October 2, 2014

Saturday Ramblings, April 12, 2014

Happy Saturday, imonkers.  It finally feels a little like spring in the Midwest.  And, good news for Chaplain Mike, as of Friday afternoon the Cubbies are only four games out of first place!

Too soon?

Too soon?

Did you know there is a new documentary promoting geocentrism? Star Trek’s Captain Kathryn Janeway (aka Kate Mulgrew) narrates it, and it features snippets (pulled totally out of context) from previously published interviews with leading physicists.  The director is a holocaust denier and anti-Semite who believes there’s a NASA conspiracy to erase all evidence pointing to a geocentric universe. But we should still trust him, because got his Ph.D. in religious studies from “a private distance-learning institution located in Republic of Vanuatu”.  Sounds legit.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said this week that illegal immigration is not a felony, but “an act of love”.Bush is reportedly considering a run for the White House, and will start meeting with evangelical leaders.  First up: Southern Baptist Russell Moore.  Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee has been doing a lot of “value” speaking in Iowa, home of the first caucus, where , “Guys like to go fishing with other men. They like to go hunting with other men. Women like to go to the restroom with other women.” Ok, then.

1-195x293Utility workers in Israel discovered a 3,300 year old coffin in the Jezreel valley, not too far from Nazareth.  Thecoffin appears to be Canaanite, but it has strong Egyptian influences, including a small golden scarab seal bearing the throne name of King Seti I of Egypt.  And here in Indiana excavators once found an arrowhead…

African Christians will be killed if the Church of England accepts gay marriage: that was the message of the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. He said 330 Christians in Nigeria had been massacred by neighbors who had justified the atrocity by saying: “If we leave a Christian community here we will all be made to become homosexual and so we will kill all the Christians.” Welby added, “I have stood by gravesides in Africa of a group of Christians who had been attacked because of something that had happened in America. We have to listen to that. We have to be aware of the fact.” He also argued that if the Church of England celebrated gay marriages, “the impact of that on Christians far from here, in South Sudan, Pakistan, Nigeria and other places would be absolutely catastrophic. Everything we say here goes round the world.”  This leaves us with a very good question: To what degree should American or British denominations take into account the effect on global Christians when implanting change in policy?

Just to show I'm not making this up

Just to show I’m not making this up

Sometimes they just write themselves: “Bring the fun and excitement of America’s favorite family, the Robertsons from the hit A&E television show Duck Dynasty, into your church and teach your kids the gospel at the same time! Willie’s Redneck Rodeo is a simple and easy-to-use VBS program! Your vbs volunteers will enjoy acting out the antics of Willie, Jase, Jep, Phil, Godwin, Martin, Si and others as they teach kids five of the Bible’s most-beloved parables.”

Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis has put up a couple billboards in NYC about the “real Noah”.  The group’s Facebook page noted, “The new boards are designed not only to counter the anti-biblical Noah film that Paramount Studios released nine days ago but also to draw attention to the Creation Museum’s excellent displays about the reality of Noah’s Flood and Noah’s Ark…”.

The working title for the series is “The Young Pope,” and the director hopes to create “fictional mysteries and scandals within the walls of the Vatican.” This from a story about a new TV series chronicling the travails of a young, American Pope named Lenny Belardo in a scandal plagued Vatican.

Headline of the week: ‘Noah’ screening cancelled after theater floods’Wonder what will happen when they show Left Behind?

Shafqat Emmanuel and his wife Shagufta Kausar had their phone stolen.  That isn’t the bad news.  The bad news is that 1) they live in Pakistan and 2) they are Christians, and 3) someone used their phone to text a “blasphemous” text message.  They were tried in court, where their lawyer pointed out that the couple was, in fact, illiterate, and besides, the text message was in English.  They were convicted anyway.  And sentenced to death. 

BRANDEIS-master495Brandeis University has changed its mind.  Tuesday it said it will not award an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a campaigner for women’s rights and a fierce critic of Islam, who has called the religion “a destructive, nihilistic cult of death.” You will have to read her backstory to get why she feels so passionate about this. 

Chick-fil-A recently overtook Kentucky Fried Chicken as the largest seller of fast food chicken in America, and this despite having only about a third as many stores as KFC.  Now Chick-fil-A is attempting to expand beyond its southern roots, and its CEO has decided to focus on making money instead of making political statements.

th (2)This week’s “Unsealed: Alien Files” on the Science Channel (!!!) says “new evidence may prove the Vatican is hiding actual aliens from the public.” After quoting a Vatican official who mentions the possibility of extra-terrestrial life, we get the following voiceover: “Vatican officials have publicly acknowledged the likelihood of alien life. This dramatic reversal of Vatican policy demands an explanation. What does the Church know, or what have they found that causes them to reverse a 2000-year-old teaching?”  The Vatican has been arguing against ET for 2,000 years?  Who knew? But there’s more: “The Vatican secret archives is approximately 52 miles of shelving we’re told, and over 32,000 archives. But the secrets hidden within the Vatican can’t stay buried forever. Now new evidence may prove the Vatican is hiding actual aliens from the public.” The program also claims that skulls with elongated heads were found in 1998 under the Vatican Library. “Could these skulls be the remnants of aliens who once lived in the Vatican?”  Wait…elongated heads?

Busted

Busted

PETA had hoped to turn serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer’s childhood home into a vegan restaurant. They even had a cute name: Eat for Life: Home Cooking. Alas, party-pooping local authorities in Bath Township, Ohio, have nixed the plan.

My favorite listicle of the week: .  And, yay, it is all on one page!

Before I forget, here is your dog pic:

New Cubs third baseman

New Cubs third baseman

You remember the controversy a couple years ago about a business card sized of papyrus that has Jesus saying “my wife?  Well, it was tested for age, and 3 universities dated it to 400-859 A.D., while another dated it several centuries before Christ.  Seems like a pretty wide range, but at least its promoters can claim it is not a modern forgery.  However, Leo Depuydt, an Egyptologist at Brown University, is not convinced: “The papyrus fragment seems ripe for a Monty Python sketch,” Depuydt writes, noting that the Coptic language used in the papyrus contains “a couple of fatal grammatical blunders” that render it “patently fake.”

thED6O0C1KPassover starts Monday, and soon our Jewish friends will be experiencing Matzo fatigue.  Matzo is about the dullest food one can eat.  And it tends to bind up the digestive tract; It’s not called the “bread of affliction” for nothing. A common Passover joke: What do you call someone who derives pleasure from the bread of affliction? A matzochist.  With that in mind, we can only have one video clip to end this week’s rambling:

Comments

  1. Here is an interesting article on the gospel of Jesus wife by a papyrologist.

    http://bricecjones.weebly.com/1/post/2014/04/the-gospel-of-jesus-wife-an-open-letter-to-historians.html

  2. Elongated heads, indeed? Huns, Alans…..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_cranial_deformation

  3. Ok, call me cynical. I AM cynical.

    It seems to me that no matter what the West does or doesn’t do, Africans and Muslims will always find a “good” reason to kill each other-and anyone else for that matter.

  4. I honestly don’t know which is worse, the mooted “Young American Pope” TV series or the “Aliens in the Vatican” one.

    I was compelled (possibly by those mind-control rays from the Secret Vatican Satellite) to dig into what the heck this show was or where it comes from. Apparently it’s produced by an outfit called Belum Entertainment, which started off with ‘respectable’ content like a kids’ nature programme, and is being shown on the Destination America channel which is owned by the Discovery Communications network (that’s ‘as in The Discovery Channel’).

    At least the UFO show is up-front about being bunkum, though it’s a sad come-down for The Discovery Channel to be distributing tosh like this. It’s the pseudo-science equivalent of those ‘reality TV’ ghost-hunter/paranormal shows, and all I can think of as a reason for its existence (apart from “There’s one born every minute” and “You’ll never go broke under-estimating the taste of the public”) is that somebody was way too into the X-Files back in the 90s and is trying to recreate that FOR REAL.

    The worst bit is that stuff like this becomes part of the cultural background floating around, so that it seeps into people’s consciousness as “everyone knows that – “.

    So now “Everyone knows that the Vatican used to deny the existence of extra-terrestrial life”, only (1) we never had a definite policy on that (2) what do you think angels are and we’ve been preaching about them for 2,000 years (3) and why, exactly, do you think we have an Observatory and Academy of Sciences?

    But at least it has no pretensions to be other than it is. The rumoured pope show, though, is a different kettle of fish. I strongly doubt it’ll ever get made, because other shows (such as the much-heralded The Book of Daniel) crashed and burned.

    The only successful such show I can think of off the top of my head is “The Vicar of Dibley”, and I doubt that’s ‘serious’ or ‘cutting-edge’ enough to attract these kinds of creative types (unless they want to do a “Pope Joan” about The First Woman Pope! Set in The Near Future! type show).

    • There’s a key point to all of this.

      The TV industry is not about producing content. It is purely about selling ads or generating income from shows and re-sells. Now some individuals may be about the content but the money for them to do their work is based on how big of a return there is on this investment.

      Once you accept this then the TV, Movie, and Music industries start to make sense.

      This comment is not a rant at you personally but your comment seemed a good place to hang mine. :)

      • No, it makes perfect sense. That is why some of the best TV in history (Sopranos, The Wire, GoT) is on HBO. They actually have to produce good content.

      • Brianthedad says:

        I heard a guy on NPR say that the listener/watcher of typical media believes he is the customer. Wrong. He is the product. The advertiser is the customer. Once you realize that, all the hubbub around talk radio, news, weather (the breathless weather guy hyping the upcoming storm or global warming report, etc) makes more sense. It’s all about getting more eyeballs or eardrums to the cash register. Once you realize you are the product, you can begin to parse better what you are hearing and seeing, and understand why there is dreck on TV and radio.

        • Dr Neurobrain says:

          If by “hyping the…global warming report” you mean completely ignoring it in spite of a massive scholarly consensus, then I am on board.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      (unless they want to do a “Pope Joan” about The First Woman Pope! Set in The Near Future! type show).

      Well, the Hillary Propaganda Ministry has already done one prime-time series about The First Woman President! Set in the Near Future! Fighting those EVIL Republicans in Congress! Though balllyhooed by all The Right People, it didn’t last long. The best political drama on TV still remains Game of Thrones.

  5. The best yet, Daniel! And I’d like to invite Mike Huckabee the next time three women friends and I climb a mountain in Central Asia — there wasn’t a restroom anywhere . . .

    • Huckabee’s comment was a JOKE, for crying out loud! The article even SAID it was a joke. Granted, it was a generalized,slightly misogynistic one, but it wasn’t said with any seriousness. I’m a man, and I don’t like to go hunting. Unless, of course, it is in the local electronics superstore.

      • Of course it’s a joke. But it illustrates his mindset well: that women are not as valuable as men and aren’t worthy of consideration when making policy.

        • My, my! Were you there when he said it? Are you personally acquainted with the man? Are you privy to his general demeanor? Are you a MIND READER? How can you make that value judgment on someone you haven’t even met (I’m assuming here)? Something analogous would be for me to make a judgment about YOUR character by reading your comments on this site.

          “…that women are not as valuable as men and aren’t worthy of consideration when making policy.” Wesley, please! I don’t care for the man, I wouldn’t vote for him either, but I would not attribute an attitude to him that is unsupported by personal acquaintance.

      • That is was a joke doesn’t mean it wasn’t serious. Sometimes people make jokes about things they wouldn’t dare to make a plain declarative statement about, and these jokes are quite serious.

        • Dana Ames says:

          Indeed. And someone running for public office, especially high office like gov or pres, needs to be more circumspect about what they joke about. Often what “slips out” is actually what someone really believes. Not saying this is so in MH’s case, but he’s said plenty of other things in the past that made me change my mind from “possible” to “no way.”

          Dana

        • And it also does not imply that he WAS serious either! To believe the worst about something that you hear about THIRD HAND is not only unfair, it is, shall we say, sinful?

          • Robert F says:

            “To believe the worst about something that you hear about THIRD HAND is not only unfair, it is, shall we say, sinful?”

            Probably true. Mea culpa.

            But it also applies to conservative Christians who routinely attribute the worst possible motivations to the so-called “liberal media” and social progressives without having any firsthand evidence.

    • Well, and what I was saying was a joke, too, Oscar. I don’t REALLY want Mike Huckabee to come mountain climbing with me.

  6. “Willie’s Redneck Rodeo”?!?

    Why can’t we make a VBS curriculum that would actually get kids to use their brains and engage their imaginations… like, say, learning how to play Dungeons and Dragons? ;-)

  7. Robert F says:

    I believe that the extraterrestrials the Vatican was hiding escaped and formed PETA.

  8. Deb4kids says:

    True story: a couple weeks ago we were having the VBS discussion at our church and one of the participates said

    ” I saw online that there is a Duck Dynasty VBS this year, that would be fun!”….and this is a UMC in a relatively affluent and educated community north of the Ohio River.

    Selective “progressive” Christianity, perhaps? Lord have mercy!

  9. Marriage and Civilization: How Monogamy Made Us Human by William Tucker is an interesting take of why some cultures are constantly in ferment. http://www.amazon.com/Marriage-Civilization-Monogamy-Made-Human/dp/1621572013/ref=sr_sp-atf_title_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1397304530&sr=8-1&keywords=Marriage+and+Civilization%3A+How+Monogamy+Made+Us+Human

    The author postulates that because the practice of polygamy allows the rich and powerful to take multiple wives the remaining unmarried men are left with no option but to rebel and fight to overthrow the established order. It DOES make some sense since one way a society disposes of the excess male population is through war or emigration. That would help explain, or at least give one reason for, Muslim and African nations being so violent.

    Now, why the USA is so violent, now THAT’S another subject…

    • I think we need to be careful of exaggeration here. The US is violent as a political force in the world, and some individuals are more violent than I would like, but I have many good friends who are refugees from Sudan, and they laugh at us. They stories they tell are blood-curdling. According to one of my friends who lives in what we would definitely call the “wrong side of the tracks”, he never believed a country could be so peaceful. So, I think we would do well to keep things in perspective.

      • I threw that out as a sop to the anti-gun activists who believe that if there were no guns then death by violence would disappear. Then some ill child brings steak knives to school and stabs a couple dozen students.

        Liberty has its risks.

        • But if he had brought a gun to school, a couple of dozen students might be dead. Guns have been used in warfare precisely because they are more efficient at killing than knives or swords. If there were fewer guns, violence would not disappear, but death by violence would decrease.

          • Unfortunately, that is literally an impossible “if.” You can only take guns away from law abiding citizens.

          • If the facts supported that conclusion, I would be a strong supporter of civilian disarmament. Unfortunately, real life is quite a bit more complex. For example, Japan has a higher murder-suicide rate than the US while having some of the strictest gun control laws in the world. Israel has mandatory gun carry laws (oddly its own kind of gun control, but the kind that mandates their distribution and public availability) and has the lowest murder-suicide rate in the world. So, I think the real world is bit more complex.

          • Sure, just as it did in Rwanda, right?

          • Robert F says:

            Dr., I don’t know the statistical details, but including suicide in that couplet of violence surely imbalances the comparison, because Japan has an astronomical suicide rate related to entrenched cultural habits surrounding terrible social shaming in connection with losing face. Traditionally, suicide is a culturally acceptable way of saving face in Japan. Do you have statistics comparing murder between the US and Japan? I would be surprised if murder rates in Japan were anything like those in the US.

            In addition, comparing vastly different cultures (and I would argue that Israel is one such, given its history and modern rebirth and geopolitical uniqueness and unique culture) doesn’t really address the fact that the kid who went into the school near Pittsburgh last week would in great probability have killed and injured many more if he had been using guns rather than knives, all other things being equal.

          • Robert F says:

            Yes, indeed, the bit of online research I just did confirms that, apart from suicide, Japan has a very low violent crime rate compared with other industrialized countries.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Cue the Obama Children’s Choir crying and pleading to The One to “take away all the guns and Make Us Safe! Obama’s Gonna Save Us, Obama’s Gonna Change the World…”

          (Note: The Obama Children’s Choir and their “Hymn to The One” are for real; they were a 2008 fanboy-produced viral campaign video on YouTube, from a VERY upscale suburb of Los Angeles. Obama’s campaign staff took one look at the video going viral, facepalmed, head-desked, and did their best to get it taken off YouTube. Especially after someone did a mash-up of the audio with the visuals from an official North Korean documentary about children’s choirs praising Comrade Dear Leader.)

          • “(Note: The Obama Children’s Choir and their ‘Hymn to The One’ are for real; they were a 2008 fanboy-produced viral campaign video on YouTube, from a VERY upscale suburb of Los Angeles…”

            Another example of the irrational superstitious beliefs of the affluent and well-educated.

  10. Regarding the controversy about Ayann Hirsi Ali having an honorific and an invitation to speak withdrawn by Brandeis University because of a protest by CAIR, it has become clear that there are some subjects that are forbidden to be discussed anymore. Charles Krauthammer opines on this very subject in his editorial at http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-thought-police-on-patrol/2014/04/10/2608a8b2-c0df-11e3-b195-dd0c1174052c_story.html ,

    But for ME, the real question is how much Christians are falling for the very same tactic on these subjects. For instance, the same sex marriage issue, at least on THIS site, is no longer open for discussion at the risk of being labeled as “homophobic”or, in Christian terms, “unloving”. Not ALL, mind you, but there are SOME who may be included.

    This tendency touched both sides of the spectrum, not just the right.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Regarding the controversy about Ayann Hirsi Ali having an honorific and an invitation to speak withdrawn by Brandeis University because of a protest by CAIR, it has become clear that there are some subjects that are forbidden to be discussed anymore.

      See how Al’lah silences the Infidel enemies of The Faithful?

    • Final Anonymous says:

      Calling someone “homophobic” or “unloving” doesn’t take away their right to speak about a topic. Surely you saw the labels (“unChristian” “worldly” “destroyers of the family” “perverted” and obviously all those I can’t print here) flung at LGBTs and same-sex marriage supporters all these years (I don’t know about on this site in particular but I can’t imagine it was any different).

      Considering all the nastiness gay Christians have had to wade through, I’m alternately amused and irritated at Christianity’s hurt feelings all of a sudden.

  11. Robert F says:

    I don’t see how this papyrus could provide any evidence for any historical facts about Jesus’ life. The document, even if authentic, does not possess the necessary antiquity, or attestation of being rooted in authentic older sources, to carry anything like the same weight as the New Testament for outlining the biography of Jesus (and even the NT, though conveying some authentic biographical information, is not an historical text but a proclamation).

    The most it could indicate is that several centuries after Jesus mortal life, there were strands of legend that suggested he was married, and these strands may have existed for some undetermined measure of time before the document was written. Well, we already knew there were all kinds of fantastical legendary strands developed about him in the centuries after Jesus’ life, most of them from gnostic sources ( a major difference between the gospel accounts and the gnostic ones is the relative sobriety of the former when compared with the latter, which are indeed fantastical). That’s thin gruel on which to base any authentic details about Jesus’ life.

    But even if there were documents that possessed the necessary antiquity and authenticity to support the idea that Jesus was married, or even that he had children, it would not undermine my faith in him as Lord and Redeemer. Now, if someone produced reliable evidence that Jesus was a real SOB, having his enemies killed and stealing from widows and orphans, I’d have to re-evaluate my faith. But so far, no such evidence has been forthcoming, nor do I anticipate it.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      The most it could indicate is that several centuries after Jesus mortal life, there were strands of legend that suggested he was married, and these strands may have existed for some undetermined measure of time before the document was written.

      Has anyone considered the possibility this might be ancient fanfic? Specifially a shipfic? Or even the Twilight of its day?

      • Funny you mention that. Just the other day I was thinking how fanfic is somewhat analogous to midrash.

      • And we all know that recent discoveries have shown that Abraham Lincoln had a sideline as a Vampire Hunter

  12. David Cornwell says:

    “To what degree should American or British denominations take into account the effect on global Christians when implanting change in policy?”

    This is an important question. It may not be an easy one to answer, because of our narrowness of vision i.e. being British or American. The policies in question are controversial ones and whichever way it goes will leave many dissatisfied. Being that they do not involve questions of creed, then those who want these changes may have to wait longer and make some sacrifices. Every action we take has a ripple effect, sometimes powerful and tidal ones into the fabric of other cultures.

    Being that the actions may be those that perpetrate violence against Christians, then we need to use restraint.

    Anyone with a different take on this?

    • “Being that the actions may be those that perpetrate violence against Christians, then we need to use restraint.”

      Can you say Iraq?

      • Yep. But I also think the church/state thing comes into play here. In the US, the state can pursue secular goals while the church pursues its own agenda (not that it did in Iraq, but it could have, and some did). In Britain, however, the church is married to the state. Modern ethicists can’t think of many good reasons to outlaw homosexuality on secular grounds, which then means that the church has to endorse this behavior eventually. I think there is a layer of political complexity there that is difficult from all angles.

        • A situation like Iraq uncovers the lie that is civil religion in the U.S. Too many Christians find it hard to distinguish loyalties in a circumstance like that.

          • David Cornwell says:

            Amen. At the beginning of the Iraq intervention, I had many arguments with other Christians over this exact issue. This was after I had left the ministry, and worked for a secular company, so I had to watch my step. But there was one other person in this entire office who gave support to these positions, and he was only in our office off and on.

            I had a good relationship with these people, so they gave me a lot of leeway, but I also sensed intense anger in the faces of a few others that a person could call to question the United States intervention on the bases of Christian ethics and practice.

            It is very hard to not cheer when our armored division rolls into Baghdad.

          • David Cornwell says:

            Just the other day I read this passage from Methodist Bishop (retired now) William H. Willimon in “Proclamation and Theology:”

            “Faithful biblical preaching seeks not just agreement from the hearers but rather conversion, a shift of power and a transference of authority, nothing less than death and resurrection. All faithful Christian preaching is in this sense ‘political,’ because it always involves a dispute over just who is in charge of our world and therefore of our lives.”

            God give us more bishops like this one.

        • Dana Ames says:

          N.T. Wright has opined that the church in the US is de facto more married to the state than the church in England is, de jure notwithstanding.

          Dana

          • David Cornwell says:

            If I’m not mistaken, this is a point Stanley Hauerwas raises also.

          • He’s probably right…

          • Robert F says:

            Does he mean that the church(es) in the US have more influence over the state than the Church of England does in England? If so , that seems to be a different issue to me.

          • Dana Ames says:

            Robert, I think he means that the political influence of Christians, particularly Evangelicals, is much greater in the US than the UK, and that’s kind of “where the rubber meets the road” regarding church/state “marriage.” I get the impression that UK politicians for the most part don’t care very much what the CofE thinks. Not so for politicians here…

            Dana

          • Robert F says:

            Dana, when you consider the fact that the vast majority of Britons have no interest in the church, and little interest in anything Christian, I think it’s likely that the CoE has far more influence than it should simply because it is the official state church; conversely, many Americans have a very active interest and participation in the Church(es), and so it’s hardly surprising that they would also have those interests represented in political affairs.

    • David, you ARE correct. Doesn’t the bible enjoin us to take into consideration the sensibilities of those “weaker” than us? Unfortunately, those seeking change are not concerned with the weaker ones, they want their standards NOW, and the cost be damned.

      When the Church tries to walk in lockstep with western society it risks the health and growth of those whose culture find their views repulsive. What this really calls for is a divorce from world wide denominational control (or influence) and let the regional leaders make their OWN standards of interpretation. I say this as a nondenominational Christian, but what do those of older affiliations think?

      • David Cornwell says:

        ” let the regional leaders make their OWN standards of interpretation.”

        But our actions might still cause outrage.

    • I guess my reply was deleted. No explanation.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says:

      I would strongly caution against taking this report too seriously. Coming from an African background, it is true that sometimes, excuses are found for something that was going to happen anyway. Th excuse might as just have been that they believe in equal treatment for men and women therefore the women are going to rule us (and stop going to restrooms and accompany us on the hunt..)

      Iraq was a daft political move, and a very ignorant one. The ordination of gay clergy is a diffedent matter all together. I mean, Bishop Tutu is all for it. The great African bishop himself.

      • “I would strongly caution against taking this report too seriously. Coming from an African background, it is true that sometimes, excuses are found for something that was going to happen anyway.”

        I think this is a great insight. But I don’t think that it applies only to the African situation. Even if the position on gay marriage in all parts of the Anglican Communion was unilateral opposition, this massacre most likely would have occurred, and been explained by the perpetrators as having occurred for other self-justifying, terroristic reasons.

      • I thought it odd to highlight a massacre, but to avoid mentioning the increasingly draconian laws enacted against lgbt people – Nigeria is one of the countries that has passed such legislation, and anit-gay sentiment (especially from “church people”) is very high. It is a sad addition to a record of ongoing human rights abuses in that country, and in stark contrast to the stance taken by folks like +Desmond Tutu.

    • Cedric Klein says:

      OK, I’m going to take an unexpected position here.

      IF homosexuality is morally neutral, and an acceptable behavior for a faithful Christian, then it should be no impediment to marriage, ordination, or any other area of the Church. And if regressive Christians & non-Christians take exception to that, they are wrong & should not get a veto on the rights of gay Christians here. And if non-Christians want to kill Christians over that, well- they want to kill Christians for evangelizing & for upholding the Lordship of Jesus & for calling out their demon-gods for what they are.

      Now, I do not believe LGB sex is acceptable in Christian practice, but I believe in behaving decently towards them, not persecuting or prosecuting them, and I’ve come to believe that a secular democratic republic really has no reason to deny marital rights to them. (I think a secular argument can be made that all else being equal, married heterosexual couples should get priority in adopting children.) And if African Muslims want to get their knickers in a bind & slaughter Christians over it, maybe it’s time to cheer African Christians who start standing up for themselves.

  13. Ok, the “busted” pic had me lolling for real this morning (or is it lingol?)

  14. Huckabee, Bush, and the rest of the Republicans are jokes. Conservative Republicans effectively function to police the right wing and to squash any opposition to open borders, gay marriage, legal abortion, and the “diversity” juggernaut. Christians more than others should be monarchists — we worship the King of This and Every Other Universe — and understand that democracy always devolves into mediocrity and the tyranny of the mob. If you think this is “the view from Ruby Ridge,” go back and re-read “Screwtape Proposes a Toast.” BTW, anyone who thinks Bush is “pro-life” needs to take a close look at his record, or just ask anyone from Florida.

    • “Christians more than others should be monarchists.”

      You’re really talking about theocracy, not monarchy.

      And it’s unfair of you to pull Lewis into your faction, since he most certainly had no desire to impose the values of Christian onto the rest of society, nor did he believe that non-Christians or non-believers should be forced to underwrite Christian beliefs.

      “Screwtape Proposes a Toast” was one of Lewis’ crankier essays, and exhibited his political biases more than most of his other work did, but he would never have wanted England to return to the days when corrupt and fratricidal royalty and aristocracy exercised ruthless and lawless power over their subjects, which history clearly shows is what royalty and aristocracy do.

      • Pardon, not it was not an essay, but fiction. It does have the rhetorical feel of an essay though, an infernal essay that is.

      • David Cornwell says:

        But I think Clark is speaking of us as Christians specifically, that our loyalty is to the King of Kings and His Kingdom.

        He says: ” Christians more than others should be monarchists — we worship the King of This and Every Other Universe”

        I do not think he is referring to our earthly rulers or a theocratic earthly government.

        • Robert F says:

          I understand your point, David, but he also says: ” and understand that democracy always devolves into mediocrity and the tyranny of the mob. ” This seems like a direct reference to this-worldly political matters.

    • Rick Ro. says:

      Just for the sake of fairness, just try being a Democrat and taking the stances of “limited immigration”, pro-life, against gay marriage, not buying into global warming, etc. That party has their police, too.

      • You got that right.

        In that party, you’d better toe the line.

        Same goes for the colleges and universities. Try going against the grain there. They will shut you down in a heartbeat. Often with Brownshirt tactics.

  15. Dana Ames says:

    Yes, the Vatican does have a passel of desiccated, alien-looking bodies – a rather large collection of mummified remains from Egypt. But it’s no secret; they’re displayed in glass cases in a rather large room in the Vatican Museum, through which one must walk when taking the standard tour. I didn’t see any with pointy heads, though. But I did the tour 35 years ago, so maybe they have had more acquisitions since then…

    The most intriguing review of “Noah” I read came from a Rabbi:
    http://www.timesofisrael.com/hollywood-noah-is-kosher-says-celebrity-rabbi/

    See especially the discussion on the purpose of religion and why Abraham rather than Noah is not seen as the father of the Jewish people.

    Husband and I rarely go to movies; not only does it cost, but there are so few with subject matter we really want to contemplate, or simply be entertained by.

    Dana

    • Most areas have one or more “cheap” movie theaters. Tickets are $1 to $2. This is where movies go after the first run surge is over.

      Interestingly these theaters make about the same as the first run places on the movie tickets after royalties and fees are paid. Which proves the point that theaters make their profits on the concession stands. Avoid them and you can have a cheap date. :)

      • Dana Ames says:

        Yes, David, that was the case in our college town. The cheap theater was called the Minor Theatre (!) and still allowed people to sit in the balcony. Unfortunately, we don’t have one where we live now – first run only. Yes, we do avoid the concession stand…

        Dana

  16. Matzo Matzo man!