Although I cast doubt upon the veracity of Ahmed Aboul Gheit claim concerning the president. I see an interesting parallel between the tactics.
In Egypt we have this story via Pajamas Media:
The head of the Coptic Church in Egypt has rejected a court ruling that orders the church to allow divorced Copts to remarry in the church emphasis mine. In a press conference held on Tuesday June 8, Pope Shenouda [III], reading from the statement issued by the Holy Synod’s 91 Bishops, including himself, said: “The Coptic Church respects the law, but does not accept rulings which are against the Bible and against its religious freedom which is guaranteed by the Constitution.”
Mind you divorce has always been legal, this rules order the church to accept divorce in its doctrine. As PJ Media points out concerning the Coptic Pope :
he is not enforcing a totalitarian law that Copts must accept; he is simply saying that, in accordance to the Bible (e.g., Matt 5:32), and except in certain justifiable circumstances (e.g., adultery), Copts cannot remarry in the church: “Let whoever wants to remarry to do it away from us. There are many ways and churches to marry in. Whoever wants to remain within the church has to abide by its laws.”
If this still sounds a tad “non-pluralistic,” know that at least Copts have a way out: quit the church. No such way out for Muslims: Sharia law — Egypt’s “primal source of legislation” — mandates death for Muslims who wish to quit Islam.
The Coptic pope is not taking this laying down:
Pope Shenouda further threatened to defrock any priest who allows a divorced Christian to remarry, except in cases where the divorce was on the grounds of adultery. Those that have remarried after divorce will not be allowed in Church.
On the heels of regular persecution of Coptics in Egypt this ruling seems a thinly veiled attempt to divide the strongest Christian church in the area.
Meanwhile in the US we see divide and conquer in another context
The first point to understand is that Obama knows about the debate Catholics are having over him.
That’s why he usually talks only to Catholics who share his agenda. He has been careful to ensure that the terms of his debate with Catholics have always been on his terms. He sends CHA a video and gives Sr. Keehan a pen because he knows that these individuals chose to follow him instead of the bishops. So he makes a place at his table for them and rewards what he sees as their loyalty.
In April, three bishops of the USCCB ad hoc Health Care Concerns Committee, Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Kevin Vann of Fort Worth and Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, also met with Sr. Keehan to try to make her understand the bishop’s concerns and thus bring CHA back in line with Church teachings, however the meeting concluded with “the same frustrating results.”
The president of the USCCB reiterated the bishop’s fundamental opposition to the health care reform. “The bill which was passed is fundamentally flawed. The Executive Order is meaningless. Sr. Carol is mistaken in thinking that this is pro-life legislation,” Cardinal George emphatically said.
The cardinal also expressed disappointment with CHA “and other co-called Catholic groups” because, “in the end, they have weakened the moral voice of the bishops in the U.S.”
In that regard, Cardinal George highlighted that the USCCB and CHA’s positions on Obama’s health care are not just “two equally valid conclusions inspired in the same Catholic teaching,” and reiterated that what the bishops said on May 21 in their statement “Setting the record Straight” is and will remain the official position of the USCCB on the contentious issue.
The president knows and understands this. It is not possible for a faithful Catholic to support abortion in this manor, thus the attempt to divide the church is what this president and the pseudo catholic organizations. The American Papist again:
I have yet to hear a Catholic who supports the Obama agenda say, “I like Obama’s agenda, but of course I don’t believe what he thinks about or how he acts towards the Church.” It seems that the Catholics who support Obama’s agenda, or the individuals who criticize Catholics for not supporting his agenda, very often couch their support for him in political, not religious terms. But Obama has made religious claims, and overstepped religious boundaries, in pursuit of his political goals. In the ensuing mix-up, there can be no complaint that Catholics who oppose Obama are confusing politics with religion, for when Obama places himself against the authority of the bishops, he has stepped into the Catholic scene.
To provide a couple brief parallel (and purely hypothetical) examples, what if Obama sent a message to a group of orthodox jews who violate kosher laws and praised them for supporting his domestic initiative of promoting American pork consumption?
To put it simply the president understands that a strong and faithful American Catholic Church is going to be a problem for him (as does the media) and his agenda and any attempt to divide or weaken it is in his political interest.