What Are Coptic Christians?


ISIS released a videotape of the public beheading of twenty-one Coptic Christians somewhere along the coast of Libya. Hate to admit it, but I don’t even know what a Coptic Christian is. Are they anything like Southern Baptists? Don’t know. So I looked it up. “Coptic” means “Egyptian,” and Christians living in Egypt identify themselves as Coptic Christians. Pretty simple, huh?

Digging a little deeper, Coptic Christians were organized sometime between A.D. 42 – A. D. 62, and consider John Mark, (you know, the “Mark” of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John fame) as their founder. But through the years, Egypt fell under the colonial rule of Italy, which demanded loyalty to Roman rulers. The Coptics refused to show allegiance to any but the Christ, so the usual persecution took place. In A.D. 641, they were rescued from the Roman Empire by fellow Arabs, who demanded adherence to their Islamic faith. The Coptics went from the frying pan into the fire. As we are currently witnessing, the consequences for failure to accept Islam are rather severe, so there aren’t really very many Coptic Christians left.

Since the Arab Spring uprising in Cairo, things haven’t been going too well in Egypt, so the 21 Coptic Christians were seeking work in neighboring Libya, the country we rescued from the dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Sadly, they were not too well received there either.

OK. So now you and I know what Coptic Christians are, and who killed them. So does Pope Francis, who has condemned the beheadings by ISIS militants, saying, “Their only words were: ‘Jesus, help me!’ They were killed simply for the fact that they were Christians. The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out be heard. It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants. They are Christians!” President Obama doesn’t appear to be as well-informed. But, of course, he has been out of town.

While the rest of the world, including Pope Francis, condemns ISIS for killing Coptic Christians, simply because they were Christians, Mr. Obama says, “The United States condemns the despicable and cowardly murder of twenty-one Egyptian citizens in Libya by ISIL-affiliated terrorists.” He doesn’t mention the name “Islamic,” nor does he recognize the victims as being Christians.

Bookies in Las Vegas are taking bets on how many days it will be before President Obama identifies ISIS for what it truly is. A better bet might be on how many days it will be before the media identifies Barack Hussein Obama for what he truly is.

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