HOME > NEWSROOM > ARTICLES > Egypt: Lessons for American Freedom

Egypt: Lessons for American Freedom

Burnt Church in EgyptAfter Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated President Mohamed Morsi was recently removed from power in Egypt, Islamic radicals went to work in that country. First came the red graffiti that was splashed on Christian churches, homes and shops. Then came the attacks. Since August 14, at least 47 church buildings and monasteries have been set ablaze or looted, including one Coptic church that had just been built after 13 years of haggling for construction permits. Christian schools, homes, and shops are continuously besieged by Brotherhood supporters who have killed several Christians in recent days as they protest the deposing of their Islamist leader. Up to now the Obama Administration has not condemned the anti-Christian persecution that has swept that country. Congressional response has been muddled: Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) says that aid to Egypt has been halted because of the riots, but the Pentagon says that is not true. But open discussion about the anti-Christian animus in that nation is regularly avoided.

Regardless of the intransigence of leaders in Washington, private citizens are saying "enough is enough." In the West, an online public petition (protectchristians.com/pc) is calling for national leaders, including President Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and British P.M. David Cameron, to demand an end to anti-Christian violence in Egypt.

At the same time, as stark evidence of America's abundance of freedom, Al Jazeera, the Arab media television network based in Qatar, has begun broadcasting this week in the United States after taking over Al Gore's defunct Current channel. The Al Jazeera news operation, long considered to harbor pro-Islamic sympathies, has engendered widely divergent responses here in America. In the Baltimore Sun, Gil Roman has authored articles on the Arab media company that lead with glowing statements like "Why Al Jazeera's purchase of current TV is a good thing for [American] media," and he claims that it will bring "solid journalism" to viewers. On the other end of the spectrum are the detractors. AT&T and Time Warner Cable will omit Al Jazeera from their cable listings, and Israeli news publication Arutz Sheva states this week that the Arab news operation is "widely seen as being biased in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood." The Israeli news source goes on to say that Al Jazeera is a "key agitator in the rebellions that have spread throughout the Arab world in the last two years."

Abundant First Amendment freedoms allow Al Jazeera to prosper within American borders, while at the very same time, on the other side of the world, Arab nations openly persecute Christian minorities. There is a lesson here. Christian communicators in the U.S. have plenty of reasons to fight for religious liberty, free speech, and freedom of the press within our own nation, beginning with the best one of all: to preserve our ability to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But here is one more reason: to role model what true freedom really looks like to the rest of the world. It is a lesson that Egypt desperately needs to learn, and soon.  

By Craig Parshall
Senior Vice President & General Counsel, National Religious Broadcasters
Director, John Milton Project for Free Speech    

Click here to read more articles written by Craig Parshall.

Published: August 22, 2013

Latest News

National Religious Broadcasters Marks 70th Anniversary

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the National Religious Broadcasters, which was established with the focus of defending and expanding access to electronic media platforms for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

FCC Chairman Engages on Future of Broadcasting

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler offered his thoughts this week on what the future of broadcasting could...

Supreme Court Turns Down First Amendment Case

The U.S. Supreme Court this week decided not to take up Elane Photography v. Willock, a case in which a professional photographer...

Nearly Half of House Publicly Oppose Performance Tax

Nearly half of all Members of Congress in the U.S. House of Representatives now publicly support the Local Radio Freedom Act...

NRB Chairman Bill Blount Meets, Greets NAB Leaders

Newly elected NRB Chairman Bill Blount had the opportunity this week to meet and speak briefly with the President and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters as well as its Chairman.

Cornerstone Network Celebrates 35 Years of Broadcasting

Cornerstone Network will mark its 35th anniversary on Tuesday, April 15, and plans to celebrate its history and future with an array of activities, including an on-air celebration, the release of a new book, and the launch of new television programs.

Irreplaceable: Focus on the Family's First-Ever Movie Event on May 6

Irreplaceable, one of the largest initiatives that Focus on the Family has ever undertaken, will be presented one night only in more than 700 select movie theaters around the country.

In Memoriam: Norma Pederson, Wife of Reach Beyond President Wayne Pederson

Norma Pederson, the wife of Reach Beyond President Wayne Pederson, passed away Thursday, April 3, after a yearlong battle with cancer.

Walking with the Enemy: Mark Schmidt Adapts True Decades-Old Story from Nazi-Occupied Hungary

Last week, the Rev. Mark Jenkins, NRB President's Council Member and Minister of Media at Grove Avenue Baptist Church in Richmond, VA, invited several NRB staff to attend a screening of Director Mark Schmidt's Walking with the Enemy, produced by Liberty Studios.

CIN Study Highlighted at Senate Hearing

Following up on a hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, members of the Senate Commerce Committee began their review of the...

More News