Egypt's Christians Still Support New Constitution

Friday, January 17, 2014

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

CAIRO, EGYPT (Worthy News)-- Although Egypt's Christian leaders are urging the faithful to support the country's new constitution for the sake of national stability, detractors claim that it fosters a medieval Islamic supremacy within the framework of a modern Egyptian society, according to Morning Star News.

The biggest objection for most Christians is that the new constitution still relegates non-Muslims to second-class citizens by Article Two, which establishes Islam as the state religion and Islamic law as the principle source of legislation. This Islamism is further enforced by Article One, establishing Egypt as a purely Islamic state. Both articles are hold overs from the constitution crafted under the now deposed Mohammad Morsi.

Notwithstanding, most Christians are still backing Egypt's new constitution. Under Pope Tawadros, leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Coptic priests promoted the new constitution to their flocks lest Egypt revert back to the rule of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood.

Yet despite Articles One and Two, the new constitution is still an improvement over the one drafted under Morsi's regime. Article 44 -- the blasphemy statute that had prohibited the "insult or abuse of all religious messengers and prophets" -- is gone; Article 81 -- that rendered all the rights guaranteed in any of the articles subject to sharia, thereby negated those same rights -- was also stricken from the proposed constitution along with Article 219, which had permitted extremist Islamists to enact their own strict interpretations of Islamic law.

The editor of Watani, Egypt's weekly Coptic newspaper, wrote that although the new constitution is flawed, he supports it and has urged other Christians to do so.

Youssef Sidhom wrote that the county cannot achieve everything in one step and the first step to repealing Article Two is to raise living standards so that Egyptians will not cling to Islam to compensate for failures in the country's economy.