Partisans: Always Righteous, Seldom Right.

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Here we go again. The conservatives are seeing the tide begin to turn regarding public opinion on a couple of the issues that they have been harping on over the last few years. From climate change to jihadists to Leftist bias in the educational system, more and more of the moderate majority are nodding their heads instead of shaking them when Right-of-Center pundits and pols make certain points. They are also shaking more and nodding less to the self-serving ‘narratives’ of the Left.

So, of course the Conservatives(tm) are now required to shift from being somewhat right to being altogether self-righteous. As far as I can tell this is so that everybody in the vast middle who has started nodding will immediately begin ignoring them with great disdain once again. I swear to you, partisan insecurity will be the death of us all; the only question is from which side the final blow will come.

If you want to make a difference as a conservative please, put down the Jesus and step away from the Bible talk. If you express your ideas in terms that even a, shudder, non-Christian can understand more people will give you the chance to finish expressing them. They might even deign to think about those ideas, possibly even agree with them, if you refrain from throwing your righteousness in the eyes of your Lord at them in every paragraph!!!

 

 

“New Perspective of ‘Jihad’ in Christianity and Islam” Just More ‘Narrative’?

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Here is a hard question Virginia; when does ‘selling‘ cross the line into ‘conning‘, when does a ‘pundit‘ or ‘proponent‘ become a propagandist?

 There was an an article in my inbox this morning by Craig Considine on Huffington Post that begs the question; is it a good‘ article, or just another attempt promoting a ‘Big Lie‘?

 I have always believed that to lie, distort, cast aspersions or avoid full disclosure of questionable sources in order to “win” a debate (or followers) is inherently dishonest, and at least partially, invariably damages the strength of any argument that the ‘less-than-honest‘ pundits put forth.

 Any reasonable person can see that when it becomes generally obvious that this kind of dishonest “argument” is acceptable and indispensable to an organization or pundit’s persuasive arsenal the only possible effect on non-committed minds, as well as the ‘opposition‘ is to take away any reason they might have to consider the actual thoughts or ideas lurking behind the libel, hype and spin; the credibility of all of their arguments and positions become suspect.

 This piece by Mr. Considine; is he intentionally doing a whitewash or, does he merely accept inaccurate and, or misleading information he has been fed by those who know better but only want to “win“?

Come Virginia, let’s look at it piece by piece; we shall attempt to differentiate the bog, fog and quicksand from what is truly solid ground.

Politicians and anti-Muslim activists frequently take to audiences and websites to criticize the term “jihad” as a form of Islamic supremacism, oppression, and violence. Muslim extremists, on the other hand, argue that “jihad” refers to a “holy war” against non-Muslims. Viewing the term “jihad” though these frameworks alone, however, would be playing into the hands of extremists who forego the other elements encompassed by the term “jihad.”

Take note Virginia of the typical partisan technique: lumping all conceivable “opponents” into one conveniently disposable lump. Note also the author’s bearing of false witness as he conflates everyone against the advance of Islamic Supremacism with a tiny minority against those individuals who are labeled as Muslim!

At the very same time Considine comes off as though he is doing a ‘whitewash‘; it is indisputable that the definition he tells us is promoted for “jihad” by “Muslim extremists” is exactly the same as the declared interpretation of the word accepted and defended by all of the Islamic Schools of Jurisprudence; who set doctrine and dogma for the Ummah; Yes, Virginia, both the Sunni and the Shiite Schools.

Not one thing he says in that paragraph is technically untrue but, when you look at what is unsaid, what is distorted or maligned, and the paragraph becomes more an example of artful lying than of an honest attempt at communication.

But, Wait! There’s MORE!” said the used car salesman…

In Islam, “jihad” has several different components, which include personal struggles, such as the struggle against an addiction; social struggles, such as the struggle to become tolerant of others; and occasionally a military struggle, if and when necessary in self-defense. When asked, “What is the major jihad?” Muhammad replied: “The jihad of the self (struggle against the personal self).” Contrary to the rhetoric and misinformation about “jihad” in anti-Islam networks, Muhammad did not say that the violent struggle was the most important form of “jihad.

Contrary to its being one of the most quoted “hadith” by Islamist apologists I can’t find it in any orthodox collection of ahadith! The only place it seems to be found is in a book published posthumously but, only in the completely re-edited 2nd edition:

Forty Hadith:

An Exposition on Forty Ahadith Narrated through the Prophet and His Ahl al-Bayt, may peace be upon them

Second Revised Edition
by
Imam Khomeini

Translated by:
Mahliqa Qara’i (late) and Ali Quli Qara’i

Published by:
Ahlul Bayt World Assembly
(ABWA)
Tehran, IRAN

Table of Contents:

Introductory Note

About The Author

Childhood And Early Education

The Years Of Spiritual And Intellectual Formation In Qum, 1923 To 1962

The Years Of Struggle And Exile, 1962-1978

The Islamic Revolution, 1978-79

1979-89: First Decade Of The Islamic Republic, Last Decade Of The Imam’s Life

Introduction

Purpose Of Writing The Book

Hadith 1
First Hadith: Jihad of The Self

Hadith 2
Second Hadith: Ostentation (RIYA’)

Hadith 3
Third Hadith: Self-Conceit (‘Ujb)

Hadith 4
Fourth Hadith: Pride (Kibr)

Hadith 5
Fifth Hadith: Envy (Hasad)

Hadith 6
Sixth Hadith: Love Of The World

Hadith 7
Seventh Hadith: Anger (Ghadhab)

Hadith 8
Eighth Hadith: Prejudice (‘ASABIYYAH)

Hadith 9
Ninth Hadith: Hypocrisy (Nifaq)

Hadith 10
Tenth Hadith: Desire And Hope

Hadith 11
Eleventh Hadith: Man’s God-Seeking Nature

Hadith 12
Twelfth Hadith: Contemplation (Tafakkur)

Hadith 13
Thirteenth Hadith: Trust In God (TAWAKKUL)

Hadith 14
Fourteenth Hadith: Fear of God

Hadith 15
Fifteenth Hadith: The Believer’s Trials And Tribulations

Hadith 16
Sixteenth Hadith: Patience (Sabr)

Hadith 17
Seventeenth Hadith: Repentance (TAWBAH)

Hadith 18
Eighteenth Hadith: Remembrance Of God

Hadith 19
Nineteenth Hadith: Backbiting (Ghibah)

Hadith 20
Twentieth Hadith: Pure Intention (Ikhlas)

Hadith 21
Twenty-First Hadith: Thankfulness (Shukr)

Hadith 22
Twenty-Second Hadith: The Aversion For Death

Hadith 23
Twenty-Third Hadith: The Seekers Of Knowledge

 

Hadith 24

Twenty Fourth Hadith: The Classification Of Sciences

Hadith 25
Twenty-Fifth Hadith: Satanic Insinuation

Hadith 26
Twenty Sixth Hadith: The Pursuit Of Knowledge

Hadith 27
Twenty-Seventh Hadith: Prayer And Concentration

Hadith 28
Twenty-Eighth Hadith: Meeting God

Hadith 29
Twenty-Ninth Hadith: The Prophet’s Counsel To ‘Ali

Hadith 30
Thirtieth Hadith: The Indescribability Of God, The Prophet, And The Imams

Hadith 31
Thirty-First Hadith: The Kinds Of Hearts

Hadith 32
Thirty-Second Hadith: Conviction In Faith

Hadith 33
Thirty-Third Hadith: Wilayah And Works

Hadith 34
Thirty-Fourth Hadith: The Station of The Faithful Before God

Hadith 35
Thirty-Fifth Hadith: God And Man, Good And Evil

Hadith 36
Thirty-Sixth Hadith: The Attributes Of God

Hadith 37
Thirty-Seventh Hadith: The Knowledge Of God

Hadith 38
Thirty-Eighth Hadith: The Meaning Of God’s Creation Of Adam In His Image

Hadith 39
Thirty-Ninth Hadith: Good And Evil

Hadith 40
Fortieth Hadith: Exegesis Of Surat Al-Tawhid And Some Verses Of Surat Al-Hadid

A Hint Concerning The Exegesis Of Surat Al-Tawhid

A Hint Concerning Bismillah

A Brief Hint Concerning The Exegesis Of The Noble Verses Of Surat Al-Hadid Until The Words ‘Alimun Bi Dhatis-Sudur

Conclusion

Prayer And Epilogue

The Table of Contents of the posthumous 2nd edition (Even the 1st Edition was published after the death of the author) has a curious addition that is found nowhere in the TOC of the original, or anywhere else it seems; it is also of note that the names of the translators is the same in each edition though the publisher and city in Iran in which it was published changes:

 Forty Hadith

An Exposition on 40 ahadith narrated through the Prophet and his Ahl al-Bayt
by
Imam Ruhullah al-Musawi al-Khumayni
Translated by:
Mahliqa Qara’i (late) and Ali Quli Qara’i
Published by:
Al-Tawhid
Qum, The Islamic Republic of Iran

Here is the original Table of Contents:

 Part 1

First Hadith: On the Tradition of the Forty Ahadith

Part 2
The Second Hadith: On Riya’

Part 3
Third Hadith: On `Ujb

Part 4
Fourth Hadith: On Kibr

Part 5
Fifth Hadith: On Hasad

Part 6
Sixth Hadith: Love of the World

Part 7
Seventh Hadith: On Anger (Ghadab)

Part 8
Eighth Hadith: On `Asabiyyah

Part 9
Ninth Hadith: On Hypocrisy (Nifaq)

Part 10
Tenth Hadith: On Desire and Hope

Part 11
Eleventh Hadith: Man’s God-seeking Nature

Part 12
Twelfth Hadith: on Contemplation (Tafakkur)

Part 13
Twelfth Hadith (Contd. From the Part 12)

Part 14
Thirteenth Hadith: On Tawakkul

Part 15
Fourteenth Hadith: On the Fear of God

Part 16
Fifteenth Hadith: On the Believer’s Trials and Tribulations

Part 17
Sixteenth Hadith: On Sabr

Part 18
Seventeenth Hadith: On Tawbah

Part 19
Eighteenth Hadith: On Remembrance of God

Part 20
Nineteenth Hadith: On Ghibah

Part 21
Twentieth Hadith: On Ikhlas

Part 22
Twenty First Hadith: On Shukr

Part 23
Twenty Second Hadith: On the Aversion for Death

Part 24
Twenty Third Hadith: Of the Seekers of Knowledge

Part 25
Twenty Fourth Hadith: On the Classification of Sciences

Part 26
Twenty Fifth Hadith: On Waswas

Part 27
Twenty Sixth Hadith: On the Pursuit of Knowledge

Part 28
Twenty Seventh Hadith: Prayer and Concentration

Part 29
Twenty Eighth Hadith: On Liqa’ Allah

Part 30
Twenty Ninth Hadith: The Prophet’s Counsel to ‘Ali

Part 31
Twenty Ninth Hadith: The Prophet’s Counsel to `Ali

(Contd.)

Part 32
Thirtieth Hadith: The Indescribability of God, the Prophet, and the Imams

Part 33
Thirty First Hadith: The Kinds of Hearts

Part 34
Thirty Second Hadith: On Conviction in Faith

Part 35
Thirty Third Hadith Wilayah and Works

Part 36
Thirty Fourth Hadith: The Station of the Faithful Before God

Part 37
Thirty Fifth Hadith: Of God and Man, Good and Evil

Part 38
Thirty Sixth Hadith: On the Attributes of God

Part 39
Thirty Seventh Hadith: On the Knowledge of God

Part 40
Thirty Eighth Hadith: The Meaning of God’s Creation of Adam in His Image

Part 41
Thirty-Ninth Hadith: Of Good and Evil

Part 42
Fortieth Hadith: On Exegesis of Surat al-Tawhid and Some Verses of Surat al-Hadid

THe first hadith in the 2nd edition is not in Bukhari, it is not in Muslim; it is not in any  collection of ahadith that I could find mention of yet appeared in the 2nd edition of a dead man’s book, and is now used constantly to reassure non-Muslims that “holy war” has no part in “mainstream Islam” or was ever a major part of the concept of ‘jihad‘!

Even Google is in on the game…

If you put the Arabic/Persian word جِهَادُ into the Google Translator you will find that in a large number of languages Google simply spits back the transliteration of جِهَادُ for that language… in other words in English, German, Japanese, Latvian, Russian, Spanish and most of the others ‘jihad’ means ‘jihad’!

Ah, Virginia, that is not the end of the tale; it seems that Google missed a few. Here are the ones I found with translation instead of transliteration:

Dutch:

جِهَادُ = heilige oorlog

Heilige = Sanctified (St.)

Oorlog = War

جِهَادُ = (in Dutch) Holy War but, Google is still determined to keep most other peoples in ignorance; if I translate the Dutch phrase ‘heilige oorlog’ directly to English it declares that it means ‘jihad’!

Tamil:

جِهَادُ = இஸ்லாமியர்களின் புனித போர்

இஸ்லாமியர்களின் = of Muslims

புனித = Sanctified (St.)

போர் = war

புனித போர் = Holy War

If you put the whole phrase in then Google says that a translation of the Tamil phrase is… You guessed it…

இஸ்லாமியர்களின் புனித போர் = Jihad

Vietnamese

جِهَادُ = chiến tranh Hồi giáo and that chiến tranh Hồi giáo = jihad (in English)!

Word by word translation shows this however…

chiến = wizard

tranh = competition

Hồi giáo translates as Mohamadenism but Hồi translates as steam and giáo as lance; I may be lacking a Phd. in language but, I get something like “supernatural or divine competition of the ‘explosively expanding and dangerous’ ‘spear-people’”, um… Virginia does that sound like it means ‘Holy War’ to you? Certainly I think that a long and historically peaceful relationship between the two groups, Vietnamese and Muslims,  is contraindicated when the Vietnamese phrase for Islam translates as ‘steam lance’!

Of course here in politically correct Google-Land if you translate the whole Vietnamese phrase into English, well Google again gives the transliteration of the Arabic/Persian word جِهَادُ ‘jihad’ instead of any attempt at translation.

chiến tranh Hồi giáo = jihad

The hype in America and abroad over ”jihad” has brought me to consider the term through a Christian perspective. In this piece I seek to do two things — explore how forms of ”jihad” are present in Christianity and pinpoint different ways of looking at ”jihad” in Christian and Islamic texts. Doing so can help find common characteristics of “jihad” so that Christians and Muslims can build bridges of mutual understanding and tolerance.

The kicker Virginia is that the hadith has been declared unreliable pretty much by all Islamic authorities world-wide!

The entire article is in a similar, “who me, honest?” vein; including the following paragraph containing another hadith confirmed to be not only unreliable, but  fabricated (emphasis added):

In the Quran (58:11), God raises in rank “… those who have been given knowledge.” Muhammad also emphasized knowledge in a hadith, or saying of the Prophet, in which he said that “Seeking knowledge is a must for every Muslim, male or female, from cradle to grave in any part of the world.” Muhammad also stated in another hadith that “the ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyr.” Christians and Muslims, therefore, share a similar “jihad” in terms of their obligation to seek out knowledge and apply that knowledge in good faith for the betterment of humanity.

Sorry Arianna, your “pundit” pranked you; how much did you pay Craig for a politically correct fantasy pretending it is an informative article?

Virginia, it goes to show that it is best to ferret out the original information first, especially when that information is spread by a partisan in support of a partisan position.

Heretics Crusade Reviews ZEALOT: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan

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Anyone not familiar with my writing, religion or my politics should read these articles first to avoid getting the wrong idea ab out how the author feels about Iran, Imams and the Iranian-on-the-street that is the REAL “Iran”.

This is a review of the excerpted introduction from ZEALOT: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan

 I can’t wait to see the second volume, the one about ‘historical Muhammad’, to be followed no doubt by similar volumes on Krishna, Buddha, Lao Tse, the Rev. Moon and Bob Dobbs!

From the introduction I get the feeling that it should have been called the Charge of the Taqiyya Brigade! But, who is Reza practicing it against? Non-Muslims to confuse and convert, or Traditional Muslims to stay alive long enough to make a real difference; I can’t tell.

The only thing that is obvious is that B.S. plays a big part in this book; the introduction shows clearly both ignorance and dishonesty, while claiming pretensions of being objective analysis!

“… Palestine, the [Roman designation for the vast tract of land encompassing modern day Israel/Palestine as well as large parts of Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon].”

Not really. The name was of Egyptian/Judaic extraction [peleshet] and meant ‘rolling’, ‘migratory’ or something close to that; it referred to the, mostly Greek-derived culture that had invaded and conquered the coastal region of what is now Israel and Gaza all the way back in the 12th century BCE! The name was only made official by Rome (explicitly done to attempt to reduce the Jewish peoples’ identification the ‘Nation of Israel’) in 132 CE; also, the name had referred at overlapping times to a number of distinctly separate  places in the Middle East of 2,000 years ago.

The area was known, and had been known for centuries as Judea, Samaria and Galilee! It wasn’t until 3 full human lifetimes had passed after Jesus vanished from the world’s stage when a final Jewish rebellion brought turned Roman patience with Jewish Nationalism into Roman vengeance; the designation “Palestine” was chosen by the Romans in much the same spirit that neighboring Native Americans chose to call a particular North American tribe “the Sioux” – It meant “snakes” in the local dialects, and did not refer to wisdom dispensing kind in Greek lore; they picked the biggest boogiemen from Jewish history; the new dirige Provinciae Romanae was to be called after the Philistine invaders who conquered much of the Jewish lands for a time in centuries past.

Of course the pesky locals, probably already a bit peeved at having some invading peoples’ name imposed on them by leather skirt wearing “sore winners” carrying swords and eagles, and not even having an ‘F’ sound in their language just called it Filistin.

Common-sense tells us that anyone, of any religion or race who is descended from people, of any race or religion other than ‘Roman Citizen’ who is/was ‘from’ “Palestine” is no more, or less a “Palestinian” than any of the others who fit that description!

The earliest labeling of the area as “Palaistinē” (Greek – Παλαιστίνη) in the 5th Century BC by Herodotus hardly fails to conflict with the fact that the same century saw the steady return of the Jews from Persia to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of The Temple!!! Can this be any less “indigenously legitimate” a name than when a Spanish-Catholic invader (somewhat resembling in his cultural mindset the Jihadists under the First Caliph)namedmy birthplace and home after a mythical ‘Utopia’ from a contemporary book written within a culture thousands of miles away.*

Only after WW I was “Palestine” made in any way official; by the British who inherited responsibility for making sure the local infrastructure did not collapse when the Turks followed the defeated Germans West leaving their former subjects and brother Muslims in the mandate regions to sink or swim, Insha’Allah.

The newly named ‘Palestinian Mandate’ included Israel and the entire area that was given by the British as a (useless) gift/bribe to the Arabs for their own; we call it Jordan.

Despite some non-Muslim xenophobes trying to make a mountain out of that mole-hill it is irrelevant if the local Arab-culture Muslims cannot even pronounce the Roman-applied name; after all the Muslims are invaders too!

It certainly does make a difference though that that the word Palestine or Filastin appears 0 times in the Koran but, no fewer than 250 times does the Hebrew/Egyptian peleshet appear in the Jewish Tanakh.

Will the rest of your book be so generous to prides and prejudices of the religion you follow in other matters?

* Personally, I think it is cool be born and grow up where ‘our’ name was never a real place with a history, good or evil, until Californians made it real; we show cultural signs of our good fortune as American Californians in escaping much of the burden of guilt from slavery era, the Civil War or for displacing the natives simply because by the mid 1800’s the Spanish had already managed to more-or-less commit “benevolent” genocide by “saving the Natives’ Souls.” [i.e. forcing the natives into from their villages into “Missions” to be prayed over, worked to death and decimated repeatedly by various plagues as the over-crowding, bad sanitation and malnutrition weakened them and the “good Fathers” eliminated ancient cultures from Argentina to Oregon.]

Only after all that was over and done did you find Americans in large numbers braving the immense and dangerous crossing of the deserts and mountains west of the Mississippi into this magical land.

Americans soon outnumbered the Spanish, elbowing aside the Spanish; who were napping while the Indians and peasants worked only a little faster than they starved.

The Spanish, called “Missionaries”, and “Dons” were well dressed and drowsily stylish yet completely merciless against non-Catholics and peasants. These slave-holder/feudal Lords from Spain might just have been exhausted; it is not easy overseeing more than a hundred years of stagnation, native depopulation while regularly putting down revolts by sullen, despised-by-the-Spanish and always-about-to-rebel locals of mixed-blood called campesinos.

An embarrassing loss here, a cannon-shot there and California, now part of the United State of America could finally ‘get out of 2nd gear’! Of course, we STILL can’t won’t ‘Drive 55’!

 “the first-century Jewish revolutionary party known as the Zealots, who helped launched a bloody war against Rome”

What prompted the name of your book? WHY do you tar the Christian messiah with the filthy brush of a group he rejected in no uncertain terms when offered the chance by Simon to lead 50,000 fanatical warriors in taking Judea back from Rome? I will NOT put my earnings in your pocket to read the rest but, so far it seems no more than the usual taqiyya and dawa-based “narrative”!

You do know that the ministry of Jesus followed to its extreme the interpretations and philosophy of the Pharisee religious faction (expounded on at length in Jesus’ own lifetime by the beloved rabbi Hillel); the most devout stood aside during the defense of Jerusalem because they believed that a divine punishment had been ordained to the Jewish nation that must be accepted for a renewal of their ancient “covenant” with God? And you call Jesus a follower of the philosophy of Zealotes?

“He was a man of profound contradictions, one day preaching a message of racial exclusion (“I was sent solely to the lost sheep of Israel”; Matthew 15:24), the next, of benevolent universalism (“Go and make disciples of all nations”; Matthew 28:19); sometimes calling for unconditional peace (“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God”; Matthew 5:9), sometimes promoting violence and conflict (“If you do not have a sword, go sell your cloak and buy one”; Luke 22:36)”

Good Lord Man! I left Christianity because of its internal contradictions and such but, your interpretations of these passages are out of context, reinterpreted in your favor, seemingly with overt hostility. The only consistent message I ever found through the fog of two thousand years of political expedience by various sects bear no resemblance to your “interpretation”! This “profound contradiction” is hardly realistic; it is not any kind of objective scholarship I recognize!

Let me break it down for you…

1 what mystery regarding the difference between ‘I’ (me, myself, one person, one lifetime, one ministry, one goal) compared to ‘you’ (his followers, disciples, and later generations, broader goals) carrying his mission from a “saved” Judaism to other peoples is confusing you here? Isn’t’ that EXACTLY the way Mohammed is supposed to have done it; didn’t he only spread Islam to Most of Arabia and leave his followers to carry it to other nations? In English this is usually called hypocrisy.

I would say that you are misrepresenting even the “good” half of your pseudo-paradox regarding Jesus and pacifism!

sometimes calling for unconditional peace (“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God”; Matthew 5:9)”

In what language does call for unconditional anything, except Love for God? Jesus never advocated, he even refuted, the idea of unconditional non-violence; what mattered was if God was being followed or defied; the invocation and limits of violence were always tightly defined to avoid trespassing against “God’s Will” if their faith “called” them to do violence when required. He whipped the corrupting and religiously illegal money-changers from the forecourts of The Temple but, he most certainly did not storm in with a gang and start lopping off heads! That behavior is reserved for Friday evenings in certain Middle Eastern and South Asian countries!

As one raised in the faith by believers I saw NONE of what you are talking about even though eventually I left the religion for other reasons; in fact, as far as I saw it, read it, was taught it and saw it practiced, most of Jesus’ advice, his ministry and his teachings were aimed at an individual’s relationship with God; he wanted a city of saved souls, not to save the soul of a city, culture, nation or anything of that sort! In fact, he is recorded as advising those inclined to “get involved and save the world” to spend more time ignoring Earthly distractions and favored people, individuals all, living a Godly Life™. He certainly never promoted or promulgated any new societies, governments or states, nor did he promote the making of new laws to “make people be godly”! Do you even remember his treatment of the woman at the well, of the Roman Centurion wanting a sick servant who was absent healed by faith alone, the old non-Jewish woman he favored in ways he never favored any Jew? BZZZT, try again!

You also get it wrong on the “sword verse”, that is defensive based advise because of supposed fore-knowledge, a prediction of an overwhelming and swiftly approaching conflict, not an incitement to start cutting off people’s heads!!! He was even right in is prediction; within a hundred years Jerusalem had been destroyed by war!

The problem with pinning down the historical Jesus is that, outside of the New Testament, there is almost no trace of the man who would so permanently alter the course of human history. The earliest and most reliable nonbiblical reference to Jesus comes from the first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (d. 100 C.E.). In a brief throwaway passage in the Antiquities, Josephus writes of a fiendish Jewish high priest named Ananus who, after the death of the Roman governor Festus, unlawfully condemned a certain “James, the brother of Jesus, the one they call messiah,” to stoning for transgression of the law. The passage moves on to relate what happened to Ananus after the new governor, Albinus, finally arrived in Jerusalem.

Fleeting and dismissive as this allusion may be (the phrase “the one they call messiah” is clearly meant to express derision), it nevertheless contains enormous significance for those searching for any sign of the historical Jesus.”

So? Mohammed has even less! His name was also a title back, it is certainly possible that Mohammed also might have been mentioned a total of zero times in the Qur’an!! Do I think there was one man that we know as Jesus? I don’t know. Given that I am not Christian it has little importance to me. I am also not Muslim so, being able to put his existence in doubt is no more important! His teachings are the parts that mattered, not what fools made them into decades, centuries, millennia later!

I think it seems more likely than otherwise there was a radical Rabbi named Yeshua but, I am not so blind that I failed to have noticed that all four gospels contradict each other; it seems so far that your book is more an of an undercover defense of Islam than any kind of realistic critique regarding the existence or ministry of a man moderns call Jesus of Nazareth!

Oh, you did know, scholar that you are, that many Jews thought, and think that “the Messiah” already came and freed them… from the Persians… long before Jesus was born. Or that there are from three to five different versions of “The Messiah” and may, or may not, manifest combined in one, or more people? You can call yourself a Christian scholar if you must, I would disagree but, you certainly lack much understanding about Judaism of the time or about Judaic theology before the 1st Century.

Paul may be an excellent source for those interested in the early formation of Christianity, but he is a poor guide for uncovering the historical Jesus.”

Well what do you know! We agree on something!!!! Though I regard Paul more as the heretical Greek hijacker of Christianity than as one of its founders! Of course that doesn’t protect you from the fact that Islam is on even shakier ground; it was a  member of a family hostile to Islam from the beginning, a gentle soul… a family that had constantly sought to do to Islam just what Paul did to Christianity; this is the tree that fruited a Caliph. Then he just happened decide to oversee the destruction of all versions of the Qur’an in conflict with his tribe’s version.

And there is worse! If ‘Muhammad’ is being used in the Qur’an as a title, instead of a name, well  then Mohammed the man was ignored by the main source book of the religion he is supposed to have founded.

I guess you can write about any religion you like but, it would be nice if you refrained from bearing false witness when doing such a thing!

Simply put, the gospels tell us about Jesus the Christ, not Jesus the man.”

How can you write that and claim honest scholarship, even noting that there were a lot more than the “Four Gospels ™” which do show Jesus the man; even the Final Four give us glimpses… Just one example here; the Biblical story about the wedding with the water and wine was likely talking about HIS wedding to the third Mary (Did you forget Mary the Hairdresser?) the Magdalene. In the time of the reign of Tiberius it simply was not possible to be a Jewish Rabbi of any sort without being a married man; marriage was considered a religious duty to anyone with pretense to being devout. It would be similar to an openly gay drag queen trying to start up a preaching circuit at Southern Baptist churches in 1972 Alabama; ‘Minister’ is not one of the names they would call him! Nor could Yeshua have been able to be treated as a Rabbi, even a radical one, if unmarried. Only a segment of the Essenes preached celibacy and even they “married”!

“a zealous revolutionary swept up, as all Jews of the era were, in the religious and political turmoil of first-century Palestine”

That statement is about as bigoted and misleading as if I wrote a book claiming  “many Indian leaders were caught up in the turmoil that swept over New Amsterdam in 1374”, but never mention that there was a long established nation of Native Americans called the Iroquois there until about 200 years after that date!

“The plaque the Romans placed above Jesus’ head as he writhed in pain—“King of the Jews”—was called a titulus and, despite common perception, was not meant to be sarcastic. Every criminal who hung on a cross received a plaque declaring the specific crime for which he was being executed.”

Half right! The Romans were not caught up in the Messiah game; I believe the word gravitas would help define the distinction. In the book King Jesus Graves puts forth a very convincing argument that Jesus possibly WAS the actual “King of the Jews” by right of inheritance at the time of his arrest… one telling point is that the Romans would have called him a pretender or usurper of the title, not just declared him King of the Jews as his “crime”; it would be like a court convicting a forger while calling them a “’mint owner’ instead of making the crime as charged “making false coinage’!

“That image alone should cast doubt upon the gospels’ portrayal of Jesus as a man of unconditional peace almost wholly insulated from the political upheavals of his time. “

Where do you GET these interpretations? He is portrayed as being HOUNDED by zealots on all sides who wanted political power even his own disciples constantly earn his rebuke on this matter!!

“The notion that the leader of a popular messianic movement calling for the imposition of the “Kingdom of God”—a term that would have been understood by Jew and gentile alike as implying revolt against Rome—could have remained uninvolved in the revolutionary fervor that had gripped nearly every Jew in Judea is simply ridiculous.”

This is getting boring! What is ridiculous is that you seem to have missed the fact that his popular support drained away, and the mob turned against him when he FAILED to do what you just claimed he DID, namely attempt to “impose” a political kingdom that would free the Jews from Rome! Rather he told them the struggle was useless, Jerusalem was self-doomed and that HIS kingdom would not be “of this world”… or you can go on mixing up the characteristics of five different Messiahs until you have the mixture that fits your prejudices. You already admitted that only ONE gospel was written by anyone that was even alive, let alone a companion of Jesus, son of Mary, when all of this was supposed to have occurred.

Thus began the long process of transforming Jesus from a revolutionary Jewish nationalist into a peaceful spiritual leader with no interest in any earthly matter. That was a Jesus the Romans could accept, and in fact did accept three centuries later when the Roman emperor Flavius Theodosius (d. 395) made the itinerant Jewish preacher’s movement the official religion of the state, and what we now recognize as orthodox Christianity was born.”

Do you just make it up as you go? Rome was being torn apart by the conflict between a growing Christianity and the established pagan priesthoods; he saw the Christians’ zeal and growth. And he coldly chose the faction he thought would win anyway; the idea was for ROME to win back some stability in a conflict that looked about to tear the Empire to shreds.

It happens. I have dealt as many if not more ‘Evangelistas’ as I call them than you probably have. As for me, I would say that even more often it is the pseudo-devout who do what you seem to be doing; see people not of your own faith (which has an even more fogged origin and a founder virtually invisible for over a hundred years after he  is supposed to have lived. Islam is on at least as shakily grounded as Christianity when even Muslims cannot agree on who is and who is not a ‘real’ Muslim even within the Sunni and Shiite sects; all conflicting faith is “the enemy”, is competition.

You can read a million books and collect a hundred degrees I do not seeing you getting over the bar labeled “scholar and historian” until you can see the humble fallibility that ALL humans are subject to; unfortunately you seem to  have too little honor to refrain from bearing false witness against those who are not “of the body” if there is some thread of hope you might be “winning” converts by damaging your self-declared enemies’ common bonds with deceit, stratagems and bald-faced lies instead of debating in favor of a theology built from honesty and love. No, I am not saying that Christianity is that theology… True theology is mostly about what happens between ONE person and God; ALL organized religions are, at best, social clubs crossed with support groups; at worst they are the Taliban, the Inquisition, “peaceful Buddhist sects” warring against each other unto extinction… Are those the kind of “godly” compatriots, the brand of co-religionist you seek?

“If we expose the claims of the gospels to the heat of historical analysis, we can purge the scriptures of their literary and theological flourishes and forge a far more accurate picture of the Jesus of history. Indeed, if we commit to placing Jesus firmly within the social, religious, and political context of the era in which he lived—an era marked by the slow burn of a revolt against Rome that would forever transform the faith and practice of Judaism—then, in some ways, his biography writes itself.

The Jesus that is uncovered in the process may not be the Jesus we expect; he certainly will not be the Jesus that most modern Christians would recognize. But in the end, he is the only Jesus that we can access by historical means.
Everything else is a matter of faith.”

 And that was only the introduction?

Forget Faith in Jesus or Mohammad – I Believe in Bugs Bunny

hypocrite_fish

One thing seems to be consistent about religions all through human history; faith in the literal truth of the religion’s doctrines and dogmas is strongest in the least educated and least widely experienced, while the “elite” tend to range from religious beliefs with agnostic admissions to full-blown, cynical atheism.  This aspect of societal religion tends to favor the more partisan of each camp; the “masses” are peer-pressured to “show faith” and not think too much, while the “elite” are pressured in the same way to deny ALL aspects of deity and belief and God(s).  For those of us to who seeking understanding of God in a REAL sense, as opposed to a political or emotional/security sense, this is a bit of a hindrance.

To try to avoid the almost inevitable miscommunication that occurs when attempting to discuss God let me define my own terms; belief is not the same as faith; faith is something that causes grief and only causes good by accident; belief is what built civilization as we know it.

Faith is defined in Western culture as belief in something unseen, unproven, un-EVIDENCED other than by conflicting scriptural testimonies; this is a fool’s game at best!

Pseudo-religion has taken over much of the world’s “Faithful” by taking advantage of the tendency of the masses to desire a simple creed with an un-questioned authority to follow – just so that they do not have to ponder things that they do not have the experience or education to ponder with any confidence.

It is not enough, their preachers say, to believe in the bridge over the canyon, you must have and prove absolute faith that it is there…

The next sound you hear is the sound of crunching bones at the bottom of the canyon; and if the snake-oiled social-system-from-perdition that they are selling fails the test in the real world they have an escape clause; it is the fault of the poor soul who failed to “show enough faith”; you know who I mean, they are most likely a victim of the situation for which they are receiving (divine sanctioned) blame!

As you can see Virginia, I have never completely gotten over my desire to seek God, and lead others to know God better! Mea culpa; I still care. But, at some point I recognized that all the “Organized Religions” have long since been co-opted by pirates, parasites and reactionaries – who are their own enemies as well as everyone else’s; never thinking, believing then acting – just fighting the others while stealing as much power over people’s souls as possible.

Oh, let me point out that yes, Atheism is a faith; it takes a lot of ego-based, un-founded faith to KNOW that “our reality contains no form of anything that might be called God, period, debate closed; it is not even possible you know, why even bring it up in ‘intelligent’ company?”

Belief on the other hand is based on facts and experience and even intuition, if that intuition has a good track record; if every time you had something very bad happen in your life, and you had ignored a strong, distinct feeling to avoid the situation, eventually you would “believe” enough to listen; even though for years you might not have the “faith” to gamble on your premonitions being something other than a coincidental case of indigestion!

I have beliefs, I have very little faith; I like it that way.

Faith has to be blind; the blind tend to step on things, including other people’s toes, property, pets and even bridges that are NOT over canyons.

Of course many of the things that can fall under either label are good, or useful!

In a documentary film about the life and death of comedian Andy Kaufman (Man on the Moon) there is a scene where he is waiting to undergo a faith healing in India with full belief, from things he has seen and read and experienced, that he would find healing given by an honest healer. But instead, he sees from where his stretcher is laid that the “healer” is faking the procedure, and his belief dies.

Of course, the proponents of “faith” will tell us that if he had continued to ‘have FAITH ™’, instead of merely believing, the placebo effect would have worked with a holy head-start, and he might have found healing; I do not disagree but, I find that level of blind faith an evil, black magic; one that is less a slippery slope than a swift escalator to horrific abuses ( ones that we have seen over and over again in history when people forget the reality of their fellow man, and treat them solely according to their “faith.” Q.E.D. Virginia, Q.E.D.!

The bottom line is that true lover’s of God are recognized despite their religion, not because of it; mostly everyone stays for their entire life in the religion that they were born into; in some religions it can be fatal to become an Agnostic let alone change your religion; so much for an honest quest for God.

Yet there are good, godly, devout people wherever you find human hearts and human tears.  You can’t avoid that simple, obvious truth; unless you cling to “faith” in the notion that God made a special effort to make sure that you were born in the faith that you “happen” to believe in – all just so you could be “saved“! Of course, anyone not so favored was chosen by the ‘Infinite Power and Mercy of Deity’ to be born in an “un-Godly cult” that destines them to almost certain “damnation”!

If you do believe that this is true, then there is a quote from the Christians’ Bible that I believe is appropriate: “Jesus Wept“!

What is the Verbal Equivalent of a Raised Middle Finger?

 Express Yourself!

On HuffPost today a wonderfully nasty piece seemingly aimed at proving that some academics have no clue when it comes to free speech.

Anti-Muslim Extremist Video Calls for Counter-narrative by Mainstream Americans 

Many Americans would agree that a video portraying a religion’s most revered prophet as a pedophile, sexual deviant, and ruthless criminal shocks the conscience.

Stop right there! According to the Sunnah, and the most reliable hadith, by today’s standard Muhammad WAS a pedophile, sexual deviant and ruthless criminal; One sanctioned by “God” but still, a pedophile, sexual deviant and ruthless criminal. The same can be said of various Biblical ‘heroes’, though not all in the same person typically speaking.

From the start we are offered an emotional rant designed to shame us into ‘being good’; Islamists can declare simple truth in a way that makes a person feel like it s the most heinous pack of lies ever told, yet it remains the simple truth!

That it was created with the express intent to malign a faith followed by over a billion people worldwide only adds insult to injury.

No, my dear, your “peaceful” co-religionists used it as an excuse, months after the facts, to add injuries to an insult! In the West’s book that makes them savage barbarians not worthy of respect out of their slave-hold nations and in the light of civilized standards. Murdering an ambassador is just one step short of assassinating a head of state, and is surely an act of war if done by a state actor!

Thus, the video created by Basseley Nakoula, an ex-felon convicted of fraud, and Steven Klein, founder of Courageous Christians United that promotes anti-Mormon, anti-Catholic and anti-Muslim literature, predictably triggered anti-American protests across the Middle East.

It is only “predictable” in that your “offended” co-religionists are so immature that they cannot understand that when any human life is placed next to “insulting the ‘Prophet’” a moral human will stamp a picture of Mohammed nude into pig shit before they would let that human die; any human, Muslim, non-Muslim, Pagan, gay or straight! Get It?

Media coverage of the protests shortsightedly focuses on formalistic arguments defending unpopular speech. Instead, Americans should do what the First Amendment intended — offer a counter narrative in the market place of ideas that showcases America’s tolerance, pluralism, and rich diversity.

Media coverage of the savage idiocy? The coverage of the evil dogs who pretend religious outrage in order to outrage the lives and bodies of those whom God created?

I say that coverage is right on track. There is only one answer to an extortionate thug – it is a two part answer and the second part goes like this, “…and the Horse You Rode In On!”

Many Americans fail to appreciate that this inflammatory video is not viewed by Muslims abroad in a vacuum. Indeed, it follows on the heels of a Quran-burning by a radical Christian pastor in Florida, urination on Qurans by U.S. troops, opposition to mosque building across the United States, police surveillance of Muslim students and mosque-goers across the East Coast, and offensive campaign rhetoric accusing American Muslims en masse of disloyalty — all of which contradict America’s proclaimed values of religious freedom, equal protection, and respect for diversity.

Most Muslims outside the U.S. fail to appreciate that your ‘inflammations’ are not our problem; your buddies desperate need to learn how to “let the god’s revenge themselves” they are making our problem!

If your pet theory on American values were correct it would have been an evil act to out Nazis in the 1930’s for subversive actions. Case dismissed with prejudice.

Thus, Muslims abroad do not view the American-made hate film as merely an expressive act by a lone actor protected by the First Amendment. Rather it is part of a broader American assault on the Islamic faith wherein Muslims are expected to take it on the chin and smile.

As if the West should care! The only way Islamists, groups or nations, can cause trouble is by using the West’s technology and tactics against us; And as Iraq showed us twice; using the weapons is a far cry from knowing how to fight!

The only reason there is a problem at all is that the West has the mercy not to pave over every Islamist-supporting country as soon as they make it clear which side – humanity or Islam – they have chosen. Face it, you are an instrument of the ‘non-Islam’aphobia’ industry!

Coupled with the dearth of videos, speeches, and public acts by average Americans proclaiming their respect for Islam and their acceptance of Muslims as equal compatriots, Muslims abroad are left questioning whether defense of free speech is pretext for condoning bigotry. For if all you hear and see from America is hateful speech, selective targeting and counterterrorism enforcement against Muslims, and shameless Muslim-bashing by politicians, then calls to protect freedom of speech unsurprisingly fall on deaf ears.

Oh, blow it out your MemriTV! Anyone can go to this site, MemriTV.com and see Middle Eastern TV translated; it is an eye-opener to be sure! The worst of the worst of the worst of Fred Phelps’ hateful drivel would be tame by the standards of many of the commentators, Imams and children speaking for themselves and not as characters in a show. One Saudi boy speaking of how evil the Jews are reminded me frighteningly of that freaky blond kid from the Jesus Camp movie; frightening because this was a mainstream kid-show there!!!

By harping on protecting unpopular speech as a constitutional right, we are missing an opportunity to show the world that despite our bigots and crazies, which exist in every nation and religion, America is in fact a tolerant, pluralistic society that celebrates its diversity. Indeed this is the very reason immigrants continue to flock to our shores.

Then they better cash in their tickets, someone sold them the wrong bill of goods! People do not come here to be left alone to be just the way they were back home; they come to become what they can when the old patterns are no longer forced on them, and other people are willing to let them assimilate; all things that do not exist in the Muslim world by the way.

While some Americans may take offense at having to prove they are not racists or bigots simply because a small number of Americans are, they do not hesitate to demand the same of Muslims every time a handful of Muslims commit a violent or offensive act. When a Muslim terrorist attempts to harm Americans or burns an American flag, should Muslims in America publicly condemn such acts or can they assume that the guilt of one will not be imputed onto the entire religion? If a few thousand Muslims, out of hundreds of millions, in Middle Eastern countries attack U.S. Embassies, must Muslims in America issue press releases condemning these acts of violence and proclaiming their commitment to American values? And if they don’t, will their loyalty to the United States be questioned?

When a co-religionist commits a heinous act in the name of your mutual faith then you should feel a deep up-welling of shame and horror, and absolutely need to show everyone you can that your faith, your truth, is coming from somewhere more holy than that!!! You should not have the breath to spare to worry about what we want you to do or not do about it, you should be feeling your faith demanding proof – instead you shame non-Muslims for crying when humans are bleeding.

If the answer is yes, then it is incumbent upon all of us to question why we are willing to impose on Muslims the obligation to individually prove their innocence from bad acts of other Muslims, whether here or abroad, but yet refuse to impose the same obligation on ourselves when American hate groups and Christian extremists rhetorically and physically attack Muslims.

Personally, I expect every person who claims to be ‘devout’ to walk the walk, talk the talk and to always have the fruit of their faith, whatever it may be, taste sweet to living souls.

Most Americans do not support desecrating holy books, portraying others’ prophets as pedophiles and sadists, and preaching hate. But unless Americans of diverse backgrounds speak up to accurately represent our country; Muslims abroad are exposed only to our vilest citizens.

I am still waiting for someone to tell me just which scenes in that trailer, other than the bit about someone else making up the Qur’an and feeding it to Mohammed, are distortions or inserts into the actual text of the Qur’an, Sunnah and Bukhari and Muslim hadith!

We should not allow bigots like Nakoula and Klein to be America’s spokespersons to the world. The best way to protect free speech is to proffer an accurate counter-narrative into the marketplace of ideas.

Otherwise our silence will be interpreted as condoning hate.

In places without free speech, they won’t get it, and places where they do have it, we don’t have to explain; chill out.

Now Virginia, here is the really scary part; the place where you find out what this crazy woman does for a living:

Sahar Aziz is an associate professor at Texas Wesleyan School of Law where she teaches national security and constitutional litigation. She is a fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. Her scholarship can be found at: http://ssrn.com/author=1459001 S

Jesus, Buddha and Mohammed All Wept

As Religious Expressions Go This One is Bloody Righteous Instead of Righteously Bloody

What a nice change of pace. I am not Christian but, I certainly think this was a wonderful way for someone to express intense religious passion in public if that is what they feel they need to do.

This could have been a Pagan or Buddhist or other group, it is what they chose to express, joy and wonderment, not aggression or intolerance, that made me literally weep at the end with the realization that humanity is redeemable and most certainly worth being redeemed.

The Right too can be Wrong!

Conservative pundits, bloggers and humorists need to be cautious. The current bubble of Leftist gaffes and exposes coupled with President Obama’s delusion that he is a third world dictator makes finding juicy Leftist stories to comment upon like shooting fish in the proverbial barrel. It almost isn’t fair. We have Acorn, and Van Jones, and Aaron Hill, and Obama ignoring Afghanistan so he can waste time being humiliated trying to strong-arm the OIC, and fake nobel prizes and teh Gulf Spill and…whew; the moderates and conservatives are having a field day.

But all good things must come to an end, as this one someday surely shall. Right now though, it is hard to keep a moderate balance to this blog.

The Lefties who have lately dominated the Democrats are being caught with their hands in the political cookie jars left and right, and the Leftish blogs and pundits are looking very hard trying to find things to talk about without becoming…gasp…moderate in tone!!

We all know, of course, that for a partisan, Leftist or Rightist, to find fault with their own leaders is a sign of moral failure and a clear lack of loyalty to the “Right Thinking” side of the zero-sum game they call Life.

It is only the rest of us, those who think about issues instead of reacting to the actions of the opposition, that can look at our own team’s leaders from time to time and say “You are full of shit!” in public.

But, that is neither here nor there. I came here not to talk about general partisanship, but about the blatantly supremacist, if non-violent, mentality of those in America who claim to be patriots but “Just. Don’t Get. It.” on the Right.

As has been noted by several pundits recently, David Horowitz among them, partisans see the world in terms of absolute truth. Whether a person be an Islamist, or Marxist, or Radical Right-Wing Christian Dominionist, they all see theirTruth” as an integral part of reality.

It is something to be obeyed to obtain salvation; morality does not enter the equation until the last step, when the world is saved and all is made right for all time.

When a person of  this mindset sees someone who is not “of the Body” reagarding the agenda of “Truth” they are able to judge that person’s actions fairly accurately against the society’s secular legal and social framework.

But, when asked to judge a “True Believer“, someone who is acting for the same “Truth” that the observer holds dear, suddenly the mind cannot apply simple logic to laws OR customs.

When in the minority these folks known instinctively that the majority has no right to enforce a universal “code of customs” based blatantly on only one sect of one religion (not theirs); and thus Newt Gingrich is back influencing Conservatives, and an unapologetic William Ayers teaches at Harvard.

But, give them the majority and no matter the religion or political ideology the partisan mind sees black as white and white as green. Sins by leaders that would destroy an opposition leaders credibility in their minds is met with ambivalence and excuses. Take just a few examples: Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson, and on the Left we have half of the Hollywood Elite.

These people have managed to amass multiple, cross-confirmed reports of complete moral vacuity by many sources from all sides of the political divide. Yet all have been rehabilitated over and over; to stand beside decent people as leaders with trust and respect. HOW??

Group-think Virginia, Group-Think. The sad thing that happens when the only people you talk to tend to agree with you. You tend to get, slowly, bit by bit, just a little CRAZY! And the people you are talking to get crazy right along with you!

The main warning sign is an inability to address actual ideas when “arguing”. If the only arguments you have are personal attacks and arguments from authority and guilt by association etc. cetera. et. cetera. then you just might have a cranial-rectal inversion and not know it. Like this folks seem to have:

Bible verses banned from Ga. school football field

By DORIE TURNER
Associated Press Writer

FORT OGLETHORPE, Ga. (AP) — The Warriors of Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High took the field on Friday night without any Bible verses written on the cheerleaders’ banner.

Instead, the football team ran through a banner that read “This is Big Red Country” before each bent on a knee to pray on the field of Tommy Cash Stadium.

Well, it starts off good, they have stopped using Bible verses for a public school event, but then they give the Constitution AND Jesus the finger by having a good old “look at us, we are so pious” anti-Christian prayer on the field. This is an issue I really don’t get.

There is bias against Gays (more or less) in Leviticus; respect for life shown by Jesus can get you the anti-abortion stance; now I don’t agree, but they have SOME excuse in the Christian scriptures.

This praying in public thing though is exactly what I see Jesus as having said was a “bad thing.”  To me, this is the tell-tale sign of the not-really-religious-but-love-the-moral-authoritycrowd. They get all up in your face about their rreligion but, the point being the display, not their own relationship with God.

So, we probably can guess the attitude of the locals to the change in the the school using Bible verses…

The spirited display comes after the school district banned the banners last week over concerns they were unconstitutional and could provoke a lawsuit, angering many in the deeply religious north Georgia town of Fort Oglethorpe.

This is the point that the partisan on either side just can’t get. In this case if there is ONE student who is not Christian or even an Agnostic leaning questioner of Christianity that student feels an outsider for no reason that is appropriate for a public school. If you could put each parent in the place of a student NOT of the majority for a week they would understand what our Founding Fathers did when they put the First Amendment in place along with the rest of the Bill of Rights. Yet these folks consider themselves patriotic.

“I’m just kind of unnerved about it,” said 18-year-old Cassandra Cooksey, a recent graduate who often prayed with her fellow marching band members before football games. “It seems like the majority of people in our community want this and they don’t have a problem with it, so I think they should be allowed to have the signs if they want to.”

Here we have the obligatory “But, it is the majority that wants it, and no one has ever been uppity enough to say they don’t like it before” argument.

If this was valid, any town that had one Muslim more than Christians would be able to have a Friday Prayer before the game, right Cassandra?

That is the same mentality as the “Christians” who used the courts to get Christian literature included in a local grammar school’s  “backpack mail” packets, along with the literature for the intended secular activities. But, when an Agnostic group put in a flyer about onew of their events the “Christians” went ballistic, and ended up dismantling the entire backpack mail program; just because they could not limit the religious material to their religion.

The move has galvanized the community. Hundreds of people attended a rally this week supporting the signs, which included messages such as: “Commit to the Lord, whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” Many students attended class Friday wearing shirts with Bible verses and painted their cars with messages that read: “Warriors for Christ.”

Remember what I said about partisans seeing things all as zero-sum games? This is a good example. The “logic” is thus: “I am a dedicated Christian; I must at all times be seen as a dedicated Christian; If I do not attempt to make My Savior triumphant in all things, then I am not a dedicated Christian.

This kind of person does not even get to the point of applying their religion’s ethics or morality to an issue. They just act to make sure they “win” and that God sees them fighting the good fight. “Warriors for Christ“? Any parent who sees something like that on their kids car, no matter the religion, should have a long talk with them about forgetting their religion in their zeal to advance the Church.

During the game, several other messages were visible in the packed stadium. Some people stood with signs that read “You Can’t Silence Us” and some young men had Bible verses painted on their chests.

More misguided “patriots.” The fact that their signs, held by individuals attending the game, were an actual legal form of Free Speech, while the Bible verses banner held by cheerleaders in the past were not seems to have sailed right over their heads.

When you get a whole bunch of teenagers mad, this is what happens. We stand up for what believe in,” 16-year-old Shelby Rouse said over the roar of a pre-game pep rally.

Shelby, are you mad that you are not allowed to have your tribal religious rights as part of a U.S. Public School event? Do you think the Taliban thinks differently than you do. Why? Is it because you only want to dominate in the name of the “Truth“; rules are for those who do not see the “Truth” like you and your teenaged friends do.

Guess what Shelby, cutting off heads, or just giving people a headache, it’s all the same when it comes to totalitarian thought.

Cheerleader Taylor Guinn said she is disappointed about the banning of the signs on the football field and believed there was nothing wrong with displaying them.

It’s done good because it brought a lot of glory to God,” the 17-year-old senior said.

Here we have a completely naive argument; it being included shows up the agenda of the “News” reporter, one Ms. Turner. 

Note again the mindset that assumes the possession of a complete and irrefutable “Truth” that supersedes any allegiance to secular law, or customs, or even simple politeness; in the propagation of “The Faith” any mundane rule may be trespassed.

Taylor, I am sorry your teachers failed you, especially your history and civics teachers. In fact your pastor has failed you as well; Christianity has long rejected the idea that an act is allowed simply because it advances The Faith.

That has been found by all major schools of Christian thought to be a pitfall full of peril and heresy. The “means” is never sanctified by “The Ends“. In fact, the paradigm within Christianity is that a series of acts taken with total commitment to “walking the walk” humbly will be more likely to succeed than any Machiavellian scheme designed to ensure certain victory.

Frankly Taylor, if you like that paradigm better, you might want to look into converting to Islam.

Players at the 900-student school began running through the Biblical banners shortly after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, and school Principal Jerry Ransom said he enthusiastically supported it then. But Catoosa County schools Superintendent Denia Reese banned the practice after a parent complained.

Here is where we see that the school acted in a fashion that puts it completely across the line Constitutionally. Not only did they suddenly start using Bible verses, but they did it in an reaction to 9/11.

I am a Moderate. I am VERY critical of mainstream Islam, as well as the so called radicals. But, in my Moderate view, no acts of idiots justifies sensible folks in being idiots themselves.

To any non-Christians in town the sudden change would have been seen for what it was; a jingoistic declaration of hostility to any who are not seen as “one of us“.

In the U.S. that is not acceptable behaviour for a school district, period, end of discussion.

I they wanted to make a patriotic, as opposed to religious, statement that was not divisive and unconstitutional they could have used quotes from American heroes or the Constitution that conveyed their claimed message of solidarity in the face of adversity.

That would have been inclusive of any who want to be included as Americans (in my book you accept that when you move here), individual religions are by far another story though, and should never be made an integral part of secular social life by government bodies.

Reese said the school board’s attorney advised her the signs violated federal law because they were being displayed by the cheerleaders during a school-sponsored event.

I regret that the cheerleaders cannot display their signs in the football stadium without violating the First Amendment,” Reese said in a statement. “I rely on reading the Bible daily, and I would never deny our students the opportunity to express their religious beliefs.”

Notice that this man does not seem to see the difference between “denying his students the right blah blah” and imposing his own religion on students, and parents et. al.?

Right or Left, the mindset is easily identified once you realize that neither side of the “aisle” is truly sane when allowed by group-think to take things to extremes.

The Anti-Defamation League, a human rights group, sent a letter to Reese commending the ban.

There are legal ways for students to have religious observation in a school context and there are illegal ways, and we believe Reese is correct that the football game crosses a line,” said Bill Nigut, the group’s southeast regional director.

And I “believe” that if I kill someone I can be charged with murder. I “believe” that I have no more chance of winning the lottery than any other ticket holder. The scary part is that TEACHERS needed to told the sky is blue!

Tom Rogeberg, a spokesman of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, said he can understand banning cheerleaders on the field from displaying religious banners. But he said spectators in the stands must be able to continue expressing their beliefs freely as they did in Fort Oglethorpe on Friday.

It’s been long seen at sporting events with banners like John 3:16 being put up by fans,” Rogeberg said.

Just so he doesn’t sound totally stupid he puts in a defense of something no one has attacked, and that is actually legal; assuming any other kind of banners are allowed by spectators, then it is not legal to ban religious ones. Another no brainer pretending to be a profundity.