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Friday, December 28, 2012

Was Hitler an Atheist?

One of the many claims of Christians is that Adolph Hitler was an atheist. They make this statement for many reasons, primarily to distance themselves from this infamous mass murderer. After all, if Hitler was an atheist, then that explains his actions, since we all know atheists are immoral. (See my article on whether atheists actually are immoral for more on this topic) However, if Hitler was a Christian, then they are in the embarrassing position of trying to explain why a Christian would kill so many people. Actually, since Christians have been killing people for close to 2000 years, it is hard to understand why they think it is unusual.

Hitler was raised as a Catholic and remained one for his entire life. He made Christian school prayer mandatory for the 1930's German schoolchildren who grew up to be his dreaded SS.  The Catholic Church never ex-communicated Hitler for any of his actions. In fact, they sent him birthday greetings every year during the war.  It has been noted that Hitler had minor disagreements with the Catholic church in Germany (but not with the church in Rome, with which he signed a Concordat in 1933, and which ordered the German church to fall in line), and they have attempted to twist these minor disagreements into a widespread misconception that he was an atheist. Hitlers issue with the Church was that he believed he should be above it, not with its message. If the Catholic Church considered Hitler a good Christian, and he considered himself a Christian, it is amusing to hear others try and explain that he really was not one. The Catholic Church did ex-communicate Martin Luther for his writings and actions, so they would take that response when they considered it appropriate. If you really believe that Hitler was not a Christian, please answer this. What did Hitler do that the god of the OT did not also do?

As an aside, the Catholic Church HAS ex-communicated Communists.

The Decree against Communism is a 1949 Catholic Church document (by Pope Pius XII) which excommunicates all Catholics collaborating in communist organizations. The document resulted in one of the largest formal excommunications in the history of the Catholic Church (it could include more than several million Catholics).
The Vatican, having been silent during the war on communist excesses, displayed a harder line on communism after 1945. The ruling followed suit to an earlier 1937 encyclical entitled Divini Redemptoris which was strongly critical of communism and its Christian variants.
The Holy Office issued several decrees, falling broadly into two categories:
  • Defence of Church rights regarding the ordination of bishops and Church activities, and,
  • Condemnations of participation in Communist parties and organizations.
On July 15, 1948, L’Osservatore Romano published a decree about communism, which excommunicated those who propagate "the materialistic and anti-Christian teachings of communism", which was widely interpreted as an excommunication of the Communist Party of Italy, which however, was not mentioned in the decree.[1] The Sanctum Officium continued to issue condemnations:
  • Membership in communist parties, July 1, 1949 [2]:
  • Excommunication of Bishop Dechet, February 18, 1950,[3]
  • Membership in communist youth organizations, September 28, 1950,[4]
  • Usurpation of Church functions by the State, June 29, 1950,[5]
  • Illegitimate state ordered ordinations of bishops, April 9, 1951,[6]
  • Publications favouring totalitarian Communism, June 28 and July 22, 1955,[7]
The decree was confirmed in 1962 by Pope John XXIII when it was announced that Fidel Castro would be excommunicated for embracing Communism and persecuting members of the Catholic Church.

Hitler, Franco and Mussolini were given VETO power over whom the pope could appoint as a bishop in Germany, Spain and Italy. In turn they surtaxed the Catholics and gave the money to the Vatican. Hitler wrote a speech in which he talks about this alliance, this is an excerpt: “The fact that the Vatican is concluding a treaty with the new Germany means the acknowledgement of the National Socialist state by the Catholic Church. This treaty shows the whole world clearly and unequivocally that the assertion that National Socialism [Nazism] is hostile to religion is a lie.” Adolf Hitler, 22 July 1933, writing to the Nazi Party.

...Adolph Hitler said "As for the Jews, I am just carrying on with the same policy which the Catholic Church has adopted for 1500 years.....when it regarded the Jews as dangerous and pushed them into ghettos, etc., because it knew what the Jews were like..." Because of the Council of Trent, laws were set forth to establish who was a heretic and history shows us that the Vatican legally slaughtered "heretics" to cleanse the Land of Christians and Jews. As the Second Vatican Council commenced in 1963, Pope John XXIII declared, "I do accept entirely all that has been decided and declared at the Council of Trent" this includes the 100 or so anathema's against Bible Christians.

...The truth is that the teachings of the Council of Trent, made the Inquisition & Holocaust possible and these teachings are still being used to kill Bible Christians all over the world even today. Adolph Hitler was never excommunicated as a Catholic for his crimes against the Jews. Instead, the Vatican considered him to be a hero. Hitler, Mussolini and Franco were backed by the Vatican and this is what a Catholic newspaper in Spain said about Hitler the day he died:- "Adolph Hitler, son of the Catholic Church, died while defending Christianity. [Roman Catholicism] It is therefore understandable that words cannot be found to lament over his death, when so many were found to exalt his life. Over his moral remains stands his victorious moral figure, with the palm of the martyr; God gives Hitler the laurels of victory."

As for atheism, Hitler specifically opposed it in a 1933 speech in Berlin: "We were convinced that the people need and require this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out." 

There are many reasons to say that Hitler was a Christian. There are the numerous expressions of his belief, both written and oral, both public and private.

“National Socialism is not a cult-movement-- a movement for worship; it is exclusively a ‘volkic’ political doctrine based upon racial principles.  In its purpose there is no mystic cult, only the care and leadership of a people defined by a common blood-relationship... We will not allow mystically- minded occult folk with a passion for exploring the secrets of the world beyond to steal into our Movement.  Such folk are not National Socialists, but something else-- in any case something which has nothing to do with us.  At the head of our programme there stand no secret surmising but clear-cut perception and straightforward profession of belief.  But since we set as the central point of this perception and of this profession of belief the maintenance and hence the security for the future of a being formed by God, we thus serve the maintenance of a divine work and fulfill a divine will-- not in the secret twilight of a new house of worship, but openly before the face of the Lord…  Our worship is exclusively the cultivation of the natural, and for that reason, because natural, therefore God-willed.  Our humility is the unconditional submission before the divine laws of existence so far as they are known to us men.”  -Adolf Hitler, in Nuremberg on 6 Sept.1938.

    “We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith.  We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.” -Adolf Hitler, in a speech in Berlin on 24 Oct. 1933

    "My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter.  It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth!  was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter.  In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders.  How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison.  To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross.  As a Christian I have no duty to allow my self to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice…  And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows . For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people."  –Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922 (Norman H. Baynes, ed.  The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1 of 2, pp. 19-20, Oxford University Press, 1942)

    "Christianity could not content itself with building up its own altar; it was absolutely forced to undertake the destruction of the heathen altars.  Only from this fanatical intolerance could its apodictic faith take form; this intolerance is, in fact, its absolute presupposition." -Adolf Hitler Mein Kampf
    "The personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil assumes the living shape of the Jew."  -Adolf Hitler Mein Kampf
    "With satanic joy in his face, the black-haired Jewish youth lurks in wait for the unsuspecting girl whom he defiles with his blood, thus stealing her from her people." -Adolf Hitler Mein Kampf
    “The best characterization is provided by the product of this religious education, the Jew himself.  His life is only of this world, and his spirit is inwardly as alien to true Christianity as his nature two thousand years previous was to the great founder of the new doctrine.  Of course, the latter made no secret of his attitude toward the Jewish people, and when necessary he even took the whip to drive from the temple of the Lord this adversary of all humanity, who then as always saw in religion nothing but an instrument for his business existence.  In return, Christ was nailed to the cross, while our present- day party Christians debase themselves to begging for Jewish votes at elections and later try to arrange political swindles with atheistic Jewish parties-- and this against their own nation.”–Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)
    "…the fall of man in paradise has always been followed by his expulsion."  -Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf 
    “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.”  –Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)
    “The anti-Semitism of the new movement was based on religious ideas instead of racial knowledge.”  –Adolf Hitler Mein Kampf
“Only in the steady and constant application of force lies the very first prerequisite for success.  This persistence, however, can always and only arise from a definite spiritual conviction. Any violence which does not spring from a firm, spiritual base, will be wavering and uncertain.”  –Adolf Hitler Mein Kampf .

Hitler not only believed in Jesus (which alone made him a Christian) but his work against the Jews came straight from Christian theological reasoning just as had many Christian saints of the past. His Christian expressions of “Lord God,” “Living Christ,” and “Lord and Savior” indicates his acknowledgement of Jesus as God and his acceptance of a resurrected Christ (for what else can “Living” and “Savior” mean except from a resurrected state?). Hitler also believed in the supernatural concept of life after death. In Mein Kampf he wrote, “a religion in the Aryan sense cannot be imagined which lacks the conviction of survival after death in some form.”

Hitler clearly had creationist ideas:
Hitler argued for a critical review of the Bible, to discover what sections met an “Aryan” spirit. In these same notes, he took a “biogenetic” history as the main biblical emphasis, arguing that original sin was solely racial degeneration – sin against the blood. He also argued in favour of the notion of a creator, a deity whose work was nature and natural laws, conflating God and nature to the extent that they became one and the same thing. This again came back to race, and meant that he argued in Mein Kampf that one could not avoid the “commands” of “eternal nature” or the “Almighty Creator”: “in that I defend myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.”

Another indication of Hitler’s beliefs about religion comes from his private library of numerous books. Although most of Hitler’s books came as gifts from writers and publishers, those where he penciled and underlined sections reveal, not only the books that he read, but also those that he commented on and had an interest in. Timothy W. Ryback, who examined Hitler’s books, found more than 130 books devoted to spirituality and religion including the teachings of Jesus Christ. Some of the titles included, Sunday Meditations; On Prayer; A Primer for Religious Questions, Large and Small; Large Truths About Mankind, the World and God; a German translation of E. Stanley Jones’s 1931 best seller, The Christ of the Mount; and a 500-page work on the life and teachings of Jesus, published in 1935 under the title The Son: The Evangelical Sources and Pronouncements of Jesus of Nazareth in Their Original Form and With the Jewish Influences. Ryback also found a leather-bound tome — with WORTE CHRISTI, or “Words of Christ,” embossed in gold on the cover — According to Ryback, it “was well worn, the silky, supple leather peeling upward in gentle curls along the edges. Human hands had obviously spent a lot of time with this book…. I scanned the book for marginalia that might suggest a close study of the text. A white-silk bookmark, preserved in its original perfection between pages 22 and 23 (only the portion exposed to the air had deteriorated), lay across a description of the Last Supper as related by Saint John. A series of pages that followed contained only a single aphorism each: ‘Believe in God’ (page 31), ‘Have no fear, just believe’ (page 52), ‘If you believe, anything is possible’ (page 53), and so on, all the way to page 95, which offers the solemn wisdom ‘Many are called but few are chosen.’” [Ryback]

Even if it is true that Hitler was against Christianity, the German people were mostly Christians themselves. The fact that they would willingly follow someone who was anti-Christian does not say much about their faith. However, this does not mean that they disbelieved Christian virtues. The Germans believed that they were the embodiment of Christianity. They were the master race and as such, they were above all the other lesser races who needed these Christian directions.

As Christians are so fond of saying about bible verses, you have to understand the context. Hitler was not against Christianity, he simply felt that it needed to be subservient to him. He was a megalomaniac, you need to keep that in mind. He also felt that as his master race dominated the world, that it would sweep out the beliefs of the lesser races including their misunderstanding of Jesus.

But just for the sake of argument, lets pretend that Hitler really did pretend his Christianity; that his sole aim went to politically winning over German Christians so that he could gain their confidence. How in the world does that improve your argument in protecting Christianity from Hitler? If that proved the case, then who should get the blame, Hitler or the gullible Christian German citizens who believed him? And what does that say for the integrity of Christianity if the most Christianized country in the world could not distinguish a member of their own belief system? Think about it. If the most pious Christians and clergymen could not tell if Hitler practiced false or "real" Christianity, then how in the world could anyone tell? I submit that the only way to tell comes from the very words from those who make the claim. Indeed, this constitutes the very flaw of any religion because there never has existed a testable way to determine the truthfulness of a belief in the supernatural. And if you cannot tell by the words of your fellow Christians, then anyone with minimal acting talent can deceive anyone, including monks, bishops, or popes. In fact, monks, bishops and popes themselves, could fall prey to falsehood. I submit to you that a false Christian and a real Christian makes absolutely no difference. Why? Because if I have it right (and I think I do) then Christianity never represented reality, thus an honest believing Christian and a dishonest believing Christian fall on equal turf: they both have it wrong, and they both practice falsehoods!

The only evidence we have, or could ever have, about people who call themselves Christian comes from the very confession of those making the claim. And since Hitler makes his claim to Christianity abundantly and clearly, we can only rely on his claim, regardless of whether he actually believed in Christ or not. False Christianity has as just much validity as any claim to Christianity, even if you could prove dishonesty.

Was Jesus a real person?

The standard idea is that Jesus was a real person who lived and was killed. The debate normally centers over the idea of whether Jesus was actually the son of God. The comment that all valid historians accept that Jesus existed gets made all the time. But is it reasonable to start with the premise that Jesus was actually a real person? No one has the slightest physical evidence to support a historical Jesus; no artifacts, dwelling, works of carpentry, or self-written manuscripts. All claims about Jesus derive from writings of other people. There occurs no contemporary Roman record that shows Pontius Pilate executing a man named Jesus. Devastating to historians, there occurs not a single contemporary writing that mentions Jesus. All documents about Jesus came well after the life of the alleged Jesus from either: unknown authors, people who had never met an earthly Jesus, or from fraudulent, mythical or allegorical writings.

It is interesting when we look at the early church leaders. Was this a group of people who tried to follow the message of Jesus? Did they hold to the idea that truth was all they needed to win converts? Then why would they have set out deliberately to lie? Were they willing to create falsehoods and deceits merely to advance themselves and their designs? The records shows that they did indeed plan to lie for Jesus. And for many Christians even to this day, lying for Jesus has been a useful concept to further their goals.
"I will only mention the Apostle Paul. ... He, then, if anyone, ought to be calumniated; we should speak thus to him: ‘The proofs which you have used against the Jews and against other heretics bear a different meaning in their own contexts to that which they bear in your Epistles.
We see passages taken captive by your pen and pressed into service to win you a victory, which in volumes from which they are taken have no controversial bearing at all ... the line so often adopted by strong men in controversy – of justifying the means by the result."

– St. Jerome, Epistle to Pammachus (xlviii, 13; N&PNF. vi, 72-73)

Was there ever a person actually called Jesus? There were actually many different people called Jesus. The name was actually very common during that period.  Josephus, the first century Jewish historian mentions no fewer than nineteen different people named Jesus and about half of them were contemporaries of the supposed Christ.  It is highly likely that the stories of the various people called Jesus got confused or lumped together.

There are many man-god myths from around the world. It is fascinating how similar many of them are to the concept of Jesus. Many of these stories are from religions that are older than Christianity. If older religions had developed the concept of the god-man before Christianity did, it is hardly a stretch to accept that Christianity borrowed from these myths to develop its tale.

I call the story of Jesus a myth because it is founded on a myth and is supported by a myth. Jesus had to die for our sins. The concept of original sin was developed because Adam sinned against God. But there was no Adam, no Garden of Eden. It is a myth. We know this from the study of geology, biology and astronomy.

If there is no original sin, there is no reason for Jesus to die on the cross to atone for us. (By the way, when he was dead for those three days, was the Trinity reduced to a Duality for that period of time? Just curious.)

We know the stories of the Flood, Jonah and the sun stopping in the sky are a myth, as well as many others. How do we know this? From the study of geology, biology and astronomy. Since Jesus confirms the Old Testament, we know he cannot be all knowing and is a myth as well.

Krishna, Buddha, Mithra and Horus are all examples of the man-god myth from different religions. These are all from older religions, yet they encompass many of the same elements as Christianity. I have listed posts that describe these similarities in detail. It seems odd that so many other religions describe the elements of Christianity before Jesus was supposed to have existed. Christians try to explain this away by stating that these other religions actually copied Christianity. A rather odd explanation when the other religions are older than Christianity. My favorite is when they say Satan created the other religions to confuse mankind.

Most of these have the same version of the man-god. Born of a virgin, 12 disciples, killed, often crucified, Dec 25 is a pivotal time point. The same story repackaged for a new audience.

Hercules was mentioned by Flavius Josephus. Should we assume that man-god actually existed based on that? How is that any different than Christians insisting that only a real person would be mentioned by ancient historians?

Since Jesus was Jewish, it is also interesting to note that the Jewish people do not believe Jesus was the Messiah. Now, their disbelief starts with the idea that Jesus was a real person, just not the mythical son of God. So, why would this be relevant?  If Jesus was just a man and not the mythical son of god, my premise is still valid. As I have already mentioned, there were many people living at the time of the supposed Christ that had the name Jesus.  For it is the idea of a divine Jesus that I believe is a myth. Lets take a look at some of the reasons that the Jewish people do not accept Jesus as divine.

What is the Messiah supposed to accomplish? The Torah says that he will:
A. Build the Third Temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28).
B. Gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6).
C. Usher in an era of world peace, and end all hatred, oppression, suffering and disease. As it says: "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall man learn war anymore." (Isaiah 2:4)
D. Spread universal knowledge of the God of Israel, which will unite humanity as one. As it says: "God will be King over all the world—on that day, God will be One and His Name will be One" (Zechariah 14:9).
The historical fact is that Jesus fulfilled none of these messianic prophecies.
Christians counter that Jesus will fulfill these in the Second Coming, but Jewish sources show that the Messiah will fulfill the prophecies outright, and no concept of a second coming exists. 

According to the Jews, Jesus is not the Messiah. Now, I would state there will never be a Messiah since it is all nonsense. But it is fascinating how the group that Jesus came from dismisses him as a pretender.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Are Christians actually against plural marriages?

In the 16th century there was a Christian re-examination of plural marriages. The founder of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther wrote: "I confess that I cannot forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not contradict the Scripture. If a man wishes to marry more than one wife he should be asked whether he is satisfied in his conscience that he may do so in accordance with the word of God. In such a case the civil authority has nothing to do in the matter."[27] Lutheran theologians approved of Philip of Hesse's polygamous marriages to Christine of Saxony and Margarethe von der Saale for this purpose, as well as initial disapproval of divorce and adultery. As well as Phillip, there was much experimentation with marital duration within early German Lutheranism amongst clergy and their erstwhile wives [28]
The theologian Philipp Melanchthon likewise counseled that Henry VIII need not risk schism by dissolving his union with the established churches to grant himself divorces in order to replace his barren wives, but could instead look to polygamy as a suitable alternative.
Anabaptist leader Bernhard Rothmann initially opposed the idea of plural marriage. However, he later wrote a theological defense of plural marriage, and took 9 wives himself, saying "God has restored the true practice of holy matrimony amongst us."[29][30] Franz von Waldeck and the other enemies of Anabaptist leader John of Leiden accused him of keeping 16 wives, and publicly beheading one when she disobeyed him. This was used as the basis for their conquest of Münster in 1535.[31]
The 16th century Italian Capuchin monk, Bernardino Ochino, 77 years old and never married, wrote the "Thirty Dialogues", wherein Dialog XXI was considered a defense of plural marriage. Evidently, he borrowed some of his strongest arguments from a Lutheran dialogue written in 1541 in favor of plural marriage which was written under the fictitious name Huldericus Necobulus in the interest of justifying Philip of Hesse.[32]
A different position was taken by the Council of Trent in 1563, which was opposed to polygyny[33] and concubinage.[34] The polemicist John Milton expressed support for polygamy in his De doctrina christiana.[35]
The Lutheran pastor Johann Lyser strongly defended plural marriage in a work entitled "Polygamia Triumphatrix".[36][37] As a result, he was imprisoned, beaten and exiled from Italy to Holland. His book was burned by the public executioner.[38] He never married nor desired wedlock.[38] Samuel Friedrich Willenberg, a doctor of law at the University of Cracow wrote the pro-plural marriage book De finibus polygamiae licitae. In 1715, his book was ordered to be burned. Friedrich escaped with his life, but was fined one hundred thousand gold pieces.[38]
One of the more notable published works regarding the modern concept of Christian Plural Marriage dates from the 18th century. The book Thelyphthora[39] was written by Martin Madan, a significant writer of hymns and a contemporary of John Wesley and Charles Wesley. Although Madan was an adherent only of polygyny in a Christian context, this particular volume set the foundation of what is considered the modern Christian Plural Marriage movement.
The Nigerian Celestial Church of Christ allows clergy and laymen to keep multiple wives, and the Lutheran Church of Liberia began allowing plural marriage in the 1970s.[43][44]
Several other denominations permit those already in polygamous marriages to convert and join their church without having to renounce their multiple marriages. These include theAfrican instituted Harrist Church, started in 1913.[43]
The Anglican church made a decision at the 1988 Lambeth Conference to admit those who were polygamists at the time they converted to Christianity, subject to certain restrictions.[44] Polygamy was first discussed during the Lambeth Conference of 1888:
"That it is the opinion of this Conference that persons living in polygamy be not admitted to baptism, but they may be accepted as candidates and kept under Christian instruction until such time as they shall be in a position to accept the law of Christ. That the wives of polygamists may, in the opinion of this Conference, be admitted in some cases to baptism, but that it must be left to the local authorities of the Church to decide under what circumstances they may be baptized." (Resolution 5).
A resolution dated 1958 and numbered 120 states that:
"(a) The Conference bears witness to the truth that monogamy is the divine will, testified by the teaching of Christ himself, and therefore true for every race of men,"
but adds:
"(d) The Conference, recognising that the problem of polygamy is bound up with the limitations of opportunities for women in society, urges that the Church should make every effort to advance the status of women in every possible way, especially in the sphere of education."[45]
In 1988, Resolution 26 declared:
"This Conference upholds monogamy as God's plan, and as the ideal relationship of love between husband and wife; nevertheless recommends that a polygamist who responds to the Gospel and wishes to join the Anglican Church may be baptized and confirmed with his believing wives and children on the following conditions:(1) that the polygamist shall promise not to marry again as long as any of his wives at the time of his conversion are alive;(2) that the receiving of such a polygamist has the consent of the local Anglican community;(3) that such a polygamist shall not be compelled to put away any of his wives, on account of the social deprivation they would suffer;(4) and recommends that provinces where the Churches face problems of polygamy are encouraged to share information of their pastoral approach to Christians who become polygamists so that the most appropriate way of disciplining and pastoring them can be found, and that the ACC be requested to facilitate the sharing of that information."[46]
In 2008, the 114. Resolution of the Lambeth Conference said:
"In the case of polygamy, there is a universal standard – it is understood to be a sin, therefore polygamists are not admitted to positions of leadership including Holy Orders, nor after acceptance of the Gospel can a convert take another wife, nor, in some areas, are they admitted to Holy Communion."[47]
There are some modern Biblical scholars who believe that the Bible advocates polygamy, such as Blaine Robinson. William Luck states that polygyny is not prohibited by the Bible and that it would have been required of a married man who seduced (Ex. 22) or raped (Deut. 22) a virgin, where her father did not veto a marriage.[48][49]

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The liberal media bias

James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal did yeoman’s work showing us a perfect example of the abject bias of The New York Times by highlighting the way the “paper of record” ripped Bush’s Gross National Product report while putting a happy face on Obama’s even worse report.
In his October 30 Best of the Web column, Taranto dug up a 1992 Times report that called George H. W. Bush’s GDP of 2.7 percent a “Gross National Letdown.”
In 1992, The Times carped that the 2.7 percent GDP was not encouraging and scolded President Bush for having a smile about his report, even though it was twice the previous report’s growth rate. Naturally, The Times then wanted a stimulus package big enough to “matter” for further growth.
In all, The Times felt George H. W. Bush was more or less a failure and its down-in-the-mouth editorial was suitably hectoring of the elder Bush.
Ah, but Obama is the light bringer. Taranto noted that this year’s Times editorial was far more upbeat for a far worse GDP report.

This year, The Times felt that Obama’s 2.3 percent GDP was a “Slow but Steady Improvement.” Suddenly all the head shaking and tsk tsking was gone from the paper’s editorial and it was all hope and change.
Why this momentous 2.3 percent growth means that “Mr. Obama has the stronger argument” for this re-election campaign. The paper also felt that this great occasion is “some cause for optimism.”
Yes, for The Times Obama’s anemic 2.3 percent was a cause for celebration whereas H.W. Bush’s 2.7 percent was a sad, sad, day.
Not much bias there, eh?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christians are SPECIFICALLY directed to obey the civil authorities

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God…Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.”—Romans 13:1 & 5

“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.”—1 Peter 2:13-14

"Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no
advantage to you." - Hebrews 13:17 
If you are a Christian and looking for Biblical permission to resist the governing authorities, you are not going to find it in the bible.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Did The Catholic Church Ordain Gay Weddings?

Did The Catholic Church
Ordain Gay Weddings?
By Jim Duffy

RITE AND REASON: A Kiev art museum contains a curious icon from St Catherine's monastery on Mount Sinai. It shows two robed Christian saints. Between them is a traditional Roman pronubus (best man) overseeing what in a standard Roman icon would be the wedding of a husband and wife. In the icon, Christ is the pronubus. Only one thing is unusual. The "husband and wife" are in fact two men.
Is the icon suggesting that a homosexual "marriage" is one sanctified by Christ? The very idea initially seems shocking. The full answer comes from other sources about the two men featured, St Serge and St Bacchus, two Roman soldiers who became Christian martyrs.
While the pairing of saints, particularly in the early Church, was not unusual, the association of these two men was regarded as particularly close. Severus of Antioch in the sixth century explained that "we should not separate in speech [Serge and Bacchus] who were joined in life". More bluntly, in the definitive 10th century Greek account of their lives, St Serge is openly described as the "sweet companion and lover" of St Bacchus.
In other words, it confirms what the earlier icon implies, that they were a homosexual couple. Unusually their orientation and relationship was openly accepted by early Christian writers. Furthermore, in an image that to some modern Christian eyes might border on blasphemy, the icon has Christ himself as their pronubus, their best man overseeing their "marriage".
The very idea of a Christian homosexual marriage seems incredible. Yet after a 12-year search of Catholic and Orthodox church archives Yale history professor John Boswell has discovered that a type of Christian homosexual "marriage" did exist as late as the 18th century.
Contrary to myth, Christianity's concept of marriage has not been set in stone since the days of Christ, but has evolved both as a concept and as a ritual. Prof Boswell discovered that in addition to heterosexual marriage ceremonies in ancient church liturgical documents (and clearly separate from other types of non-marital blessings such as blessings of adopted children or land) were ceremonies called, among other titles, the "Office of Same Sex Union" (10th and 11th century Greek) or the "Order for Uniting Two Men" (11th and 12th century).
These ceremonies had all the contemporary symbols of a marriage: a community gathered in church, a blessing of the couple before the altar, their right hands joined as at heterosexual marriages, the participation of a priest, the taking of the Eucharist, a wedding banquet afterwards. All of which are shown in contemporary drawings of the same sex union of Byzantine Emperor Basil I (867-886) and his companion John. Such homosexual unions also took place in Ireland in the late 12th/early 13th century, as the chronicler Gerald of Wales (Geraldus Cambrensis) has recorded.
Boswell's book, The Marriage of Likeness: Same Sex Unions in Pre- Modern Europe, lists in detail some same sex union ceremonies found in ancient church liturgical documents. One Greek 13th century "Order for Solemnisation of Same Sex Union" having invoked St Serge and St Bacchus, called on God to "vouchsafe unto these thy servants [N and N] grace to love one another and to abide unhated and not a cause of scandal all the days of their lives, with the help of the Holy Mother of God and all thy saints." The ceremony concludes: "And they shall kiss the Holy Gospel and each other, and it shall be concluded."
Another 14th century Serbian Slavonic "Office of Same Sex Union", uniting two men or two women, had the couple having their right hands laid on the Gospel while having a cross placed in their left hands. Having kissed the Gospel, the couple were then required to kiss each other, after which the priest, having raised up the Eucharist, would give them both communion.
Boswell found records of same-sex unions in such diverse archives as those in the Vatican, in St Petersburg, in Paris, Istanbul, and in Sinai, covering a period from the 8th to the 18th centuries. Nor is he the first to make such a discovery. The Dominican Jacques Goar (1601-1653) includes such ceremonies in a printed collection of Greek prayer books.
While homosexuality was technically illegal from late Roman times, it was only from about the 14th century that anti-homosexual feelings swept western Europe. Yet same sex union ceremonies continued to take place.
At St John Lateran in Rome (traditionally the Pope's parish Church) in 1578 as many as 13 couples were "married" at Mass with the apparent co-operation of the local clergy, "taking Communion together, using the same nuptial Scripture, after which they slept and ate together", according to a contemporary report.
Another woman-to-woman union is recorded in Dalmatia in the 18th century. Many questionable historical claims about the church have been made by some recent writers in this newspaper.
Boswell's academic study however is so well researched and sourced as to pose fundamental questions for both modern church leaders and heterosexual Christians about their attitude towards homosexuality.
FOR the Church to ignore the evidence in its own archives would be a cowardly cop-out. That evidence shows convincingly that what the modern church claims has been its constant unchanging attitude towards homosexuality is in fact nothing of the sort.
It proves that for much of the last two millennia, in parish churches and cathedrals throughout Christendom from Ireland to Istanbul and in the heart of Rome itself, homosexual relationships were accepted as valid expressions of a God-given ability to love and commit to another person, a love that could be celebrated, honoured and blessed both in the name of, and through the Eucharist in the presence of Jesus Christ.
Jim Duffy is a writer and historian. The Marriage of Likeness: Same Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe by John Boswell is published by Harper Collins.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Americans: A Canadian's Opinion By Gordon Sinclair

Canadian journalist Gordon Sinclair and his view on Americans. This speech was published on June 5, 1973.