February 21, 2009

“Thumbs Down” to Humiliating the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Too

“Thumbs Down” to Humiliating the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Too
By Gabriel Mikael
The 2001 Ethiopian Calendar is witnessing a social and religious upheaval in our beloved country. Although religious tension is becoming a global issue since the downfall of Communism, Ethiopia has been saved from the worldwide unrest thanks for the time old tolerance of its cultured citizens. Premier Meles Zenawi’s recent assessment of religious diversity and tolerance in Ethiopia would have been rightly pointed out had this value been not being tested by some. As many Ethiopian cyber guru and local media, both private and government owned, report intensively, religious tension, especially between Christians and Muslims in Ethiopia is reaching its zenith. The Ethiopian government has issued an open statement, the premier has openly talked about, and different writers are dealing with it.
1) The premier talked about “politically motivated priests”, young people “who abuse the historical significance the Ethiopian Orthodox Church has”, and Christian fanatics who look down upon their Muslim country men/women,
2) Anti government forces traveled a long way and humiliate the current Patriarch, blame the Church as the sole aggravator of the Christian-Muslim tension and show a sympathetic face to whatever Islam may have suffered “in the hands of Christians”,
3) Those Diaspora writers, who support the government, color the religious equality they cherish with the coming of the EPRDF government and finally unite themselves with the extremist anti-government forces to humiliate the Orthodox Church.
Unfortunately, there are no voices defending the Church due to many reasons. For some, defending the Church in Ethiopia would be considered to defending “Patriarch Paulos”, who they consider is the face of the government in the Church. For some, defending the Church would offend their fellow Muslim Ethiopians. For some, defending the Church and criticizing the fanatic Islamic movement our country is witnessing will be not respecting the Ethiopian constitution. In the mean time, without no consideration of its rights, the Church is constantly suffering from different angles. We say now, as Christians, this should stop. We ask all sides to respect the Church and put their ideas forward in this regard. We say, “Thumbs down not only to religious extremism, but also to humiliating the Ethiopian Orthodox Church”.
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የአቡነ ጳውሎስ "ሐውልተ ስምዕ"

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