Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays

I have many friends in the Ancient Coin Collecting community and the range of their religious beliefs is impressive, to say the least.  Fortunately, at this time of year most religions see fit to recognize a holiday or "holy day" for one reason or another, not necessarily being the same.  This tradition dates back to the days of the Romans and Mithraism.  Today is as much a secular as a religious celebration.  Regardless of one's personal view and beliefs, I think it is universally recognized as a time of year for holding hands and dedicating ourselves to a better world.  I would like to wish every one of my friends, regardless of religious persuasion, a very peaceful and happy holiday season and a most prosperous New Year.

1/19/2013 FOLLOW UP:

Here's an alternative point of view to my holiday wishes above:

Fox news reports that an Egyptian court has condemned a widowed mother and her seven children to 15 years in prison for converting back to Christianity (her native religion) some eight or so years ago.

"Nadia Mohamed Ali, who was raised a Christian, converted to Islam when she married Mohamed Abdel-Wahhab Mustafa, a Muslim, 23 years ago. He later died, and his widow planned to convert her family back to Christianity in order to obtain an inheritance from her family. She sought the help of others in the registration office to process new identity cards between 2004 and 2006. When the conversion came to light under the new regime, Nadia, her children and even the clerks who processed the identity cards were all sentenced to prison."  Read more:


 The basis for this prosecution stems from the recent shift in Egypt to a national constitution based on Sharia Law.  This prosecution and persecution is something we might expect to read about in a study of the Roman Empire or a treatise on religious fanatacism—certainly not a report on the national policy of a supposedly modern nation.  In response to this blatant assault on human rights, the U.S. State Department should be slamming the door on aid to Egypt.  Unfortunately, the more likely scenario is that they will increase their support of the Egyptian government by endorsing the current Egyptian government's claims that Christian (Coptic) art, and art of Pre-Islamic antiquity, is their national patrimony—even as they advocate destroying it in the name of purification.   If actions of the past are any indication of those to come, the State Department will do everything in its power to increase the flow of U.S. financial support to Egypt, and decrease the flow of cultural property from Egypt to the U.S.  Meanwhile, Americans of all faiths express outrage and life goes on (for some).  Now tell me, who is "Stealing the Past"?

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