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Thursday, 21 December 2006

Salt-water whitewash in Boston Harbor

Counter To celebrate the 133rd anniversary of the Subversive Masonic Operation known as the Boston Tea Party, a group of protesters--party affiliation unknown--tossed their copies of the 9/11 Commission Report into the already polluted waters of Boston Harbor.

That this action may have violated any number of local, state, and federal regulations written to protect the purity of Boston Harbor did not seem to concern them as much as the rampant impurity they felt was represented by each waterlogged volume of government propaganda now bobbing upon its waters.

This could be the beginnings of a Second American Revolution.

Update on Linway Theater v. Grimshaw

Counter On August 24th, I promised to keep my readers informed on the Criminal Trespass Trial of Da Vinci Code protester Mr. Grimshaw, which was scheduled to begin December 20th. Well, that date has now come and gone, and the trial hasn't happened--to no great surprise. These things tend to drag out until everyone has forgotten what it was all about.

The prosecutor has encouraged Mr. Grimshaw towards agreeing to a "Pre-Trial Deferment" program which is basically a situation in which the defendant accepts the minimum sentence he would have gotten had he been found guilty as charged (probation & court costs) while waiving his Constitutional right to a trial by a jury of his peers. He didn't take the bait, so the trial has been postponed.


January 3rd: Rather than post another update, I revise this post with the news that the trial has been postponed yet again, for six weeks this time.

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

The Mark revisited

CounterIn today's link, we see a seemingly innocuous story about blind people needing to be able to use currency unaided. So why not make our currency (speaking USA here) more distinguishable to a blind person?

Cost, of course. And even signing a credit card slip could be pretty hard for a totally sightless person.

But what if a device could be used to transact business that would be equally easy regardless of whether the buyer could see or not?

Such a device exists--the RFID microchip.

Stand by, folks.

Tuesday, 5 December 2006

Pastorpreneurs and other mythical creatures

As a linguist now in his fifth decade of study, I've been able to see my native language change before my very eyes. First we had documentaries. As these morphed into various forms, they became docudramas--mockumentaries--advomentaries. But a word has been coined that puts together two words that--in an ideal world--would have nothing to do with each other: Pastor and Entrepreneur.

A Pastorpreneur is one who uses his position as an expositor of God's Word to rake in the Mammon. But Pastorpreneur is an oxymoron; Jesus had a better word for a Shepherd who's just in it for the money.

He called him a Hireling.

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Dead men don't tell tales--but live ones won't keep silent

CounterMuch was made of the 5th anniversary of 9/11, the worst ever terrorist attack on US soil. But nobody seems to remember Oklahoma city, the previous worse ever attack.

There are people who want it that way. Find out what they've done to make sure.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3272698624135234456&q=oklahoma+city+bombing

The man who made this documentary is an Oklahoma legislator who was voted out of office for making it.

But he's back.

Tuesday, 14 November 2006

Japan's Prehistoric Long Night

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Below is a selection from The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales. While mythical, its prehistoric nature implies a germ of ancient history behind the story.

Some elements in the story which we shall notice are:

1. A female ruling Japan in ancient times;
2. The breakdown of dynastic rule;
3. Anthropormorphic manifestation;
4. The Japanese practice of suicide by the defeated general;
5. Volcanic activity directly following a massive local flood which miraculously subsided;
6. The observance by astronomers of an unusually long night, and the associated attempts by astrologers to end it.

Whether this story originated with Joshua's Long Day/Night of c. 1450 BCE or not cannot be proven on the basis of the information given; however, the geographical location of Japan is inconsistent with such a juxtaposition. Astronomical evaluation of Joshua's Long Day places Japan far from the terminator. Actually, the story best fits the scenario in which a large volcanic eruption obscures the sky for days at a time. The flood may fit a scenario in which a pre-eruption tsunami breaks over a coastal range and is spent in the valley below.


THE EMPRESS JOWKA
Once upon a time... an Empress lived in Japan. She was
young, beautiful, kindly, and wise, and her name was
Jowka. She dreamt of living in peace, thinking of the
welfare of her people, but in the northern mountains,
a rebellion broke out led by prince Kokai. He sent a
message to the Empress, "Jowka, either you must marry
me and share the throne, or I will put your kingdom
to the flame and sword!" Jowka, who knew the empresses
never flinch at threats, replied, "Kokai, we shall
fight!", and sent an army against the rebels.
The army was strong and well led and it defeated the
rebels in more than one battle. But, just before the
most important battle of all, something terrible and
magical happened. Kokai pleaded with one of the evil
gods and it started to rain. The rivers grew swollen
with water and broke their banks. There were appalling
floods which took the Imperial army by surprise and
swept it away. Every man, from the general to the
humblest soldier, was drowned. And Kokai the rebel came
down from the mountains and approached the capital of
the Empire. Jowka sent other armies against him, but
each one met the same fate: swept away in the
swirling waters that obeyed Kokai's orders. The whole
of Japan was terror-stricken. Was power to be seized
by a merciless rebel magician? Jowka was lost in
thought over this when, one night, she heard a rustle
in the room where she was saying her prayers. Lifting
her eyes, she saw, standing in front of her, a man
wearing a long tunic and holding a stick. He had long
white hair and a flowing beard, as soft as silk.
The Empress jumped in surprise, but the old man said:
"Have no fear, Jowka, I'm a friend, I'm the God of
Fire. I heard your prayers, I know how much you are
suffering, and I'm here to help. Don't worry! I shall
join your armies and Kokai's magic will do nothing
against me." "Tell me, God of Fire, what must I do?"
the Empress murmured. "You must gather a new army to
send against the rebel. I will march at the side of
your general." And so the Empress ordered the greatest
and biggest army ever seen in Japan to be mustered,
and a huge number of men, horses and chariots set out.
Everyone, including the Imperial and rebel soldiers, knew
that the battle about to be fought would be final. The
two opposing armies slowly drew closer on a vast plain,
and the general leading the imperial troops murmured:
"It is unwise to march here. Kokai could easily flood
this area!" The God of Fire, marching at the general's
side in the guise of a bold young officer said: "Have
no fear, I'm far stronger than water." There were a
few skirmishes, then Kokai, high on the mountain where
he had made his camp, raised his arms invoking the help
of the elements. The earth shook, there was a fierce
gust of wind and an immense rush of water swept down
the mountainside onto the plain. The Imperial soldiers
screamed with terror, but the God of Fire simply said:
"Keep calm! That water will not even lap our feet."
And indeed, the huge foaming waves that seemed to
gallop towards the army, suddenly slowed down when
they reached the God of Fire, drew back, split with a
tremendous roar and were swallowed up by the earth.
"This is the end of Kokai! March on!" ordered the
general, and the entire army marched on towards the
mountain and defeated the enemy. Kokai saw that the
rebellion was now over, his power had gone and his
fortune too had disappeared. But rather than surrender
to the Empress Jowka, who would have forgiven him, he
hurled himself, head first, against the mountain and
died. But the blow was so hard that the mountain,
named Shu, cracked and from the crack gushed out fire,
poisonous fumes and lava that quickly invaded the
plain below, burning and suffocating everything on it.
A far worse danger now threatened the empire of the
wise Jowka! The Empress remained quite calm. Then
she received another terrible piece of news. The
crack in the mountain and the disaster that followed,
had also cracked the pillars that held up the sky,
damaging the pathway along which, every day, the Sun
and the Moon traveled with their chariots, carrying
the light. In a short time, in fact, a dreadful dark
shadow fell over all the world. People were afraid of
the darkness, they wept and despaired. So wise Jowka
ordered huge bonfires to be kept alight, so that the
flames would give them comfort, courage and new hope.
And she sent word to all her subjects that they should
collect blue, white, orange and red stones and bring
them to the palace. When that was done, the Empress
ground down the stones, and made a kind of paste,
something like liquid porcelain, transparent and shiny.
She put it in a pot, then with a magic spell summoned
a cloud, climbed on top of it and made it carry her
to the exact spot where the heavenly pillar was
cracked. There, she repaired the damage using the
strange coloured paste. As she went back to earth,
she said to herself, "There! The pillar is mended.
The chariots of the Sun and the Moon can take to the
road again and the light will return." Alas! Things
didn't quite happen that way! Days went by and the
light had still not come back. The Sun and the Moon
were nowhere to be seen. And the people, who had had
such high hopes, again began to weep and wail. Everyone
began to say, "Oh dear! We shall live the rest of our
lives in the dark! We will go blind, we will die of
the cold! Nothing will grow in the fields, and if we
survive the dark and the cold, we will die of hunger!"
Once again, the Empress kept calm and was unworried.
She called together all the wise men of the realm and
asked them to find out what had happened. Long
discussions took place, then a very learned philosopher
went before Jowka and told her, "Your most gracious
Highness, I know exactly what has happened! When the
pillar of heaven cracked the Sun and the Moon shut
themselves away in their palaces in alarm. And they
have never come out again. How can they possibly know
the pillar has been repaired?" "Yes! Yes! That is so!"
chorused the other wise men. The Empress then said,
"There is only way to tell them. Send a messenger!"
"A messenger?" they asked. Jowka went on. "Yes. Or
rather, two! One to gallop to the Sun and the other
to the Moon. We can't be discourteous, and if we were
to warn one before the other, then the second one
might take offense." All over the empire, a search
was made for two horsemen brave enough to face such
a long journey, and two horses strong enough to gallop
into the heart of Day and Night. It wasn't easy to
find suitable men but in the end, two young men came
to Jowka, and she told them what had to be done...
The messengers set off. It was a long and fearful
journey, from cloud to cloud, from heaven to heaven,
through winds and storms, brushing past comets and
shooting stars. But they delivered the Empress's message
to the Sun and the Moon. The pillar had been repaired,
their chariots could return to the heavenly pathways.
The Sun and the Moon thanked the messengers. The next
day, the shadows disappeared from the daylight world,
and light flooded back again, as before. the two
messengers knelt before the Empress on their return,
but Jowka made them rise to their feet, saying: "No!
Men like you shall always remain on their feet before
anyone on earth, for you have looked the Sun and the Moon in the face!"

Saturday, 11 November 2006

Generous Paupers

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I can't remember who it was who said that if all the money was taken away from the rich people and given to the poor--provided that it was only a one-time deal and everthing else was kept the same--within a year the rich would have it all back. The poor would have spent every dime.

Today's story, about poor people who were given a 0% mortgage by Habitat for Humanity refinancing it with a 16% home equity loan, are a prime example of the truth of that statement. Two percent of HfH's 0% loans end up in foreclosure after being transferred to predatory lenders.

Poor suckers.

Daniel's Seventieth Week getting closer

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Lawmakers are petitioning to allow Israel to join the European Union. Make of it what you will.

Sunday, 22 October 2006

Neener, neener

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'The


Hint: You really do have to pick the right smiley.
And, as is typically the case with multiple-guess tests, you have to be no less stupid then the test writer, who in this case didn't realize, or admit, that Pluto isn't a planet.

Friday, 20 October 2006

Thursday, 19 October 2006

Sexual assault with robbery? A satire

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This is based on a true story.
Hint: watch for a paradigm shift, when we switch to actual copies of the original emails.
----------------------------------

From: Hermn Dorqlwicz
To: Undisclosed Recipients
Date: January 31, 2005
Subject: Pray for my family

Dear Friends,
I just got off the phone with my wife. She was robbed this morning on a trip to town with our daughter. The robber didn't get much--only about $140--and it looks like insurance will cover most of it. The scary thing, though, is that he did threaten to do this again, on a regular basis, over the next few months. Please pray that he won't abuse anyone in the process.

From: Hermn Dorqlwicz
To: Undisclosed Recipients
Date: March 3, 2005
Subject: Pray for my family's safety

Well, it happened again, just yesterday afternoon. The same assailant struck again, and got another $140. And we haven't even gotten the insurance settlement from the last incident yet! I talked to someone at the police station, and they told me that they have no intention of doing anything about it. Apparently this assailant has powerful friends in high places and the law is on his side. So far my wife and daughter haven't been hurt, and they think I'm making too big a deal about this.

From: Hermn Dorqlwicz
To: Undisclosed Recipients
Date: April 4, 2005
Subject: Pray for the assailant

I got bold enough today to walk right up to the assailant who's robbed us three times now and asked him to stop. He was pretty brusque with me, assuring me that this is how he operates and hinting that if I interfered he'd get the law on me himself. For all he claims to be a kind and caring professional, from what I've heard of him I'm convinced he's armed and dangerous.

BTW, we got the insurance settlement for the original incident. They covered 80%. Apparently they get a lot of claims like this.

From: Hermn Dorqlwicz
To: Undisclosed Recipients
Date: July 12, 2005
Subject: More threats

Thanks to those who have been praying about this tense situation with my wife and daughter. The encounters are becoming more and more frequent. The assailant has been bombarding the latter with intense energy waves in an attempt to probe for some weakness in her that he can take advantage of. So far he hasn't found any, but we feel very vulnerable. Every time he confronts them, he won't release them until they've left him another $140. He's already gotten all kinds of personal information out of my wife, including where we live and even where I work. So no one here is likely to be safe from this man as long as he remains at large.


From: Hermn Dorqlwicz
To: Undisclosed Recipients
Date: August 14, 2005
Subject: Imminent Danger!

My wife returned home yesterday in tears. She'd had yet another run-in with her nemesis, and this time he openly bragged about his intentions. He even showed her where he would cut her if our daughter didn't concede to his demands. His constant probing has shown him that unless she changes her position on a very important matter, he's coming after both of them with his blade.

From: Hermn Dorqlwicz
To: Undisclosed Recipients
Date: September 6, 2005
Subject: Doom!

This man is determined now. He's picked the time and place for the assault, and assembled a gang of accomplices. They are determined to go forward with this, and have made dark but unspecified threats to me as to what would happen if they don't show up. I really don't know what else to do but pray.

From: Hermn Dorqlwicz
To: Undisclosed Recipients
Date: September 6, 2005
Subject: Reprieve!

Folks,
This is a major answer to prayer. We left the choice up to her, but our daughter has now conceded to the assailant's demands, and given up the position she's held so long. He says it's too late, though, to go back on his plans entirely. But rather than coming after my wife with the knife, he's changed the weapon to a drug-infested needle. My daugher will get a dose of the same, and he's confident that under the influence of the drug they will be compelled to do his will.

* * * * *

From: Hermn Dorqlwicz
To: Undisclosed Recipients
Date: September 8, 2005
Subject: Update

As I wrote earlier, my wife is past her due date, but the baby is no longer in the breech position. The doctor wants to go ahead with the delivery before the weekend starts, so he's put her on Pitocin drip. Contractions have begun. Pray that all goes well.

From: Hermn Dorqlwicz
To: Undisclosed Recipients
Date: September 9, 2005
Subject: Report

The doctor reports that our daughter is under stress so he's going ahead with the planned C-section. Pray for a safe delivery.

From: Hermn Dorqlwicz
To: Undisclosed Recipients
Date: September 10, 2005
Subject: Latest Report

Well, it's just past midnight, and I'm proud to report that we are now the parents of a 6 pound 10 ounce baby girl! Mother and baby are fine. Everything went as planned, so they should be out of the hospital in another few days.

Thanks for praying.

Monday, 16 October 2006

Adam and Noah were tall, black and bearded

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I've made a side study of anthropology and over the years I've collected quite a few Creation and Flood stories. But here's a new one I just ran across, from the Andamanese culture, most of which had no historic contact with the rest of the world prior to 1858 when a British penal colony was erected at Port Blair.

* * *
After Puluga had made the world, he created man and called him Tomo. He was black in colour like his modern-day descendants but much taller and bearded. Puluga showed Tomo how to use fire and especially how to cook pigs which in those days were easy to catch as they had neither ears nor noses. Later Puluga also created a woman whose name was Chan Elewadi. The original couple had two daughters and two sons. When pigs became plentiful enough to be a nuisance, the clever woman drilled holes into their snouts and heads, thereby enabling them to hear and see to avoid danger and procure food for themselves. Puluga then covered the whole land with jungle in which the newly-equipped pigs could hide, thereby becoming much more difficult to catch. Puluga came to the rescue of the people by showing Tomo how to hunt with the help of bow and arrows as well as how to build canoes and how to fish. He showed Chan Elewadi how to weave baskets, make fishing nets and to use ochre and white clay. He also set down a number of rules and regulations such as a prohibition on noisy work at night during the wet season. Puluga also gave the people their language, A-Pucikwar. In those days Puluga lived on Saddle Peak and being so near could visit and instruct his people. The canoes of those early days were not, according to legend, equipped with outriggers and were made of the hollowed out trunk of the pandanus tree which was said to have grown much bigger then. The creeks so characteristic of Greater Andaman are also said to have been made at that time: Tomo had harpooned a large fish which in its frantic efforts to escape hit the land repeatedly with its snout and caused the indentations that turned into useful creeks. Tomo himself was said to have lived to a great old age and to have seen his descendants increase in number to such a degree that the original homeland could no longer accommodate them all. Puluga then interfered again and had them all equipped with weapons, implements, fire and their own language before they scattered in pairs all over the country. Tomo and his wife later drowned and were turned into a whale and a small crab respectively.
Tomo's successor was his grandson, Kolwot, who distinguished himself by being the first to catch turtle. After Kolwot's death, the people became remiss of the commands given to them at the creation. Puluga ceased to visit them and then without further warning sent a devastating flood. Only four people survived this flood: two men, Loralola and Poilola, and two women, Kalola and Rimalola. When they landed they found they had lost their fire and all living things had perished. Puluga then recreated the animals and plants but does not seem to have given any further instructions, nor did he return the fire to the survivors. They suffered grievously. At this critical moment, one of their recently-drowned friends reappeared in the form of a kingfisher. He noticed their distress and flew up to the sky where he found Puluga seated beside his fire. He sized a burning log and tried to fly to earth with it. The kingfisher-spirit dropped the log on Puluga who suffered burns and angrily hurled the log at the bird. It missed its mark and instead fell near the four survivors people who thus had their problem solved for them. The legend at this point adds that since that time until the present day, the Andamanese tribes have never been without fire, thanks to the precautions they employ to guard against its extinction. The survivors received no such help with the other skills of daily life which they had to recover by themselves. The pigments for body-painting were said to have been rediscovered accidentally by women searching for edible roots.

* * *

Note the following historical elements in this myth:
1. Creation of a single couple: man first
2. Close communion with God, later lost
3. Physiological change from the original human prototype
4. Long Lifespans and rapid population growth
5. Global dispersion accompanied by language change
6. Cataclysmic flood


Now, another interesting element in this myth has no direct counterpart in recorded history, but it is shared by other myths across the globe: Fire from Heaven. Distinct to this myth is the admission that the use of fire had been lost earlier. Fire is the most basic technology that distinguishes Man from Beast. All men make use of nurtured fire; no animals do.

Wednesday, 11 October 2006

Getting closer to Apocalpse 13:7

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A blog that recently made front-page news in USA Today is the subject of a defamation lawsuit, claiming, among other things, that the blogger, Frank Vance, defamed both Tim Dick and Ligonier Ministries inc. by stating, "It would be one thing if Tim Dick were qualified for the position . . . it's self-evident that the man is as unfit to head Ligonier Ministries as is RC Sproul Jr to be a pastor."

Thus a civil judge is being asked to adjudicate the qualification of the litigant for Christian leadership--something we hope the judge has refused to do.

But such is not the case in a similar legal battle being waged out on a rocky peninsula on the Aegean where the one hundred monks of the Esphigmenou Monastery are being actively persecuted by the Greek government over an issue of who is fit to lead the Eastern Orthodox Church. Four monks have already died, and the rest are being starved into submission--or death.

It has been centuries since a secular European state was asked to penalize members of a church whose heirarchy had accused of heresy. The Inquisition, long thought to be dead in the West, has now reared its head in the East.

The monks' crime? They oppose the support of their Ecumenical Patriarch--a Turkish citizen--for unification with the Catholic Church and submission to the Pope.

Their leader, Methodios, wrote to his fellow abbotts:
"Keep in mind, what is now apparent, the official Union of the Churches, because the European Union is being rushed to complete a Unified Europe. "

Sign of the times?

More on Postpartum Hemorrhage

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In a previous post, I originally misidentified the abortion drug now being pushed on women in developing countries. This was easy to do, as text on the NPR website does not name the drug, and the original article it cited is not freely available online. Compounding that, several websites I looked at misspelled the drug.

Here's how one of these websites describes the use of Misoprostol in medical abortions:
"In the French Protocol, misoprostol is given in pill form (400 mcg) 48 hours after a woman has taken mifepristone. It is sometimes prescribed as a vaginal suppository (800 mcg) because this route can be safer and more effective, especially with pregnancies that are farther along. The use of misoprostol by itself for medical abortion has been studied, particularly in Brazil, where abortion is illegal and misoprostol is the easiest of the three medical abortion drugs to acquire. These studies have found that although misoprostol is about as effective as both two-drug combinations, there are many more unpleasant side effects.

"Among the side effects of misoprostol are diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Some women also get hot flashes or episodes of fever. Possibly because it enters the bloodstream more gradually, misoprostol seems to have fewer side effects when given as a suppository than by mouth."


One of the unpleasant side effects of being a Voice Crying in the Wilderness is that you offend a lot of experts. Pharisees were the religious experts of Jesus' day, and he outright offended them in the very area in which they were the trained experts and he was the uneducated upstart from the back hills of Galilee.

I'm a Voice Crying in the Wilderness on the subject of Postpartum Bleeding, and I won't be able to write on the subject without offending the experts. A pity, because I've stood and watched a half dozen times as my postpartum wife lay bleeding, attended by experts at childbirth with licenses hanging on their walls that cost them up to a hundred thousand dollars to legally obtain. In every case, the expert's solution was an injection of a synthetic drug available only by prescription; a drug in one case that had to be obtained on the black market because the person administering it was only a registered nurse and not a medical doctor. A drug so dangerous that if given prematurely it can cause uterine rupture and swift death.

A drug that in some hospitals is part of the standard treatment given to postpartum women, regardless of medical indication.

And yet, in most of these cases, administering this drug, like so many other procedures associated with professionally managed childbirth, was totally unnecessary. How do I know this? Because twice I have seen a skilled woman--one a medical doctor, one a certified midwife--gently pull the placenta out of my wife's womb with minimal bleeding. This is a skill that any birth attendant can learn, but few practice. Giving a shot of Pitocin is just too easy--if you can get your hands on it in the first place.

Only once have I seen my wife give birth in a situation in which medical assistance was needed; that time, she suffered from a detached placenta, and the baby came so quickly--and well that it did, or it would have died from anoxia--that it was delivered by a member of the hospital staff not certified to do so. This person then stood by helpless, watching my wife continue bleeding, until the certified professional could come by and administer Pitocin. Had we delivered that baby at home, and had we been in a developing country, and had Bill & Melinda Gates succeeded in making Misoprostol available OTC, I could have given my wife three fifty-cent tablets and stopped the bleeding myself. Instead, I got a bill for $1400 from the medical professional. The woman who actually delivered the baby got not a cent of it. She had to get her cut out of the additional $2000 paid to the hospital.

I'm all for the availability of Misoprostol. I'd even like to have a few tablets on hand when my next child is born, just in case. But handing out Misoprostol tablets to every pregnant woman in the Third World would be like handing out loaded pistols to every middle-school student who wants one. Some won't use them at all; some will use them to save lives; but most will likely use them to put lives at risk, the very reason this will never be done.

There has to be a middle ground. Professional birth attendants, regardless of their level of training, should have access to Misoprostol tablets. Giving them to a pregnant woman should land them in jail for attempted murder.

That's the solution; but it's too simple for the likes of Bill & Melinda Gates and NPR. Instead we will have Misoprostol being dispensed like candy where it can do the most damage, all in hopes of saving some women from postpartum bleeding, and find ourselves having to shell out thousands of dollars for the same treatment back here in the People's Republic of America.

Monday, 9 October 2006

Pushing an Abortion Drug on Third World mothers

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NPR's Morning Edition ran an interesting story this morning. Quoting a new study just published in The Lancet, Brenda Wilson reports that "a drug originally developed to treat ulcers," Misoprostol, could "save thousands of lives of women in developing countries" by controlling post-partum bleeding--a condition, by the way, presently treated with Pitocin, a synthetic oxytocin. The study, conducted in India, was funded by the Global Network for Women's and Children's Health research, a partnership between the US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

What the three-minute report is careful not to say is that while Misoprostol was originally developed as an ulcer treatment, its primary use for the last decade has been as an abortifacent--one that, as it turns out, often causes extensive bleeding when administered to pregnant women. Yes, that's right--Misoprostol is a constituent drug of the medical abortion procedure.

NPR's Wilson predicts that the extremely low cost and user-friendly nature of Misoprostol will result in it being used by uncertified birth attendants throughout the Third World. Unspoken is the implication that it could make abortion as easy a matter as a trip to the nearest pharmacy.

This is news. Too bad it's not being reported.

Monday, 2 October 2006

Another unintended consequence of overregulation

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Today, Charles Roberts strode into an elementary school building brandishing an arsenal of weapons. He ordered the students against the wall and began singling out the ones he intended to kill.

What's unusual about this scenario is that it was a 1-room Amish school. What did Roberts have against the Amish? Nothing, as it turned out. He chose this particular school because, unlike the public schools across the country in the wake of Columbine, it wasn't locked or guarded.

Amish aren't likely to start locking down their school buildings just because a loony decided to make them an easy target--any more than they'll give up horses just because somebody gets killed by a runaway buggy.

But stand by for some officious meddling by those who think they can legislate away bad behavior. They'll compound their original (useless) regulations with something new targeting the Amish themselves, thus making them suffer twice from this crime.

But it won't work. Note that most of the school shootings this week were at public schools.


Posted 10/2/2006

Appendix:
I have to report that in the three days since writing this post I did in fact discover the existence of an Amish group that gave up their buggies due to a high accident rate. Too many of their members were dying in auto-buggy crashes, and they gave up this part of their heritage. But even more troubling is news of how easily small private country schools (many of which are not Amish) were affected by this event: already school entry doors are being locked for fear of this happening again.

This fear of 'copycat crimes' is logically fallacious. The odds of any one country school being targeted by a pedophilic assassin are remote. So it happened once; yeah, it may happen again. But whenever a barn is burned down by lightning, must every other barn owner in the country immediately be required to carry fire insurance? Yet the odds of an Amish boy being struck by lightning, or his barn burning down, are far greater than his sister's chances of being raped or murdered in the classroom.

IF Amish children continue to be targeted because they meet behind unlocked doors, THEN it may be time for the Amish to review their historic stance of non-resistence. Certainly the Plain People in Haiti have a level of comfort with deadbolts and padlocks. But until life in Pennsylvania becomes as precarious as life in Haiti, over-reaction is the greatest danger--as is the loss of freedom that inevitably comes with it.

Demons in the Church

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This from a Mennonite church in Central America:

"We had a 'vigil,' which means church lasting all through the night, consisting mainly in load praise songs. It took place on a Saturday night--nine hours of worship services with a 30 minute break in between for coffee and baleadas. I didn't get to bed until 5 am. There was also preaching, speaking in tongues, and an emphasis on making noise. The youth were encouraged to dance or at least sing with excitement. I had never seen exorcisms before, but that night there were two, one of them being M____. A bunch of people had to restrain him, and they kept repeating over in over 'in the name of Jesus.' Finally he went limp and everyone applauded. I don't know why he was attacked by a demon. During the time for giving testimonies, he spoke of feeling 'blows,' after entering 'the presence of the spirit.'"

Not your typical image of a Mennonite church, is it? Yet Mennonites are not any more immune than any other denomination to the inroads of the various Pentecostal movements that have swept America for a century, and are taking on a new life in countries across the world.

I must say I'm very concerned to hear about this, but not particularly surprised. Rodney Howard Browne's organisation is pushing to enroll foreign evangelists and pastors in its training program.

I have heard firsthand testimony of a person--an ex-Mennonite woman from Indiana--being observed after having come back from hearing Browne in Pensacola. She's got unmistakable symptoms of demon posession. No doubt this type can be cast out in such a service as described above--but does it stay out? I doubt it. And for every one cast out, seven more come back.

Prior Restraint doesn't work

Counter

Another School Shooting has occurred, the third in a week. But note what officials said this past July when they released more documents from the 7-year-old Columbine case that started it all:

Police refused to release videos and audiotapes made by the pair amid fears they could spark copycat killings.

Thursday, 28 September 2006

The Inevitable link between Islam and Genocide

Counter

Several have tried to quantify the Islamic Effect as the Muslim percentage of a population grows. It has been universally observed that Muslims keep their imperialistic ambitions well concealed as long as they are a tiny minority, but the final goal is always a 100% Muslim state, no matter what that takes. Witness Egypt, which has been officially at 90% for as long as anyone has been counting. Having even 10% of the population still holding out on Islam is extremely galling to the Egyptian population as a whole, and the pressure on holdouts is continuing to build. Inevitably, it will eventually break out into genocide, as did the centuries-long presence of Armenians in Turkey prior to 1908.

The following was written by Peter Hammond, who, unlike most native English speakers, has actually had Muslims try to kill him on several occasions--usually with high-explosive aerial bombings.

***************************************

"As long as the Muslim population remains around 1% of any given country they will be regarded as a peace-loving minority and not as a threat to anyone. In fact they may be featured in articles and films stereotyped for their colorful uniqueness.

"Between 2% and 3% they begin to proselytize from other ethnic minorities and disaffected groups with major recruiting from the jails and among street gangs. [Europe, Australia, USA and Japan]

"From 5% on they exercise an inordinate influence in proportion to their percentage of the population. You will find not only the introduction of halaal food (giving food prep jobs to Muslims), but growing pressure on the super-market chains to feature it on their shelves (along with threats for failure to comply).

"South Africa's Muslim population is 2%, but they control 35% of the businesses, a large percentage of the banks and have five Cabinet seats while Christians (77% of the population) have none.

"From 10% you will notice growing belligerence in no-go lawless suburbs (ghettos), with car-burnings (a la France last October). After 20% expect hair-trigger rioting, jihadi militia formations, sporadic killings and terror bombings of Churches. [India, Mindanao (Philippines)]

"At 40% you will find widespread massacres, chronic terror attacks and ongoing militia warfare. [Indonesia] From 60% you may expect unfettered persecution, sporadic ethnic cleansing (genocide), use of Shari Law as a weapon and Jizy--a confiscatory tax. [Sudan, Kosovo, Lebanon and Egypt]

"After 80% expect State run ethnic cleansing and genocide. [Western Papua New Guinea, Iran, Biafra, Turkey and N. Nigeria]

"100% will usher in the peace of Dar-es-Salaam - House of Peace as in Saudi Arabia, Libya and Yemen."

And this ideal is never obtained without genocide. It cannot be.

Wednesday, 13 September 2006

The First Grandfathers

From a brother in West Africa comes the following:

Three nights ago I was in a village in Northern Ghana. Two tribal leaders from other villages accompanied me and we preached the Word to them. After the teaching, an old man asked us a bit condescendingly if we have no regard for the ancestors and their ways? Don't we know that God intended for people to honor their ancestors and follow the ways passed down to them?

I tried to carefully and respectfully explain that I DO believe in honoring and respecting my forefathers. But I want to go back to the ORIGINAL forefathers, our first grandparents, Adam and Eve. They worshiped God and did not follow mediating spirits. One of the tribal leaders who had accompanied me then came up with this wonderful explanation which is so pertinent to an animistic antagonist: "We have been following the middle grandfathers, not knowing that they have corrupted the original grandfathers' culture! Now we want to follow in the way of the first grandfathers."
***
So . . . does it matter if we believe that the book of Genesis is literal history or not?

To some tradition-bound pagans in Ghana, it makes all the difference in the world.

Thursday, 24 August 2006

Coming soon to a Theater near you: Religious discrimination

Counter VERSAILLES: The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights (KCHR) Board of Commissioners issued a final order today in the case Ruth I. Garrett v. Erma Troyer d/b/a Rocky Top Salvage, KCHR No. 521-PA. The Commission ruled in favor of Ruth Irene Garrett, a former member of the Amish faith.
On October 15, 2003, Ms. Garrett attempted to purchase goods at an Amish-owned business in Hart County, Kentucky and was refused. The store's owner, Erma Troyer, informed Ms. Garrett that she would not accept her money because Garrett was shunned by the Amish church. Ms. Garrett brought a complaint against Troyer under the Kentucky Civil Rights Act (KRS 344.120) on grounds that she was discriminated against in a place of public accommodation because of her religion. Ms. Troyer claimed she was entitled to refuse to accept Ms. Garrett's money because she was exercising her religious freedom.
A hearing was held on October 6, 2006 in Glasgow. The hearing officer issued Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and a Recommended Order on March 14, 2006, ruling in favor of Ms. Garrett. The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights voted today to accept the hearing officer's recommendation and ordered Ms. Troyer to cease and desist from the unlawful practice of religious discrimination and to compensate Ms. Garrett in the sum of $100 for the injury of humiliation and embarrassment caused by Ms. Troyer's unlawful practices.

***************************************************

On May 19, 2006--shortly after the above case was adjudicated in Kentucky--one Mr. Grimshaw stood outside the entrance to the Linway Theater in Goshen, Indiana. It was Opening Day for "The DaVinci Code" and Mr. Grimshaw was there to inform theatergoers that the movie they were about to watch was a blasphemous fabrication. His efforts were successful enough to draw the attention of the theater owner, who told him to leave or he'd call the police. Mr. Grimshaw refused to leave, and the upshot of the matter was that he was arrested and jailed for criminal trespass. His trial is scheduled for December 20th in Goshen Municipal Court.

Note the similarities of the two incidents:
-A person of a different religious persuasion than the owner enters a place of business open to the public (in Mr. Grimshaw's case, he never got any further than the sidewalk of the strip mall in which the theater is located).
-The owner is offended by the would-be customer, for reasons associated with religion.
-The owner refuses service to the would-be customer.

But note the opposite results in the two cases.
Perhaps Mr. Grimshaw's worst mistake was that he didn't buy a ticket to the movie he was trying to boycott; that would have guaranteed him the civil right to exercise his right to free speech.

Perhaps Mrs. Troyer, instead of offering to let Ms. Garret take her groceries and leave without paying for them, should have informed the would-be customer that she was trespassing and she'd call the cops if she didn't leave right away. That way she could have had Ms. Garret hauled before a judge, instead of the other way around.

But note, she wasn't fined for refusing to let Ms. Garret shop for groceries--just for not letting her pay for them. So whether or not Mr. Grimshaw actually spent money at the theater seems to be beside the point; he was being denied the service of standing on the sidewalk outside--a service freely available to the public--and all for strictly religious reasons.

Religion puts values on things like the right not to be humiliated--and the right to defend the truth when it is under attack. When two religions come into conflict, only one can prevail. The Amish religion lost the last court case to extreme secularism. Which religion will prevail in Mr. Grimshaw's case?

Stay tuned to the White Man for the latest developments.

Wednesday, 23 August 2006

Peer Review gets the Axe

Counter"Grigori 'Grisha' Yakovlevich Perelman (born 13 June 1966) is a Russian Jewish mathematician who is an expert on Ricci flow. It is thought that he has proven the Poincaré conjecture, a major open problem in mathematics.

"There is speculation whether he will receive the $1 million prize if the proof continues unchallenged. He turned down a prize from the European Mathematical Society in the early 1990s, is said to be "very unmaterialistic", and has not shown interest in publication of the proof in a peer-reviewed mathematics journal, as the current rules for the prize require. On the other hand, the scrutiny the on-line publication has already elicited is said to be well beyond that of pre-publication peer review, and the grantor has explicitly stated that its board may change the requirements. "

So, peer review is found wanting in today's electronic age, in comparison to the scrutiny of on-line publication. Already (editing this post on the eve of Rosh Hashannah), more people have examined this blog entry--several of them, no doubt, credentialed scholars--than would have had it been submitted to a journal for peer review.

Peer review is a good thing--but it's time to bring it out of acedemia and onto the World Wide Web. The Blogosphere has already proved itself capable of exposing error and broadcasting the truth, better than any academic institution known to mankind.

I love this quote, facecious as it is:

"I'll never forget the time I submitted a paper to the Physics (A) Journal, which synthesized Mead's work on Collective QED with the latest results on the Schwartzchild solution for rotating black holes, using a clever application of Lebesque Integration theory. I unfortunately titled the paper, "Evolution of Quantum Emissions in Black Holes", and the review committee mistakenly sent it to a group of evolutionary microbiologists for peer review. Naturally, the biologists found my thesis completely incomprehensible and rejected the paper."

Monday, 21 August 2006

Critique of a Religious Pamphlet

Counter I have before me a religious pamphlet dated 01/04 and published by Dollar General, a discount store in the U.S. It's entitled, "Stay in school and get better grades for life."

Religion is a way of looking at life--a way of assigning value to intangibles. Science can quantify, but only religion can qualify. Religion answers the questions that Science didn't ask. Everyone is religious; everyone values some things more than others--values some things others don't.

One's religion comes out in his or her value statements, and this tract is full of them.

What follow are some blatant value statements in the pamphlet. As you read them, consider which of them might have represented the values that were behind the upbringing of the four men whose images are memorialized on the face of Mount Rushmore:

-Be a good role model.
-hug your child often--it's good for both of you.
-make sure you child visits the doctor regularly,
-and has all the right shots and vaccinations.
-Turn off the TV
-Be active in your child's school. Make sure your child goes every day.
-Make sure your child has plenty of playtime with other children and learns to share.
-Always make time to listen--it's one of the most important things you can do.
-Visit the school often.
-Make sure that school comes first
-Show the connection between school and reaching your child's goals.
-Teenagers need space--but make sure they know that you're always there for them.
-A child who loves learning will learn to love school.
-make sure that your child does not become one of the 1,000,000 who drop out each year
-a good education is a sure way to a better life.

If the image were to be effaced from Mount Rushmore of every man whose parents' didn't comply with all that this tract implies parents must do in order for their children to succeed in life, a direct hit by a hydrogen bomb might suffice.

There's a lot of subliminal valuation in this tract as well: for instance, the assumption that your child will go to school in the first place.

It can be safely said that the religious views expressed in this tract, though published by a retail merchandiser (the back-to-school business of which is only a small segment of their total annual sales), fairly represent those of the US Federal and State governments, and the Teacher's Union that constantly seeks to influence and inform their opinions.

They don't fairly represent those of the White Man, nor of his children. Their views are better expressed by the words of Mark Twain, who is quoted as saying:
"I have never let school get in the way of a good education."

Monday, 7 August 2006

The upcoming American Civil War

Counter America is going to experience a civil war. Whether this will be her first, second, or third Civil War will be left to the historians to squabble over, but this one will be different than the War of American Independence (in which rival political parties warred each other) and the War Between the States (in which federalists battled statists). This time the war won't be between the North and the South, or between Whigs and Tories, it will be between the Cities and the Countryside. What happened in Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina served as a prelude for what is to come.

UPDATE JULY 2013
This website, excerpted below, vindicates the above.

“That a majority of Colorado Republicans with the most conservative voting records are from Weld County speaks volumes about our county,” Saine said. “This shows that the Democrats from areas such as Boulder and Denver really are out of touch with the rural values we espouse here.”
Garcia said since they have come out on this issue they have received calls from counties in other states asking commissioners about the issue.
“We have received phone calls from citizens in the Nebraska panhandle complaining about how they are having the same issue with Omaha that we are having with Denver, Garcia said. “Then last week we talked to people in New Mexico who are interested in part of peeling part of the state off and joining with Texas.
“In each of these cases rural residents are being disenfranchised by the populated urban areas of their state who are attempting to pass regulations that may make sense in a city but are not necessary in rural areas.”

Friday, 28 July 2006

Celebrating the reversal of Babel

Counter It is sometimes enlightening to go back and read an old newspaper--in fact, it is probably far more profitable to read a newspaper 100 years after it was printed than 100 hours. This we shall do today in reflecting on the exuberance and apocalyptic fervor that accompanied the precursor to the Internet. I speak of the laying of the first transatlantic cable on August 16, 1858--which for the first time made possible the idea of instant communication throughout the world; an idea that finally came into fruition with the advent of the Internet nearly 150 years later.

The first trans-Atlantic cable was a fragile thing; it failed shortly after the following series of accounts ends. What isn't mentioned in them is the actual text of the first (test) message. Several hours in the process of transmission, it simply read, "Glory to God in the highest; on earth, peace and good will toward men." The first actual message was one of congratulations from Queen Victoria to President Buchanan. His reply read, "It is a triumph more glorious, because far more useful to mankind, than was ever won by conqueror on the field of battle. May the Atlantic telegraph, under the blessing of heaven, prove to be a bond of perpetual peace and friendship between the kindred nations, and an instrument destined by Divine Providence to diffuse religion, civilization, liberty, and law throughout the world."

Now I quote from a New-York-based reporter for the Guardian of London. Bear in mind that some of these dispatches may themselves have been amongst the first messages sent over the cable.

August 25: "At Washington the feel shown amounted to 'transport.' At Albany people were 'wild with excitement.' At Boston there was 'great rejoicing;' at Worcester 100 guns were fired; at Rochester a 'feeling of glorification' seized the citizens; Utica was illuminated; at Syracuse a band and a company of militia went about, 'spirited' speeches were made. . . "

September 1: "America has gone mad to a great degree on the subject of the Atlantic Telegraph. Besides the demonstrations we mentioned last week, there were others all over the continent. August 17th was the day agreed upon for a simultaneous demonstration. At New York the day broke with salvos of artillery, including one of 100 guns from the City-hall. At noon there was a further salute of 200 guns, the bells of all the churches were rung, youngsters kept up the fusillade throughout the streets with small arms [!], and by way of making as much noise as possible, the whistles of all the steam-engines in the city screeched continuously from twelve to one o'clock."

September 6: The prevailing topic which has almost absorbed everything else for the past month has been the successful laying of the Atlantic Cable. The people have been almost wild with the excitement, and scare a village throughout the land which has not had a celebration of the event."

Thus far the unprecedented exuberance. Now the apocalyptic fervor, as related to the Guardian by an American journalist:

"The earth has witnessed nothing half as auspicious--nothing so full of glad tidings to mankind--since the birth of the Redeemer. If the 'morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy at the creation of the world, surely the eye of faith, without impiety, may reverently recognise in this union of the two mighty physical divisions of that creation a providential dispensation that may inspire even the angels in heaven with delight. It is well, therefore, that in many of the churches yesterday, the 'telegraph' was in the pulpit, as elsewhere, the one idea--for the Church and Christianity are, in the end, to gather in a rich harvest of its fruits. The golden chain of human brotherhood has had a strong bright link added to it, which, with God's blessing, will in due time bring all nations, all kindreds, all tongues, within its friendly and loving embrace. The Orient and the Occident clasp hands! The East and the West are one, and with the universal diffusion of universal intelligence good men may hopefully look forward to the dawn of the blessed millennium."

So speaks the transcendentalist, who sees in information alone the hope for mankind's salvation, and the more of it the better. But further:

The Mayor of New York said: "The important and beneficial results to our race which this great event promises cannot be wholly anticipated, but that it will tend to the perpetual peace and increased happiness of the two leading nations who have joined in the labour and cost of the enterprise, cannot be doubted, while itself the offspring of science, and that civilisation which is founded on Christian principles, it announces to the whole world the reign of lasting peace and good-will to all men."

Note the universal feeling that the Cable was a work of God which could not help but spread the blessings of Christianity to the whole world, yeah, could not help but bring in the millennium itself. And this feeling was not limited to government officials; it was preached from the very pulpits, as this from the Bishop of New Jersey:

"Was ever utterance so fit? Was ever fittest utterance so startling, so solemn, so sublime--flashing out from the burning land of Christian hearts in Ireland; flashing along through the caverns of the sea; flashing along among the buried treasures of the deep, flashing along through the layers of old Leviathan, flashing along among the remains of them that perished in the Flood, flashing up among the primeval forests of Newfoundland, flashing out from there throughout the world."

The reporter continues: "It seems to me that in a sort the edict of Babel is reversed. The dispersion of the nations is to be undone in God's time, and in God's way, by bringing them together in Him. And I might almost venture to say that we have in prospect as it were a renewal and repetition of the Pentecostal wonder, when all the nations of the world shall hear in their own tongue the wonderful works of God, when man shall speak to man from one end of the world to the other, of the Gospel of Salvation, and of the glory of the Lamb."

Did the Cable bring in universal global harmony? Or did it make possible for the first time such undreamed of apocalyptic nightmares as World War and Thermonuclear Annihilation?
The century that followed gave the lie to both the exuberance and the optimism that greeted this Reversal of Babel.

God is not mocked; there is no shortcut, electronic or otherwise, to His Kingdom.

Tuesday, 18 July 2006

The Only Son: The TNIV in John 3:16

Counter John 3:16 is beyond doubt the best known verse of the entire New Testament. Therefore any Bible translator setting out to change it had better tread lightly. And this is exactly what the CBT did when producing the NIV.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, [or, his only begotten Son] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

What the CBT was reluctant to do in 1973, they did unreservedly in 2001 in producing the TNIV:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

This, we are told, is now even more accurate a translation than before. But this assurance misses the main point--whether or not mongenes should be tranlated literally as 'only begotten' or idiomatically as 'only', the point is that the CBT didn't translate this verse as it stands in their chosen text. The NA27 Greek NT, following the favoured manuscripts of mainline textual critics of the past century and a quarter, reads as follows (literally translated):

"For thus God loved the world, that the Son--the only-begotten one--he gave, that everyone believing in him should not perish but should have life eternal."

There is only a single variant in this verse between the Traditional Text and the Critical Text, and it is the deletion of the word 'autou' ('his'). Thus the Traditional Text would read,

"For thus God loved the world, that his Son--the only-begotten one--he gave, that everyone believing in him should not perish but should have life eternal."

The CBT lacked the courage to accurately translate the reading of their own base text. Instead they translated the reading of the much-maligned Textus Receptus.

Why?

Update August 14, 2009: Thank you, "John," for answering this question (See comment). Looking at Hebrews 1:1, I see that the NIV translated their text "the fathers" as "our fathers" based on the principle you identify. So indeed my accusation was without basis. Rather than taking this post offline in embarrassment, I'll leave it up to show that I really do welcome feedback (even on 3-year-old posts), and strive to keep this blog true to the truth as much as is possible.

Monday, 10 July 2006

"Peddling" the word of God?

97629 ou gar esmen ws oi polloi kaphleuontes ton logon tou Qeou
"For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God" -NKJV

It's been said facetiously that a good definition of the KJV-only position is the belief that any Bible that doesn't have 'corrupt' in 2 Corinthians 2:17, is. While I wouldn't go so far as to say that, I would like to critically evaluate the ways that kapeyleuontes has been translated into English.

To begin with, kapeyleuontes is a hapax legomenon, that is, a word only used once in the New Testament.
Thus it is difficult to translate without having any other context to help determine meaning. This is some of what the B-A-G lexicon has under this word:
kapeleuo. trade in, peddle, huckster (of retail trade), Isaiah 1:22 also fig. adulterate (so Vulgate, Syriac, Gothic). . .

Let's look at Isaiah 1:22 as literally translated from the Septuagint and the Vulgate:

LXX: Your silver is worthless, thy wine merchants mix the wine with water.

Vulgate: Thy silver is turned into dross: thy wine is mingled with water.

OK, so the LXX is making a passive into an active and supplying the subject, which has been translated into English as 'merchants'. But what is being emphasized in this verse is not the act of selling the wine, but the act of illicitly diluting (i.e. corrupting) it before the sale. It's in parallel with the analogous act of debasing the currency (which also fails to come across in most translations, but that's another point). Thus from this use of kapeyloi in the Greek OT, we see the connotation of selling under false pretenses. Moving on now to 2 Corinthians 2:17, we look again at the Vulgate:

"For we are not as many, adulterating the word of God"

How was this translated in the earliest English Bible? Let's check Wycliffe (All spelling is updated):

"For we be not as many, that do adultery by the word of God."

OK, Wycliffe misunderstood the connotation of adulterantes here as adultery rather than adulteration.

Better move on to Tyndale, who had the advantage of being able to read both Erasmus' eclectic Greek text and his Latin translation & commentary--as well as Luther's translation into German based on Erasmus. He translated:

"For we are not as many are, which chop and change with the word of God"

See the return to the idea of 'adulterate'; Luther had:

"For we are not as the many, which falsify the word of God"

This meaning continued to be carried forward in subsequent revisions of the English New Testament.

Coverdale 1535 left Tyndale as he found it, apparently using an English idiom of the 16th century:

"For we are not as many are, which chop & change with the word of God"

Geneva 1560 changed the wording to reflect the 'merchant' connotation, but left the 'corrupt' connotation in a footnote:

"For we are not as many, which *make merchandise of the word of God" (*that is, preach for gain, & corrupt it to serve men's affections)

Bishops' 1568 removed the footnote, but--significantly--returned to the wording of Tyndale:
"For we are not as many are, which chop & change with the word of God "

The KJV 1611 left out the footnote, but incorporated its meaning into the text, giving a different shade of meaning in a new footnote:

"For we are not as many which *corrupt (*deal deceitfully with) the word of God"

In all of these English versions we see the difficulty of fully expressing the full connotation of kapeleuo. It consists of:

1) Taking a pure product (whether coins or wine) and mixing in a much cheaper product of little intrinsic value;
2) Passing the adulterated product off as the real thing;
3) In order to realize dishonest gain.

Thus Paul is referring to other preachers who
1) Take the word of God & mix into it corrupting elements;
2) Pass this 'new and improved' gospel off as genuine;
3) In order to realize some profit from their audience.

The charge the KJV-only people are making is that this exactly describes what the purveyors of the New Modern Versions are doing--and that they are covering their tracks by mistranslating the verse.

To their credit, I don't think the Modern Versions do any worse of a job at covering the full meaning of kapeyleuontes than earlier ones did:

RV 1881-1901: "For we are not as the many, *corrupting (*or making merchandise of) the word of God"
RSV 1946-1973: "For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word"
NASB 1960-1995: "For we are not like many, *peddling (*corrupting) the word of God"
NIV 1973-2006: "Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit"
NRSV 1989: "For we are not peddlers of God's word like so many"

So we see that regardless of the version, only element #1 or #3 comes across in translation. If we we include footnotes, RV has both, and only NASB has element #2--but at the expense of omitting #3.

Jay P. Green suggests 'hawking' which carries well the idea of #3 and lesser so #2, but gives no indication of #1. The Strong's Lexicon has:
--from kapelos (a huckster); to retail, i.e. (by implication) to adulterate (figuratively): corrupt.

The most succinct way of combining the information found in all of the above versions is:

"For we are not like many--hawking a watered-down version of God's word purely for profit."

Ouch. That does strike a bit close to home, in view of the copyright protection carried by all the big modern versions, each of which, despite their copyrighted distinctions, claims the title 'The Holy Bible'.

Saturday, 24 June 2006

How The Hand of God in Iraq prevented WWIII

Counter It's incredible sometimes to be able to peek behind the scenes and see God at work. Who ever would have thought that the reason so few coalition forces died in the 1991 Iraq war was due to the the actions of a single highly placed Christian man? As I read his account, all I could think of was: Here is a modern day Daniel, facing down the modern day Nebechadnezzar and living to tell about it. Here's the story of Gewargis ('Georges') Sada (translated from the broken English at the linked site--just click on the title to hyperlink):
------------------------
I joined the Iraqi Air Academy in 1958. I was trained in Russia for four years and then, after that, I came back to Iraq. I flew the fighter aircraft, the MiGs. In 1964, our government sent seven of us to Turkey, because Americans had one slot open for pilot instrument instruction, for flying at night in bad weather and instrument flying. They wanted the qualified people from Iraq, but could only take only one man. So we seven took the exam and thank God I was number 1. So I came to Texas, Randolph Air Force Base, in Lackland, in 1964. I was trained as an instructor for bad weather, night and instrument flying. I came back home and then I did a lot of work in the fighter squadrons.

I served in the Air Force for about 40 years. I was retired in 1986 as two-star general. I was supposed to be promoted to three-star, but the Baath Party and the intelligence sent for me. They said, 'You are the only general in this country who is not a Baath Party member. So now at this time we will not invite you to come because we have been inviting you for 30 years and you didn't accept it. So now, tell us why you are not becoming a member of the Baath Party?' I said, 'You want the truth?' and they said, 'Yes.' I said, 'You see, because in your ideology of the Baath Party, you say the body of the nation is Arab and the spirit of the nation is Islam. Therefore, I don't fit in two ways. I don't fit in the body because you are Arab and I am Assyrian. I don't fit in the spirit because you are Islamic and I am a Christian. And I want to keep both of them, my nationality and my faith. And because of that, I don't want to block you. I don't want to block myself to get to this party because it doesn't fit me.' They were very surprised.

So they said, 'Okay, General Georges, it's like this: No third star for you, and no promotion to Air Force Commander.' Because at that time, I was number two and, of course, people knew it. I was the only man who was trained in Russia, America, England and France. And I had taught in three colleges: staff college, war college and national defense college for ten years. Really, I am very proud of my training in America. I will never forget this country because it was really a blessed country and they have taught me a lot and I can tell you, I am very faithful for that.

So I was forced to retire in 1986. But when Saddam invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990, I was the first man who was recalled for active duty. They told him, 'Sir, this man is not a party member.' He said, 'Yes, I know, but I want him. Bring him.' So I came, I met with him. He said, 'You are going to be the senior advisor for me on the Air Force, on the Armed Forces.' I said, 'Okay, sir. Thank you.' So I was put there. I was given three tasks to do. He gave it to me because he knew I used to teach these things in three colleges. These three tasks were: What is the capability of the enemy air forces? This means the coalition air forces, including America. Then, what is the capability of five aircraft carriers that are in Red Sea and Gulf? And finally, what is the capability of destruction and accuracy of their cruise missiles?

So these three duties were given to me. I was very happy. I told him, 'Sir, this duty is my daily bread. I used to teach it everywhere and I will start working.' I made three beautiful files for it and I started to tell him and the Minister of Defense and Chief of Staff and all the others. But unfortunately, nobody was listening.

The last meeting was on January 12, 1991. There was a presentation because the deadline of United Nations was going to finish on January 15, 1991, as you know. There were only two or three days to prepare for war. So I was sitting in the war room and we started doing the presentation. Everybody was there, except Saddam. He was listening somewhere else to what was going on.

They spoke about the war and the advisors said that they were going to destroy the enemy air force. No enemy air craft would be allowed in the Iraqi air space. Then they said that we would never give up Kuwait, that we would stay in Kuwait. They spoke their nonsense. So I spoke to the air force commander, who had been my student. I gave him solo on MiG-21 when I was a squadron commander in 1970. I told him, 'General Hanzam, please can you stop this nonsense-- these lies by these generals?' He said, 'No, Georges, don't talk. For God's sake, forget it. It's okay, nothing will happen. Don't worry. Nobody is going to attack us.'

I said, 'Look. I know what's going to happen. I know America and these forces who are here starting from the Gulf and in Kuwait and in Saudi Arabia, surrounding Iraq and Kuwait and the forces which are in the seas starting from Saratoga and the Red Sea and the others in the Gulf.' I explained everything to them. I said, 'Look, they didn't come here to play. They are going to attack Iraq.' Again nobody listened. Then, at last, I raised my hand. I told the minister of defense and the chief of staff, 'Excuse me, I don't agree with this presentation.'

At last, the minister of defense and chief of staff asked the air force. They said, Please, you as air force, can you tell us that we can operate on the ground without thinking of any enemy threat coming from air?' The answer was, 'Yes you can operate, there will be no threat coming from the air, because the Iraqi Air Force and the Iraqi Air Defense will tackle with that and will handle with them and they will not let the American forces to appear in the Iraqi skies.'

Here I had to stop them. I said, 'Excuse me. The minister of defense said,
Yes, Georges, do you have anything?' I said, 'Yes, I have got many things. I don't agree with this presentation. It's not going to be like this.' They said, 'Do you have another idea?' I said, 'Yes, and my idea is 180 degrees different.' He was surprised. I told them, 'The supreme commander has given me these three tasks to do, so please I am the one who should do the presentation. Will you permit me to do the presentation?' Then, they could not say no.

So I went and I did my presentation. I told them, 'Remember that you have been told that no enemy aircraft will be flying in the Iraqi skies. But I can tell you that thousands of the enemy aircraft will be flying over this country. Most of the targets will be destroyed and your army, our army, will be in very bad shape.' I spoke everything and then the chief of staff said, 'Georges, did we bring you here to frighten us?' I said, 'No, sorry, I am not frightening anybody, but I am telling you the truth to the best of my knowledge.'

I continued speaking about what an aircraft carrier is because, ladies and gentlemen, I understood that they thought an aircraft carrier is a fishing boat. I explained to them what an aircraft carrier is, what it can do, how many aircraft are there on deck and what are the three classes of aircraft carriers. I explained everything. Again, the chief of staff said, 'Don't you think you are exaggerating very much about what America can do?' I said, 'No, sorry, I'm not exaggerating. But this is according to the paper given to me. But, remember, Americans can do even more than this.' Nobody listened.

Then at last there was a question. They said, 'Okay, if it's like this, what's the solution? What's your solution?' I said, 'My solution is very easy. We have sent our forces to Kuwait by a paper and by the same paper we can make them to withdraw from Kuwait and come back. Because President Bush and United Nation are asking the Iraqi forces to get out of Kuwait. This is the only solution left. Today is January 12, 1991. Please I beg you to listen to me.' I really meant I begged, because I knew what was going to happen to my nation. You know what their answer to me was? 'If you speak again of pulling the Iraqi forces from Kuwait, your head will be separated from your body.' I said, 'Okay, thank you very much. I am only an advisor and I must be faithful.' I told them all this, but nobody listened.

Then, on January 17, the war started. Let me tell you where I was. General Hanzam had an apartment in the operation room. It was the only apartment in the operation room, next to the nuclear weapon room. It has walls and ceilings made of reinforced concrete 3 meters thick. General Hanzam was my student, I had been his instructor and his commander. In the air force, we love our instructors and commanders. I had flown General Hanzam solo and many other times, which he remembers. So he insisted on giving me the use of his apartment out of respect. I tried to refuse, because the apartment is for the use of the air force commander, but he insisted from his heart that I was the man who deserved to be there.

I went to sleep at 1:00 in the morning. I don't know what woke me up, but I looked at my watch and saw it was 2:30. I thought, 'My God, I was supposed to sleep until 7:00 at least.' I wondered what made me wake up at this time' So I decided to go and see Colonel Banam, who's another Christian, and in command of the radars and radio in the operation room.

So I went into the corridor and this is when the ground started shaking. I knew then that the attack had started. The lights started going out and water running everywhere. I went back to my apartment and I had to force the door open. I looked at my bed. It had been flattened to the ground by huge concrete blocks. I had missed being flattened by only 17 seconds. I thought, 'My God, who woke me up in time to escape this?' When the first American rocket hit the operation room, it hit the apartment of the air force commander.

Then an officer was there saying, 'Where is General Georges? Where is General Georges? The commander wants you.' I talked to him and he said, 'Shall we scramble the aircraft?' I said, 'No. Don't scramble anything, Hanzam.' He said, 'How am I not going to scramble anything? We are under attack!' I said, 'Look, I told you the solution. Where you will scramble them? You see, at this moment, this room is already destroyed. But remember, all command posts have been attacked. I am sure by now all the targets have been attacked. Most of the radars are destroyed. So where you are going to send these boys to go and fight American aircraft coming from everywhere? Without radars, without control from the ground? Don't do that.' He said, 'No, I cannot listen to this. This is not good advice.' I said, 'Okay, it's not good advice. Do whatever you like.'

But I said, 'Look, if you are going to send these airplanes, remember, very, very few of them will be back.' He said, 'I will send them.' He sent 18 aircraft, the best aircraft we had, to intercept the American aircraft which were attacking. Most of them were destroyed, some on the runway, some just after take off, some as they were climbing. Then they realized their mistake.

You see, there are some people who live in the mishap and there are some people who live in the 'prehap,' before the things happen. So let us always live in the 'prehap,' before the thing happens. Because after it happens, I think then it will be too late.

After this, Saddam came to the operation room. When he came, he was asking, 'What has happened? Why it has happened like this?' We five generals were sitting. It's the picture they always show on TV. I was sitting on his right, the air force commander on his left and the other in front of him. He started asking questions. The guy who was the officer, the commanding officer for the air force, he was Saddam's cousin. He became a higher general than all of us just because he was a cousin. He looked at me, begging with his eyes. I know him and I understood him. I knew he was saying, 'Please, Georges, you answer to the president.'

So I took all the answers. Then he said, 'General Hanzaam, why is Georges answering everything?' Then after that, I had a telephone call. There was a telephone there on the table and it was ringing. I took the call, it was from Nasiriyah airbase in the south. They said, 'Sir, we have shot down one Tornado and two pilots are captured. One's name is John Peter and the other John Nichol.' I told Saddam, 'Sir, we have shot down a Tornado aircraft with two pilots captured.' He said, 'What's a Tornado?' I explained to him what a Tornado is. He said, 'Are you sure the pilots are prisoners of war?' I said, 'Yes.'

He said, 'Okay, I need one pilot to be responsible for the prisoner of war.' Then he came to me and said, 'I want a man knows their tactics, offensive and defensive, and who speaks English. Georges, you are the one who will be responsible for the pilots.' I said, 'Okay, Sir. My pleasure.' I told them to send me the pilots. I am sure the Americans are very good pilots, but remember, even a good swimmer may sink in the sea and even a very good pilot, he may be shot down in the war.

So many good American pilots were shot down: F18s, F15s, F16s, Thunderbolts. Many pilots were shot down. At the last, I had 44 of them: 31 or 32 were Americans. The others were Saudis, Kuwaitis, British and Italians. I was responsible for them. I received orders to execute them on January 24 from the president through his son Qusay, who came to me in the operation room.

I refused. I told Qusay, 'Look, these people are prisoners of war.' He said, 'No, they are not prisoners of war. They are war criminals.' At the time of this discussion, we were under bombing. He said, 'Don't you see how they are destroying the country?' I said, 'Mr. Qusay, look, I have told you on January 12, this is what's going to happen. But all of you said, 'nobody will be attacked.' So now it's war and wars have rules and you must go and fight according to the rules, and one of the most important rules concern how to treat the prisoner of war. These people should be treated according to this' (I was carrying the book of the United Nations, the Geneva Convention). He said, 'What is that?' I said, 'This is the Geneva Convention, which Iraq has signed. Therefore, we must respect our signature.' He said, 'No, that is for prisoners of war, but these are not prisoners of war. These are war criminals.' I said, 'No, they are prisoners of war and they should be treated according to this. Please remember my rank and my seniority. I was brought out of retirement. I am an international officer. I cannot deal with these people except according to this one book, according to the Geneva Convention.' He was very angry and he said, 'Okay, I will take them, I will put them in the targets. Let the Americans from up there kill the Americans on the ground.' I said, 'No, no, no. You would be using them as human shields. You cannot do that. That's also against the Geneva Convention.' It was a very big tough discussion between me and him, with the officers all surrounding us. One was saying, 'Now Qusay will shoot him.' Another was saying, 'Georges is finished.'

But believe me, I was doing this for two reasons. One was my faith in Jesus Christ and to make Him happy as His son. The second, because I am a high-ranking officer, I have experience, and I was not a Baath Party loyalist, to follow the party line. I wanted to behave as an Iraqi general, loyal to this country and this country's deep history, should behave.

I did this knowing that the price would be very heavy. I said to myself, 'I have been flying supersonic aircraft for 40 years. I could die at anytime. But this is a very good reason to die, to make this mission happen.' Qusay left and he was very angry. Before he left, I said, 'Excuse me, I want to tell you one last thing. You see now there is a war between Iraq and America. If you are going to kill these people, America will declare a new war. This time it will be war between America and your family.'

When I told him this, his eyes were opened. He just then realized what it meant to kill the prisoners of war. So before he left, I said, 'Mr. Qusay, please, I am sure you going to see the supreme commander, the president. Tell him he knows me very well. I am his adviser. Tell him that General Georges is saying that these people are not war criminals. They are prisoner of war and they should be treated according to the Geneva Convention.'

He left and the next day, people came from the Republican Guard, special guards who said 'Come with us.' I knew that the time had come but it was okay. I had done my duty in the best way and my thought was, 'let happen what happens.' They took me and they put me in prison. On February 5, I was released because Saddam himself said, 'I don't want to see his face. I don't want him to be in the Army anymore. But you can't kill him because he was right.' That is the only thing that saved me and the only reason I am alive now here. Because even though he was a dictator and evil, he realized the truth of what I had said about a new war between America and his family. Once again I was dismissed from the Army and I have stayed safe until now.

Before any of this had happened, Saddam had wanted us to attack Israel with chemical weapons, using different aircraft: Sequoyah 24's, Mirages, and MiGs. Again I stood in front of him and I told him, 'Excuse me, sir. You are saying that these aircraft will attack Israel in two waves: one through Jordan and one through Syria. I know the Israelis have a plan to destroy all incoming aircraft before entering Israeli borders. This means that these aircraft are going to be destroyed by two waves, over Jordan and over Syrian. Of course, Israelis have got good air defenses, but still the pilots know that many aircraft still can penetrate. You know what's going to happen, sir? There will be three attacks of chemical weapon on three countries: Jordan, Syria and Israel. By doing this, we will be giving the Israelis the right to retaliate by using their nuclear weapons. They have got very good delivery systems to carry the nuclear weapons. The delivery systems are rockets called Jericho 2. They are going to destroy Mosul, Baghdad, Basra and all our cities.'

I told him, 'Sir there will be disaster in the region. The four countries are going to be completely destroyed. Please, please, sir, let us not do that.' I begged him. He started asking me questions and the discussion lasted one hour, 41 minutes. At last, thank God, this attack didn't happen. This talk took place on December 17, 1990. He said, 'Look, if one American rocket hits the Iraqi homeland, I want these 98 aircraft to go and destroy Israel, and the 12 divisions to go in Saudi Arabia and destroy all the industrial area of Saudi Arabia from Kuwait to al-Dahran.' Another big, big job, given to the army and you can just imagine 12 divisions destroying all the industrial area of Saudi Arabia under an open sky without any air defense. I understood what was going to happen to these 12 divisions. But this man was not thinking at all what would happen to the forces.

I will tell you about Saddam. He is the man who killed the most clerics from Sunni and Shia in the history of Iraq. He is the man who killed the most Baath Party members, starting from central command, since the party was founded in 1947. Saddam is the man who killed the most of his own people. Saddam is the man who killed the most Tikritis, his own cousins from his city, than anyone since Iraq was founded in 1920.

Saddam is the one who killed the most Kurds. In the Amfal operations, he killed 203,000 Kurds. He used chemical weapons. In Halabja, he killed 5,375 people, all women, children and old men, in one attack--only one attack. Saddam killed the most officers from the Iraqi army since the army was founded in 1921. Saddam did this with the hatred that I know was in his heart. With his revenge, only God knows what he was going to do. Because he had love of power, of making more rockets, paying millions to make some development for rockets to go further and warheads to become more destructive and to have weapon of mass description.

At last Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. They were used against our nation in the north and south, and even against the Iranians when they penetrated the last defense lines in our territory. They were used by helicopters, by fighters and even by the Ilyushin-76 transport, which it is not for bombing. But they were used in order to stop the invasion of Iran to the east of Basra, south of Iraq.

This is Saddam Hussein. I want all the Americans please to know who Saddam was and then to make the assessment: Was it worth it? Was it good that America took the decision to go and liberate that country by removing Saddam's regime or not? This is a very good question also.

From what I know about Iraq and about Saddam, I am now one of the people who believes very, very, very clearly that the decision taken by this blessed nation, America, to go and liberate Iraq from the evil regime of that dictator, it was the right decision and the proper time.

I don't want to interfere in your politics. You are a free nation. You are the nation of democracy. It's up to you, you have got many parties. I respect everybody in this country. I love America but this is the truth as an Iraqi I want to tell you that this was a great decision. I am very sorry for those who lost their beloved ones. I know it is difficult for them. But you should remember always you have done a great job. You have done a dramatic change in that country and you have liberated 27 million people from a dictatorship regime.


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Gen. Georges Sada was the number two man in the Iraqi Air Force. The author of Saddam's Secrets, he is an Iraqi Christian.
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One final comment, from the Blogger. You can see how advantageous it can be for an army to have a high-ranking godly man on the enemy side. This was the experience of Cyrus the Persian, who conquered Babylon in 516 BCE. And it will continue to be the experience of conquering generals as long as there are godly men who serve in the military. I greatly regret my own military service, and am raising my sons to be conscientious objectors, but I still believe that God uses individuals to change history, and if one of my descendants is drafted into a despotic military against his will, I pray that he will--like Daniel in ancient times and Georges in modern times--serve his God, his supreme commander, and the conqueror of his doomed country, with equal distinction.

Thursday, 22 June 2006

Dating Zerubbabel

Counter Genealogies in 1 Chronicles 3, Matthew 1, and Luke 3 can be synchronized to show that the three Zerubbabels did not have to be the same person, but they must have been near contemporaries.

Collating the genealogies of the Old and New Testaments is nothing new; The Western European Codex Bezae Cantabrigensis (D 05), dating to around the time the Western Empire disintegrated, exhibits a highly schematized genealogy in Luke 3 that incorporates elements from 1 Chronicles 3 and Matthew 1, and eliminates the seemingly extraneous 'Cainan' from between Sala and Arphaxad.

But something that Bezae fails to take into consideration when it replaces Heli's pedigree of the original Luke 3 with Jacob's of Matthew 1 is that Jacob's is several generations too short. Oh, it's obvious that Matthew failed to list four Kings of Judah--they are included from 1 Chronicles 3--but even with those obvious deficiencies taken care of, several generations still appear to be missing between Zerubbabel and Abiud. First Chronicles lists six generations after Zerubbabel, none of of which contain anybody named Abiud. Thus Abiud could very well be at least seven generations removed from the man that even Codex Bezae lists as his father.

Fitting in an extra six generations between Zerubbabel and Abiud raises several questions, not the least of which is: Are we sure we're talking about the same Zerubbabel? There's the Zerubbabel the Son of Pedaiah in 1 Chronicles, the Zerubbabel the Son of Shealtiel in Ezra, and the Zorobabel the son of Salathiel in Matthew. Let's consider this question on its merits.

Zerubbabel, first of all, is not the sort of name one would expect a typical Jewish mother to give her son. It's Hebrew meaning is something like "Captive of Babylon." Another possible meaning is "Born in Babylon." In either case, it's the sort of name that an exiled mother would giver her son during or shortly following the Babylonian Exile of 587 BCE (+-1 yr). A son born earlier would have already been named; a son born much later would probably be given a more optimistic appellative. Only a son born shortly after the distress of the evacuation of Judea to captivity, would be likely to be given such a depressing name. Certainly the name can be pinned down to a generation or two after this date. Thus regardless of the name of his father, or the name of his son, anyone named Zerubbabel can be pretty precisely dated in any chronology to having been born around the middle of the 6th century BCE. Thus for the purposes of Chronogenealogy, the precise identification of the Zorobabel the son of Salathiel in Matthew 1 and the Zorobabel the son of Salathiel in Luke 3 is unimportant. For dating purposes, we shall consider them to be one and the same person, as did the editor of Codex Bezae.

Having fixed the date for Zerubbabel's birth, we return to our genealogies to see if there are, indeed, several generations still missing between the Zerubbabel of Matthew 1 and his descendant Abiud. Twenty-five years is a reasonable average generation, and squares nicely with the 1025 years between David and Jesus, his descendant of the 41st generation in Luke 3--although the generations from David to Zerubbabel were compressed by primogeniture, leaving the later, post-exilic generations to be longer. But counting backwards in Matthew 1 from Jesus to Abiud, at twenty-five years per generation, we come to only about 310 BCE--wanting a full 277 years to get back to the Zerubbabel of Chronicles. And indeed, this squares with a comparison to Luke's genealogy, which lists 19 generations from Jesus back to Zerubbabel (at least to 475 BCE), versus only 10 in Matthew.

At least six generations are missing.