Friday, October 17, 2008

18 Tishri 5769: Ḥol hamMo‘edh Sukkoth/National Mammography Day


Worthy cause of the day: “Tell the Bahamas to Stop Killing Sea Turtles”.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. “Some hear doll's burbling as a clear endorsement of Islam”: No, I am not making this up. It is probably a fluke and unintentional.
  2. “Conservative Christians lead push for Prop. 8”: Proposition 8 would eliminate any legal right to homosexual marriage in California. Unlike most articles on subject of homosexuality in Christianity, this one actual takes the trouble to list a few relevant verses, so let us go through them one by one:
    1. Genesis 19:4-6: An incident of attempted homosexual rape in Sedhom (Sodom). This is not legal material, plus the incident happened before the giving of the Torah, so it is not a good basis for deriving law. Clearly the attitude towards homosexual rape is negative, though the context does not make clear whether the homosexuality part or the rape part or both are what is abominated. Note that nowhere in the Hebrew Bible is there any positive depiction of homosexuality of any kind.
    2. Leviticus 20:13 (“And a man that will lie with a male like having sexual intercourse with a woman, the two of them did an abomination; they shall die; their blood is upon them.”: This is an unambiguous prohibition of male homosexuality. The justification given for why this does not apply today is nonsense: “Times have changed, and the verses applied to those times only. The chapter also mandates death for adulterers.” One of the major problems Christianity has is justifying gerrymandering what parts of the Law still hold and which do not. There is no mention of an expiration date or any condition for expiration of any commandment, which is why Orthodox Judaism holds they all still apply, even ones Christians tend to look on as downright weird. Even Jesus never claimed any end to Torah prohibitions. Therefore the prohibition of homosexuality still holds.
    3. Romans 1:27: This is a very negative depiction of homosexuality. The justification “St. Paul criticizes a range of behaviors.” is nonsense since everything else depicted negatively in this section is something traditionally considered bad.
    4. 1 Corinthians 6:9: I am not competent enough in Koine Greek yet to judge whether or not homosexuality is being discussed among other vices. Sorry. This, of course, does not cancel out the verse in Romans.
    Let us face it: there is no ground to stand upon to claim that homosexuality (or male homosexuality, at any rate) is an acceptable practice in Christianity. And I would like to emphasize practice. None of these verses say anything about having homosexual feelings, which is quite a different matter.
  3. “Baltimore archbishop tells Virgin Mary 'visionary' to stop activities”: Kudos to the Catholic Church for their skepticism of questionable visions.
  4. “Good Taste”: Yes, people are weird like that. Palin still sucks as a vice-presidential candidate.
  5. “Earliest Reference Describes Christ as 'Magician'”: Or maybe it is something else. Let us let the archaeologists work this out.
  6. “Peaceful Demostrator Punched by Scientologist at Los Angeles Event”: This is a new tactic. Usually Scientologists file lawsuits. Maybe the fact that Anonymous protesters tend to be masked and therefore unidentifiable, hence difficult to sue, has something to do with it.
  7. “World Dignitaries Open International Conference On Religion”: The fact that no religious leaders are mentioned as attending this conference does not bode well, though holding it in Tehran is an interesting tactic.
  8. “Palestinian man in Jordan kills daughter to cleanse family honor”: And the real shame is that “Forensic doctors said an autopsy showed the girl was still a virgin.” Obviously the father failed to find out if his daughter had actually done anything dishonorable before killing her. It should therefore also be obvious why moral judgement in the absence of evidence is a very, very bad idea.
  9. “False claims exposed of Kenyan pastor who protected Sarah Palin from witches”: Apparently Thomas Muthee lied about his struggle against “witchcraft”. Mama Jane, the alleged witch he claims to have run out of Kiambu, Kenya, never left town.
Today’s news and commentary:Today’s weird thing is the International Earth-Destruction Advisory Board. Enjoy, share the weirdness, Shabbath shalom, and ḥagh sameaḥ.


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