Wednesday, July 1, 2015

An Open Letter to the Coptic Community

I wrote this letter years ago to one of our esteemed Bishops.  I never got a reply.   Seeing the reaction of many in the Coptic Community in response to Friday's legislation on same-sex marriages, I see the importance of sending this same letter to the whole community, or anyone who will listen.  I made a few edits, but everything here still is true, even years later.

Dear fellow Copts,

I am disappointed that a community of people of our wealth, wisdom, and history, one that I respect greatly, have settled for fear-mongering and fact twisting in order to shape public opinion on a very human, sensitive, and controversial topic.    I cannot say I blame you completely because maybe your sources lead you in the wrong direction.
  As a man who has struggled his whole life to find answers to why he was so different, and has found a place of peace in regards to his faith and his relationship to God, I can honestly say that I am completely misrepresented in your content, posts, and conversations and I don't think I would be out of line if I said that I do not just speak for myself.
  I am afraid for the people in your congregations who are gay, who will read posts like these and think "this is how the church sees me, this is how my family will see me."  There are few options if they believe these things:  1) to hide and repress, only to express their God given desires in very unhealthy ways.   2) to cut off completely, becoming vulnerable to true evils, and to very unhealthy behavior.
  How many people have left the church, not because their homosexuality has made them lose interest in faith and in God, on the contrary, it is their church who has lost hope in them.  It is their church who has told them there is no place for them within her walls.   The result of such disconnection is far worse than you can imagine.   Some like me have been lucky to have maintained close ties, especially to faith, while others have felt they needed to walk away completely for safely.   While for others there have been some great casualties, and preventable disease and anguish, if understanding was sought, and love and compassion were given.
   To the average gay or lesbian, it is clear that sexual orientation is not a choice, nor is it something that can be changed, that it is as natural and as it can be.  While it may not be the majority of what humans feel in regards to sexuality, as one myself, I can assure you that I did not choose this, nor has embracing it taken me further from God or from what is true, on the contrary, my life has improved for the better, and I only have God to thank, and I truly feel lucky that I was not one of the many causalities of being both Coptic and gay.
  My friends, I urge you to reach out to gay people and ask them questions about their lives, build relationship and have dialogue, I assure you that what you will find in the process may surprise you.   Gay people are not an agenda, in fact most of us just want one thing: to be safe to find love and companionship in this world, that is all.   We don't want to brainwash people, we don't hate heterosexuals, we don't even want to rape children.   Many of us feel afraid, and many of us suffer both emotional and physical harm, not just in the USA but throughout the world, and it is for this that people are fighting for equality, so that such atrocities cannot occur.  Injustice is something that we are taught to fight against as Christians, so why is the church only adding to this injustice?
Yes, the gay community does have a lot of pain and and carries many scars due to the decades of having to build a culture without role-models or approval, completely in the shadows, and we often have become reactionary to the world around us, but the time of reaction is over, and the time to build and self-accept is now.  The imperfections of the gay community is also a result of being human, there are imperfections in the church, and it is also easy for the gay community to de-personalize Christians and talk about "the church" and withhold compassion because of fear.   Do you not see the parallels?  Instead of dealing with our mistakes with more misunderstanding, why can't we start having compassion for each other?
  I am just a man, son of heterosexual parents, friend to several, brother to many, who is seeking truth for my life, and justice for those who are suffering at the hands of men; those who are suffering not for the sake of truth or justice, but who are needlessly suffering vain.

I also want to say:

Dear LGBT Coptic Brothers and Sisters,

  One man's voice, and often many people's voices are not the truth of how God feels about you and where you belong in this world.   Above all things you are loved and accepted.   Do not allow the imperfect voices to tell you who you are.   This verse is for you:
"Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven" Matthew 5:11-12
My hope is that truth can find you, and love can embrace you.


  1. fuckwits, not only have you attempted to change the doctrines we stand for, you also use the bible for your disgusting uses

  2. Your usage of words is great but if you allow me I wanted to share something. I am a Coptic Christian. And I have heard a lot of sermons about gays. Not once (except for one priest in Egypt in February) did any leaders say anything wrong or rejecting gays. They simply say that it is a sin to act upon it. And it is as we see in the bible sodom and gamorah. No one said you are not accepted. But don't act upon your sin is what they are trying to say. Also I don't know the answer to this and would like your feedback. Has it been medically proven that homosexuality is something your born with? Because to me there is no gene or possible medical evidence to prove that, but I am not sure maybe you could explain that? May the peace of God fill your heart with knowledge and understanding. Thank you
    In Christ Kyrollos

  3. Quit right, gay people, just like anyone else, just want to live a peaceful life, with love, respect and understanding.

  4. I may not be experienced in the area of LGBT rights in America and I do not mean to shake your faith in God or in our beautiful church.
    Growing up in the Coptic Church is a blessing with endless discoveries in our tradition, heritage, culture and most importantly relationship with God. However, the Coptic Church as do other churches I believe abide by the bible, following and living the bible to its utmost potential. The Bible is God's how to book for us weak and sinful humans to leave the path of unrighteousness, the dark road that will end us to spending an eternity away from God, the greatest punishment that was inevitable until Christ sacrificed himself for our sakes and gave us a way out.In that bible are plenty of verses that point out our humanly mistakes,the most deadly of which is Pride. Pride is what made a Seraphim fall to become the Enemy of the World and it is what makes us human beings fall on a daily basis in order to combat any attack at our ego. It also happens profusely when we put ourselves above the church or above the bible, valuing ourselves above all and again i repeat this made a great angel fall.
    Please do not let yourself become a victim to this pride.
    I am not one to judge and in fact I know that the Egyptian Community can be close-minded in many topics but I believe that the LGBT topic will never be open to discussion in any tradition based Church.
    I cannot begin to understand the struggles you have been through and I do not know to what extent LGBT is a choice or is it because of genes ( simply because i am ignorant in this point completely and i apologize if i said anything wrong, i did not mean to)
    but what i do know is that you should go to your father of confession or any priest you may feel comfortable with or may understand you and sit and discuss this with him. It may be scary and it may be infuriating but I believe it is one step closer for you to know the truth
    Considering I am a Copt living in Egypt, my predictions that the Coptic Church would be open to the LGBT community is null, but what I am certain for sure is that they all do love you and they truly wish you well and would love for you to attend church more often and to participate and join them in all prayers, liturgies and services.
    May the Lord be with You

  5. I just entered an earlier comment as Orthodox ( Greek) Christian. I am glad most comments here are civil.
    It is SAD thst because the Church never gets beyond condeming the Person,the important arguement, for heterosexuals too, as always, is HOW WE LIVE,and because the Church has not entered into a serious death on this, it has left it to identity Politics and rest.
    For someone who has worked in psychology my understanding is that beings as beong Straight is something that the Person knows from very early on. I would have thought instead of screaming.g at a non existing threat to civilization, thought might be turned to the moral chaos in heterosexual life currently and the breaking of the family which has nothing to do with being gay.
    The arguement treated out by church is so Simplistic and ignorant and lacking context ( Culture of desert tribe,temple prostitution and roman mores, etc)
    I am saddled that coptic church seems a little obscessed with old Testament Jewish attitude and not with fact, as on so much else. By the Silence of Christ, because He did not give us a fundamentalist blue print but a life lived, as Θεάνθρωπος , as a model for how we might tackle life and its developing issues .


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