Catholic Interest

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    Wednesday, July 25, 2007

    Too cozy

    A Priest I know keeps saying that 'those' countries use islum to keep control of their citizens.

    From my American viewpoint that sounded odd. It's just not in my living memory. A few hundred years ago we know that Europe and the particular churches identified with each other so closely that an act against religion was close to treason. But was it really the state that was using religion for control, or was it the people's strong identification with religion that merged church and state? I don't know.

    Anyway, it's good to see at least Egypt trying to escape from the deaths that occur when folks try to become Christian. Good for this Gomaa fellow.


    CAIRO: Egypt's official religious adviser has ruled that Muslims are free to change their faith as it is a matter between an individual and God, in a move which could have far-reaching implications for the country's Christians. "The essential question before us is can a person who is Muslim choose a religion other than Islam? The answer is yes, they can," Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa said in a posting on a Washington Post-Newsweek forum picked up by the Egyptian press on Tuesday.

    The case of the 12 Copts, whose request to revert was denied by a lower court in April, goes in front of the Supreme Court in September, and Bahgat said they will use Gomaa's posting to bolster their case.

    "Gomaa is a civil servant, the top religious adviser of the state, and technically speaking the deputy justice minister," he said. "So his views on the matter carry authority."

    "The punishment for apostasy is controversial," judge Ahmad Mekky, the deputy head of Egypt's Supreme Court, told AFP. "There is nothing in any Koranic text about this."

    Gomaa said that if the conversions undermine the "foundations of society" then it must be dealt with by the judicial system, without elaborating.

    "The posting is consistent with the mufti's past fatwas," he told AFP. "Apostasy is only punishable when it is considered akin to subversion."

    Subversion.. undermining society.. Looks like that treason attitude Europe of old had also.

    Government is God and God is government. Sounds odd to modern people. This is what causes fear to liberal Americans. Laws to enforce morals sound like God in government to them. And they're right.

    You can't have government killing people for religion, and you cant have government without morals. Where a society sits on that scale makes a difference to God and us.

    But as the Priest says, is Egypt really using islum to control their people, or is killing converts the will of the people? I don't know.

    I do know that the chasm between cultures is so wide I would never dare to visit Egypt, even to see the pyramids. I think I would even avoid Oregon with its euthanasia laws in case I should faint there and end up in that type of "health care" system.

    Too much God in government in Egypt, and not enough in Oregon. Looks like the correct balance is still an open question.


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