Today we note with sadness more brutal deaths tied to religion: 21 Egyptian Christians driven by poverty to work as laborers on the northern coast of Libya.
Captured sometime in the last two months, the young men were beheaded on Sunday.
Innocent electronic wires and chips were forced to display these human atrocities on television and computer screens across the world.
After the removal of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya descended into a quagmire of militia groups battling each other. The band that did this has declared itself part of the Islamic State--never mind that ISIL is 1800 miles away.
The victims were chosen because of their religion. They are Coptic Christians, part of the Orthodox branch of Christianity (Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, etc.). Coptic is an ancient language and actually a cognate with the word Egypt.
Copts are not part of the Roman Catholic Church; they have their own leader, Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria, but these ignorant killers boasted on the video about having done this on the Libyan coast "south of Rome."
Either they don't know that Copts have nothing to do with Rome, or they think a Christian is a Christian: killing one hurts them all.
They're right, of course. Here am I on the coast of North America, mourning the loss of these young men.
So many times we've sung these words, but this week they have a new resonance:
We are one in the Spirit,
We are one in the Lord,
And they'll know we are Christians by our love.
Or perhaps they'll know by our pain.
Thank you to Jack Marti for his moving performance, posted on YouTube.
Thank you also to the one who wrote the Gospel According to John 2,000 years ago:
Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples (John 13:35).
We also need to find love for the brainwashed and desperate young men who proclaimed that we'll know they are ISIL by their beheading.
Who knows what brought them to this state?
Certainly it was not the revelation of Allah through Mohammad.
Every surah of the Qur'an begins with the words, "In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful."
Egypt has already bombed Libya in return. The US and the UN are considering how to respond:
Islamic militants have also been attacking Egyptian military bases, seeking control of the Sinai Peninsula.Here's a tally of some of the murders committed since last August by the Islamic State: