying to shine a light on the millions of murdered innocents who can’t speak for themselves.

Remember the parable of the lamp in Mark 4:21-25? “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden, except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to come to light.  Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear! Take notice of what you are hearing. The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you.” How do you think Jesus delivered this story?  Did he sit with his head down, muttering quietly about truth, light, and a visible Church?  I doubt that.  I’m positive he stood, raised his voice, and was physically expressive.  He wanted his message to be heard, understood, and spread. There were no microphones, TV, radio, or the internet. Jesus was not timid and quiet.  Jesus was a revolutionary.  He upset the olive cart.  He rocked the boat. Get that image of the get-along, go-along, hippie Jesus out of your head. He had to be a mesmerizing and energetic speaker.

Yet, here we sit silent, except for a few, while Planned Parenthood profits off the murder of and selling of babies and their body parts.  Those self-taught investigative journalists who exposed PP are facing jail time and God bless them—they don’t care. And we should be just as fearless.  Nothing changes unless we demand and enact the change.  We’ve all heard the excuses: “I don’t want to upset so-in-so. She’ll start a war with me on Facebook.” “Nobody is going to listen to me, I’m just one person.” “You say it for me.” Stop it.  The time has come for every person to stand up and speak out. The more we remain docile lambs, the easier it is for them to keep chipping away at our rights.

It’s already happening.  Can someone give me the definition of “hate” speech?  The First Amendment protects all speech, not some, all and especially speech which makes you uncomfortable. Do you think speaking out against abortion isn’t provocative?  Go to any college campus and just walk around with pro-life literature. I won’t even suggest that you engage in debate because you’ll never get that far. There is a good chance you will be assaulted, physically and definitely verbally, and tossed off the campus. If you’re a student, you’ll be sent to the Dean of Students and be given a lecture on misogyny, and when and if you can go to a “free speech zone”, along with being publicly shamed and shunned. Ask your kids if you don’t believe me.

Think of all those Christians—men, women, and children—who have been and still are being martyred for their faith.  We, in the United States, are not subject to anything remotely like this.  However, many of our brothers and sisters are being denied a seat at the table because they practice their faith, which is in violation of the 1st Amendment. One needs look no further than Amy Coney Barrett, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame. Professor Barrett, who is a nominee to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, was drilled on her faith and how it would impede her judgement should she serve on the bench.  Senator Diane Feinstein (D) California stated, “The dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country.” Big issue=abortion. Senator Dick Durbin (D) Illinois was blunt and asked, “Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?”4  I guess the good senators never heard about the unconstitutionality of religious tests as spelled out in Article 6 Section 3.

The science against abortion is staggering. Fetuses, by 8 weeks after fertilization react to touch and by 20 weeks can feel pain5, yet the abortions continue and in some states, babies can be aborted just before delivery.  Will “abortion” after birth be next? Iceland aborts 100% of babies born with Down syndrome6.  Here in the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  report a decrease in children born with Down, even though survival rates are up from 10 years old to about 47 in 20077.  Sympathetic judges are sentencing parents who murder their disabled children to ridiculously low sentences. Where do we draw the line?

Oh, that the dogma should live loudly in us all.

 

1 For more information and resources visit: http://www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/respect-life-program/2017/respect-life-digital-resources.cfm

2 https://www.billofrightsinstitute.org/founding-documents/bill-of-rights/

3 The Lion Sleeps Tonight https://lifelinesbylucie.wordpress.com/2015/07/29/the-lion-sleeps-tonight/

4 Chicago Tribune Editorial: Durbin, Feinstein and Catholic judges September 11, 2017

5 Doctors on Fetal Pain www.doctorsonfetalpain.com/fetal-pain-the-evidence/

6 CBS News on Assignment “What kind of society to you want to live in?”: Inside the country where Down syndrome is disappearing. Julian Quinones, Arijeta Lajka August 14, 2017

7 https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/downsyndrome/data.html

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Everyone knows this song recorded by The Tokens. The lion in my article is Cecil, a 13 year-old Zimbabwe lion. According to officials, Dr. Walter Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota, allegedly paid $50,000 to facilitate a lion hunt. Palmer was told permits were secured and the hunt was legit. Whatever the story, Palmer, with the aid of 2 Zimbabweans, tracked and killed the lion.

The outrage against Dr. Palmer is rabid and viral. The death threats are so intense Dr. Palmer has gone into hiding. His home and dental practice are besieged by protestors dressed as dentist hunters who toss stuffed lions at the buildings. PETA wasted no time calling for Dr. Palmer’s death by hanging. Tributes to the fallen lion include celebrities calling Palmer a ‘poor excuse for a human being’1. Jimmy Kimmel, on his ABC talk show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, choked up while speaking about it. News agencies are plastering pictures of Cecil the lion on front pages of their papers and internet sites.

I love my cat, but in light of what’s been uncovered here in the United States with the undercover videos of Planned Parenthood butchering and selling unborn baby organs—it’s ridiculous. I’ve been furious, waiting for the Spirit to move me to write about the evil of Planned Parenthood (PP); an organization that exists solely for the slaughter of innocent babies, and then I read about Cecil. Cecil is one lion. PP slaughters hundreds of babies every day2 and harvests their organs, yet where is the outrage? Where are the protestors dressed as doctors, tossing bloody dolls at PP? Where is PETA, since we’re all animals, calling for the hanging of every abortionist? Where is Jimmy Kimmel weeping on television? WHERE IS EVERYBODY?

The same news outlets that couldn’t wait to broadcast the murder of Cecil are silent on the holocaust of the unborn. The life of this lion is more important than the lives of millions of unborn babies. That is the unspoken proclamation of the people of the United States. It’s concluded by their absolute silence in the face of evil.

The Center for Medical Progress (CMP), the force behind the undercover videos, recently released a video of Planned Parenthood “procurement specialists” pushing away tiny hands, arms, legs, and feet of a freshly murdered baby on a pie plate so they can extract its organs. It’s gruesome. In its first video, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Senior Director of Medical Services, Planned Parenthood of America, talks to a would-be buyer of baby organs, while munching on salad and drinking wine. She describes how she and other abortionists manipulate the ‘tissue’ otherwise known as a baby, via ultrasound, to ensure a breach birth so as not to crush above the legs or under the head to harvest the organs. A breach birth can aid in obtaining an intact head. Dr. Nucatola gleefully told the buyer about the ’17 weeker’ she just aborted. Imagine what the going rate is on the black market for a 4+ month baby? Dr. Mengele would be proud.

When I ask acquaintances if they’ve seen the videos of Planned Parenthood pulling apart the body of a dead baby on a pie plate, they look at me like I’ve gone mad. No doubt since the same news outlets that couldn’t wait to break the story of Cecil the lion, remain silent on the extermination and selling to the highest bidder of the unborn. The Blaze uncovered a letter from Planned Parenthood to news agencies warning them that the undercover videos from CMP “the material should not be aired”. 3 How can anyone remain quiet? I hear black lives matter. I hear blue lives matter. Former Maryland governor, Martin O’Malley, who is running for President, recently was booed and heckled for saying all lives matter. He later apologized—for what? Gov. O’Malley was right. All lives do matter. No one life is more precious than another. Have Americans forgotten the Declaration of Independence and what it says? “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.

WHO ARE WE? While we go about our day, sipping our non-sugary drinks and eating gluten-free pizza, doctors at Planned Parenthood kill and haggle over the price of livers, hearts and lungs of babies. I see protestors waiving signs that read, I Can’t Breathe. The unborn child doesn’t have the chance to breathe before being crushed, vacuumed, shredded, or in the case of late term abortions, ripped limb from limb. Oh, but some do breathe if they are unfortunate enough to be born alive. Nurses and midwives report babies born alive after abortions are suffocated, injected with poison, or left to die alone. Others report uncomfortable mothers hearing their child scream and realize the child is alive and being killed. In one hospital a nurse reported a child born alive took over an hour to die. Later, in the same hospital, another child was born prematurely, the same age as the aborted child, but this infant was brought to the neo-natal unit because its mother very much wanted him and that child lived.4

It’s just tissue? Have you seen an ultrasound? If not, take a look at the gruesome video of that murdered baby in the pie plate—the same pie plate on sale at your local Wal-Mart. By 8 weeks in the womb, unborn children react to touch. Pain receptors are present throughout the unborn child’s entire body no later than 20 weeks. When surgery is performed on unborn children they are given anesthesia.5 Sound like just tissue to you? What about cases of rape or the mother’s life? 1.7% of abortions are performed because of health or life of the mother and a whopping .3% for rape or incest. 98% of all abortions are performed for personal reasons.6

Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, must be dancing in hell while Americans sacrifice infants to a pagan god of convenience and unveil statues of Satan in their cities7. Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter ~Isaiah 5:20.

The lion may sleep well tonight. But can you?

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1Daily Mail, UK, Article 3178135

2According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 43.8 million babies die from abortion annually worldwide. That’s approximately one baby being aborted every two seconds.

3Live Action News, Investigative, Nurses Share How Babies Born Alive After Abortions Are Killed Or Left To Die, June 26, 2015 by Sarah Terzo

4The Blaze, Health, Read the Letter Planned Parenthood Sent News Outlets Warning Them Not to Air Undercover Videos, July 28, 2015, by Oliver Darcy

5Doctors on Fetal Pain, 2015, Fetal Pain: The Evidence www.doctorsonfetalpain.com

6Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (last updated November 2014)

7The Detroit News, Video Captures Unveiling of Satanic Statue in Detroit, July 27, 2015 by Tom Greenwood

It’s Not Where You Start, It’s Where You Finish

I was watching AD the Bible Continues, a fabulous series on NBC this spring, produced by Roma Downey, a devout Catholic and her husband, Mark Burnett.  AD dramatizes the first half of Acts of the Apostles.  It’s gritty and extremely well done.  If you’re a Christian and want to grab the attention of millennials used to watching TV shows such as Game of Thrones or Walking Dead, AD is the way to do it.  The show prompts you to pick up the Bible and read it for yourself, which is awesome.

Back to AD the Bible Continues…a few weeks ago viewers were introduced to Saul of Tarsus.  Saul, a devout Jew, wasn’t taking the “blasphemy” of the new believers in Jesus lightly.  He was intent on tracking them down like animals.  He was there when the first martyr, Stephen, was stoned to death and he reveled in the bloodshed and thirsted for more.  His plan was to murder every last disciple.  After going house to house in Jerusalem and pulling out every man, woman, and child and throwing them in prison, Saul finds himself on that road to Damascus committed to find any believers who had scattered after his attacks.  However, things didn’t go as planned.  Instead of Saul finding the followers of Jesus, arresting them, and dragging them back to Jerusalem, Jesus finds Saul and everything changes.  Saul went from being the hunter to the hunted and from persecuting believers to becoming one of them—and not just any one of them.  Saul, or as we know him, Paul1, became the energizer bunny of evangelism.

Out of all the people in the New Testament, I find St. Paul to be one of the most fascinating.  The apostles knew Jesus.  He was their friend.  They lived with Him for three years; they were there through His many miracles, teachings, the crucifixion, the resurrection, and His Ascension.  Paul, like us, did not know Jesus in the physical sense, and like us, he was blinded from the truth.  His letters to the early churches are deep.  How many of us listen to Paul’s words but never truly grasp their meaning?  If you’re lucky to have a pastor who explains in detail or a teacher who has great knowledge of the Bible I can guarantee Paul’s message will leave you speechless.

Paul’s message is great, but what of his life after meeting Jesus?  It was a tremendous journey filled with peril, sacrifice, torture, imprisonment, and the joy of spreading the word of Jesus Christ and converting the Gentiles, and ultimately ending in martyrdom, which he knew he would face.  He knew his mission and he went after it with a zeal matched by few.  Even when his worldly life was coming to a close he kept his eye on the prize, as summed up in 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight to the end, I have run the race to the finish, I have kept the faith.”  How many of us at the end of our lives can say that?  St. Paul began his life as a not such a good person, but he finished as a rock star.  It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.

Speaking of television shows, there is a new one premiering this summer called Proof.  It’s very similar to its predecessors; They Came Back, Resurrection, and The Returned.  All are fantasies about “life after life.”  Unlike AD, which is Bible based, Proof is based on an actress portraying a doctor who has gone through the fictitious death of her son, a fictitious divorce, and a fictitious rift with her fictitious teenage daughter.  An actor portraying a billionaire with fictitious cancer, who is facing fictitious death, hires her to find answers from psychics, ghost hunters, and people who have experienced near death experiences2.

Yesterday I read that researchers at the Mayo Clinic believe they’ve “cracked the code” to happiness3.  Do you know what it is?  The research shows the biggest hindrance to being happy is too much thinking about one’s self.  Really?  Jesus said that over 2,000 years ago!  Love others as you love yourself.  People in the US are screaming for truth.  They are yearning for God; they are looking for answers but instead of seeking Him, they rely on supernatural fantasy put out by Hollywood because somehow that’s more believable than the Bible?  They’ll take the word of fiction writers over that of God?   I keep hearing about the new evangelization.  How and when do we begin?

The problem is we can’t evangelize unless we actually stand for something.  We can’t preach the Word unless we live it.  You can’t succeed with a church full of “cafeteria-style” Christians and expect to show the world this is what it means to be Christian.  This little light of mine can’t shine under a basket.  You can’t pick and choose the laws that are to your liking.  Several churches that bend to the pressure of the culture find that out the hard way.  Their numbers go down instead of going up.  I believe marriage is between a man and a woman.  It does not mean I hate gays.  I believe in the sanctity of all life, including life in the womb.  It doesn’t mean I hate women who’ve had an abortion.  Nobody wants to offend anyone.  I certainly don’t.  St. Augustine said, “With love for mankind and hatred of sins.”4

In order to evangelize you must believe in something—I mean really believe.  Stand strong in it so firmly that you would die for it because you know it’s true.  I recently heard a story about a father in the Middle East who was given the opportunity by ISIS to spare his children if they converted to the Muslim faith.  He went to his priest for guidance who told him to go ahead.  God will understand if they converted.  The man rushed home only to find ISIS asking his children who they believed in and before the father could intervene the children shouted “Jesus!”

My journey and yours is not yet over.  For years it’s been relatively easy in the United States to be Christian.  Not so any more and I fear it’s going to get worse.  In the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, “The ultimate test of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and moments of convenience, but where he stands in moments of challenge and moments of controversy.”  It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.

Will you fight the good fight?  Will you finish the race?  Will you keep the faith?

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1 God did not change Saul’s name to Paul, a popular myth.  “Saul was a born Jewish and his Hebrew name was Saul, but because his father was a Roman citizen (and therefore Saul inherited Roman citizenship), Saul also had the Latin name, Paul.  After his conversion he was determined to bring the gospel to Gentiles, so he dusted off his Roman name and became, Paul, a name Gentiles were familiar with.”  Catholic Answers To Explain & Defend The Faith.

2 TNT.com

3 CBS New York newyork.cbslocal.com/2015/6/05/researchers-cracked-code-happiness

4 St. Augustine Letter 211 (c.424)

Days Go By

Keith Urban makes some of the best uplifting, fun music in country music.  Unfortunately, I can’t say this article is upbeat or fun.  With each passing day I find myself at times mystified, angry, and depressed all at the same time.  Why can’t my fellow American citizens, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Atheists etc. see what is happening in our world?  The systematic extermination of Christians in the Middle East and the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe are very real and very dangerous.  Is it because it’s “over there” as compared to here?  Yes, I write articles, post on Facebook, and tell everyone I know.  Yes, I’ve gone to www.nasarean.org and ordered up pins and wrist bands blazoned with the Arabic letter N or ن that ISIS is forcing Christians to wear, much like the yellow Star of David that the Nazis forced Jews to wear.  However, it’s not enough.  I keep asking myself why anyone isn’t shouting this from the rooftops.

I was hoping with the condemnation by Pope Francis more people would become outspoken but so far the silence is deafening.  There are snippets of information on the news, but in most cases they don’t acknowledge the men being slaughtered are Christian.  I was watching The Blaze TV this week and to his credit Glenn Beck played a small portion of the gruesome film of the latest group of Christians being gunned down by a firing squad or being beheaded.  I watched with one eye open.  The images and sounds of men being beheaded with knives was something I’ll never forget.  As ghastly as it was it should be seen by all.  It should be in every newspaper and on every news show.  Other tyrannical dictators did their dirty work in the dark.  These evil savages are making slick videos and distributing them across the globe.  What’s the matter with us!  Wake up!

A Coptic Christian priest was also on the show.  I was heartbroken when he said he couldn’t understand why his fellow Christians in America have not spoken up for them.  Beck made an interesting point.  If the slaughter was happening to Catholics, Baptists, or Methodists, would we pay attention?  So I thought I’d find out more about the Copts and what they believe.  Coptic means Egyptian.  The Christian community was founded by the apostle Mark who went to Egypt to evangelize the word of Christ around 42 to 62 AD.  At one time Egypt was 100% Christian.  The country switched from being a 100% Christian nation to a predominately Muslim nation after the Arab invasion around 639-642AD1.  They were given the same options we hear today – give up your Christian faith and embrace Islam, pay a huge tax, or die.  Their message hasn’t changed throughout the centuries.

In 1992 it was estimated there were over 9 million Coptic Christians in Egypt2.  They continued practicing their faith until the great “Arab Spring” when the Muslim Brotherhood took over the country.  Immediately persecution of Coptic Christians took on a whole new level as well as the destruction of ancient archeological finds, churches and religious artifacts.  It didn’t take Egyptians long to figure out this was not what they wanted and they tossed President Mohammed Morsi and the Brotherhood out of power.  President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, a military man, is a much better replacement, but there is still much work to be done.

Coptic Christians observe seven sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Confession, Orders, Matrimony and Anointing of the Sick.  Divorce is not allowed.  Services are held in churches on Sunday mornings.  There are four parts to their service: 1. Preparation prayer – altar boys incense the church while chanting; 2. Offering – prayer is said over holy bread; 3. Preaching the Mass – priest reads sections of the Old and New Testament as well as giving a sermon; and 4. Reconciliation prayer. The fifth component is called the Believer’s Mass. This is when the congregation has communion3.  Sounds a lot like our services, doesn’t it?

Their feast days are also very similar.  Christmas is celebrated on January 7th, which is an official holiday in Egypt. It’s celebrated by the Pope in Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo in the Coptic language, which is almost extinct. Copts fast for 210 days of the year – Fast of the Nativity Christmas is 45 days, Fast of the Apostles, Fast of the Virgin Mary, Fast of Nineveh and of course Lent.  In addition to these fasts, they also fast every Wednesday and Friday. On Holy Thursday Copts visit and pray in seven Coptic Churches after Mass4.

They practice their religion just like us.  Their traditions are just like ours.  They are Christians—they are us.  Coptic Christians are being crucified, shot, and beheaded by ISIS.  Women and girls are being raped, forced into marriage with ISIS fighters, sold into sex slavery, and worse. We must get this message out.  Share it.  I would even urge you to watch the video of the massacres.  It’s easy to turn away, but we must see and we must speak up.  In the words of Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer who preached against the Nazis and was later hanged in 1945, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us innocent.  Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

This weekend, our church will be selling pins and wristbands with the Arabic letter N or ن for a small price, but what a big message it sends.  We stand with the persecuted Christians.  We are people of the Cross.  We follow Jesus the Nasarean.  We belong to a large family of Christians that come in a variety of colors.  We are many but we are one.  I urge you to go to your Pastor and let him know it’s time to speak out and educate the congregation against these evil acts being done to our brothers and sisters simply for the crime of being a Christian.  Don’t let another day go by without taking a stand against evil because one day our grandchildren may ask us, Grandma? Grandpa?  Where were you?  Did you know?  Did you do anything to stop it?  Will you hang your head in shame or will you answer proudly, yes, I was there.  Yes, I knew.  Yes, I stood.

1 Encyclopedia Britannica, Egypt From The Islamic Conquest to 1250

2 The History of Coptic Christians in Egypt, an Overview of the Coptic Christians of Egypt, Lara Iskander and Jimmy Dunn

3 The History of Coptic Christians in Egypt, Coptic Sacraments, Coptic Services, Lara Iskander and Jimmy Dunn

4 The History of Coptic Christians in Egypt, Celebrations and other traditions, Lara Iskander and Jimmy Dunn