In the long struggle for freedom in South Africa, parts of the church played a major role, even as other parts colluded with the apartheid regime. Few actions in that struggle were more important than the Belhar Confession.
The Old Testament and gospel readings for Epiphany
function as point and counterpoint. Isaiah offers a word of great comfort to
those who have been so long in darkness. Impoverished as the hearers have been,
honor and fortune are on their way. It's a message of rejoicing: the light that
has dawned will make all who see it radiant.
Attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt are spiraling out of control, according to Bishop Angaelos, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom. These attacks have been fueled by inflammatory rumors that Christians are building new churches in Egypt and that Christians and Muslims have engaged in affairs. In one instance, a 70-year-old man was stripped and paraded naked through the streets of Minya before he was killed. Coptic churches and the homes of Coptic Christians have been torched. Lack of local law enforcement, says Bishop Angaelos, gives license to more attacks by radicals (Christian Today, July 25).