HAPPY EASTER!

IMG_4539To the Lovely People with whom I had EASTER DINNER,

Thank You!
The Lamb was So Delicious!
The Asparagus So Green and Tender!
The Potatoes roasted to perfection!
…All served on Royal Doulton China, no less!

There was that moment in the middle of the meal when the Hostess, apropos of Nothing, blurted out, “UH! And isn’t it Terrible what is Going on in Indiana! How about That!”
Of course, I’ve been hearing that all week long, so it seemed topical.
That is until the part I have not heard before amidst my social circles…
“Those poor people having their Religious Freedom Attacked!”
“And Those Corporations pulling out! And trying to pull the BasketBall away! It’s such an Assault!”
“The headline in the paper read, ‘Will Not Serve Gays!’ and it wasn’t even True! They didn’t say that they wouldn’t serve Gays! They just said that they wouldn’t cater their Wedding!”
The thick rumble of “DAMN that Liberal Media!” was palpable in the room.
I summon my Inner JON STEWART!

I suggest that this was resolved at a Woolworth’s Lunch Counter in Greensboro in 1960.
You tell me that that was different because it was about Race.

A discussion ensues of the distinction between Not Being Willing to serve me in your store and Not being willing to Cater my Wedding.

Huh?

IMG_4543Frisee Salad?
With Shallot Vinaigrette
Toasted Walnuts
And Bleu Cheese…
Yummy!

I suggested that if I were a jihadist, and protecting my Religious Freedom allowed me to kill you…
“That’s Different!” you all jumped. “That’s Murder!”

Other than the inability of anyone present who could discern between Religious Freedom and the thinly veiled acts of discrimination in Indiana and Arkansas these past few weeks, it was a lovely day.

“Religious Freedom” has come to imply that your own interpretation of your Religion grants you certain privileges to discriminate against other people.
Aye, there’s the Rub!
And it’s happened before…

“I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.”
— Adolf Hitler, to Gen. Gerhard Engel, 1941

“I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator.”
— Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, p. 46

“The National Government will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built.  It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life.”
— Adolf Hitler, Berlin, 1933, first radio address after coming to power.

“The work that Christ started but could not finish, I — Adolf Hitler — will conclude.”
— Adolf Hitler, December 1926.

Was Adolf not entitled to his “Religious Freedoms” as well?
He certainly would have refused to cater a Gay Wedding!

Virtually Every Christian Denomination has officially denounced the Ku Klux Klan,
Yet they see themselves as adhering to American Values and Christian Morality.
Who’s Right?
If a KLAN Member works in a Pizza Shop and I decide I want Pizza at My Wedding, are they allowed to refuse me on Grounds of their Religious Freedom?
Will they stop there?

Cherished Guests, Jihadists, Republicans, and Nazis,
Please allow me to explain a brief History of the Book and Laws that are inaccurately called upon to veil Bigotry and Discrimination as “Religious Freedom.”

The events of the Christian Bible, i.e.: the New Testament — such as that which we Celebrate at Easter — are believed to have happened some 2,000 years ago.
After some seven generations being passed down through oral tradition —
and that has nothing to do with gay people —
That just means that nobody wrote them down, and it was a game of telephone
until finally seven Generations Later a few guys began to write down their version of what their Great Great Great Great Grandfather had experienced.

This was all written in Aramaic.
Aramaic is a Lost Language.
No one can know for sure what the words and alphabetical characters were intended to mean.

For Example, all of that discrimination against women,
Because the Bible Tells Me So,
“Love, Honor and Obey…”
“Submit to your husbands…”
It has been thought for many centuries that the Bible tells us WOMAN was created to be the Servant of Man.
However, scholars have more recently deciphered that this word for woman – “HELPER” – is in fact the same word used for “GOD.”

The word “Virgin,” as it turns out, more accurately translates as “Maiden”.
WHOOPS!
The point, of course, is not “Do you believe a Virgin can conceive?”
But Rather, “Do you believe God is Able?”
Because the Bible tells me So!

You see, I believe Religious Freedoms must be protected too.
I believe that JESUS died to save ALL People, and therefore ALL People must already be Saved!
I also Believe in the separation of Church and State.
And your desire to discriminate against me as an individual is not a Religious Freedom.
That is Hate.
It is no longer sanctioned by our Federal Government.
I like to believe it was never sanctioned by the People of this Country
Whether it was directed against Women, People of Color, People with Disabilities, or Me…
But how can you pretend that Hate is a Religious Freedom?
What Religion says it’s OK to kill?
What Religion says it’s OK to discriminate?
Certainly none that I know.

After being written down in Aramaic,
Some Five Hundred Years Later, these texts were translated into Greek and Hebrew.
There are 5700 manuscripts of the Greek text of the New Testament and NOT ONE of these is an original text!
Scholars today say we have more variations than there are words,
and calculate over 400,000 ways to read these texts!
Does it not occur to you that to interpret these texts in ways that harm people and advocate the removal of people’s rights is not a “conservative” position?
It is a MEAN, BIGOTED, SHAMEFUL position!

IMG_4545Oh, and Ravioli too?
A Pasta Course!
Quite Delicious!
Thank You!

A Thousand Years after the Greek and Hebrew translations from Aramaic,
we have the Very First English Translation.
And that was Over Five Hundred Years Ago.

So, to what does this lead us?

The Bible has Two highly contradictory stories of the Creation of the World.
The only thing these two stories agree upon is that we must all be Vegetarians.
But no one takes That Literally!
Genesis 1:29 “I give you every green plant for your food.”

In Exodus, Chapter 20: Moses comes down from the mountain, sees the Golden Bull, and SMASHES the Two tablets.
Therefore, it is clear that the best we have of the Ten Commandments is a SECOND DRAFT — and it is a FULL FOURTEEN CHAPTERS LATER until we get them written down.

IMG_4546Dessert was just Fabulous!
Homemade Pie and Cookies and Fresh Fruit…
Thank You!

So you see, while I sit at table with Family Members and Friends
Celebrating this Holiday that JESUS CHRIST rose from the Dead and Saved Us,
I cannot for the Life of me recall where in the Bible it says that you go to Hell for serving Gay People Cake!

The problem is not one of Religious Freedoms.
The problem is that when people declare their Religious Values to include Discrimination, Bigotry and Hate,
They need to call those things what they are.
There is a difference between the Moral Teachings of the Bible and Biblical Culture.
Leviticus says, “No Spitting.”
Yet in Mark 7:34, Jesus spits to heal the man’s tongue to show that “No Spitting” is a CUSTOM not a MORAL TEACHING!
Leviticus also tells us “Man shall not lie down with another Man as with a woman, or he shall be put to death.”
And that we must not eat shellfish.
And that women must go outside the house when they menstruate.
These are all Customs of Biblical Culture;
They are Not MORAL TEACHINGS!

Also, my wealthy friends,
As you speak against the Affordable Care Act,
And I clarify for you that I am one of the Bums on it,
Note that there are over 3,000 verses in the BIBLE which speak to Economic Justice.
So it can be very convenient to focus on the seven verses that mention homosexuality (Really three: Leviticus 18, Leviticus 20, and Romans I; The others merely reference those.)
Are my Religious Freedoms being protected when the Government uses my tax dollars to give Wall Street Executives Giant Bonuses after they have collapsed the economy?
Are yours?

IMG_4548Thank You!
Some More Wine — that would be Lovely!
And Yes, I’d love some Coffee.
What a Delectable Holiday Dinner!
De gustibus non est disputandum.

So-called “Christian Conservatives” claim that Marriage Equality destroys the “Family.”
To which Biblical model of “Family” do they refer?

  • Abraham, with his 318 wives and concubines and children by all of them, selling his daughters for sexual favors?
  • Abraham, married to Sarah, having a child by Hagar at Sarah’s suggestion, and then abandoning Hagar and his son Ishmael in the Wilderness?
  • Solomon, believed to have had 700 princesses as wives and 300 concubines?
  • Lot when he slept with his daughters? (Yes there were sins of Sodom!)
  • David with his 300 wives and concubines, who then cast them all aside for that hunk, Jonathan, saying “Jonathan! Jonathan! Your love to me has been Wonderful! Surpassing that of a man for a woman!”
  • Ruth & Naomi who loved each other: “Until Death Do us Part”
  • Jeremiah & his eunuch companion, E’bed Me’lech? Is it a coincidence that they are the only two unmarried men in Islam?
  • Matthew 19 refers to: “The eunuchs Jesus loved.” “Eunuch” is a many-layered term in both Hebrew and Greek, but when Jesus says in the Christian Bible “There are Eunuchs born this way,” there can be no doubt about what this means.
  • Jacob’s son, Joseph, sold into slavery by his own brother?
  • Adam & Eve had two sons, Cain & Abel, and they did not exactly write the script to Leave It To Beaver.

Yes, I agree with you, Friends and Family!
Religious Freedom must be protected,
Mine as well as yours,
Because the Bible Tells Me So!

And So, with Great Feasting,
We Celebrate the Easter Season!
We Celebrate All of the Americans who had the Courage to Come Forward over the past two weeks to Take Action Protesting the exploits of Mike Pence and Asa Hutchinson!
We Celebrate The Resurrection of Christ Jesus!
And that ALL People are SAVED!

HAPPY EASTER!

*Special Thanx to Reverend Pat Bumgardner, Reverend Rev. Dr. Edgard Francisco Danielsen-Morales, and MCC Church of New York, from whom I learned all this Cool Stuff! http://www.mccny.org

 

UPDATE:

These corrections and clarifications were shared by my Good Friend, Reverend Angela. With my Gratitude for her expertise, I include them here, as there are a few specifics that will provide further accuracy . So, for the record :

A few things….
The Gospels were never written in Aramaic, they were only written down in Greek.
Jesus most likely spoke Aramaic and probably could read a little Hebrew because the scrolls were written in Hebrew but most likely he was illiterate and like most of the people of his day memorized the Jewish Scripture.
The first written accounts of Jesus were Paul’s letters and the first, his 1st letter to the Thessalonians was written around 50 C.E. (Common Era, 50 years after Jesus’ death).  The first Gospel, Mark, was written around 70 C.E.
One of the first Greek versions of the Hebrew Scripture is the Septuagint (LXX) written around 300-200 BCE (Before the Common Era). I’m not sure when the first English Translation of the Hebrew Scripture was but it was late (19th century) but that is because Jewish people always read it in the original language.  Translations were unnecessary.
Jerome translated the O.T. and  N.T. from Greek to Latin, called the Vulgate, sometime in the mid-late 4th century (C.E.).
The first English Translation of the Christian Bible is the King James Version in 1611.
A better argument comes from the law itself.  I don’t know if you watch The Good Wife but the scenes with Diane Lockhart speak to this and are amazing.  Here is the link:
# # #
Leave a comment

2 Comments

  1. Kudos to you, Arnold, for calling out the bigotry masked as religion.

    Reply
  2. Astrid Larsen

     /  April 6, 2015

    Excellent Arnold!

    Reply

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