Archive for March, 2011
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Thursday, March 31st, 2011 | Uncategorized | 42 Comments
A Wisconsin school teacher is formally charged with sending death threats to Republican legislators:
A 26-year-old woman was charged Thursday with two felony counts and two misdemeanor counts for allegedly making email threats against Wisconsin lawmakers during the height of the battle over Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-repair bill.
Katherine R. Windels of Cross Plains was named in a criminal complaint filed in Dane County Criminal Court.
According to the criminal complaint, Windels allegedly sent an email threat to State Sen. Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) March 9. Later that evening, she allegedly sent another email to 15 Republican legislators, including Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau).
The subject line of the second email was: “Atten: Death Threat!!!! Bomb!!!” In that email, she purportedly wrote, “Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your families will also be killed due to your actions in the last 8 weeks.”
“I hope you have a good time in hell,” she allegedly wrote in the lengthy email in which she purportedly listed scenarios in which the legislators and their families would die, including bombings and by “putting a nice little bullet in your head.”
Windels was charged with two felony counts “bomb scare” and two misdemeanor counts of “computer message-threatening injury/bodily harm.” If convicted, each felony count carries a maximum penalty of three years and six months in prison and a $10,000 fine, and each misdemeanor count carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in prison and a $1,000 fine.
The kid claims that she was just upset and didn’t actually intend to go through with her threats. Nevertheless, she could use a little time in the hole as an example although I doubt that she’ll get any.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Thursday, March 31st, 2011 | Uncategorized | 14 Comments
Islam? Do you want people in the West to respect your religion? Here’s a good place to start. Stop executing 14-year-old rape victims:
Hena Akhter’s last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl.
Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh’s Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public.
Hena dropped after 70.
Bloodied and bruised, she was taken to hospital, where she died a week later.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Thursday, March 31st, 2011 | Uncategorized | 8 Comments
Because when you’ve lost Great Britain’s most celebrated forensic gynecologist…
That’s a gauntlet for anyone left in the Congress not in thrall to the emperor’s growing power-grab. I fear, as Yglesias notes, that the Congress doesn’t even want to exercize its powers or even go on the record … because they’re a bunch of pansy-ass losers. But I hope that some of them actually care about the Constitution (hello, Tea Party!) and fight back. If the Obama administration is refusing even to abide by the War Powers Act, then the Congress really needs to vote to defund their adventurism at least or impeach them if it comes to that. Going to war outside even the War Powers Act qualifies as an impeachable offense, it seems to me.
UPDATE: Mr. President? I’m starting to not like your chances next year.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Wednesday, March 30th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 18 Comments
Since this country owns the moon, we’ll let this happen on one condition. These guys have to figure out a way to plant and photograph an Israeli flag on it:
If all goes according to plan, by December 2012 a team of three young Israeli scientists will have landed a tiny spacecraft on the moon, explored the lunar surface, and transmitted live video back to earth, thereby scooping up a $20 million prize (the Google Lunar X Prize), revolutionizing space exploration, and making the Jewish State the third nation (after the U.S. and Russia) to land a probe on the moon. And they’re doing it in their spare time.
On second thought, we probably better not allow this. For one thing, the Muslims will bitch about it. They’ll be all like, “See?!! See?!! The Jews are taking over the moon!! Man, those Jews think they can take over everything!! We hate those guys!!”
Maybe some time we’ll be talking to someone from Turkey or Pakistan or some such place and we’ll be all like, “Did you know that your flag has the moon on it? That’s the thing Israel just landed on, you know.”
Then they’ll be all like, “Hey, shut your infidel pie hole!! Muslims invented algebra so you have to respect us!!” Then we’ll be all like, “That was, what, a thousand years ago? Managed anything lately? Other than explosives, I mean.” Then they’ll be all like, “Yeah but…shut up right now or I’ll blow up something!!”
Nobody needs that.
And of course we’ll never hear the end of the whining and complaining from the Episcopalians, the United Nations, the National and World Council of Churches Nobody Goes To Anymore and the rest of the secular and religious left about ending the illegal Israeli occupation of the moon.
No, I don’t think this is a good idea at all.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Wednesday, March 30th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 6 Comments
It’s always embarrassing to watch someone besullivan himself. Charles Johnson battles his mortal enemy Charles Johnson © 2004.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Wednesday, March 30th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 24 Comments
I hate to keep harping on how awesome I am but I wrote this almost two years ago:
No, hear me out. We can do this again next year. Every year for that matter. We can tell people that slavery had such a devastating impact on this country that we feel that we didn’t apologize for slavery enough.
Mark your calendars for Repentapalooza 2011:
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the national Episcopal Church will visit the diocese Saturday, April 9, to preside and preach at a major Service of Repentance, Healing and Reconciliation at Trinity, Asheville, located at 60 Church Street in downtown Asheville. The service will begin at 11 a.m.
At this service, Bishop Taylor, presiding bishop of the diocese of Western North Carolina, will extend an official apology for the diocese’s complicity in the institution of slavery and segregation. All 65 parishes in the diocese will be represented and will offer up their history and relationships related to segregation and slavery.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Wednesday, March 30th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 15 Comments
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 16 Comments
Hanging out with the Episcopal Organization’s House of Squishops this week, Chris Epting took the opportunity to engage in that favorite Episcopal recreation. Thanking God that he is not as other men are:
The morning was spent in presentations on the complexities and yet necessity of Christian-Muslim dialogue since over 60% of the world’s population are adherents of these two religions. As we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11 prejudice, fear, and misunderstanding of Muslims seems only increasing in the United States and all speakers emphasized the need for us to counter this reality.
So often we hear “where are the moderate Muslim voices” to counter Al Quaida, the Taliban, etc. Today we were asked “Where are the moderate Christian voices to counter Glenn Beck, Franklin Graham and the other fear mongers who regularly demonize all Muslims for the sins of the extemists. Good question…
Eppie? Let Mr. Ben Kwashi of Nigeria describe some of his encounters with his Islamic neighbors over the last several years for you.
In February 2006 a band of people reportedly hired to kill me came to my house. Believing that I was there although I was in another country, they tortured my wife, Gloria, from 1:30 to 3:30 a.m. They left Gloria half-dead and blind. Our son Rinji was left unconscious and our little boy Nanminen had a broken mouth. Through the miracle of medical science, Gloria healed thoroughly and regained her sight in five months.
The next year the attackers were back: this time they met me. They took me downstairs to the field outside my house, where they were going to kill me. They changed their minds and decided they would rather kill me in my bedroom. They brought me back to my bedroom and I pleaded with them for an opportunity to pray. They agreed and I got on my knees to pray. A few minutes later my wife was holding my hands in prayer.
A few more minutes later my son Rinji walked in. I screamed at him, “What are you doing? Why are you here?” He said, “Daddy, they’ve gone.” We got up and brought the whole family together and we praised the Lord until the police and the soldiers came, and throughout the day it was a song of praise.
We have witnessed the massacre of Christians; the destruction of churches, Christian businesses, and property; and the disruption of normal life, time and again. But in all this we remain undaunted for the gospel.
I know that I will die someday — how I do not know — but until then I am fully persuaded beyond any doubt that I have a gospel to proclaim. I have a gospel worth living for and a gospel worth dying for.
Know something, Eppie? When Muslims are in the majority in a country or a region, the simple fact of the matter is that they are some of the most intolerant and occasionally murderous people in the world. It is not fear mongering and it is not demonization to point that fact out.
I’m sure you know many wonderful, peaceful, civilized, western Muslims and I’m sure that many of these are heartsick at the sorts of crimes people who read Korans commit. While even some of these peaceful western Muslims sometimes display a lack of concern for the feelings of non-Muslims(see the Ground Zero Mosque controversy), I have no doubt whatsoever that they are basically fine people.
But the fact remains that in too many places around the world to count, when Islam dominates, non-Islamic lives are worthless. Coming out and saying that may offend western Muslims but it is still a fact nonetheless.
Look around the world, Eppie. Moderate, peaceful Islam is not winning. It might have a shot if those Muslim friends of yours would quit playing the victim, quit telling Americans how peaceful Islam is and start telling radical Muslims how badly they have corrupted the Mohammedan religion.
But they’re not doing any of that. What’s that tell you, Eppie?
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 43 Comments
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 9 Comments
Tim Fountain is shutting things down.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Monday, March 28th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 36 Comments
Great news! Bart Ehrman knows who really wrote the Bible. Or didn’t write it, as the case may be:
Most people wouldn’t put it that way, since the Bible is, after all, sacred Scripture for millions on our planet. But good Christian scholars of the Bible, including the top Protestant and Catholic scholars of America, will tell you that the Bible is full of lies, even if they refuse to use the term. And here is the truth: Many of the books of the New Testament were written by people who lied about their identity, claiming to be a famous apostle — Peter, Paul or James — knowing full well they were someone else. In modern parlance, that is a lie, and a book written by someone who lies about his identity is a forgery.
How does Bart know that? Scholars told him.
Most modern scholars of the Bible shy away from these terms, and for understandable reasons, some having to do with their clientele. Teaching in Christian seminaries, or to largely Christian undergraduate populations, who wants to denigrate the cherished texts of Scripture by calling them forgeries built on lies? And so scholars use a different term for this phenomenon and call such books “pseudepigrapha.”
You will find this antiseptic term throughout the writings of modern scholars of the Bible. It’s the term used in university classes on the New Testament, and in seminary courses, and in Ph.D. seminars. What the people who use the term do not tell you is that it literally means “writing that is inscribed with a lie.”
The same is true of many of the letters allegedly written by Paul. Most scholars will tell you that whereas seven of the 13 letters that go under Paul’s name are his, the other six are not. Their authors merely claimed to be Paul. In the ancient world, books like that were labeled as pseudoi — lies.
Bart never gets around to naming any of these scholars, mind you. You’re just supposed to take his word for it. So modern liberal theology can be summed up as follows:
(1) Say stupid, unverifiable crap.
(2) Claim that “most scholars” agree with you.
I hate to keep hauling this thing out but, well, Søren could go yard now and then
The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world? Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Monday, March 28th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 24 Comments
I don’t even want to think about what the Episcopalians might put into this thing:
The deadline has been extended for submitting comments through an online survey to the Episcopal Church Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (SCLM) about a possible revision of The Hymnal 1982 through April 30, according to a press release.
The Rev. Ruth Meyers, chair of the SCLM, noted comments are invited from the entire church in this discussion. She previously said, “We have established this survey as part of the Episcopal Church’s ongoing work with liturgical materials and in compliance to Resolution B004 as approved at General Convention 2009. This is important work in the life of our church and we are grateful for participation as our church embraces this task.”
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Monday, March 28th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 18 Comments
The Church of England beclowns itself again:
Manchester Cathedral is to host a ‘new age’ festival featuring tarot card readers, crystal healers and ‘dream interpretation’.
Local Anglican leaders have agreed to throw open the doors of the historic cathedral in a bid to embrace alternative forms of Christianity.
Fortune tellers, meditation experts and traditional healers will fill the pews during the day-long festival in May. The Bishop of Manchester, Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch, said he wanted to celebrate ‘all forms of spirituality’.
The Spirit of Life festival on May 2 will also feature stalls and workshops on angels, prayer bead-making and massage.
The Spirit of Life people claim the story is inaccurate.
Contrary to media reports, the Spirit of Life is a Christian festival offering a balanced programme of different spiritual traditions including Taize, choral evensong and contemporary spiritualities. There are workshops which will discuss spiritualities outside the Christian tradition. There will be no tarot card reading or fortune telling at the event.
There will be this, though.
With about 25 workshops and stalls covering poetry, Franciscan spirituality, arts and crafts, healing, icons, angels, meditation, personality profiling, music and blessings, labyrinths, dream interpretation, Christian symbolism of gem stones, tarot and Celtic saints, prayer bead making, choral evensong, foot and hand massage, Jesus Deck readings, Taize chants and, finally, fire breathing!
In case you’re wondering, this is what a Jesus Deck is. I have no idea what “readings” using a Jesus Deck involve and, frankly, I don’t want to know.
The only shocking thing about this story is that anyone would find it shocking. When your “church” has no Good News to tell anyone and has basically given up any meaningful interest in spreading the Gospel, then you will naturally be keenly interested in “all forms of spirituality,” even idiotic ones.
Since you don’t really believe any of that “spirituality” crap.
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Monday, March 28th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 6 Comments
A new “Chris Johnson, Anglican Investigator” adventure
Chapter Four – Memories
Since I’d slept fine, I took the first shift behind the wheel. Around Wentzville, the others dropped off to sleep, leaving me alone with my thoughts.
One thought in particular.
How the hell was I going to pull this off?
Since my counterpart and I had basically lived parallel lives, the next clue(and I suspected that there would be at least one more clue before I found the device) would have to be located some place important to both of us.
Which I knew could be any place between the Mississippi River and the Pacific Ocean. Because everything memorable, good or bad, that had ever happened to me had happened to me somewhere in the West.
I was born there. When I was seven or so, my relationship with my father basically ended there. One of my uncles, the only member of my family apart from my mother that I ever really loved, lived in Kansas.
I suddenly knew exactly where I had to go.
When I pulled into Columbia and picked up something at my friend Xavier’s place, everyone woke up. “Where are we?” Muerknz asked when I got back into the car.
“The middle of Missouri,” I replied as we got back on the highway.
“Where are we going?” Amy P. wanted to know.
“It’s a long story.”
“We’ve got plenty of time.”
Her name was Margaret, I told them. I guess I first met her when I was nine or ten. Most of my Kansas cousins were much older than me and the one who was about my age and I didn’t always get along.
But there was this girl named Margaret who lived across the street. She was on the chubby side and not terribly popular but she was sweet and kind.
And I thought she was kind of cute.
One day when my cousin and some other kids were picking on her, I stepped in and emphatically told them to lay off. And that’s where it began.
From then on, every time my family went out there, I spent more time with Margaret than I did with my own cousins. I didn’t comprehend it at the time but Margaret was basically my first girlfriend.
We wrote each other all the time. “Then one summer, when we were both fourteen, Margaret and I waited out a thunderstorm in this big stone barn on her family’s farm,” I told them with a slight smile on my face.
Amy P. caught it. “And?” she asked with a big smile.
“Yeah. The sort of ‘horseplay’ you can expect from a couple of hormonal teenagers when no parents are around.”
Dave P. grinned. “How far did you get?”
“Second base, I guess,” I said, laughing at the memory of it. “Her family sold the farm and left WaKeeney not long after that and we lost track.
“Funny thing was, a couple of years ago, Nicole and I are out shopping and who do we run into? Margaret and her family had moved to St. Louis. We have them over all the time.”
Switching drivers every couple of hours, we got to WaKeeney late in the afternoon. When we arrived, I took over the driving since I knew the way better than I knew my own name.
We found Margaret’s family’s former farm. Nobody currently owned the place; I had looked into buying it myself. I pulled around back and parked the car as out-of-sight as I possibly could.
The others started to get out before I stopped them. I took a careful look around, trying to get the lay of the land. When I decided that everything was clear, the four of us got out and went over to the huge, stone barn.
“Man, that thing is gigantic,” said Muerknz.
“It’s been around for well over a century,” I told her. “Margaret once told me that it survived at least ten tornadoes. Ain’t nothing blowing that thing down.”
We walked over to the door which was open. The four of us took out our flashlights and began carefully examining the interior of the barn.
“Bring back memories?” Dave P. asked me.
“Yeah,” I replied, grinning. “You’re not getting any details though.”
Then, off in the corner, I heard Amy P. say, “Chris, there’s something over here.”
On the floor, we saw an envelope. It had been torn open and its contents, evidently another Flash drive, had been left nearby.
We ran back to the car. “Fire up a lapper,” I said.
“Mine’s on,” said Dave P.
“Plug it in,” I told him, handing him the drive. “Amy P., take the wheel.”
“Chris?” asked Muerknz from the front seat.
“Who are those people over there?”
About fifty yards away, I could see a group of ten men and women staring at us. “Do you want us to check it out?” asked Dave P.
“Don‘t bother. Once they see you get out of the car, they’ll be gone long before you got there,” I said.
I double-clicked on the file. And I got the shock of my life.
Dave P., looking over my shoulder, murmured, “The Phaistos disk!”
“What the hell is that?” asked Muerknz.
“An archaeological find from Crete,” Dave P. told her. “The only one of its kind.”
“Some people think it’s a forgery,” added Amy P. “Dave P. doesn’t. He’s spent years trying to decipher the thing. Kind of his hobby in a way.”
“It’s not a forgery,” said Dave P.
“It’s also not the Phaistos Disk,” I added.
“Of course it’s the Phaistos Disk!” Dave P. exclaimed. “I’ve spent a long time studying the thing and I’ve memorized it!”
“Then look again.”
Dave P. stared at the images and then said, “Something’s wrong. The images are out of sequence. You’re right, this isn’t the Phaistos disk.”
“Then what is it?” asked Muerknz.
“It’s a code,” I said.
“A code? How do you know that?” asked Amy P.
“Because I invented it. Son of a…all this time I’ve been talking about getting inside my alternate’s head and it seems like he’s gotten inside mine.”
I turned on my own laptop, plugged the drive into it and started up a program. “I don’t get it,” said Dave P.
“If they’ve gotten inside his head, and it seems like they have, then they know it’s a code as well.
“If they know it’s a code, then they know how to break it. So why leave it for us to find?”
“I don’t know,” I told him. “Maybe they haven’t gotten far enough inside his head. Maybe they haven’t broken it. If he’s resisted telling them about the code key…”
“Which means,” said Muerknz, “that they want us to lead them to it.”
“Chris? Are you deciphering it now?” asked Amy P.
“Yeah,” I said.
“It’s coming up. Go. Wash. Pool. Siloam.”
“What does that mean?”
“I assume it means the same thing that it meant when Our Lord first said it. We have to get to Israel.”
We got as far as Columbia before deciding to call it a night. We ate at a McDonald’s off the highway and then got rooms at a Motel 6.
I took a long, leisurely shower. When I finally came back out, the other three were in my room, staring at me. They were clearly frightened. “What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Go outside and look up,” Muerknz quietly told me.
I went outside and looked at the sky. What I saw was a chain of luminous bodies of some kind, about a third the size of the moon, like a string of pearls in the heavens stretching from east to west. “The lights,” I whispered.
Without a word, I went back inside and immediately turned on the television. As expected, it dominated every channel.
“Repeating,” said a terrified female reporter. “These lights circle the entire world and neither the government nor leading scientists has any idea what this phenomenon is.
“All we know right now is that all air travel worldwide is grounded for the duration.”
I switched off the television. “Did they say why?” I asked.
“We haven’t heard anything yet,” Dave P. replied.
I called David Trimble and put the phone on speaker. “Trimble? Johnson.”
“Dear LORD am I glad to hear from you,” he said.
“Why are they grounding all airplanes?”
“Because of something that started happening the moment those lights appeared in the sky. Every plane that tried to take off crashed.”
“Every. Single. One. Didn’t matter where in the world it took off. And here’s the funny part. No bodies were found in any of those wreckages. None whatsoever. Chris, what are we dealing with?”
“It’s really complicated, David. But right now, I’m going to need you to shut things down and get out of Dodge. Whoever else you have on this case, pull them off and send them home.”
“There’s nothing more that you, Sullivan or any of them can do. I’ll talk to you…sometime.”
I hung up the phone, made a drink and silently stared out the window. Since they didn’t know what else to do, Muerknz, Dave P. and Amy P. made drinks of their own.
Five or six minutes and another drink later, Muerknz broke the ice. “Chris? If they need you to find it, why don’t we just stop now?”
“Because they’ll find it eventually. It’ll take ‘em a while but they’ll find it. They might have to empty the planet but it‘ll eventually turn up.
“When your life’s goal is in sight, you can stand a delay. No, this thing has to be played out one way or the other.”
“But how the hell do we get to Israel if we can’t fly?” asked Dave P.
“Least of our problems.” I dialed a special number and put the phone on speaker again.
Ed the Roman answered. “Is this Johnson?” he asked.
“What the hell‘s going on, man?”
“I‘ll tell you later, Captain,” I said. “They watching your place?”
“Can you get out?”
“Where’s the boat?”
“Couple things. How soon can you get her ready for a trans-Atlantic run and how soon can you get a crew together who understands that this run might be the very last thing they do in this life?”
“Twenty-four hours and twenty-four hours. All my crews are like that. Where are we going?”
“Care to fill me in as to, you know, why and stuff?”
“I’ll tell you when we’re at sea.”
“See you tomorrow night then.”
Posted by Christopher Johnson | Saturday, March 26th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 14 Comments
Do not judge a religion based on what it says when it is in the minority. Judge it by what it does when it can do anything it wants to:
Thousands of Christians have been forced to flee their homes in Western Ethiopia after Muslim extremists set fire to roughly 50 churches and dozens of Christian homes.
At least one Christian has been killed, many more have been injured and anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000 have been displaced in the attacks that began March 2 after a Christian in the community of Asendabo was accused of desecrating the Koran.
The violence escalated to the point that federal police forces sent to the area two weeks ago were initially overwhelmed by the mobs. Government spokesman Shimelis Kemal told Voice of America police reinforcements had since restored order and 130 suspects had been arrested and charged with instigating religious hatred and violence.
This is the alleged “desecration.”
In the southern town of Moyale, a Christian was sentenced to three years in prison in November for allegedly writing “Jesus is the Lord” in a copy of the Koran, Compass Direct News reported. Christians from the area told the website he had actually written the phrase on a piece of cloth.
And then there’s this.
Additionally, two of his friends were fined for visiting him in prison and taking him food, Compass Direct reported.
And in Oma Village on February 26 a Muslim mob with rocks and rods assaulted and wounded 17 Christian college students who were distributing Bibles during a mission trip, ICC reported.
Do you know what I would do if someone stole and burned every Bible I owned? I’d do two things. I’d feel real bad for the guy. And I’d go out and buy another Bible.
But that’s because I’m not an idolatrous barbarian.
Islam? Do you want respect from the Christian world? Then listen to the words of the one you call Issa. “You shall know them,” He said, “by their fruits.”