First of all the Church is not the first institution that refuses to abide the higher administration court in Egypt but it is the first to be outspoken unlike other official institutions like the parliament for instance.
The Orthodox Church has rejected the remarriages despite the higher administrative court's order causing a huge political and social crisis especially Pope Shnouda III has asked Mubarak to interfere and to stop this court order. This could be the first clash between Mubarak and the Church , it is also another round between the religious state and the civilian state in general.
|Pope Shnouda III|
Second of all this court's rule has nothing to do with the religious tensions that happen from time to time in Egypt as already the other party who is suing the church is a Christian who wants to have a permission to remarry after divorce in Church. Of course I can't wonder if it is a political game in the end , after all our judges are not fully independent as we hope but if it is a political game then Mubarak wants to lose the important Christian vote in the elections.
According to the Orthodox Church there is no divorce except in very rare incidents where it is proven that the husband or the wife has committed a huge sin like adultery or homosexuality , if the divorce happens , the Church does not approve or recognize the sinner's remarriage. This is what I have been told by a conservative Christian friend. To get a divorce in the orthodox Church is the hell on earth , Church does not give its approval on divorce except very rarely. The numbers of Christians who want to get divorce are increasing not decreasing especially with the increase rate of divorce and social problems in the country. It has been estimated that thousands Christians had and still have to change the Church and even their religion on papers in order to get a divorce. This divorce dilemma itself created another problem with more political and sectarian nature : The Christians who converted to Islam just to get a divorce then and return back to the Church.
The man behind that lawsuit and verdict is the ex-husband of actress Hala Sedky who got her divorce through the Khula Islamic law after years of agony. Sedky was the first Christian Orthodox woman to use the Khula Islamic law privileges after changing churches by the approval of the church then returned back to the Church and remarried another man yet her ex-husband could not remarry like her and accused the Church of being biased against him. Now Sedky is a happy mother of beautiful twin from her second husband where as her ex-husband Magdi William has decided to bring the temple down over everybody by creating a big clash between the state and the Church.
This case shows you why the Church actually prefers and wants the 2nd article of the constitution which says that the Islamic Shari'a is the source of legalization in the country as according to
"Islam allows Copts to resort to its Shari'a and in turn, no one should interfere in the Church's own practices and decisions."Pope Shnouda III said so defending the Church's rejection and opposition that reached to the limit of threatening any priest to withhold a second marriage in the Church with expulsion from the church. The Christians in Egypt are anticipating the coming days because if I am not mistaken if Pope Shnouda III doesn't and will not abide the law , he will be acting against the State .. it is late 1970s déjà Vu I am afraid. In several newspapers today we found the Copitc Saint Mark Church in greater Cairo published a full page paid ad saying that they reject the court order and demand a unified personal status laws for the Christian sects. There was also a big protest at the Abbassiya Cathedral of Saint Marcos today.
The Egyptian Orthodox Church is very conservative in its teachings and I respect its beliefs especially concerning marriage as a Muslim , I believe divorce is a bless and curse in the same time but I can't interfere in others' beliefs and faith. It is deadlock as far as I could say.
Photo source : Reuters