Jamāl As‘ad, a Coptic layman, wonders how Coptic Christians can participate in politics and elections while many Christian religious figures insist on being both spiritual and political leaders, and dictate who Copts should vote for. He questions if the constitution, the law and the Church canon give men of religion the right to interfere in politics.
As‘ad , in a recent interview with Al-Misrī al-Yawm, says that Bishop Bishūy, a member of the Holy Synod and a well-known Christian figure, stated that the Church should not enter a premature political battle. How can the Church have any relationship with politics, wonders As‘ad, pointing out that the Church should play a national, not a political, role. He asks: Does Bishūy and his like aim at turning the Church into a political party, or does he aspire to become a political leader?
“Coordination between the Church and the National Democratic Party is likely, but it is all left to the Pope”, stated Bishūy openly. As‘ad wonders what the relationship is between the Church and elections, questioning what the Church has to do with the nomination of Copts. Doesn’t this violate article five of the Egyptian Constitution, exclaims As‘ad.
According to As‘ad, the problem lies in the fact that Bishūy, and those like him, make statements in the media under the title of their religious position, for they are known for their religious identities. As‘ad argues that this is against the constitution and Church principle, which state “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.”[Editor’s note: This quote desires the separation of the government (Caesar) from religion (God).]