Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

Ukrainian Protests and The Orthodox Priests

Posted: January 23, 2014 by ShortTimer in Culture, Religion

Saw this last night:

orthodox priest in kiev jan 22 2014

Orthodox priests were putting themselves in between rioting protesters and police forces.  And just to give some idea how bad it is, beyond the protesters’ trebuchets and homemade rioting gear… when the police are throwing molotov cocktails, it’s bad.

kiev protest cops with molotovs jan 22 2014

There were reports yesterday of government forces moving tanks in to deal with the protesters and rioters, and video and pictures of tanks on railcars moving in.

And then today, it looks like things started to cool down – halted in no small part by Orthodox priests who stood between the two clashing sides.  Not taking sides, just standing amidst them and putting an end to the violence through faith.

kiev priests jan 23 2014

Contrast that resolution with the actions of religious leaders in the Middle East during the so-called “arab spring”.


Storing Treasures

Posted: April 29, 2013 by ShortTimer in Government, Humor, Religion, Tax, taxes

I lol’d.

From USA Today:

WASHINGTON — It’s been a long and arduous journey from Guatemala to the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol, but Mayra Ragon says the trip was well worth taking.

Ragon is among thousands of immigrants and their supporters who gathered under a hot sun Wednesday to show support for proposals that would grant a pathway to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants.

Ragon, 30, and her husband, Saul Lopez, 35, live and work in Maryland. Both are in the country illegally.

Both are violating the law, and while still actively violating the law, are protesting demanding that they, illegal aliens, foreigners who came to the country illegally in total disregard for the law, be given the right to cut in line ahead of someone who worked hard to get here.

Ragon says she and Lopez want to “get papers to be legal, but nobody is helping.”


If she wanted to get papers to be legal, she would’ve gotten them before she came.  She’s breaking the law and asking for amnesty.  She kicked in your house door, camped out on the couch, and now wants you to invite her to stay because she thinks she’s entitled to your house.

The 28 Catholics from St. Mary’s Student Parish in Ann Arbor Mich., road a bus for 10 hours to attend the rally and to support the Hispanic community in their congregation. Deportation is a “very real problem in our community” said Father Dan Reim, a Jesuit priest at St.Mary’s.

Deportation in the “Catholic hispanic community” isn’t a real problem.  The problem is that they harbor illegal aliens who by their first step in the country are breaking the law.  The problem is their criminal acts.

That’s like the same Jesuit priest saying “incarceration is a very real problem in our priest community”.  No, the problem is you molest little boys.  The problem is the criminal acts.

The effect of criminal behavior is being felt because there is a criminal act being conducted.  Hispanics aren’t being deported.  Illegal aliens are being deported.

Via Sipsey Street Irregulars, from Washington Times:

A Sikh man is suing the state of California over its gun laws, arguing they violate his First Amendment rights to practice his religion by barring him from carrying the kind of weapons he says he needs for self-defense.

Gursant Singh Khalsa, a practicing Sikh for 35 years, charges in the lawsuit filed this month that California’s laws banning military-style, semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity magazines violate mainstream Sikh doctinre requiring Sikhs “be at all time fully prepared to defend themselves and others against injustice.”

Standard capacity magazines.

“We’re required to wear what’s called a kirpan” or dagger, he said Thursday. “I feel, as far as my religion goes, it dictates that we should have all weapons of all kinds to defend ourselves. By not being able to carry an assault rifle or weapon that has a high-capacity magazine, I don’t feel that I can defend myself or my family.”

Mr. Khalsa, who lives in Yuba City about 40 miles north of Sacramento, said he believes such a right should be available to all Americans with the proper training but that it’s also specific to the Sikh religion, which has roots deeply tied to self-defense.

“Some splinter groups attempt this by wearing symbolic miniature daggers in their turbans, to comply with this requirement,” he argues in the lawsuit, filed in federal court in California. “But mainstream Sikhs believe this requirement is a literal and true moral duty. As Guru Gobind Singh instructed his Sikhs; ‘Without uncut hair and weapons do not come before me’.”

The Kirpan is traditional, but it’s also a symbol.  Sikhs some places are forbidden to wear the swords as local laws oppress them, and are left with daggers, or even pocketknives or pins in the shape of a kirpan.

Guru Gobind Singh clearly chose these words very deliberately – He did not state that the Khalsa was the army of the Khalsa or an army of the Sikhs or the army of Punjab – but an Army of God whose function was the protection and safeguarding of all the peoples of God regardless of religion, race or creed.

Mr. Khalsa makes an especially relevant point in that Sikhs themselves, who by their religion must protect the oppressed, have also become targets of madmen.

Khalsa continues:

Mr. Khalsa, in his lawsuit, argues that the “sword” goes beyond the literal object.

“Decrees from the Tenth Sikh Guru state in the most vigorous and clear words that a Sikh’s conception of God is the sword of dharma,” he argues. “Not only the sword but every weapon became an attributive symbol of God for the Sikhs.”

Again, keep in mind the tenets of their faith:

Sikhism teaches that all of humanity was created by the Onkar, which is addressed by many names and understood differently. Sikhism teaches to respect all other religions (tolerance) and that one should defend the rights of not just one’s own religion but the religion and faith of others as a human right. At the end of every Sikh prayer is a supplication for the welfare of all of humanity.  ( Tere Bhanne Sarbat Da Bhala )

Denying them modern arms is religious oppression:

The lawsuit also says that California’s laws infringe on the Second and 14th Amendment rights of Mr. Khalsa and others.

Mr. Khalsa, the suit reads, “fears arrest, criminal prosecution, incarceration, and fine if he were to possess loaded weapons with 11 or more round magazines within his home, within his vehicle on the streets, or within his temple. But his religious beliefs require no less.”

One of their religion’s core tenets, again, is defense of the rights one one’s own and of others’ faith, and defense from oppression for all.  Mr. Khalsa gets it.

From America Magazine/The Nationl Catholic Review, a long piece with the familiar anti-gun spiel and their conclusion here:

Americans must ask: Is it prudent to retain a constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms when it compels our judges to strike down reasonable, popularly supported gun regulations? Is it moral to inhibit in this way the power of the country’s elected representatives to provide for the public safety?

There is nothing reasonable about any steps towards disarmament.  It is only “reasonable” to the tyrant, who lies until he has total power.

It is absolutely moral to inhibit the power of government.  And somebody else already came up with 95 reasons to inhibit the power of the Catholic Church.

martin luther 95 theses

Does the threat of tyranny, a legitimate 18th-century concern but an increasingly remote, fanciful possibility in the contemporary United States, trump the grisly, daily reality of gun violence?

There have been plenty of tyrannies since the 18th century, and the tyrannies since the 18th century have killed many more people.  The grisly, daily reality of violence is man upon man.  The apocalyptic reality of government violence goes far beyond any of that is scale.

There have already been concentration camps inside the US.  There is nothing “fanciful” about it.


Just to really hammer the point home hard in a very critical way – to many people today, God (especially by Catholicism’s claims) is an increasingly remote, fanciful possibility in the contemporary United States.  The Catholic Church and their particular belief system have been rejected quite a lot, as they claim their moral and sometimes physical authority based on their remote, fanciful possibility of a God they can’t prove (otherwise there wouldn’t be Protestants who reject the Catholic dogma, agnostics who question it, or atheists who outright reject it).

You can visit Heart Mountain.  You don’t have to believe, and there are no massive institutions set up to develop belief in it (and thereby develop their own power around it).  It simply exists.  It is there.

The answer to each of these questions is no.

If you refuse to acknowledge the deaths of millions and if you selectively ignore information which disputes your conclusion, and if you want greater power over the population, sure.

It is time to face reality. If the American people are to confront this scourge in any meaningful way, then they must change. The Constitution must change. The American people should repeal the Second Amendment.

No.  That is not reality.  That is a willful rejection of reality.

You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.

Jesus, Matthew 12:34

I’m with the Jewish carpenter.

In a recent interview, Tommaso Di Ruzza, the expert on disarmament and arms control at the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, explained that an individual does not possess an absolute natural right to own a lethal weapon: “There is a sort of natural right to defend the common interest and the common good” by the limited use of force, but this applies more to nations with an effective rule of law, not armed individuals.

What a surprise, an expert on disarmament says individuals don’t have rights to self defense – that they must be part of a collective.  According to the “expert on disarmament”, an individual life is irrelevant to “the common good”.  An individual has no right to arms to defend themselves with effective tools, so the individual life is forfeit, unless the collective agrees.

It’s almost like there’s somebody who taught us a lesson about persecution at some point in the past…  Maybe something about one guy being killed because the many wanted him dead…  There might’ve been a few lessons to that story that that guy’s death was supposed to teach us…  I’m sure the Catholic Church hasn’t heard it before.

In the wake of Newtown, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan said that “the fight for greater gun control in the country” is a pro-life position. “The unfettered access to assault weapons and handguns, along with the glorification of violence in our ‘entertainment’ industry…is really all part of a culture of death,” Cardinal Dolan said.

Oh really?  Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan?

A week before Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan is set to leave New York for Rome, where his name is being floated as a candidate for pope, he was questioned in Manhattan for three hours on Wednesday behind closed doors in a legal deposition concerning the sexual abuse of children by priests.

The lawyers deposing Cardinal Dolan represent hundreds of people who say they were sexually molested by priests in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, which he led for seven years before his appointment as archbishop of New York in 2009. The lawyers want to know when Cardinal Dolan, as archbishop of Milwaukee, learned of allegations against certain priests, and how quickly he made those allegations public.

Cardinal Dolan is one of two American cardinals who are being deposed in sexual abuse lawsuits this week…

Cardinal Timothy M. “Pays Off Child Molesters” Dolan?

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York authorized payments of as much as $20,000 to sexually abusive priests as an incentive for them to agree to dismissal from the priesthood when he was the archbishop of Milwaukee.

Questioned at the time about the news that one particularly notorious pedophile cleric had been given a “payoff” to leave the priesthood, Cardinal Dolan, then the archbishop, responded that such an inference was “false, preposterous and unjust.”

But a document unearthed during bankruptcy proceedings for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and made public by victims’ advocates reveals that the archdiocese did make such payments to multiple accused priests to encourage them to seek dismissal, thereby allowing the church to remove them from the payroll.

I’m going back to what the Jewish carpenter said:

You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.

Jesus, Matthew 12:34

They speak of disarmament while they molest children.  They speak of collective rights which make the individual defenseless.  They reject the facts of what happens when governments become tyrannical, they reject crime statistics they don’t like, and they then demand that the US changes its laws?

In the national imagination, the Constitution is too often thought of as a kind of sacred text. Yet neither our founders nor our forebears held to that view. The Constitution is mere human law. It is excellent law, but it is not divine law; it is not revelation. We should be wary of amending the Bill of Rights. We should also be wary of idolizing it. The Constitution is the man-made law of a self-governing people; the people, therefore, are entitled to ask basic, critical questions about it. In our time, is a given constitutional provision a good law or a bad law? Does it promote the common good? The secular dogma of constitutional immutability must yield to careful, critical inquiry.

The origins of who wrote it, how they were inspired to write it, and all the history makes it pretty darned close to sacred text.  It isn’t “mere human law”, it’s the best governmental law there is, and it provides for an environment wherein religious groups can worship as they choose, creating an environment in which the free and open discussion of what is right and wrong in a religious sense can be decided without coercion or holy wars.

The Constitution is a law of self-governing people.  If you take away the arms of the people, they are no longer self-governed.  Then there is a government of the Ruling Class who rule the rest of the people.

Ben Franklin famously said, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb deciding on what to have for dinner.  Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.”  The “common good” means the lamb should be the wolves’ dinner.  By 66% vote, the wolves have it.  The “common good” is unacceptable, and has for millenia been the cry of tyrants who oppress minorities… like some people in a book that some people’s entire religions are based off of.

The Constitution is a social science model, not in the mushy sociology of today, but in the “what form of government works” analysis of generations past.  It works.  It does provide for the individual and common good as well.  It does benefit it to have a moral, invested citizenry to uphold it, but it is closer to laws of science and how people work together in groups.  It’s worked demonstratably well for an incredibly long time because it was written by men with a very good understanding of how people work together, the natural tendencies of one group to oppress another, and with the best system of opposing checks and balances to help keep the individual citizen as free as possible.  It’s not just some transient thing scribbled down on parchment.  The Founders wrote it down the way an engineer writes blueprints for a well-constructed house.

The Catholic Church inserting itself into science and declaring that only one view of how the world works is acceptable is part of the reason Galileo ended up under arrest for a long time.

Make no mistake, however: The world we envision is a world with far fewer guns, a world in which no one has a right to own one. Some people, though far fewer, will still die from gun violence. The disturbing feeling that we have failed to do everything in our power to remove the material cause of their deaths, however, will no longer compound our grief.

Does not happen.  Never happens.  Disarmament leads to genocide, and it does so every damned time, just at different speeds.  When one group has uncontested power and authority over another, the weaker is exploited.  Altar boys know this.

Government, too, is people.   Putting power in the hands of government simply leads to oppression.  A religious argument for governmental tyranny is every bit as invalid as a secular one.

If only there were a crystal clear example of putting power in the hands of one group of “well-meaning” religious people that resulted in torture, execution, persecution and mass murder of people they disliked

inquisition torture

We’ve got a Constitution to prevent this.

And the Jewish carpenter would agree.

And if you don’t have an AR-15, sell your cloak and buy one.

jesus ar 15

Well, he’d say it today.

Update: Another point to add that I omitted yesterday – the National Catholic Review’s anti-2A stance also rejects the life of any individual – including the individual Catholic – as worth defending by denying effective tools of self-defense.

Consider that one of the main tenets of the KKK was anti-Catholicism, and that an argument for disarmament of the individual against the mob would leave individual Catholics defenseless.

For a church that’s both persecuted the defenseless and itself been the target of persecution, the need for effective self-defense against any oppression is probably pretty well understood by the rank & file Catholic; while the Ruling Class theocracy is simply out for the same kind of power that secular Ruling Class people are out for.

Use of Banishment Against Robbers

Posted: January 29, 2013 by ShortTimer in Crime, Humor, Religion

Go figure, it’s a news story from Florida:

Lake City, Florida – A gun-wielding burglar who recently attempted to rob over a dozen women attending a residential jewelry party is behind bars after he fled the scene when the women ordered him out in the name of Jesus.

The incident happened last Friday when homeowner Jacquie Hagler had fourteen friends over for the party. Derek Lee, 24, who was wearing a ski cap and a bandana, entered the home with a gun and demanded that the women hand over their money and phones.

…Hagler, a born-again Christian, understood that the situation was indeed real. Some reports state that Lee even showed the women the bullets in his gun to prove that the robbery was not a prank.

“When I realized what was going on, I stood up and said, ‘In the name of Jesus, get out of my house now!’” Hagler told local television station WJXT-TV. “And he said [again], ‘I’m going to shoot someone.’”

“I said it again real boldly,” she continued. “Everybody started chanting, ‘Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!’”

Lee was stunned.

“The look on his face was just astonishment. He was totally captivated by whatever he saw,” Hagler explained. “[H]e did a quick scan of the room, and ran out the door as fast as he could go.”

Whatever works, I guess.

A very interesting piece over at The American Vision:

Imagine the following scenario: At church this Sunday, while reviewing the list of announcements and upcoming events for your church, your pastor added, “Oh, and don’t forget: on Sundays we have our regular target practice. Make sure to bring your rifles. Make sure to bring your pieces to church.”

Absurd, right? Not so. It used to be the American way. For example, a 1631 law in Virginia required citizens to own firearms, to engage in practice with them, and to do so publicly on holy days. It demanded that the people “bring their pieces to the church.” Somewhere along the line we have lost this mindset. Today the ideas of church and arms are assumed to be at odds, as if loving your neighbor has nothing to do with the preservation and defense of life and property.

But the idea of Christian society and an armed, skilled populace actually have deep historical roots.

Self-defense was viewed as what it is – a testament to the fact that you cared about life, liberty, property, happiness, and freedom.  In this case, it’s often the freedom to worship, but still, interesting even so.

The American Second Amendment did not spring into existence from nowhere. It had a long pedigree. The Christian society emerging from the old laws of Alfred continued to include the ideal of an armed populace as a means of securing human liberties. The Founders, many of them lawyers, had studied that legal tradition and would have read William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765–1769). The first part of the first volume elaborates on the subject of our “principal absolute rights… of personal security, personal liberty, and private property [i.e. life, liberty, and property].” It then covers five means of securing and protecting these rights “inviolate”:

The fifth and last auxiliary right of the subject, that I shall at present mention, is that of having arms for their defence, suitable to their condition and degree, and such as are allowed by law. Which is also declared by the same statute I W. & M. st.2. c.2. and is indeed a public allowance, under due restrictions, of the natural right of resistance and self-preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression.[9]

Blackstone was noteably cited in DC v Heller.

Locke elaborated these views within the context of belief in God’s ultimate sovereignty, ownership, and law-order over all of creation:

Every one, as he is bound to preserve himself… so by the like reason, when his own preservation comes not in competition, ought he, as much as he can, to preserve the rest of mankind, and may not, unless it be to do justice on an offender, take away, or impair the life, or what tends to the preservation of the life, the liberty, health, limb, or goods of another.

Locke’s elaboration there and in the Second Treatise of Government is also noteworthy because it can exist even if you don’t believe and thereby don’t equate God’s gift of life with the morality of self defense.  If you are a die-hard atheist who believes totally in the accidental creation of the universe by the FSM or something, your survival – your own personal survival, is ultimately of paramount importance to you.  If you don’t believe in God, you still know that there’s something that came before the big bang, you still know there’s some Higgs’ boson or something out there left to discover, and the ultimate answer to existence (since you say no to God) means it’s left to be discovered.  In the meantime, you need to survive, learn, and most likely procreate so your descendants will learn from you and ultimately you’ll find that purpose.

Yeah, yeah, 42, but what’s the question?

dont panic hitchhikers guide

Moving on…

Survival becomes, and is, an absolute moral.  Your life is the most important thing there is.

I mentioned Starship Troopers in the last post, and I’ll mention it here again.  Within the book (the movie is an abomination), there’s much discussion of how survival is the basis for all morals, and morality has become almost mathematical because of it.  Your life is the most important thing in the world.  But the value you put on your family’s life may exceed that you put on your own.  It doesn’t mean that yours is less valuable, it just means that you have taken it upon yourself to value their life more, and put your own at risk to protect them.  This starts with spouse and children (with whom you share a link to the future), but ultimately extends outwards to encompass all of your region, culture, society, and humankind.  It takes great understanding to put your own life at risk for someone you’ve never met, which is why this is such a virtuous thing to do.

And at the same time, it’s also why a tyranny that views even one life as unimportant (let alone millions) is an invalid entity – because that one life has value on its own.

Thus even if you choose the advancement of human knowledge as your deity instead of Yahweh, Jesus, Buddha, Vishnu, Ahura Mazda, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, you can still find that these principles apply, and agree with the wisdom here:

Evil ever advances upon our families, churches, and states. Evil seeks positions of power, such as government, and from there seeks to eliminate the avenues of power that threaten it (an armed people). Thus tyrannical government seek to pass gun control laws.

jesus ar 15“…and if you don’t have a AR-15, sell your cloak and buy one…”

Luke 22:36

Perhaps it’s important to note something else Heinlein put forth: that “an armed society is a polite society”.  Tyrants don’t try to oppress those who can fight back, just like bullies don’t torment those who fight back.  It’s a preemptive move against tyranny, and creates a more peaceful state.  No wars were ever started because a pacifist was too strong.

Si vis pacem, para bellum.