Daily Archives: 13 Dec 2010

The World Cup in Qatar (in 2022) Might Be a Problem for Gays…

2014 FIFA Announcement (Joseph Blatter) 5

Bizarre, I know.  But a point worth making, since homosexuality is against the law in Muslim countries and so practicing the gay arts during the World Cup could get those folk in a bit of trouble…

FIFA President Sepp Blatter insisted Monday that the votes to award World Cups to Russia and Qatar were based on developing soccer and had nothing to do with money.  He also noted that the world’s biggest soccer tournament will have to adjust to more than just the sweltering desert heat when it takes its party-like atmosphere to the Middle East in 2022.  Blatter said that homosexual fans “should refrain from any sexual activities” that are illegal in Qatar.

That’s going to cause some picketing I can tell you right now.  If you thought Muslims weren’t fond of Danish cartoonists wait till you see what they think of – well, you know… unauthorized behavior of a moral kind.

But the homosexuals aren’t the only ones being told to prepare to abstain during their visit- so are the boozers-

Drinking alcohol also is restricted in the country, but Blatter hopes soccer’s universal appeal will bridge cultural differences at the 2022 World Cup.

I’m feeling like Qatar would be an awesome place to live.  If only it were Christian.

Lazy, Unethical, Cheating College Students

70% of today’s college kids admit to cheating on course work.  70%.  Simply disgusting.  But at least the schools they do it at are ‘accredited’ (which must be Swahili or something for ‘cheating mills’, since all they are evidently learning to do at them is pretend to do their own work).

This report by ABC News should cause everyone involved in higher education to sit up (even in their ivory towers over in Iowa and all the way down to Pepperdine) and take notice- because their students are cheating too.

That nurse taking your blood pressure? She may not have written her college term papers. Ditto for your accountant, your pharmacist, your child’s school principal. Cheating has come a long way since the days when answers were written on the palm of a student’s hand. Meet “Ed.” He agreed to talk to ABC News’ David Muir as long as we changed his name to protect his identity. He said he’s helped thousands of students graduate by writing their term papers, final exams, even doctoral theses. Many of them are on highly specialized topics, including national and maritime security. And his clients rarely get caught.

Disgusting. He, and all his customers should be exposed. Read the rest. And be dismayed at the absolute laziness of today’s overindulged spoiled me generation kiddies who take the low road to ‘college success’.  And ask yourself why such a culture of widespread unethical behavior has taken root in America’s higher (really?  can it be called higher any longer with a straight face?) educational system.

[I think the answer lies in the general ethical malaise in America today coupled with the fact that many times the profs are just as unethical and immoral as the students.  So why shouldn’t the kids cheat when they see profs do it too in falsifying research or plagiarizing ideas for publications].

Khirbet Qeiyafa Website Update

Check out the Kh. Qeiyafa site which has

… been updated now and includes new data:
1. The 2009 ASOR meeting Power-Point presentation.
2. The 2010 ASOR meeting Power-Point presentation (the section on the Iron Age IIA sanctuary, with its cultic paraphernalia, has been removed, till this data will be published in a detailed article).
3. Over 100 photos of the 2010 excavation season, including aerial photos of the two city gates (the western gate in Area B and the southern gate in Area C), casemate city wall and dwelling units.

Via Jack Sasson

NPR’s In Depth Story of Iraq’s Christians and their Persecution

Chaldean Christians

It aired this evening on All Things Considered and is very much worth noting.  What’s happening to the Christians of Iraq would be causing real outrage all around the world, if it were happening to any other faith group.  If Jews or Muslims in particular were being hunted and killed, the world would express just outrage.  So why not now?  Why the conspiracy of silence and the lack of US Government reaction?

Christians around Baghdad have been getting threats by text messages and envelopes with bullets inside. Officials in France and Germany have offered asylum to a limited number of Iraqi Christians. But diplomats in Iraq say that is a dangerous game. They say singling out Christians only makes them more of a target. What’s more, they say, in a country where hundreds of people still die every month, it’s not as if Christians are the only victims. Bashar Warda is a Chaldean Catholic archbishop. He says Christians have been part of this country since the 2nd century. But, unlike other Christian leaders, he can’t in good conscience encourage Christians to stay. “Practically, I cannot guarantee anything to any family. I would ask them if they have the patience to stay, if they could travel elsewhere, just for the meantime. That’s all,” he says.

Christians aren’t the only ones dying, that’s true. But they are being singled out only because they are not Muslims. And that’s the tragic truth.

It’s time for the US Government to do something about it. I say we need to open America to Iraqi Christian immigrants. Without reservation or restriction.

People Will Lie For Stuff

A christmas tree.

Are economic conditions now so dire that people are faking burglaries in order to qualify for support from charities helping out the downtrodden during the holidays? Apparently so. Tim Wood, a 21-year-old British man, admitted to police in England that he’d faked a complaint about an intruder coming into his home to snatch all the presents from under the family Christmas tree. Wood had even posed for a photograph with his 2-year-old daughter for a story in the local newspaper about how their Christmas was ruined. But Wood was assailed by guilt over the newspaper’s charity appeal on his behalf and he was prompted to come clean. “I’m so sorry. I’m ashamed of what I’ve done,” Wood — who was fined for wasting the police’s time — told authorities. “I did it because I thought people might donate Christmas presents, and I would get some more for Abbey. The longer it went on, the more guilty I felt, especially using Abbey like that, and I wouldn’t want my little girl to be ashamed of me, so I went to the police. I’m just so sorry.”

Not at all surprising.   People. Utterly depraved and they really think that as long as they utter the magic formula (I’m sorry) everything is made ok no matter how many they’ve hurt along the way to selfish fulfillment.

I know what let’s do.  Let’s have a charity drive for him…  He’s sorry and he clearly needs presents for his daughter (and maybe even the ‘baby momma’, assuming they’re even still together).  Presents… they’re the ‘reason for the season’.

The Israeli Government Takes its War on Palestinians to a Whole New Low

Supreme Court of Israel, Jerusalem. Taken from...

Image via Wikipedia

Heavily armed Israeli police dragged the Dana brothers from their home before dawn, tossed them in armored jeeps and hauled them in for interrogation, the Palestinian boys and their father told The Associated Press. While Israel has long relied on night raids like this to nab Palestinian militants who seek to kill Israelis, the Dana brothers didn’t fit the bill. Their alleged crime: throwing stones. Their ages: 14 and 16. In a report released Monday, the Israeli rights group B’Tselem says the youths’ arrest is part of an Israeli campaign targeting Palestinian minors – one just 5 years old – for stone throwing in east Jerusalem. It says police often arrest minors from their homes in the middle of the night and interrogate them, sometimes with no parent present, in ways that violate Israeli law.

Those rock throwers are notorious aren’t they. Today’s rock tosser is always tomorrow’s terrorist, so it’s best to nip that kind of thing in the bud. Especially if the bud is 5… and no parent is present during questioning…

Nice Israel. Really nice.  Nothing says common decency like extreme armed overkill.

Finally…

The deluge has stopped and the roads are even starting to show some slight improvement…  no thanks to the county government, which hasn’t sent so much as a salt truck down this way.

It’s Time Again For Those Annoying ‘Best of…’ Lists

So when you see the ‘best of X (or whatever) for 2010, put on your scoffing cap and say to yourself, all such lists are pure subjectivity and have no merit in truth.  Billy Bob’s ‘best music’ is probably warm manure compared to what’s really the best music of the year.  And the ‘best book about …’ any subject is only the best one in some person’s very limited experience (unless said person has read every book in every language published that year and even then, it’s still a subjective list).

In short, ‘best of’ lists should be treated with the scorn they deserve or at least understood merely as one person’s opinion on the topic.  And hence, not to be taken with any sort of real seriousness.

Defending Constantine

Peter Leithart’s latest tome is an attempt to rehabilitate Constantine the Great (in the same way that efforts have been made of late to rehabilitate the likes of Judas Iscariot).

Thankfully I didn’t have to buy it because the good people at IVP Academic have sent along a review copy.  And in what has to be the shortest review in history (at least for me), I can sum up my feelings about this book quite simply:  I wasn’t impressed.

To be fair, others may be.  But I found reading it very unpleasant.  Certainly the author is familiar with the historical material but the tone and texture of the entire work seemed, at least to me, to be nothing less than a blind wallowing at the feet of a despicable Emperor.  One is left (at least this one is left) with the feeling that Leithart believes Constantine wasn’t all that horrible- especially in contrast to his particularly vile predecessors.  But the notion that ‘x isn’t all that bad because y was worse’ isn’t exactly the sort of ethical evaluation theologians can find comforting.

What Leithart misses, I think, is the damage that Yoder and others show (beyond dispute) Constantine did to Christianity by turning it into his own personal tool of control.    And though Leithart really, really wants to change the direction of the discussion about Constantine and the early centuries of Christendom, what he really accomplishes (again, at least for me) is to stir up a desire that Yoder were still alive to eviscerate properly what Leithart mistakenly suggests.

Constantine deserves to be defended as much as Hitler, or Stalin, or Saddam Hussein do.

Of course, do feel free to pick up a copy if you’re so inclined.   Perhaps you’ll enjoy it.  I can’t sincerely say that I did.

Total Depravity: Debit Cards for Kids

As if our society weren’t already obsessed enough with useless actors and actresses… now your kids (who else would want them) can get debit cards (!) with teen celebs on them.

It’s bad enough celebrities are everywhere you look these days, now they’ve made their way into the world of high finance? Management at certain financial institutions have seen fit to sign deals with celebrities and entertainment companies to use their likenesses on pre-paid debit cards. Under pressure no doubt, from their teenage daughters . Do you know who else would want a card featuring the Kardashian sisters or the Twilight cast?

Now that’s depraved.  Read the rest, and despair.

Wall Street is Doing Better than Ever, and Has American Taxpayers to Thank…

"View in Wall Street from Corner of Broad...

Even with the foul weather and wretched devil’s dandruff defiling the landscape, this makes me all warm inside

Two agonizing years for the U.S. economy have been some of the best years on record for Wall Street.  After first receiving billions in taxpayer aid, and now ultracheap funding from the Federal Reserve, Wall Street banks are on track to wrap up two of their best years ever.  Even if the current quarter only matches the third in revenue, this year will be the second best ever for Wall Street, capping a two-year winning streak fueled by government dollars, Bloomberg reports. With more than $100 billion in their pockets from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which offered them hundreds of billions more, the five biggest investment banks — Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley — have seen their revenue this year climb to $93.7 billion.

Hey you politicians, thanks so much for making this all possible.  We won’t forget it.  Oh heck, who am I kidding, people have already forgotten, and sent you same sorry lot back to Washington to pillage our bank accounts further.

Philip Davies’ Brief Response to Richard Hess

In response to Richard Hess’s recent essay at Bible and Interpretation, Philip writes (in comments there)

‘Behind this [the view that Josiah’s activities are fictional] lay the argument that monotheism did not exist in the pre-exilic period.’ — Hess

Wrong. The argument is actually both more simple and more complex. The simple version is that we have no extra-biblical evidence relating directly or indirectly to the reign of Josiah, while the biblical evidence (Kings, Chronicles) itself is contradictory regarding the sequence of lawbook discovery and reform, character of the lawbook, and circumstances of Josiah’s death. yet a huge legend has been created by biblical scholars around this figure – the ‘lost messiah’, the patron of a revolution in literacy (Schniedewind’s book is one of the silliest ave ever read and least informed by social-scientific common sense). Even Finkelstein, who prides himself on putting archaeology before Bible, falls into this pit, right to the bottom.

On the definition of monotheism as worship of a single god – of course this goes back a long way, though probably only as a description of formal theological systems. The usual practice was always a hierarchy of cults, domestic, city, royal, personal, whatever. But it seems reasonable to conclude that the patron deity of Jerusalem in the late monarchic era was Yhwh sbwt, so the predominance of the name is hot exactly surprising in the city. Before making any claims about Judeans, let alone Israelites, we should consider a rather better rage of evidence, if it exists.

The same essay provokes comments by Lemche and Thompson as well.  Go to the link above for them.

What’s That You Say Weather People? The Snow Has Stopped?

Ha.  Not here…  It continues to come down at an unhealthy clip…  6″+ this morning and climbing by the minute.  Meanwhile, just a county over, less than 2 in some places and a trace in others.

Are there any Churches on the Equator looking for a witty and brilliant Vicar?

Why is Ma’ariv Misleading the Israeli Public?

Coat of arms of the Federal Republic of Germany.

And why has it reported, falsely, that Germany plans on proposing a resolution for the EU recognizing a Palestinian State within a year if there is no peace agreement? Why? To stir passions that’s why. And to engender hostility. The Associated Press reports

The German government says reports are false that Germany proposed a resolution for the EU to recognize an independent Palestinian state within a year if no peace agreement is reached by then. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Stefan Bredohl said Monday the report in Israeli daily Ma’ariv “is entirely unfounded.”

Ma’ariv understands that the best way to manipulate public opinion is to deceive.  It’s the way governments have been manipulating citizens since there have been governments.

It Sounds Like a Silly Commercial Anyway, Air New Zealand…

"The Hub," Air New Zealand headquarters

Air NZ HQ

Air New Zealand said Monday it was cutting an in-flight safety video showing an All Black rugby player refusing to kiss a male flight attendant after complaints it could spur gay suicides. The airline said it had agreed to remove a scene from the video featuring All Black centre Richard Kahui politely turning down a request to give gay flight attendant Will Coxhead a peck on the cheek. “The move comes after complaints from members of the gay and lesbian community in the past week,” Air New Zealand said in a statement.

The report goes on to describe the commercial which, if I may, just sounds pretty silly anyway. I miss the old commercials. You know, where the dear mother figure held a box of soap and just told you how good it was and how well it worked. I blame the Super Bowl for all the stupid commercials.

But, you may be wondering, what does this have to do with theology or the bible…  The answer, everything.  Because everything is theological.

Bank Fraud and the Injustice of the Bank of America

Photo of Bank of America ATM Machine by Brian ...

Stealing the homes of Americans

NPR aired a really shocking story this morning of a woman who is being robbed, essentially, by her mortgage lender and the bank, Bank of America, which took it over.

State prosecutors from all 50 states are investigating the country’s largest banks, to learn whether they have been foreclosing on thousands of Americans improperly.  The banks say they do not seize people’s houses without justification. But NPR has uncovered a case that might suggest otherwise. In fact, the homeowner in this case was actually the victim of a scam run by one of the bank’s very own employees. But despite that, the bank moved to foreclose anyway.

Read the whole.  It really is appalling and depraved what large companies are doing to normal people.