Terrorists are loved by God, not for what they do, but because they were created for much greater things, the General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK has said.
Bishop Angaelos said in a statement that even people who commit the most evil acts deserve to be loved as human beings. Addressing the terrorists, he said:
You are loved. The violent and deadly crimes you perpetrate are abhorrent and detestable, but YOU are loved.
You are loved by God, your Creator, for He created you in His Image and according to His Likeness, and placed you on this earth for much greater things, according to His plan for all humankind. You are loved by me and millions like me, not because of what you do, but what you are capable of as that wonderful creation of God, Who has created us with a shared humanity. You are loved by me and millions like me because I, and we, believe in transformation.
Christians believe in transformation, he said, adding that even those who had persecuted Christ “went on to live with grace”.
“We believe in transformation because, on a daily basis, we are personally transformed from a life of human weakness and sinfulness to a life of power and righteousness,” he added.
“We believe in transformation because the whole message of the Cross and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is to take humanity from the bonds of sin and death to a liberation in goodness and everlasting life.”
He admitted this is far from the reaction people may expect, but said it was the “Christian message”.
Bishop Angaelos said he grieves for young men who see it as “not only justifiable, but glorious, to take the lives of other young men and women”.
“No family should lose a son in this way, even if they are partially or wholly responsible for his flawed ideology,” the bishop added.
Bishop Angaelos said these attacks come due to a loss of understanding of the sanctity of life.
The bishop concluded: “What is important is not that this message be read but that it be communicated; not that it be accepted but that it be understood as another perspective; and not that it should be fully embraced, but that it may create at least a shadow of a doubt in the minds of those intent on inflicting harm and pain.”