Evangelical Church sets conditions for personal status law

The Evangelical Church yesterday stipulated two conditions for accepting the Unified Personal Status Law for non-Muslims currently being prepared by a committee of members from the Ministry of Justice and representatives from the different churches.

Safwat elBayadi, president of the Evangelical Organization, said the Evangelical Church will accept the new law only if it requires different churches recognize each other’s marriage rituals, and if the section on adoption–which Pope Shenouda III of the Coptic Orthodox Church wants removed–is kept intact.

ElBayadi added that both conditions have been submitted to the committee to be taken into consideration.

Meanwhile, Ekram Lamee, head of the media committee of the Evangelical Church, accused Pope Shenouda III of pressuring the Ministry of Justice to exclude him from the committee assigned with the formulation of the law.

“When I arrived, I was surprised to find out I was excluded from the committee without being given any reasons.”

Lamee said that the committee head requested he bring a letter of nomination from the Evangelical church in order to be accepted on the committee, which he refused to do. He added that the Evangelical Church would still adopt the same stance whether he or someone else represented it.

On the issue of adoption, Lamee accused the Pope is applying double standards. “The Pope wants to remove the section on adoption from the new law in order to appease Muslims, even though the Bible permits adoption,” he said. “Why is the Pope ignoring a clear text in the Bible for the sake of Muslims, while insisting on the literal interpretation of another text that disapproves of divorce except where adultery has been committed?”

Lamee urged the Coptic Orthodox Church to recognize marriages conducted by other churches, adding that the Orthodox Church considers any non-Orthodox marriage a form of adultery.

Translated form the Arabic Edition.

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