Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Stop Already-Rewriting History is called Fiction

It’s getting absurd.

Once again, we have to suffer the annoyance of people with their “proof” that something about the church teachings is deeply flawed and that branch of Judaism now known as Christianity is off the tracks. While I may have some minor doctrinal differences (are condoms O.K. to stop Aids spreading, etc), that is not what I am talking about. There are some actually trying to confuse the facts in attempt to undermine the basic story-this time with the persuasion of a “documentary” to be aired next Sunday alleging Jesus had a kid, a wife and all of them are buried with his mother. To call it a documentary seems, to put it mildly, a misnomer.
The documentary claims that the burial boxes containing the bones of Jesus, his mother Mary, Mary Magdalene and his alleged son were found and still exist. In the words of the “church lady”: ‘Well, Isn’t that special.’
Once again we have to suffer the smarter set who proclaim that their statistics prove it and the rest of the world is just ignorant science deniers who don't get it. Notwithstanding this intellectually hubristic presumption, the chances of Jesus, his mother, his follower and an alleged son all being housed in the same place is about as likely as Anna Nicole Smith, Howard K. Stern, Danny and Grandma being buried in the same space- in the yard of the Supreme Court. The statistical probability of their being a Jesus, son of Joseph, Mary or Marie and Joshua his son all in one place depends on how big the place was. The docu-dramatists would obviously have to explain how big the statistical pool is.
For example, the chances of a Jesus, son of Joseph, Marie or Mary or Mirium and Joshua and Matthew being all together in a place where 10 boxes were is more interesting than when in a place where there are 100,000 boxes. Lets assume they explain that and the statistical pool is small enough to matter. The names Jesus, Joseph, Mary, Mirium, Marie and Joshua and Matthew at the time and place are more common than Smith, Stern, Anna, Mary, Marie, and John.
So they found a box with John Smith on it next to a box with the name Mary on it and someone named Joshua is the son of Jesus. And in Mexico City today there are about forty-thousand Jesus's. That ought to shake the foundations of all of Christendom. Catch me, I'm shaking.
No one pretends to think that this "discovery" (which has been hanging around without much attention for a decade) had anything to do with the Resurrection, because Jesus still could be resurrected and leave his bones behind (while the Resurrection body biblical understanding is a bit different) so Easter is still apparently safe from Archeology. Whew. Further, it’s hard to disprove a resurrection theory when Jesus showed people he himself resurrected people, notably Lazarus and the daughter of Jarius and Elijah even resurrected at least one person from the dead. To challenge the possibility of the Resurrection also would challenge a basic Jewish teaching of a portion of Judaism that believed in the possibility of the Resurrection of the dead (an ongoing debate with the Pharisees and Saducees). So to attack Christianity without attacking Judaism (hard to do when Jesus claimed to be the Jewish Messiah) the challengers have to go after the Assumption.
So this challenges only the “Assumption” –a rather unique event which sounds spooky while -wait-Elijiah also it is written somehow "ascended" into Heaven. Hmmm. Note that the attack on the Assumption attacks Protestant and Catholic teaching because Catholic teaching also maintains that Mary had an Assumption (celebrated every August 15th) and her remains are thus not anywhere on planet earth either.

There were people like Saint Paul at the time who converted from being one of the hardest persecutors of the church who would have laid little rocks (a Jewish custom) or flowers at any burial box site were there one any time he was back in Jerusalem. In fact, pilgrimages from all over the world would have come all the time just to see it over the years and we have no recording of any such event ever. Jesus' popularity grew like wildflowers after his resurrection in spite of the persecutions. People from every corner of the Middle East would have come to see the body if there were one. People would have robbed the boxes and sold them to cathedrals and tried to buy their way into heaven with them.

Jesus was considered, inter alia, a great Rebbi (Rabbi) and there is a belief that visiting the tomb or remains of such holy men confers blessings. This is a tradition carried on by Catholics who make pilgrimmage to the remains and relics of Saints. Peter (the first Pope, a Jew) was considered so holy that merely passing by his shadow could cure disease. The mere touching of the fringe of the garmet of Jesus cured a women who had a chronic incurable hemmhorage. A church was built on Peter's remains and the Tomb of Saint Peter currently is in the base of the Vatican itself which is built around it. Yet, in spite of the Crusades to the Holy Land and centuries of relic devotions, we are to believe that Voila! they just discovered the box with the bones of Jesus in it that no one knew about before the BBC discovered it a decade ago. Right.

There are historic recordings that indicate that Mary and John were smart enough to realize that if a lynch mob just hung her son and best friend respectively from a cross bar tree, it was a wee bit uncomfortably hostile in Jerusalem and they might be more secure if they got out of dodge. It has long been believed that they went to the Fifth largest city in the greater Middle East at the time Ephesus (in current Turkey) where they would have been more anonymous and where there was a growing church community thanks to Paul’s missionary journeys and letters to the Ephesians (one of which is in the New Testament.) John in fact wrote letters some of which are comprised in the New Testament well into his old age. Jesus charged him with taking care of Mary after Jesus' death. Someone had to because she was widowed and lost her only son. There is no writing of him or Mary, Jesus mother visiting Jesus' remains or bones at any time after he resurrected from the Tomb.

Mary Magdalene has been through the ages hailed by the French as one of their patron matron saints (hence the great Church of the Magdalene Cathedral in Paris) and she is rumored to have ventured even further North than Ephesus into Aix-en-Provence and other Southern French towns. It’s unclear whether these rumors pre-dated the efforts by the Popes to remain in Provence during the Schism when 13 Popes lived in Avignon on the Cote du Rhone trying to claim their legitimacy there over Rome. Some stories have her with a companion who was later named a Bishop. Her remains have been alleged to be in various places throughout in France.
The attempt to impose myths that Jesus had a child are to say the least wildly far fetched inasmuch as he didn’t have means to support a wife much less a child and relied, it is written on the benevolence of his followers. Neither was his widowed mother wealthy enough to support another family. He left his carpentry trade to enter full time ministry at the age of around 30 for three years of itinerant preaching, and he never stayed in the same place more than a few days and nights as he traveled the countryside preaching. There are zero accounts of his taking along with him anyone like a son and wife when he went anywhere.

Jesus cast 7 demons out of Mary Magdalene. She was a demoniac. If he was to be taken seriously, it would not make much PR sense for him to wed the former demoniac. Everywhere he went he would be known as the lover or husband of the former demoniac. It’s kind of like Howard Marshall getting ripped for marrying a young former topless dancer- he might lose a wee bit of credibility at the deacon’s meeting. Jesus had enough trouble convincing people what he was about without laying that on people. And how would the former demoniac get along with her mother in law? She would surely want to be buried with her, the Virgin pious Mary Mother of the Lord. Right. The likelihood of that is about the likelihood of Judge Larry ordering Anna Nicole to be buried with her mom Vergie.

Clearly this is all more or less crazy bunk. It makes more sense that if all these names appear together that someone tried to create an impression that they all ended up together there and did not “Ascend” anywhere to discredit the story that was growing like wildfire. In the early days Christians were rather persona non gratis, hiding in catecombs, thrown to lions and set afire to light Nero’s rose gardens like tiki torches. Jews weren’t fond of losing people to this sad martyrdom- for reasons they thought were meritless. What better way to debunk the story than to claim that Jesus had sex with the former demoniac slut, bore a son and everyone including mom Mary stayed in Jerusalem until they died. Right.

The liklihood of those boxes carrying Jesus's bones along with a son, Mary Magdalene and his Mother the Virgin Mary are about as likely as Anna Nicole Smith being canonized and Howard K. Stern dying a monk, after giving away all his money to charity.
My advice; Don't miss Church to watch the docudrama.

Monday, February 19, 2007

PROFILES IN COURAGE -All We Are Saying Is Give Peace A Chance

Put it on your calendar.


There will be a huge eceumenical gathering of Christians of all stripes at the House of Prayer for all People, the National Cathedral in Washington, DC followed by a March to the White House.

People are serious folks. We are not fooling around anymore. Whatever may come of suppressing the Senatorial debate about the most misguided Foreign Policy folly based on pure deception we have ever engaged in, We the People will not be intimidated, threatened or silenced. It is our moral patriotic duty to stop the madness.

Last Sunday an unlikely opponent of the War stood before a Congregation at the Bethesda Presbyterian Church in an affluent Washington suburb where congregants who are employed by the government, contracting companies and Exxon Mobil sat in attendance. She is the Pastor. Her name, one you should not forget, is Reverend Anne Troy. She is a Chinese American, and understands persecution of the Church throughout the World. The silencing and threatening of people who oppose this war is indeed a form of persecution of the church. She insisted that the sort of witness that Christians are called to be in order to honor the mandate to be Peace Makers in this context must be bold. Christians- if you are "lukewarm" I spew you from my mouth - it is written. Boldness in a Christian Peace Witness DEMANDS we stand and be counted and heard.

You may think this not so unusual coming from a pulpit. So let me tell you more about the Reverend Anne Troy. She is also an attorney who is on a part time basis employed by the Federal Government. She is a former JAG attorney, and thus a former ranked military person, who stands to lose by her confession of faith her high security clearance and possibly her job.
She confessed that her, and indeed Christian leadership's past silence and acquiescence to this war is a form of betrayal to the character of Christ, the Prince of Peace.
There was no evidence to start this war, she insisted, speaking as an attorney.

The Administration seems completely blinded to the fact that it is the problem;
that it has engaged in policies that have directly inspired more murderous mayhem and put Americans in more danger around the globe, that its aggression and warmaking has catalyzed
our enemies to bond together against us, and that it incited the Iranians to join forces against us.
No, Mr. Gingrich, it is not the debate that is dangerous, it is the failure to debate responsibly that is dangerously irresponsible.
It is the only responsible thing to understand what is actually happening in our name because our actions are further endangering our security.

Imagine that if in our civil war the entire country of France joined the confederate army while they were being defeated. That would of course inspire the British to join the Union forces and massive bloodshed the likes of which would be characterized a "world" or global war would have followed until half the country was dead- and it would be fair in that case to blame the French for the escalation.
What we are doing in Iraq MUST be questioned because we not only have a moral obligation to see what our money is funding, but because we are being placed in far greater danger by the strategic ineptitude and policy miscalculations of a Foreign Policy so off the reservation that Congress, as co-equal to the Presidency must slam on the breaks before we all careen over the bridge.


Join us on March 16.

Monday, February 05, 2007


By Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.
02-06-07 © Tribune Media Services
Reprinted with permission

They guard U.S. officials. They patrol the Green Zone, the U.S. headquarters in Iraq. They supply the food, the oil, clean the barracks and fix the machines. They aren’t U.S. soldiers; they are private contractors. The Bush administration has privatized war. The second-biggest army in Iraq consists of armed security forces supplied by private contractors.
They act above the law — and with unclear lines of authority. They work abroad, so they are largely beyond the reach of U.S. law. On contract from the U.S. government, they are beyond the reach of Iraqi law, as established in an order issued by the U.S. Authority there before turning power over to the Iraqi government. When the Abu Ghraib prison torture scandals were revealed, private security forces and interrogators were at the center of it. But none was held accountable under law.

It isn’t only the U.S. that privatizes war; the British have followed suit, as well. The British charity, War on Want, reported last year that there are three British private security guards to every British soldier in Iraq.
Congressional investigators are about to unearth massive abuses and corruption in Iraq, but the mercenaries operate across the world. In 1998, for example, DynCorp security agents in Bosnia were implicated in a highly publicized sex-slave scandal. The firm quickly recalled at least 13 agents from the country; none faced criminal prosecution.
The modern-day mercenaries also operate largely free of government scrutiny or oversight. Their contracts and their activities are shrouded in secrecy. Companies, unlike government agencies, are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act and often stonewall congressional inquiry. Members of Congress have sought — thus far without success — to get an explanation of the contracts that Blackwater USA security officers have in Iraq.
Under George Bush, the use of private contractors generally has doubled to about $400 billion a year in 2006, as the administration is driven by a philosophy that would privatize everything it can. Finally, with Democrats reviving congressional oversight, questions are being asked.
Private contractors claim to provide savings and efficiency because of the benefits of competition. In fact, the GAO now suggests, in most areas, the contractors have little competition. Sole-source, no-bid contracts are the rule, not the exception. And the contractors — as we saw in the bribing of Rep. Duke Cunningham and the other scandals of the DeLay Congress – spend millions wining, dining and rewarding the legislators who provide them with their immensely profitable contracts. Instead of saving money, taxpayers are likely getting fleeced.
The Privatization of War
Page 2
The top 20 service contractors, according to The New York Times, have spent nearly $300 million since 2000 on lobbying and have donated some $23 million to political campaigns.
The whole thing gets incestuous. The New York Times reports that in June, the General Services Administration, short of employees to review cases of incompetence and fraud by federal contractors, actually hired a private contractor to do the investigation. And the contractor — CACI International — had itself barely avoided suspension from federal contracting for its role in Abu Ghraib’s crimes. For the GSA, CACI supplied six people — at $104 an hour — over $200,000 per person annually.
These private armies now may themselves become a problem. The Guardian reports on a bizarre plot in Equatorial Guinea, where 67 foreign mercenaries were arrested in what may have been a foiled attempt to overthrow the dictator of that oil-rich nation. And former Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide charged that the private guards who were supposed to be defending him instead abandoned him under orders from the U.S. government when he was overthrown.
If privatization doesn’t produce savings and offers such scope for abuse, why has it continued to grow? Part of the reason is simply the animus for government by modern day conservatives. Part of it is political grandstanding. President Clinton, for example, boasted that he had cut the size of the federal bureaucracy — even as those cuts were feeding a cancerous growth of contracting out vital services. The problem now is that the government lacks the capacity to control its contractors — and has begun contracting out that oversight. The result, too often, is costly waste. But when the government is creating private armies, often beyond the reach of war, the perils are far greater.
The Congress has begun a great debate about our policy in Iraq. But it is vital that they investigate — as Sen. Joe Biden and Rep. Henry Waxman have promised — the privatization of war. This must be brought under control before the Congress finds itself — like the Roman Senate at the end of the Roman Republic — faced with mercenary armies that are out of control.