The Corner

Egypt’s Coptic Christians Deserve a Word from President Obama

If and when the Obama administration accepts Victor Davis Hanson’s sound counsel and makes publicly clear that what America wishes for Egypt is a “non-Islamist constitutional state,” the administration ought to add that any such state should be one that is safe for Coptic and other Christians.

While the current upheaval in Egypt cannot be traced to recent assaults on the Copts there, the safety of this ancient Christian community, which played a major role in the country’s cultural life centuries before Islam (and almost two millennia before Mohammad el-Baradei), would be one important test of whether post-Mubarak Egypt has moved beyond one of the little-remarked but nonetheless odious aspects of Mubarak’s rule: namely, his appeasement of those Muslims who insist that there is no room in their country’s culture or public life for Coptic Christianity or indeed any other form of Christianity.

Three weeks ago, the Egyptian government withdrew its ambassador from the Vatican after the Muslim leadership at al-Azhar, usually described as the “intellectual center of Sunni Islam,” pitched a hissy fit at Pope Benedict XVI, who had dared criticize the brutal murder of Copts during his annual address to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See — a criticism that al-Azhar deemed a gross interference in “internal affairs.” The government caved to the Muslim clerisy and withdrew its diplomatic representation.

When that kind of nonsense stops, we’ll know that a corner has been turned in Egypt. Meanwhile, here is an opportunity for the administration, which has been whittling away at the idea of religious freedom by reducing it to “freedom of worship,” to regain the ground it has supinely lost in the global struggle to defend religious freedom in full.

— George Weigel is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and biographer of John Paul II.

George Weigel is the distinguished senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies.

Most Popular

Elections

It’s Not Because She’s a Woman

In early October, Elizabeth Warren hit her stride. Her stock in the Democratic primary had been climbing steadily since midsummer, and as Joe Biden continued to lag, the Massachusetts senator became the first presidential hopeful to overtake him as front-runner in the RealClearPolitics polling average. She’s ... Read More
Elections

It’s Not Because She’s a Woman

In early October, Elizabeth Warren hit her stride. Her stock in the Democratic primary had been climbing steadily since midsummer, and as Joe Biden continued to lag, the Massachusetts senator became the first presidential hopeful to overtake him as front-runner in the RealClearPolitics polling average. She’s ... Read More
Film & TV

Clint Eastwood’s Messy, Nuanced Triumph

After a pipe bomb exploded at a concert held to celebrate the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta’s Centennial Park, the FBI came to suspect that the security guard who discovered the device might have planted it to gain a reputation as a hero. The knotty story of that security guard, Richard Jewell, does not lend itself ... Read More
Film & TV

Clint Eastwood’s Messy, Nuanced Triumph

After a pipe bomb exploded at a concert held to celebrate the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta’s Centennial Park, the FBI came to suspect that the security guard who discovered the device might have planted it to gain a reputation as a hero. The knotty story of that security guard, Richard Jewell, does not lend itself ... Read More
Film & TV

Knives Out Takes On the Anti-Immigration Crowd

Since the beginning of the Obama era, the Left has broadcast two contradictory messages on the subjects of race and immigration. The first is that a so-called Coalition of the Ascendant will inevitably displace white Americans as the dominant force in the country’s politics and culture. The second is that ... Read More
Film & TV

Knives Out Takes On the Anti-Immigration Crowd

Since the beginning of the Obama era, the Left has broadcast two contradictory messages on the subjects of race and immigration. The first is that a so-called Coalition of the Ascendant will inevitably displace white Americans as the dominant force in the country’s politics and culture. The second is that ... Read More
Elections

More Bad News for Medicare for All

The hits keep coming for Medicare for All. Gallup’s annual health-care survey of adults found that Americans back a system based on private insurance rather than government provision by 54 percent to 42 percent. “This could create a challenge in a general election campaign for a Democratic presidential ... Read More
Elections

More Bad News for Medicare for All

The hits keep coming for Medicare for All. Gallup’s annual health-care survey of adults found that Americans back a system based on private insurance rather than government provision by 54 percent to 42 percent. “This could create a challenge in a general election campaign for a Democratic presidential ... Read More