Thursday, March 29, 2007
Ethiopian Orthodox Christians in the News
The current issue of Spiegel (the international edition of Der Spiegel magazine) is devoted to the topic of "The Power of Faith--How Religion Impacts Our World." They include an excellent article on the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, found here. The story is informative, and surprisingly, largely supportive. The writers do attribute Ethiopian poverty at least partly to the Church, however. They contend that the numerous church holidays and fast days prevent the Orthodox Christians from doing more agriculturally.
However, these time-honored traditions and their enforced observance by the church are partly to blame for Ethiopia's plunge into bitter poverty over the past 50 years. How can a country possibly be self-sustaining if its people are prevented from tilling their fields every other day?
If poor and Orthodox Christian Ethiopia were surrounded by prosperous non-Orthodox African nations, then this argument might have some merit. Such is clearly not the case. Only this simplistic and unsubstantiated charge mars an otherwise excellent report.