Saturday, January 5, 2008

This and that in the last two days.

Iowa elections: Barack Obama and former Governor Mick Huckabee claim wins. My public prediction that I very rarely make, not only does Obama win in Iowa, he also wins the Presidency. He is the only candidate to electrify the crowds as David Broder once noted to actually have independents and Republicans crossing ideological lines with plans to vote for him. I'll see what shakes out by the time Idaho's primary finally comes up as to who I will vote for.

Letters in the Spokesman-Review: Phillip J. Mulligan goes with the convenient claims that Al Qaeda murdered Benazir Bhutto. On the other hand, Robert Scheer with a republished column in the Spokesman-Review makes a contrary argument, that even when Ms. Bhutto was in power and running a very corrupt government, she too carried on the Pakistani history of supporting the Taliban/Al Qaeda. Mulligan's letter that Al Qaeda can only undermine their legitimacy in the Muslim world by their attacking their own people, esp. Bhutto. CNN: Bhutto was going to hand some damaging documents about Musharref and the up-coming elections in Pakistan to members of the U.S. Congress. Question: Are we so sure that Bhutto was killed by Al Qaeda? Mulligan; "Like most fanatics, al-Qaida relies upon exploiting the mistakes of others, but falls short on offering wildly appealing alternatives, so it is up to the U.S. to do the right things as much as possible and not overly brood on this atrocity." A few points to be made: GW and his administration encouraged the commission of this atrocity by wanting Benazir Bhutto to return to Pakistan and offering an "alternative" to Musharref. That would have been a death sentence given what Musharref did in the weeks before the elections were to take place in his demands that he hold onto power were at all costs to any "democracy" in his nation as well as the rule of law. Second flaw in Mulligan's argument and one that can be found in Islamic history, if you take up any alliance with those whom "the fanatics" treat as an enemy, you are lapsed and worthy only of being killed. Benazir Bhutto could rightfully become a target because as Trudy Rubin had noted, she was prepared to "crack down" on extremists.

===Mike Huckabee won in Iowa primarily because of big government Christians. He is a Baptist Minister. Mitt Romney lost in Iowa because he is a Mormon. There is no question about religious prejudice here. What if Huckabee, in trying to appeal outside of a minority base and get into the middle of the political spectrum started attacking the very "faith based politics" that put GW into office in 2004? Well, his fate may not be Bhutto's but he'd have to base his reaching the presidency not on the religious fanaticism so obvious in the GOP ranks. And Huckabee does harp on kitchen table issues that are just as important to people as their personal religious values are.

Sarah Davis, M. Div wrote a letter responding to Suzanne Lonn. She informed the Spokesman-Review readership about the God men pre-existing Christ who were born of virgins, born on the 25th of December, offered up body and blood in sacramental meals, who's deaths were comparable to that of Christ's.

Ms. Davis had obviously done her research: The question I would have here: We all know that the New Testament was written decades perhaps even centuries after Christ's life and times. And one of the researchers into early Christian history, Elaine Pagels, inadvertently may have added a few century marks to what has been referred to the earliest biblical works, the Synoptic Gospels. Because her background is as much replete with Christians who struggle with one another as much as they challenged the pagan society they were born into. The Gospels as now existing would have reflected those particular struggles. What about Christ himself? Paul of Tarsus was noted in Davis' letter as being fully aware of Godmen being worshiped in his own town. The kind of Godmen they were, how they lived, what they taught and how they died. Would it be a surprise that Christ might just get re-vamped in order to appeal to an audience outside of the initial Jewish Christians? The more (decades later) he could be made to appear like yet another pagan seeming Godman, the more he would appeal to pagans always on the lookout for new Gods to worship.

What Ms. Davis wrote seemed to have been totally lost on Judith M. Jones who was highly dismissive that Christian holidays would just happen to fall on pagan holidays. If the Christians today want to claim a Judeo-Christian tradition, why should any Christian holiday just happen to fall on pagan holidays, and why should Christ be comparable to pagan Godmen as Davis noted? Christ was in his time, a Rabbi. Would it really come out of his mouth that he would wish his disciples to honor him in a manner that was comparable to Mithras and Attis? But those writing the official New Testament could and would make that argument. After all, they were pagan (not Jewish Christians) to begin with. Then Ms. Jones makes the second biggest error, the Seder meal held after church.

Problem: even before the final chapters of the New Testament made it into what we now have of the modern bible, there was systemic hostility toward Jews. Why would Christians hostile toward Jews their rituals and customs care to hold a Seder, before, during or after Church? I make no claims to being fully familiar with Jewish religious tradition, but wouldn't a Seder be held at the time of a specific holiday or on the eve of a Jewish Sabbath? When did a Jewish Seder ever comprise offering up the body and blood of Christ as part of its sacramental meal? At least the official Seder harks back to Old Testament origins, right along with Old Testament originated unleavened bread. Whereas, Christ is fully patterned after all things pagan right down to offering up body and blood at a "last supper" and achieving divinity (again in a most pagan manner) only after being hung between two thieves. Resurrection is as old as the pagan hills, after all. Easter, the time when it all happened, is also in the season of re-birth symbolic of the pagan sowing their fields of grain in honor of the resurrected Godman of their locale.

I wouldn't be that dismissive of a church that incorporated all things pagan into ritual and observance in order to appeal to pagans to "convert" to something that abandoned fully its Jewish origins. The message, if one exists, owes more to those who wrote the bible decades to centuries after Christ was born and died, instead of Christ himself.

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