Friday, May 22, 2015
Secular State Church II
Part 1 is here.
Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) had an interesting story on May 13. Apparently the government of Egypt wanted to reach out to the families of the Christians beheaded by ISIS a few weeks ago, so they proposed to build a church in the home village of most of the victims and call it Church of the Martyrs.
The folks who hatched the plan were certainly well intentioned. Egypt is, don’t forget, a Muslim polity, and that Muslims would want to distance themselves from ISIS by giving tangible assistance to its victims is understandable and, in its way, commendable. But the result was not what the well-intentioned expected. Far from being met with flowers as benefactors, those who brought their good intentions to the village were met with hostility by the Muslims there and, it would seem, faint enthusiasm by the families of the victims.
Who could have imagined that Muslims would be unhappy that their tax money was being spent to build a Christian church in their village?
Fortunately, VOM heard about the situation and proposed that since clean drinking water was unobtainable in the village, they would buy water filters so both Christians and Muslims would be able to have clean water. The Muslim response was, it seems, “You gotta be kidding,” but once they realized that the offer was serious, even the tension that had existed before the government made its proposal was defused. The idea seemed to go over so well that VOM got to work putting filters in the villages of the other victims under the same terms, all paid for by voluntary contributions.
Our father Abraham learned firsthand the nature or worldly government when first the Pharaoh and then Abimelek abducted his wife instead of initiating wedding negotiations. He knew that he did not need, nor should he accept, help or reward from them in times of crisis; hence his brushoff of the king of Sodom after his rescue of Lot. We would do well to be his sons in that regard.