Jerry Newcombe

In the Bible, on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest was instructed to sacrifice one goat for the forgiveness of sins (for a year). He laid his hands on another goat and confessed the sins of the people, and then banished it to the wilderness.

This second goat we have called the “scapegoat” in English, ever since the phrase was coined by the first major translator of the Bible into English (from the original Hebrew and Greek), William Tyndale (c. 1494-1536). (Wycliffe translated it from Latin.) Much of Tyndale’s work was used in the King James Bible (1611) and thus popularized all over the world.

Christians view Jesus’ death as fulfilling all the ceremonial sacrifices, including that sacrificial goat and the scapegoat---and the Passover lamb and everything else.

Scapegoating means taking punishment, out on an innocent party, for the sins of someone else. Right now Christians are unfairly being made the scapegoat by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, since Morsi was ousted from power last month.

The crazy thing is that the pushback against the government of Mohammad Morsi, the elected president of Egypt until early July, came not just from Christians---but also middle class youth, political liberals, and secular Muslims---all of whom opposed the leader’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and his imposing a strict Islamist regime.

Millions of Egyptians---again, most of them Muslims---protested against Morsi, until the army stepped in on July 3 in a coup. So why are Christians alone being singled out by Morsi’s supporters, who cry, “Victory or Martyrdom”?

With somewhere between 10-15 million (in a country of 85 million), Egypt has the largest Christian population of any Middle Eastern country. For now.

Samuel Tadros, a Research Fellow at the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom, is quoted as saying that last Wednesday (8/14/13) appears to have been the worst single day of violence against Egypt's Coptic Church since the 14th century.

He says the Muslim Brotherhood blames Christians for ousting Morsi, so it can paint the military-backed government as anti-Islamic.

Tadros says the Coptic pope has gone into hiding, and many surviving churches have canceled Sunday services as Christians huddle in their homes, fearing for their lives.

In National Review Online (8/20/13), Rich Lowry writes, “Egypt is in the midst of an anti-Christian pogrom. Supporters of ousted Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi are lashing out at the country’s Copts for the offense of being Christian in Egypt.”

Jerry Newcombe

Dr. Jerry Newcombe is a key archivist of the D. James Kennedy Legacy Library and a Christian TV producer.