Archive for May, 2011

Revision of “Holy Word” Through the Centuries

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, freethought, Hebrew scripture, history, politics, random, religion, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2011 by chouck017894

Four hundred years ago, in 1611, King James of England commissioned fifty-four scholars to write a new English translation of the Bible using Medieval Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, and instructed the scholars to paraphrase the original texts and avoid literalism.  The scholars were also instructed to use as their literary model the poetic style of the contemporary William Shakespeare as closely as possible. 

The reason for this project was an attempt to resolve the many disputes about doctrine that prevailed due to all the contradictions that existed in various “holy” editions such as the Great Bible, the Geneva Bible, the Bishops Bible, etc.  The scholars’ completed work was destined to become the most popular version of “scripture” in history.

But controversy and disagreement over what constituted “holy word” could not be so easily resolved.  There remained the dispute as to which old writings should have been considered worthy enough to include as doctrinal in the King’s version.  In layout, the King James version followed the Protestant example and separated the Apocrypha into an appendix.  Thus the inconsistencies would continue with some Bibles containing the Apocrypha in the appendix and others keeping the book as part of the holy word.  Catholic canon, for example, include some books, and some Protestant versions also include at least three books that are also recognized in Eastern Orthodox tradition, but which are not recognized by the Vatican.  Why God does not bother to clarify his word to everyone has never been explained by any of the many Christian divisions. 

The Tyndale influence:   Around 1520, ninety-one years before the King James version of the Bible was published, William  Tyndale, an Oxford scholar, had a burning aspiration.  He wanted to translate the New Testament so, as he said, “every plough-boy might read it.”  Tyndale hoped to gain approval and sponsorship for this project from the bishop of London, Cuthbert Tonsall, but the bishop was much more concerned with political maneuverings.  Tyndale was strongly influenced by the troublesome Martin Luther, and the ecclesiastical authorities had made note of that fact.  Tyndale thus became aware that his ambition to translate the New Testament in plough-boy English was putting him in danger.  Fortunately, a wealthy cloth merchant believed such a translation was admirable and provided Tyndale with the means to travel to Germany.  There Tyndale visited with Martin Luther, and enrolled at the Wittenberg University.  The printing of his translation was begun at Cologne in 1525, but it was stopped by an injunction obtained by Johann Dobeneck, a former dean at St. Mary’s Church in Frankfurt.

Tyndale then carried his project to Worms where 6000 copies were printed between 1525 and 1535.  Copies were smuggled into England, but Archbishop Worhan and the aforementioned Bishop Tonsall got word of the shipment and had the books seized and burned.  Attempts were also made to seize Tyndale, but he fled to Marburg and the protection of the landgrave of Hesse, a hub of Protestant Reformation.  Later, however, officers of the emperor captured Tyndale at Antwerp in May 1535.  He was imprisoned at Vilvorde, Belgium, and although Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex, attempted to save him, Tyndale was tried for “heresy,” degraded from holy orders, and on October 6th he was strangled in the name of Jesus and his body burned. 

But the intercourse of religion and politics was as tangled and devious in the 16th century as it is today in the USA.  Back in England, Thomas Cranmer, who had been nominated to the vacant archbishopric of Canterbury by King Henry VIII, encouraged the King to approve an English translation of the Bible.  Commissioned to do the work was a man named Miles Coverdale.  In a sense, he vindicated Tyndale, for Coverdale’s “translation” was practically a word-for-word copy of Tyndale’s work.  That “translation” was published in 1535.  Thus William Tyndale’s influence upon English literature endured, chiefly through the use made of his translations used in the later King James version of the Bible, 1611.   Indeed, it has been estimated that over sixty percent of the English version of the New Testament was reclaimed from Tyndale’s work. 

As for Archbishop Cranmer, who had been nominated to that post by King Henry, his policies leaned increasingly toward Reformation.  He forswore allegiance to the pope, had the pope’s name stricken from every prayer-book, pronounced the king as the new head of the English church, and abolished many festivals of the Roman Church.

Much later in 1553, however, Mary Tutor ascended the throne (Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII by his first wife), and began her reign by restoring the authority of the pope and abolishing the religious innovations of her father.  Because papal jurisdiction had been re-established by Mary, Archbishop Cranmer’s attempt to allow the common people to read the Bible for themselves met with charges of heresy.  Thus he was tried as a heretic, publicly degraded of his archbishopric and excommunicated, and then burned to death by the self-appointed representatives of God. 

Earlier examples of revision:   Back even further, c. 392, “saint” Jerome began to render the Bible—Old and New Testaments—into Latin spoken by the people.  This version is known as the Vulgate.  Having assembled the Vulgate from Greek and Hebrew into Latin to be used exclusively by the Catholic Church, any coded meaning in the original verses then became nearly impossible for the common people to discover.

“Saint” Jerome felt so obligated to his task that he set about touching up the original unsatisfactory ending to the book of Mark (written c. 55-60, and re-edited c. 70-80) by appending it with two variations that had circulated among the people from the early second century.  The so-called long version is not much appreciated by the Catholic Church, the reason being that Mary Magdalene is presented as the first person to witness the risen Jesus.  In the earlier book of Mark it was implied that the first witness of the miracle of resurrection was meant to be the head of his church.  Such a situation contradicted the church claim that Peter (Simon/Cephas) was designated by Jesus to establish his church.  So the second short version does not have Mary Magdalene being the first to witness Jesus’ resurrection, and says only in 16:9, “But all the things that had been commanded they related briefly to those around Peter.  Further, after these things, Jesus himself sent out through them from the east to the west the holy incorruptible (Pauline) proclamation of everlasting salvation.”

The two arbitrary conclusions of the book of Mark provided by Jerome have inspired “faith” divergences that would have amazed Jerome.  Probably the most repulsive to him would be the misinterpretation of five words used in verse 18 of the last chapter:  “They shall take up serpents…”  and elevate that idea into a practice of handling venomous snakes as a testament of their faith and devotion. 

 The revisionist merry-go-round of religion and history has been an endless indulgence.  In the 14th century John Wycliffe decided that Jerome’s revision needed revision. This was the timeframe of the English poets Geoffrey Chaucer and William Langland whose writings impressed the commoners as well as the literary crowd with their strong imagery.  An interesting sidelight of Wycliffe’s attempted updating of the Vulgate was that his work was not appreciated by the self-proclaimed “true believers.”  After Wycliffe’s death the indignant doctrinaires exhumed his body and burned it for his imagined breach of Jerome’s holy word.

Unfortunately, revision of holy word remains a runaway merry-go-round, and today we are presented with the Revised Standard Version of holy word, and Paul’s quotes and many more lines have been re-adjusted to support the needs of those who seek temporal power.

There have been many more tamperings with “holy” scripture than these few examples.  It is certain, therefore, that we retain little of any true divinity that might have been in scriptures which have been repeatedly re-designed for prejudicial indulgence.

King James Bible in the 21st Century:   Despite the countless revisions imposed upon “holy word” for around 2000 years, the 400-year old King James edit job still tops the popularity poll.  And now the US Senate, which apparently has no pressing national problems to legislate, is asked to consider a resolution for the national celebration of the 400 years of its influence on the nation.  The resolution falsely avers that the “…teaching of Scriptures have inspired concepts of civil government contained in our founding documents and subsequent laws.”   The alleged purpose for this resolution, according to its sponsors Robert Aderholt (R. Ala.) and Nick Rahal (D. W. Va), is to express “…gratitude for the influence it has bestowed upon the United States.”   That happens to be a religious endorsement, which is totally disallowed by constitutional mandate!   But then that little technicality of our democratic government is never respected by religious zealots.

Faith in Constant Revision

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, freethought, history, politics, random, religion, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on May 22, 2011 by chouck017894

An old adage that is apparently taken to heart by the Mad Tea Party and Radical Religionists in the United States today is “ignorance is bliss.”  After all, the idea is openly alluded to in the New Testament.  No, no, this is not a silly attempt at history revision as so ardently indulged in by those aforementioned political/religious nutcases.

Dear old “saint” Paul made the young cult’s anti-intellectual message clear around 95 CE.  At that time he was attempting to channel the  young Christian cult in a new direction away from its earlier concentration on trying to attract Jewish converts.  Paul’s drive to alter the earlier “gospel” accounts with the idea for broader appeal is evident in several of the later books.  For example, in II Corinthians, written c. 100-105, it is averred that only Paul’s account of Jesus’ life is the true one: the apostles that are said to have actually associated with and interacted with Jesus—some of whom were allegedly still preaching—he called deceivers! 

Paul is credited with penning I Corinthians (15:12, on resurrection), written c. 94-100, but his doctrine of resurrection was not accepted by the early church.  In I Timothy (1:3), written later, c. 103-105, Paul is pictured as struggling with the so-called heretics of his doctrine.  Also in I Timothy (6:3), Paul’s revision of the earlier cult doctrine is muscled into place with Paul saying that anyone who disagrees with him will go to hell!  But his history altering doctrine was not voted into “official” status by the resulting corporate church (Catholic) until the Councils of Nice in 325 and 382.

The people that Paul’s message sought to reach and shape as adherents were the throngs of common people; more accurately the lesser educated.  If one doubts that his church sought to keep people in ignorance, look more closely at the New Testament for any instruction on how to attain enlightenment.  Indeed, even in pre-Pauline works such as Matthew 10:16—second revision c. 70-75—it openly equates wisdom with evil.  And in Matthew 10:19 and in Mark 13:11 (edited c. 55-60) the instruction is for people not to study a problem but to pray and ask for divine guidance.  On the surface that sounds good.  But the implication seems to be that God did not give man a brain to use so he might assume responsibility for himself. 

Paul retained that early church idea of encouraging minimum brain activity in his housecleaning enthusiasm.  So in I Corinthians 3:15 it is declared that wisdom is foolishness!  And the author’s Roman mindset is exposed in II Corinthians 10:5 where it is stated that every thought must be a slave to god.  And because confession is said to be good for the soul, the author openly admitted in I Corinthians 1:18 and again in 2:16 that Christianity is directed to the ignorant, not to the learned and wise.

Paul allegedly set out on his Christian mission around the year 45.  The message that he is said to have sought to establish was not particularly dissimilar to other Pagan religions of the timeframe.  For example, well-known gods such as Tammuz, Mithras and others were also resurrection savior-gods, so the doctrines he is credited with did not depart radically from the ancient Pagan presentation.  In support of Paul’s doctrine, however, the NT book of Galatians 2:9, written later c. 94-100, Paul is said to mention James and Cephas (the latter better known as Simon/Peter) and John, as having been the three principal leaders of the original church in Jerusalem.  Of these three, only Cephas (Peter) and John were part of the claimed twelve apostles.  Tradition has it that Peter and John were arrested by Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, and according to Acts of the Apostles, written c. 84-90, the judges of the apostles “…saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, (and) they (the judges) wondered; and they (the judges) recognized that they (the apostles) had been with Jesus.”  And yet it is these “uneducated, common men” who are credited with establishing god’s preferred faith system.

Nero became Emperor in 54.  According to Christian lore, around the year 55, by present means of recording time, Paul was responsible for mass burnings of books which he had judged to speak of “strange things.”  In other words, the early authors of the “gospels” were already attempting disposal of older literature available to the public which had to do with other religious/spiritual concepts.  That move required some economic and political clout to implement such an undertaking, and the aristocratic Piso family and some of their literati friends happened to have such influence. 

Christian tradition (no historical support) has it that Paul was arrested in 58.  In that timeframe the cult was not known as Christians; the little sect referred to themselves simply as the brethren.  The first book, Mark, was only then beginning to be widely distributed in 58—which also required economic support for copiers and distribution.  The story timing of Paul’s alleged arrest thus just happens to coincide with the noticeable shift in Nero’s character in this same timeframe.  Six years later, in 64, much of Rome went down in flames, and in 65 many aristocrats and distinguished persons organized against Nero, which is known as the Pisonian Conspiracy, named after the principal leader Gaius Calpurnius Piso.  The plot was uncovered by Nero, and among the prominent Romans other than Piso who died as a result were the famed statesman, dramatist and former tutor of Nero named Seneca, and Seneca’s nephew Lucan, who was a popular epic poet.

A note of interest:  Somewhat later in the year 84, Pliny the Younger, noted for his epistle-style writing skills, became a member of the Piso family by marriage to Gauis Calpurnius Piso’s great-granddaughter, known as Calpurnia.  And it was through the following timeframe that Acts of the Apostles, I Corinthians, Galatians, and Ephesians were penned.

In the year 98, Marcus Ulpius Trajanus, more commonly known as Trajan, became sole ruler of the Roman Empire upon the death of Nerva.  Trajan (d. 117) happened to be married to Claudia Phoebe Pompeia Plotina Piso of the aristocratic Calpurnius Piso clan, which had long held considerable interest in the Christian movement.  And it was in this era (up to 140) that so many of the New Testament books freely poured out upon the Roman world.  Among them: I Corinthians; Galatians; Ephesians; Book of  Romans; II Corinthians; I Timothy; Titus; Book of John; Colossians; II Timothy; Philemon; I and II Peter; I, II, II John; Jude: Revelations; and Hebrews.

By 115 the Christian movement was exerting a magnetic effect upon the targeted lower classes, slaves and criminals.  And in this timeframe literary friends began to insert little innocent references into their writings which implied a righteous historic background for the cult.  So even then history was being revised slightly for effect—a tactic dutifully practiced to this day by the political minded religionists in the United States.  Among those willing to aid and abet such spiritual inspiration was the Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus—a pseudonym for Cornelius Palma, a friend of Pliny the Younger and the Pisos.  There was also Suetonius Tranquillus, Roman  biographer and historian who also happened to be a close friend of Pliny the younger.

With a background such as this, there is a long-established precedence which the revisionists dutifully emulate in the US today.  And the religious extremists’ scheming political drive brings with it a depressing awareness to the fact that the symbol of their fanaticism happens to have once been a Roman implement of torture.

US Supreme Court and Religious Tampering

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, belief, Christianity, culture, faith, freethought, Government, life, politics, random, religion, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on May 12, 2011 by chouck017894

Once again the five Catholics dominating the US Supreme Court, which have almost always moved as a bloc, opted against the principles of a democratic society set down by the nation’s forefathers.  In the usual five to four ruling on a recent case (their use of a democratic principle to vote against democratic principles), the  five Catholic “justices”—all Republican nominated, John  Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Anthony Kennedy—cunningly made it much easier for money to be siphoned from collection of taxes to subsidize private and Christian schools. 

The anti-democratic decision was handed down in considering an Arizona (uh-oh) tuition tax-credit scheme in which tax payers who contributed to the noble-sounding school tuition organization would have an equal amount of their “donation” knocked off their tax obligation.  This scheme for tax benefits, the five guardians of democracy claimed, differed from government support of religious and private schools because the money was given directly from the individuals.  It was hairsplitting practiced as an art form.

The five Catholic “justices” apparently could see no infraction of democratic principles in this scheme to skirt the Constitutional First Amendment provision: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”   For all the brilliant foresight of the founding fathers, they never dreamed they needed to add a protective clause that “the Supreme Court shall not seek to circumvent this provision to gain advantages for their faith system.”  The supreme  “justices” also adroitly did some skirting of their own around their own pronouncement regarding what they termed “donations” by then tossing  out the case for lack of standing.  Thus the gang of five avoided any direct verdict on the constitutionality of Arizona’s tax-credit scheme. 

Arizona legislators drummed up this tax-credit scheme around 1997, and it was designed with the intention of skirting strong state laws barring use of taxpayer funds for religious or private schools.  With the tax-credit scheme, they conspired a way to open the back door for a voucher program that certainly did not benefit the majority of the people.  So, for around fourteen years that program has paid off handsomely for religious schools.  Over those fourteen years $349 million in tax money has been rerouted from the state’s General fund to private and religious schools. 

Screwed royally by the  US Supreme Court decision on the Arizona scheme were  all taxpayers who do not want their tax dollars subsidizing some narrowly defined faith system.  By the Court’s decision the spiritually diverse base of taxpayers are effectively barred from challenging such an obvious religious-friendly scheme.  By declaring that the case had lack of standing, however, the door remains partially ajar, but it allows only non-religious non-profit organizations the democratic freedom to challenge the biased Arizona law.  Unbelievably, the Obama administration actually favored the Arizona scheme!  And the Solicitor General’s Office at the US Department of Justice advocated the denial of taxpayer’s rights to challenge the dirty scheme in court!  We should remember that the Solicitor General is often referred to as the tenth justice of the Supreme Court, because more than any other lawyer in the nation, he or she makes legal arguments before the high court.

Considerably more level-headed were the four Supreme Court Justices, Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Ginsburg, who dissented.  Justice Kagan, in her first dissenting opinion on the scheme, stressed the fact that the concept of direct aid under such a ruse as the  Arizona law extended wedged the door open for across-the-board government subsidies for religion—a clear violation of separation of church and state.  The five Catholic “justices” just shrugged.

Justice Kagan wrote: “Cash grants and targeted tax breaks are means of accomplishing the same government objectives.  Taxpayers who oppose state aid for religion have equal reason to protest whether that aid flows from one form of subsidy or the other…”

That is a true democratic right.  The Constitution’s clear guideline is that the government is not to fund religious activities in any way.  That noble document also clearly states that every American citizen has the right to seek justice when that principle of keeping religion out of government is violated.  That has been the law of the land for some 250 years.

There is something clearly unhealthy in a setup where five men of one narrow faith system can impose their self-serving religious understanding upon the laws of a nation that draws its strength from its widely diverse people.  Consider the Catholic imbalance of the court’s makeup against the percentage of US citizens who are Catholic: the total amount of Christians in the US, according to the Pew Research Council, is around 83%.  Of that amount only 23% are Catholic; around 53% are Protestant; and the remaining 16% are either of other faiths or no faith.  We should note also, by the end of 2007 the Catholics in the US declined by nearly four hundred thousand.  So the five to four representation in the Supreme Court do not legitimately represent the citizens of the USA.  The spiritual and religious liberty of the majority is being purposely herded toward a cliff of disaster by such rulings that intentionally take away the option to confront in the courts such outrageous government funding tax schemes for select faith system projects. 

Perhaps it is time  to call for the impeachment of at least some of the gang of five that dominates today’s US Supreme Court.

  • related postings: US Supreme Court Set Trap for Democracy, December 2010
  • Mass Distractions, February 2011
  • US Supreme Court Betrays Democracy–Again, April 2011

Questioning Bible-Style Creation

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, belief, Bible, faith, freethought, Hebrew scripture, humanity, logic, prehistory, random, religion, science, thoughts with tags , , , , , , on May 10, 2011 by chouck017894

God’s revealed word assures us that God merely had to say, “Let there be…” such and such, then such and such appeared.  Thus, without any recipe or formula or blueprint, all the varied components of whatever he envisioned just magically came together in manifested form.  No trials, no errors; just zap.  Apparently God managed to fill up not only the naked Earth but all infinity in just seven “days.”  Or so say the Creationists.  However, they never bother themselves to  clarify which version of Creation they promote, conveniently ignoring that chapters one and two of Genesis give differing accounts!  And, of course, we are instructed to never ask how God came into existence.  Is this supernatural version of how matter and life came into existence really worthy to be taught in any school?

However, in order for all of God’s forms which he had manifested to be regenerated and maintained, a systematic routine had to be put in place.  And that regenerating system for each and every thing that he had created required a recipe or formula or blueprint for its continuation.  Scientific sleuthing managed to discover a vital part of that blueprint, and we know that as DNA.  Life, whether micro or macro, each follow specific developmental processes, and even galaxies and the universe itself follow the same constant motions of re-creation.

 Cultures that preceded the “revealed” word of God by thousands of years, and therefore were not privileged to divine enlightenment, apparently had to grope about in ignorance of how everything became created.  It was up to the priests in Jerusalem in the much later 8th century BCE to explain the facts of Creation.  At that time the entire population of the world has been guesstimated to have been around seventy to one hundred million, but God was interested in enlightening only a tiny percent of the people about the facts of his acts of Creation.  And that tiny percent happened to be agitating everyone around Jerusalem.  Even so, for some holy reason, the particulars of what went into his creative process, like chemical compounds and such, were left unexplained.  Consequently, how he transformed energy into our  little planet with varied life forms has long served enterprising Bible interpreters as a sacred mystery to be used for their own ends.  Maybe we should question the Bible-style version of Creation.

Planet Earth is heavy with chemical components, and it is this chemical heaviness which stands as a major argument against biological life having originated here.  Science says that Earth was formed around four billion five hundred million years ago.  Within a few hundred-million years the simple life forms were already in existence on Earth—a short time in Creation terms.  To science it seems to be a case of too much too soon.

If the oldest and simplest life forms were present well over three billion years ago—and these simplest life forms had, as science has shown, molecules of biological origin—it is hard evidence that life forms on this planet arose and developed from some source other than a combination of inert gases and chemicals that then exited on the infant planet.

Some of the most abundant chemical elements of Earth’s composition are nickel and chromium.  If biological life originated in such a composition, wouldn’t it seem logical that these more abundant elements would figure in any life forms that developed in the primal stew—if not prominently, then at least moderately?  But nickel and chromium play practically no role in the biochemical structure of the life forms that developed and thrive on this planet.

On the other hand, the element molybdenum, a metallic element of the chromium group is quite rare on this planet, but nonetheless it plays a pivotal role in enzymatic reactions that are vitally necessary to all biological life!  Furthermore, if biological life arose on this planet in a simmering primeval stew, as once thought, logic suggests that a variety of genetic codes would have developed.  But that did not happen either.  Instead, all life forms on Earth developed from a single genetic code.  All life forms on Earth share a single genetic composition.  To religionists, of course, this genetic singularity can be brushed aside as the work of God.

Some ancient Sumerian cuneiform texts, far older than the priest-written Genesis fable, provide information in regard to the puzzle of life’s appearance on Earth, however.  According  to the deciphered texts, life on this planet developed billions of years ago from an outer space source; from a huge planet that made at least two passes through this developing solar system.  The Sumerians did not confuse that rogue celestial object with any comet, asteroid, or other space object, and the roving planet that passed through our young solar system was given the name Marduk.  The Sumerians also referred to this planet, which was obviously not affiliated with our solar system, as “the planet of crossing.”  This information later became reworked as the basis for personification of the Babylonian god Marduk, known in the Bible as Merodach, who was credited with bringing the chemistry of life to planet Earth.  Could this possibly be the same god  that the post-Sumerian Genesis story relates commanded the activation of all life?

Oddly, in recent modern science, a theory has been advanced that is remarkably similar to the ancient Sumerian account.  A minority of scientists, risking reputation and government financial support, have offered the theory that life on this planet may have been seeded from miniscule organisms given off by some free-wheeling planet that once brushed close to the primordial Earth.  Perhaps that planetary lovemaking is what took place over the biblical six “days” of Creation?  Or was God just playing a solo game of billiards that week?

How Low Will Religious Fanatics Go?

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, freethought, Government, humanity, Military, random, religion, Social, thoughts with tags , , on May 4, 2011 by chouck017894

God and Jesus Christ must be so pleased with the Christian domination being attempted at the US Air Force Academy (USAFA) at Colorado Springs, Colorado.  That institution has been a hotbed of Christian discrimination and proselytizing for years now, from the top brass on down, and the dogmatic activities at the Academy have been anything but complimentary to the teachings attributed to Jesus.

A case in point is the recent cowardly attack upon an innocent animal, a service dog of an Associate Professor of Economics at the Academy who had dared to speak out critically on the academy’s monkey-wrench handling of religious proselytizing and the religious discrimination misconduct being widely indulged in at the Academy.  The black Labrador retriever, named Caleb, was trained as a medical support canine for the professor who has a health problem causing occasional vertigo and imbalance.  The primary owner of the dog, however, happens to be Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Suspicious is an understatement for the cowardly attack upon the gentle dog.  And it is questionable how such cowardice and disregard of innocent life reflects the proselytizer’s claims of Christian enlightenment.  The heavy Christian proselytizing activities at the Academy have been investigated for several years by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), and the professor happens to be the only openly known supporter of that investigative group.  But there are also over 250 MRFF clients at the Academy who have sought help over the unethical (and unconstitutional) attempts to indoctrinate all cadets into one specific man-formulated faith system.  The triggering point for the deadly attack on the dog was likely the professor’s testimony in a federal court in February 2011 in the MRFF attempt to block an evangelical proselytizing ex-Marine from speaking at the National Prayer Day event.

On retracing events on the day of the dog’s sudden collapse, it was pretty conclusive that the dog could not have been poisoned anywhere other than the professor’s office while the professor was conducting a class.  All office doors are locked during such times, but  the lock on all doors of the USAFA faculty offices were identical, and therefore any of the staff or faculty would  possess a key that would open his office door.  This certainly suggests an “inside job.”  The professor had the lock on his office changed after the dastardly attack, and when he turned in the key to the old lock, the key number which had been registered to it did not match the returned key.

Radicalism is not a psychological quirk to be regarded as a leadership attribute.  Such mental inflexibility does not qualify a person with the ability to interact with mutual respect with others to achieve a common good.  Certainly the limited and perverted spiritual characteristic that indulges in such conduct as threats of violence or even death threats—as relayed to the founder and president of the MRFF—toward people who are not of the same faith system has no loyalty to democratic principles upon which the United States was founded. 

Should we be placing the safety and honor of our nation in the hands of such fanatics?

P. S.  The dog is being nursed back to health.

Distorted Echoes of Another Time

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, freethought, Government, history, humanity, politics, random, religion, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2011 by chouck017894

The rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party in Germany in the 1930s, as surprising as it may seem, hinged upon the people’s need for spiritual identity.  The once strong and proud German nation had lost position and power in World War I (1914-1918), and the humiliation imposed upon them by the victorious Christian-dominated nations brought with it a breath of contempt for Christianity’s claims of compassion and clemency.  The truth was that the war had not been unexpected.  Indeed, most European nations had been preparing for eventual conflict.  After the most destructive war in history (at the time)—more than twenty thrones had crumbled—the world was anxious for a sacrificial victim.  Thus, ignoring the deceptive role that a number of the Allies had played, Germany was branded as the instigator.  The understandable resentment and distrust would fester, and it would play into the ambitions of Adolf Hitler and his cohorts. 

Hitler, as a boy, had been indoctrinated under Catholic guidelines, but his early life had been a dismal failure: and his ambition to be an artist was shattered when the art school to which he applied judged him not to be good enough.  Thus Hitler decided to use the hypocrisy that always infests religious posturing, and through the ’30s, and even during the war, Hitler’s government indulged in an active conspiracy with a vast array of European Christian churches. 

Broadly ignored in most history accounts is the religious undercurrent that fed and shaped the Nazi movement.  Hitler surrounded himself with men who assessed Christianity to have proven itself a mockery.  Consequently there was a driving quest in the early Nazi movement for a mystical identity that would provide a dogma of sorts that would regain and establish their  potential qualities.  The assortment of occult elements from wide-ranging fields of mysticism amalgamated into a bizarre Nazi code of belief in which Hitler became presented and viewed as the high priest and the long-awaited messiah of German legend.  Like all religions, the Nazi code of belief gained support because it fondled and gratified the angst-ridden people’s egos.

In the Reichstag elections of 1930 the Nazi party polled over six million votes, largely due to the frustration and disillusionment over the handling of the nation’s economic crisis, which also troubled much of the world.  The same general economic aggravation in the United States in 2010 stampeded the gullible to vote Tea Party cohorts into government positions. 

In the timeframe of July 13, 1931 the bankruptcy of German Danatbank resulted in causing the closure of all German banks.  The German millionaire Alfred Hugenberg actively supported the 800,000-strong Nazi Party, much as the Koch brothers support the radical right Republican Party in the US today.  Other wealthy men then threw their support toward the Nazis, just as have so many obscenely wealthy men thrown their support to the extreme religious-dominated Republican Party in the US today. 

On February 23, 1933 the Associated Press ran a feature story on Hitler’s campaign against the “Godless movement” in Germany.  To quote:  “A campaign against the ‘Godless movement’ and an appeal for Catholic support were launched by Chancellor Adolf Hitler’s forces.”  A couple of months later, on April 26, 1933, Hitler had this to say in a speech during negotiations leading to the Nazi-Vatican Concordant of 1933:  “Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith…we need believing people.”  Kind of reminds one of the radial religious right in the US today insisting that the Bible must be studied in public schools, and that we must have a Bible-based government, doesn’t it?

One of the first things that Hitler did upon gaining political control in 1933 was to abolish worker and trade unions.  Uh-oh!  Sound familiar?  Ask the people in Wisconsin.

New laws were put into force regarding homosexuals, which defined them as “asocials” who, it was declared, constituted a threat to the Reich and the moral purity of Germany.  In 1936 the Reich Central Office for the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion was setup by Heinrich Himmler.  That year, under the “asocials” law, the number of males imprisoned for their sexual nature was 4000; in 1937 that number rose to 8000.  It became routine for those who had served their allotted prison sentence to then be shipped out to concentration camps.  No doubt the priest-authors of Leviticus would have applauded.  There was a curious Biblical ring to such disregard for human diversity and the lack of sane justice in this Nazi application.  And all this is being echoed too threateningly in such absurd religio/political Right examples as these quotes spewed around the US today:— 

—“Gays and lesbians are destroying our nation.  I honestly think they are a bigger threat than terrorists;” this by Republican State Representative Sally Kern of Oklahoma.  “Government should not be in the business of promoting a behavior (referring to homosexuality) that’s proven (?) destructive to our society;” this by Republican US Senator Jim DeMint of South  Carolina.  “Homosexuals and transgenders won’t be happy until they sever every moral underpinning in America;” this propaganda by the so-called Family Research Council.  “Homosexuality tears at the fabric of  society;” from the 2010 Texas Republican Party Platform propaganda. 

Then there is also in the US today the religious fanatic’s feigned indignation over abortion that mirrors the Nazi condemnation.  The “moral” Nazis outlawed abortion outright, which is being attempted today in the US by Right Wing extremists.  Under Nazi control any woman who had an abortion would be sent to prison for five years.  How did that really serve Germany’s higher “moral” purpose?  Was that, in truth, for the good of the nation?  No, but it was insurance of renewing a near-slave population for their political machine.  And it was fully in line with the biblical command to be fruitful and overpopulate.

These, and many more, are propaganda distraction-points used by the radical right, which are hauntingly reminiscent of Nazi tactics of the 1930s, and they are used today primarily to avoid answering any questions regarding their strategy for takeover of the US.  The Republican right, especially the Tea Party, pointedly avoids public discussions of crucial national issues, always muddying any serious talks regarding citizens needs and welfare with phony outrage over a diverse peoples’ private lives.  Stirring up judgmental aversion to life’s intended diversities is a guaranteed way to weaken forces of people that have more in common than the activities of their private lives suggest.  And such policies aimed at divisiveness make for a guaranteed path to disaster. 

None of the self-serving indulgences of the radical right which have infiltrated so much of national and state governments have any genuine love or respect for the tested principles of true democracy.  Certainly their conduct and treachery do not reflect the concluding part of the poem posted on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

“…Give me your tired, your poor,/ Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,/ The wretched refuse of your teeming shore./  Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,/ I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Let us not stand by idly while fanatical religious and political factions in the United States attempt to dismantle the highest spiritual qualities of democracy.