Sunday, July 28, 2013

The 3 - July 28, 2013

In this week's edition of my week-in-review blog post, "The 3", there is some important court action to report to you in 2 of the top 3 stories.  A Federal appeals court has upheld the right of a Tennessee county's commission to begin its meetings with prayer.   Elsewhere, singular Federal judges have attempted to block current laws - a pro-life bill that was passed in North Dakota recently, as well as a marriage amendment that was passed by the voters of Ohio a number of years ago.  And, the top story involves the huge gathering in Rio that featured young people congregating to learn and grow, and to hear from the head of the Catholic Church.

3 - Appeals court rules in favor of legislative prayers

As the issue of prayer before public governmental meetings awaits a hearing and decision from the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of prayers offered before a council meeting in Greece, New York, a Federal appeals court has said that the practice of opening meetings in prayer in Hamilton County, Tennessee can continue.

Here's the backstory, according to the Christian Post:
Last year, county residents Brandon Jones and Thomas Coleman contested the voluntary, citizen-led prayers held before commission meetings and filed a lawsuit against Hamilton County, alleging that the tradition of having prayers said before commission meetings violated the Constitution's Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because the majority of prayers referenced Jesus, and therefore were predominately Christian.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation also chimed in with one of their now-famous letters in opposition to the prayer policy.  The County Commission then sought to alter its policy regarding prayer in an attempt to be more inclusive of other faiths and to assert that the commission in no way endorsed religion. The new policy said that, "Any invocation that may be offered before the official start of the Commission meeting shall be the voluntary offering of a private citizen, to and for the benefit of the Commission."

It went on to say that, "The views or beliefs expressed by the invocation speaker have not been previously reviewed or approved by the Commission and do not necessarily represent the religious beliefs or views of the Commission in part or as a whole. No member of the community is required to attend or participate in the invocation and such decision will have no impact on their right to actively participate in the business of the Commission."

U.S. District Court Judge Harry Mattice ruled that the county's prayer policy did not violate the Constitution's Establishment clause, writing in his ruling that the prayer policy was "all-inclusive" in that it contemplates invocations from all religions.  On Friday, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a 21-page ruling, which stated, in part, "Here, the Policy is facially constitutional. The Policy aims to respect the diversity of all religious groups, and it does not seek to advance one faith or belief over another. The Policy is similar to other policies that have been recognized as facially neutral by our sister circuits."

This is an ongoing struggle between those who would remove prayer and other vestiges of religious thought from the public square, and those who would want the freedom to express their faith and to acknowledge God.   The issue will go before the high court, and people of faith will no doubt be looking to the Supreme Court to uphold a tradition that is consistent with religious freedom.

2 - Federal judges put legislation regarding life on hold, judge rules in OH same-sex marriage case

How frustrating it can be when good, solid legislation is passed consistent with Biblical principles, and one judge is able to put that law on hold.  That has been the case in several states regarding pro-life legislation, and history has repeated itself in North Dakota, where, according to CitizenLink, a Federal judge on Monday temporarily halted a new North Dakota law that helps protect the lives of preborn babies. Signed by Gov. Jack Dalrymple earlier this year, the law prohibits abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.  It was set to take effect Aug. 1.

The judge wrote that,“Although the likelihood of this measure surviving a court challenge remains in question, this bill is nevertheless a legitimate attempt by a state Legislature to discover the boundaries of Roe v. Wade."  

And, in Ohio, which has a constitutional amendment in place that defines marriage as one-man and one-woman, a Federal judge has made an exception for one same-sex couple that got "married" in Maryland and wanted the state of Ohio to recognize that union.

Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values in Ohio, told CitizenLink, “Attorney General Mike DeWine assured me today that it will be appealed...The law is the law. The state Constitution says marriage is between one man and one woman.”

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last month. Without that section - section 3 - the government must accept whatever states decide about same-sex marriage. The high court ruling does not affect section 2, which says that no state is required to recognize another state’s redefinition.

Bruce Hausknecht, CitizenLink Judicial Analyst, points out that, "Under the U.S. Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause, there is a strong historical and legal reservation to the states of the right not to recognize the effect of out-of-state laws or legal proceedings...This includes same-sex marriage, where such laws or legal statuses violate the strong public policy of the state where recognition is sought.”
So, the law appears to be on the side of the state of Ohio in this case, but, just as in the California marriage case, one Federal judge has attempted to strike down the wishes of the people of a state.  This is not unexpected, in light of the high court's ruling striking down that part of DOMA.

1 - World Youth Day attracts massive crowd, papal appearance

When you have an estimated one million people gathered in one place in a religious gathering, it has enormous significance. This year, World Youth Day took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the first-ever Pope from the Americas, who ministered in Argentina before becoming the pontiff, Pope Francis, spoke to the large group assembled there.

According to Catholic World Newsthe Pope told the young people gathered at Copacabana beach: “Today Christ asks each of us again: Do you want to be my disciple? Do you want to be my friend? Do you want to be a witness to my Gospel?”

The motto for this year’s World Youth Day was “Put on faith.” The Pope remarked: “Put on faith, and your life will take on a new flavor.” Exploring the theme further, he said that the motto really meant: “Put on Christ.”

“Today, it benefits all of us to ask sincerely: in whom do we place our trust?” the Pope said. “In ourselves, in material things, or in Jesus?” Material goods and earthly power provide temporary gratification, he said, but the love of Christ is the only lasting good. “Put on Christ in your life, place your trust in Him, and you will never be disappointed.”
The Vatican Information Service reports that while in Rio, the Pope asked to meet with the Argentine delegation, and he told them in an impromptu speech, “I want the Church to go out into the streets, I want us to defend ourselves against all worldliness, opposition to progress, from that which is comfortable, from that which is clericalism, from all that which means being closed up in ourselves. Parishes, schools, institutions are made in order to come out … if they do not do this, they become a non-governmental organisation, and the Church must not be an NGO”.
These are principles that can be applied to the lives of all believers in Christ.   When the leader of a major denomination is speaking before roughly a million people, mainly of the next generation, it is helpful for us to take notice, and recognize that the spiritual awareness that is taken from the locale in South America into the world could have a dramatic impact.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The 3 - July 21, 2013

In this week's edition of my week-in-review feature, "The 3", I highlight news out of the United Kingdom involving a new law allowing same-sex marriage.  And, I'm continuing to follow news out of Texas, where the Governor has signed new pro-life legislation and Planned Parenthood has announced the closing of some centers there.  The top headline involves the church's role in the aftermath of the verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman, acquitted of all charges in the death of Trayvon Martin.

3 - Queen Elizabeth approves same-sex marriage bill

As the result of action taken by Queen Elizabeth II this week, there are now 17 countries in the world that allow same-sex marriage - add England and Wales to the list.  According to Religion News Service, the Queen gave what is called, "royal assent" to a bill that would allow gay men and women to be joined together in civil ceremonies or in church services — although no religious denomination will be forced to carry out such services.

The bill had the support of Prime Minister David Cameron, even though some in his own party, the Conservative Party, opposed it.  Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told supporters the new law would ensure lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people felt “recognized and valued and no longer excluded.”

The Roman Catholic Church fought the bill and the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales swiftly issued a statement of its displeasure:
“With this new legislation, marriage has now become an institution in which openness to children, and with it the responsibility on fathers and mothers to remain together to care for children born into their family unit, are no longer central. That is why we were opposed to this legislation on principle.”
The Church of England does not allow same-sex marriages.

Separate legislation has reportedly been presented to the Scottish government to make same-sex marriage legal. Debates are expected to begin in Edinburgh, the Scottish capital, in October or November.

2 - TX Governor signs pro-life law, Planned Parenthood announces clinic closures

This week, Texas Governor Rick Perry signed into law a bill containing restrictions on abortion, including banning the practice past the 20th week of pregnancy.  The bill also establishes new standards for clinics throughout the state.  

And, a report in WORLD states that this week, on the same day Gov. Perry signed the bill into law, Planned Parenthood of the Gulf Coast announced that it will be closing three of its centers in East Texas.  That announcement, on Thursday, reportedly came as a result of pro-life legislation passed two years ago.     Budget cuts from the 2011 legislative session finally trickled down to the centers, forcing Planned Parenthood to close those locations, the organization said in a press release.

Two of the centers in rural East Texas - in Huntsville and Lufkin - do not provide abortions and aren’t affected by the new restrictions. But the abortion center in Bryan does conduct abortions. It’s the center where former abortion supporter Abby Johnson worked as director before an ultrasound-guided abortion changed her views. Planned Parenthood said it will close the Bryan center in anticipation of the new law.

And, it is anticipated that more abortion centers will close in the months to come.  WORLD reports that only five of the 42 abortion centers in Texas currently meet the new requirements, so some estimate as many as 37 abortion centers will close because of the law. Centers will have one year to either upgrade their facilities or shut down after the law takes effect in October. The law restricts abortions to surgical centers and requires abortionists to have hospital admitting privileges.

1 - Christians, churches grapple with Zimmerman verdict; FL Governor calls for day of prayer

The nation is continuing to discuss the verdict handed down in Florida last week in the trial of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin.  And, as I pointed out on my radio show, The Meeting House, we as Christians should have a leading voice in these cultural dialogues on such issues as race and justice. We have the open doors to lead the way in prayer in a divisive situation, to keep the peace, and to think and speak more deeply on issues of race and injustice in America. As the body of Christ, we can also demonstrate to the world how we relate to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, regardless of the color of our skin and the cultural background in which we were raised.

Sunday, July 21, was designated as a "Day of Prayer for Unity" in the state of Florida, proclaimed by Governor Rick Scott.  According to Baptist Press, he had met with student protesters who had occupied his office during the day and slept in the hallways of the statehouse by night since July 17.  Protesters told Scott they wanted a special legislative session to address Florida's "stand your ground law." Scott responded by issuing the proclamation acknowledging Martin's death "is a tragedy; and the Martin family, the family of George Zimmerman, and all those affected by Trayvon's death remain in our thoughts and prayers.

After issuing the proclamation, Scott held a telephone conference call with faith leaders from throughout Florida to promote the Day of Prayer for Unity.

Craig Culbreth, lead strategist for the Florida Baptist Convention's missional support group, joined in the call with more than 50 other participants. He is quoted as saying, "I commend our governor for considering prayer as one of the options to help our state. Of course, as church leaders, we should make it a first option...I encourage our churches to have a time of prayer for unity in the state of Florida -- obviously, it’s a very divisive time. Prayer for unity is a good thing."

Pastor Bill Shiell of First Baptist Church of Tallahassee said that as a pastor and parent, he would join with people of faith across the state Sunday to pray that the vision of Isaiah 58 will be fulfilled in Tallahassee.

"My prayer is that we will 'loose the chains of injustice, set the oppressed free, and break every yoke.' That we will call, and the Lord will answer. That our light will break forth like the dawn, and our healing will quickly appear and that we 'will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings' (Isaiah 58:6-12)."

In response to the governor's declaration, Cocoa-area pastor Errol Beckford is quoted by Florida Today as saying: “Listen, I’m totally calling for reconciliation. It’s a time for reconciliation and Sunday is a good starting time...If every pastor would spend five minutes to pray and unite around the theme of love, then I believe healing will take place in our cities and nation. The church is a light to the community,” said Beckford, one of the organizers of last week’s prayer vigil in Cocoa that drew several pastors and dozens of participants.
Ed Stetzer put together an insightful assortment of panelists for a piece on Here are some brief excerpts...

From Dr. Christena Cleveland, a social psychologist:
As America grows increasingly diverse, the realities of America are becoming more diverse. No longer can pastors and leaders assume that the people in their communities share their unique cultural experiences. In order to minister effectively, in order to be neighborly, in order to love across differences well, privileged Christians need to practice standing in solidarity with diverse people.
Pastor Victor Montalvo is the lead pastor at Reality Community Church in Sanford, the closest church to the site where Trayvon Martin was killed. He writes on how everyone from the families, to the police, to the media was looking for someone to blame. He says:
It's only when our brothers and sisters of differing races sense true love and acceptance that we begin to truly trust one another. The distrust we experience is because of fear and ignorance. We immediately look to blame others for the pain in this world. So we must also pray for ourselves, that we would recognize the cause of the pain of this world and deal with the sin of our hearts that so deeply distorts everything it encounters.
Stetzer also quoted from the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida, Gregory Brewer, who is described by Stetzer as an evangelical with a passion for justice. He had marched in Sanford as part of a crowd that was demanding justice. And, this quote reminds us that we as Christians should be the leading purveyors of justice in our society:
The issue is justice, not merely race . . . Christians should see what can be gleaned from tragedies such as this, particularly when issues like justice and fairness are concerned. While the incident was horrible, there is much we can learn from it.
As followers of Christ, we need a deep understanding that in God's eyes everybody matters—regardless of race, age, education or economics. The compassion that God has for the whole world should be extended through Christians to people around us, not just those we like, or who are like us.
This past Monday, the first of a series of weekly prayer meeting was held in Sanford at New Life Word Church.   This week, the mayor, city manager, and police chief all attended.   The meetings are being sponsored by Sanford Pastors Connecting, which was formed prior to the start of the trial.
There are some big issues that have been raised here, and because the narrative has emerged in that way that it has, then we recognize that we have a chance to respond, with compassion and truth, to people who are uncertain today about the state of race relations in America and the importance of justice. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The 3 - July 14, 2013

This week's edition of "The 3", my week-in-review feature, includes some coverage of the announcement of a new character-based, outdoor-oriented boys' organization, formed in response to the recent Boy Scouts' vote on admitting openly gay members.   Also, a popular Bible app has reached another milestone.  And, the top story - news out of Texas, where pro-life legislation has passed, banning late-term abortions and enacting new standards for abortion clinics.

3 - New boys' organization launches

In the aftermath of a meeting that took place in late June in Louisville to discuss the formation of a new organization for boys similar to the Boy Scouts, whose leadership had voted to allow openly gay members within its ranks, it was announced this week that an organization had in fact been established.  While it is yet unnamed, it has appointed an interim executive director, 20-year Scouting leadership veteran Rob Green.

According to Religion News Service, Green stated, “It’s our vision to be the premiere national character development organization for young men which produces godly and responsible husbands, fathers and citizens...The organization’s membership policy will focus on sexual purity rather than sexual orientation."

John Stemberger, founder of, which opposed the BSA policy change, differentiated between the inclusiveness of the BSA and the new organization.

“The issue with Scouting is just that when you’re going to allow a young man to be in the program to be openly flaunting sexuality, that’s just inappropriate and parents do not think that’s a clean and safe environment for their kids,” he said.

A group of around 50 people reportedly met in Louisville to lay the foundation for the new organization. There will be a convention in Nashville within the next few months.  The website has more information.

2 - Bible app goes over 100 million downloads

It was just 5 years ago when the Apple App Store launched and one of the early products available was YouVersion, developed by   And, on Sunday, July 7th, the Bible app rolled over 100 million downloads.

It actually started as a website, and then became one of just 200 free apps in the App Store.  After being launched solely for iPhone, the team at YouVersion made the app for other platforms, such as Android, BlackBerry, and more.  According to their blog, as word spread about what God was up to, Bible publishers and societies, churches, and other partners joined in, generously sharing resources. As those collaborations began to bear fruit, the YouVersion community became a worldwide movement.

YouVersion now offers the Bible in more than 500 versions in more than 300 languages. There have been over 345 million verses highlighted and over 212 million bookmarks created. YouVersion offers the ability to share verses over different social media sites, and as of June of this year, there are over 200,000 verses shared daily, with over 31 million shared last year alone.   Every second, some 66,000 people worldwide are accessing the YouVersion Bible app.

And, the team is continuing to develop new features and uses.  Just this week, a new Android tablet version of YouVersion was announced.   Bible reading plans and access to streaming video are just some of the ways that the app can help increase Bible engagement.   For more information or to download the app, go to

1 - Texas Legislature passes new pro-life measure

It wasn't unexpected, but there was probably a rockier road to passage of strong pro-life legislation in Texas than I would imagine the sponsors had originally envisioned.   After enduring a filibuster during the closing moments of the 2013 regular Legislative session in Austin and the bill passing 3 minutes after the official close of the session, Governor Perry called lawmakers back into session to try to craft legislation that would bar abortions in the state after 20 weeks, the point at which research shows that an unborn child feels pain, as well as to provide that abortion clinics meet certain health and safety standards, including having a physician with hospital admitting privileges within a reasonable distance from the clinic. has this comprehensive report.

It was a tough week for pro-life people who came to the Capitol to show their support for this commonsense legislation.   While some of them sang "Amazing Grace", those on the other side chanted, "Hail Satan".  Pro-lifers were treated to expletives being hurled at them.   Some reportedly sought out a safe place in the capitol building.  And, some protesters showed up with jars of feces and urine.   There were reports of other activities that were planned by those on the pro-abortion side.  How sad!  Why are there people that hold to certain points of view that feel they have to insult, demean, and ridicule those with whom they disagree?  

So, Texas is now the latest state to enact solid, commonsense pro-life legislation.   Opponents have already threatened court action.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

The 3 - July 7, 2013

This week's edition of "The 3", my week-in-review features, has some international concentration, including recent developments concerning attempts to spread the message of acceptance of homosexual behavior being rebuffed by African leaders.  The top story is from the northern African nation of Egypt, where regime change is underway, and Christians have played an influential role.  Also, in the U.S., a number of states recently have passed pro-life legislation designed to preserve the lives of pre-born babies and protect women, and one large state is in the midst of a high-profile battle to pass pro-life legislation.

3 - Countries reject views of homosexuality as promoted by U.S

As the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act and issued no decision regarding California's Proposition 8, defining marriage as one-man and one-woman, it is generally thought that those decisions, combined with Justice Anthony Kennedy's refusal to intervene to stop California from issuing gay marriage licenses, will lead to a greater level of acceptance for same-sex marriage.   Even though there are still over 3 dozen states that bar same-sex marriage, we as Christians have to be prepared for the reality of gay marriage and how we can respond Biblically to it.

In some foreign countries, officials are responding in a less-than-approving manner toward same-sex marriage.  Even though, according to Reuters, same-sex marriage is legal in 15 countries, including seven in Western Europe, there are countries who are attempting to turn back an international tide turning toward gay marriage.

Just over 2 weeks ago, the Russian Duma voted unanimously, 444-0, to support legislation that bars same-sex foreign couples from adopting Russian children.  Reuters reports that the same-sex adoption ban was rushed through parliament after Putin said in late April that a new French law allowing same-sex marriage went against traditional Russian values.   It also bars adoptions by unmarried foreigners from countries where same-sex marriage is legal.

The same-sex adoption ban, according to Reuters, fits into a Kremlin campaign to restrict foreign adoptions. In December, President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning all adoptions by Americans, a move motivated by disputes with Washington over human rights and what Russia says is the insufficient prosecution of adoptive U.S. parents suspected of abuse.

And, African leaders are responding negatively toward comments by President Obama about gay marriage.  Visiting a number of nations last week, the President drew comments by the President of Senegal and the Deputy President of Kenya. According to the Christian Post, the President, while speaking in Senegal, commended the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8, and encouraged African governments to reconsider their policies toward homosexuality.

Senegalese President Macky Sall responded to Obama by contending that Senegal is not "homophobic," and added that the country is "not ready to decriminalize homosexuality."

Last Sunday, while speaking at a Catholic church, Kenya Deputy President William Ruto urged Obama to "respect Kenyans" and their belief that homosexuality is a sin. He is quoted as saying that, "No one should have any worry about Kenya's stand as a God-fearing nation. President Obama is a powerful man but we trust in God as it is written in the Bible that cursed is the man who puts trust in another man."  Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta also dismissed Obama's comments on same-sex marriage at a separate religious event on Sunday.   Homosexuality is against the law in those countries.

For years, we have had to be concerned about American officials who have attempted to export abortion and homosexuality by promoting them in other countries.   And, we have lawmakers, including judges that want to import international law in order to render their decisions.   Certainly, there has been a concerning philosophical reversal, as there are those representing America who are interested in influencing foreign nations, but not according to the values to which we have held for hundreds of years.

2 - Abortion restrictions across America: TX legislature reconvenes, Wisconsin approves ultrasound bill, OH budget contains pro-life provisions, NC Senate passes new regulations

While the eyes of many across America were on the state of Texas, a number of states within the past week have moved to enact restrictions on abortion.    In Texas, after a confusing close to the regular session of the Legislature resulted in the passage of a bill that would put an abortion ban into effect after 20 weeks, but the clock had run out due to the delaying tactics of pro-abortion proponents in the Senate chamber.  Governor Perry vowed to call a special session to get the bill passed, and this week, the Legislature returned to Austin and enabled the Governor to make good on that promise. The bill also requires abortion clinics to meet basic health and safety standards.
The contentious atmosphere remained in and around the state capitol, and a disturbing scene ensued on Tuesday, as pro-abortion activists chanted "Hail Satan" as pro-life residents began singing the hymn Amazing Grace outside the state capitol building. reports that blogger Adam Cahm captured the chanting on video, and a number of pro-life residents present posted about the matter on Twitter and Facebook.

“It’s been a very interesting day at the Texas State Capitol,” Cahm wrote. “LetTexasSpeak has been doing a live broadcast from the rotunda where women have been sharing their abortion related testimonies. The pro-abortion crowd has responded with repeated chants of ‘Hail Satan.’”

“Crowd of anti-abortion activists giving speeches while a group of people chant ‘Hail Satan’ in the background,” also Tweeted Josh Rubin of CNN.

The Texas bill is likely to pass, as it is working its way through the Legislature. Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker signed Sonya's Law this week. The new law requires that women seeking abortions in Wisconsin be given the opportunity to see their unborn children through ultrasound. It also provides that abortion doctors have hospital admitting privileges. has this coverage.

In Ohio, Governor John Kasich has signed a budget that contains several pro-life provisions, according to The budget includes 5 provisions endorsed by Ohio Right to Life: 1) Reprioritization of family planning funds away from Planned Parenthood, 2) A heartbeat informed consent requirement, 3) Establishment of new funding for pregnancy centers, 4) A ban on public hospitals from entering into transfer agreements with abortion clinics, and 5) Strengthening of abortion clinic regulation.  The Senate in North Carolina this week, despite the presence of protesters, passed a bill that would require a set of basic standards for abortion clinics, forcing them to meet the same criteria required of ambulatory care centers.

These are just a few states that are enacting common-sense legislation that is designed to protect the lives of unborn children and provide for the safety of women.   Even though it is a long and unlikely road to pass Federal legislation placing restrictions on abortion, states are recognizing the importance of such legislation and stepping up to pass these bills.

1 - Change in leadership in Egypt; Coptic Christians in the mix

It was a remarkable week in Egypt, as the Egyptian military deposed former President Mohammed Morsi and named new leadership in the wake of large protests in the heart of Cairo and the signatures of some 22 million people demanding his removal from office. This occurred 48 hours after the Egyptian military issued an ultimatum to Morsi to broker a new agreement with his political opponents or be removed from power. The military suspended the Constitution and installed an interim government.  New elections are expected later this year.

The Pope of the Coptic Christian Church was apparently an active player in the most recent turn of events in Egypt. According to, he tweeted out on Tuesday:

"It's wonderful to see the Egyptian people—through the idea of Tamarod and its youth—taking back their stolen revolution in a peaceful way."

Tamarod is the name of the grassroots rebel movement that organized the petition.

Pope Tawadros II of Egypt was on hand on Wednesday at a press conference announcing the formation of the new interim government.  A Christian Post report highlights how Egyptian Christians were instrumental in what took place.

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, author of A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot's Fight to Save His Faith and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy said that Coptic Christians and "the other Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox communities, they'll tell you their status was more beleaguered and more fearful than it ever had been."  He said that, "They played a significant role in raising the masses."   He also predicted that Egypt's historic Coptic community and "some of the women's groups" will "play a huge role" in the political movements going forward.

Unfortunately, there are already reports of Coptic Christians being targeted by radical elements aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood. The Christian Post reports that masked men shot and killed a Coptic priest on Saturday, and other attacks on the minority group were reported in Egypt.  On Friday, unidentified gunmen also attacked security personnel at checkpoints in North Sinai, killing five police officers and a soldier, according to Reuters.  Also on Friday, a Coptic Christian was injured and houses and shops belonging to Christians were burned in southern Luxor Governorate.   

The road has not been easy for Christians in Egypt, and their condition apparently worsened during the Morsi regime.  Even though Coptic Christians, at some 9 million strong, have been influential in the movement to remove Morsi from power, in light of these signs of retaliation that are already being seen, they will need strength and protection in a difficult struggle.