Living in the new Egypt

By February 3, 2014
(Photo courtesy SAT-7)

(Photo courtesy SAT-7)

Egypt (MNN) — Egypt’s interim president says the presidential election will take place before the parliamentary poll.

That’s a switch, according to the “road map” laid down by the army in the wake of last summer’s coup. That plan outlined parliamentary elections being held first.

However,  the timing was reconsidered after several political parties said they would not be ready for elections in the spring, and Islamists called for more protests in coming days.

The country has seen months of political turmoil since its first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, was deposed by the military and an interim, military-backed government was installed in his place.

President of SAT-7 USA Dr. Rex Rogers explains that the outcome of the constitutional referendum provided room to dream. “There’s some hope for hope. Let’s put it that way. It’s been three years since the Arab Spring kicked off in Egypt, and of course, the former leadership was deposed and the Islamic government, the Muslim Brotherhood, came in.”

What began with zeal quickly turned to disillusionment once the Muslim Brotherhood came to power. Rogers says, “They were there for a short time, proved to be very ineffective and poor in terms of government, as well as pressing their own theological and religious views, and the popular will rose up and displaced them.”

With the support of the military government, voters in the Arab world’s most populous nation overwhelmingly approved a new constitution, with 98.1% in favor. “Now we see a new constitution that upholds human rights, to some extent. There’s a new openness to democracy.”

However, it doesn’t seem likely that the Muslim Brotherhood will go quietly. Supporters of the now-banned group boycotted the constitution referendum in response to a continuing government crackdown. They also promised retaliation, punctuated with explosions in Cairo soon after the polls closed.

The chaos breeds uncertainty. Uncertainty leads to disillusionment. People are looking for stability, and that has created “an openness to Christians and the Christian Church, like perhaps we have not seen in many decades, if not centuries.” They’re finding some answers in SAT-7, a Christian satellite television ministry to the Middle East and North Africa.

(Photo courtesy SAT-7)

(Photo courtesy SAT-7)

With an office in Cairo, the programming team had a birds’ eye view on the turbulence spilling over Egypt. Rogers says, “What they’re trying to do is stage programs like Bridges and others, panels, and bring on people who represent a whole variety of points of view, and let them speak, address it from a Christian perspective, but not a partisan perspective if at all possible.”

The prospect of securing more legal protection and freedoms for Christians in Egypt is a step forward in nurturing the nation’s shrinking Christian population. The role of SAT-7? “We’re just trying to preach reconciliation and forgiveness and love, respect for human beings and human life. ‘What would Jesus do?’ That’s what we’re trying to learn to do and do it before their eyes.”

(Photo courtesy SAT-7)

(Photo courtesy SAT-7)

Pray that God’s will reigns over Egypt and returns peace and stability to the land. With a land in flux, the SAT-7 team needs to figure out how they’ll talk about issues without becoming the issue. “Pray that God would give them creativity and wisdom in how to express truly biblical Christian perspectives on life and religion, and culture and politics, without becoming partisan.”

Click here to check out more of the SAT-7 family.


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