Monday, February 16, 2009

Movie challenges Coptic restrictions on divorce

An upcoming Egyptian movie has caused a stir over it's portrayal of the struggles faced by divorced women to remarry in the Coptic Church, reports the LA Times.

"Christian lawyer Nabil Gobriel has filed a legal complaint and called on the Egyptian prime minister to ban the movie. “Freedom is not absolute, it must have limits, it should not infringe on religious fundamentals,” Gobriel told The Times in a phone interview. "

Obviously, I would argue that the lawyer is out of line for calling for the banning of the movie. I don't think laws regarding divorce are this strict in the Indian church. Is there not a "canonical standard" on this among the Oriental Churches?


street theologian said...

Having not watched the movie, I'd say that even if remarriage is it wrong to portray struggles of divorced women as well? Don't we watch movies about people whose awful decisions lead them to later struggles all the time?

Suraj Iype said...

Well there is no justification for the movie to be banned. The reaction seems to be slightly knee-jerk.

But I think we need to put the response from the Copts in context, they are a community under siege, actively and passively discriminated. Even Mubarak's secular regime does not allow them to build new churches and so on. This siege mentality is perhaps behind the calls to ban the movie and so on. You just have to look at contemporary Coptic theology to get my point, except perhaps for Monk Priest Matta el Meskeen, the current Coptic theological focus is entirely of an apologetical and comparative nature. They are a community trying to defend themselves and their freedoms.

Btw, is not the Orthodox standard the standard laid our pretty clearly in scripture and in the words of our Lord.

Divorce in some cases is accepted by the exercise of economia as a dispensation; for the sake of the salvation of all concerned. But it is still a dispensation an exception rather than the rule.

I think our church really needs to start focusing on why the divorce rate is increasing and try to address the root causes behind it.
The causes lie ofcourse in the socio-economic environment we live in and the individualistic ideology we constantly are bombarded with.

The danger ofcourse is that, if we do not take a stand it is a defacto dilution of the standard, take the case of contraception for ex.
As a recently married person, all the priests and confessors I spoke to , gave me thoroughly Orthodox advice regarding the same. But from the IOC, there is precious little of open teaching on the matter.
In a society where the state basically encourages the use of abortifacent contraception the lack of teaching against such methods then starts to constitute a dilution of the standard.

Suraj Iype