Friday, September 26, 2008

26 ’Elul 5768: Love Note Day/European Day of Languages/National Pancake Day

Greetings.

Worthy causes of the day: “CONGRESS: NO BLANK CHECK FOR WALL STREET” and “Help Protect the Marbled Murrelet!”

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. “Italy priest stabber inspired by "Da Vinci Code"”: No, I am not making this up, and I have no clue what the attacker was thinking. I have heard of people taking The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown much more seriously than it deserves—it is, after all, a work of fiction, not history—but this is the first time I have ever heard of anyone going beyond visiting the places depicted in the book and asking questions.
  2. “Pulpit Initiative About Freedom, not Politics”: Interesting perspective. Religions often have much to say that is relevant to politics, so it is logical to argue that trying to keep the pulpit apolitical under threat of withdrawing tax-exempt status is tantamount to infringing upon freedom of religion.
  3. “CAIR files FEC complaint: Obsession distribution a Zionist plot”: I was under the impression that even so much as a funny look in the direction of a Muslim was an offense in the eyes of Islam and liable to be labeled without the least shred of evidence as part of an insidious plot against Muslims. They’ll also probably come up with an insidious plot centered around Obama, too.
  4. “Pastor Muthee and Mayor Palin”: This article deals with a visit by Bishop Thomas Muthee to the Wasilla Assembly of God, including a video of it, where he blesses then-mayor Sarah Palin.  Muthee is worrying to some degree because some of what he says sounds like advocation of abolition of separation of church and state, including lack of understanding of what public schools are about.  E.g., public schools do not push anyone to adopt Buddhism or Islam, or Christianity for that matter.  What he wants is for Christians (possibly just of his stripe) to take over all aspects of society, including government.  He also buys into a stereotype of Jews as bankers.  But very disturbing is his worrying about witchcraft and praying for Palin’s protection from it.  Don’t believe it?  Watch the video:  

    Now, it is perfectly possible for someone to believe in witchcraft and yet be otherwise rational.  Unfortunately, this is not how Muthee has behaved.  One of the commentators mentioned in the article tries to excuse the witchcraft business as just a difference in culture, but a modicum of digging turned up a number of articles showing that Muthee has acted on the belief in witchcraft:  “Targeting cities with 'spiritual mapping,' prayer”, “Palin under fire over African pastor friend who waged witch-hunt against woman he believed caused car crashes”, “From basket case to boomtown without a dime of aid”, “Palin linked electoral success to prayer of Kenyan witchhunter”, and “Praying Down God's Power”.  These articles note that Muthee blamed the alleged witchcraft of the diviner Mama Jane for much that was going wrong in Kiambu, Kenya (such as car accidents), and so he and his followers harassed her until she left town, after which things in Kiambu allegedly got better.  Now, if Muthee really believes in witchcraft, it was incumbent upon him to justify why he believed Mama Jane was a genuine witch and responsible for everything going wrong in Kiambu—something every single article omits—before taking action against her.  On the other hand, if Muthee was just using Mama Jane as a scapegoat to rally the community together so that they would improve themselves, then he persecuted an innocent person, something I have trouble imagining Jesus approving of.  Either way, Muthee comes off as very disturbing.
Today’s news and commentary:Today’s weird thing is “水の落ちる絵” (Google automatic translation:  “A painting of water fall”), which is described in English in “Water Painting”.

Enjoy, share the weirdness, and Shabbath shalom.

Aaron
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