Posts Tagged ‘religion’

Paul Ryan Caves, House Chaplain Reinstated

May 7, 2018

Paul Ryan Caves, House Chaplain Reinstated
If you missed it, last week Jesus trumped Ayn Rand at the U.S. House of Representatives. House Chaplain Fr. Patrick Conroy was forced to resign for his prayer suggesting that Congress remember the least among us when crafting a tax bill. Not only didn’t Congress take his advice, but House Speaker Paul Ryan was personally affronted and forced Father Conroy, a former lawyer turned Jesuit priest, to resign or be fired. While Mr.Ryan is an ostensibly-devout Catholic, his devotion to Ayn Rand overwhelmed Christian compassion in his screw-the-poor Tax Bill, now law.  The tax law is the only real accomplishment of Mr. Ryan’s tenure as Speaker, other than the huge federal deficit resulting from it.

Paul Ryan’s only problem: Congress really likes Father Pat, even most of the extreme-right Freedom Caucus members, except for the casually anti-Catholic ones. There’s also a question as to whether a House Chaplain, approved by a vote of the full chamber, can be peremptorily fired by the Speaker. Buoyed by overwhelming support, Father Conroy rescinded his forced resignation letter.

What’s a good Irish-American boy to do? Paul Ryan is leaving Congress anyway, so why should he care? He’s letting Father Pat continue serving as House Chaplain.

More:

“Paul Ryan vs. the House Chaplain Is Really Ayn Rand vs. Pope Francis,” Jay Michaelson, Daily Beast

“In a reversal, Speaker Ryan says the House chaplain will remain in his post,” Paul Kane, Washington Post

“Read: House Chaplain’s letter rescinding resignation,” The Hill

“Firing Fr. Conroy fits Paul Ryan’s pattern when it comes to the poor,” Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter

“3 Ways In Which the House Chaplain Controversy May Continue,” Lindsey McPherson, Roll Call

Updates:

“Ryan swears chaplain back in after controversy over resignation,” Juliegrace Brufke, The Hill

“Paul Ryan Had A ‘Good Cup Of Coffee’ With Reinstated House Chaplain,” Kate Riga, TPM Livewire

Related:

“7 Ways Paul Ryan Revealed His Love for Ayn Rand,” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

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Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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A Trump Supporter Walks Into a Bar ….

May 3, 2018

A Trump Supporter Walks Into a Bar ....

Accountant Greg Piatek said he was kicked out of The Happiest Hour, a bar in Greenwich Village, for wearing a Trump “Make America Great Again” hat, and he sued the bar for damages. The plaintif’s lawyer, Paul Liggieri, claimed the bar violated Mr. Piatek’s right of religious freedom, because the “Make America Great Again hat was part of his spiritual belief.” He later admitted that his client’s faith was a “creed of one.”

Mr. Piatek wasn’t ejected for his headgear, said bar owner Jon Neidich, but for being an A-hole to the help:

“What’s gotten lost in this story is that the guest wasn’t kicked out because he was wearing a Trump hat- he was asked to leave after being verbally abusive to our staff, which is something we don’t tolerate regardless of who you are.”

Judge David Cohen decided that liking Trump is not a religion, and that bars may continue to refuse service to annoying louts.

Elie Mystal points out this is a case where Trump supporters are, once again, “trying to act like victims just because people stand up to their bigoted world views.”

“These are the very people who do think that you can discriminate against minorities when it comes to housing, or voting, or immigration. They think they’re being clever by ‘turning it around’ on people by claiming the same protections accorded to disadvantaged groups, when what they are really doing is mocking the struggles of others like it’s all some kind of game.”

— “Judge Rules You CAN Kick People Out Of A Bar For Supporting Trump: Please Proceed Accordingly,” Elie Mystal, Above the Law

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Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Passover Seder: Greek Symposium?

March 29, 2018

Passover Seder: Greek Symposium?

The Haggadah (הַגָּדָה‎) is a Jewish text that sets forth the order of the Passover ritual meal, the Seder.

“There’s a reason the haggadah feels goyish: Formally speaking, it’s Greek. It’s a Judaicized version of a Greek genre called ‘symposium literature’. Plato loved the form. So did Xenophon. The symposium enshrined the most appealing traits of the Hellenic personality: conviviality, Epicureanism, a love of good conversation.”

–”Platonic Form,” Judith Shulevitz, Tablet Magazine

The ancient Greek symposium (συμπόσιον) was a drinking party; drinking four glasses of wine is a Passover obligation. Diners are supposed to recline while they do so, just like the Greeks.

There’s a cute Passover tradition, breaking a piece of matzoh (unleavened bread) and hiding half of it. The bread can only be eaten at the end of the meal, after the family’s children discover it. That piece of bread has a funny name, afikomen, but its origin isn’t Hebrew. You guessed it, it’s Greek:

“In Greek, the word is epikomen and is made up of two smaller words: epi, which means after (as in an epilogue), and komos, which means a banquet or merrymaking, and is the same word that inspired the English word comedy. For centuries, Jews have taken afikomen to mean ‘that which comes after the meal,’ more commonly known, of course, as dessert.”

– “Breaking Matzah,” David K. Israel, Mental Floss

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Christmastime For the Jews

December 24, 2017

“Christmastime for the Jews,” a Robert Smigel stop-action animation featuring the voice of Darlene Love in a “Wall of Sound” production, from a  2005 Saturday Night Live episode (lyrics here).

Gut yom tov to all, and to all a good night.

Related:

“Why American Jews Eat Chinese Food on Christmas,” Adam Chandler, The Atlantic

“Google offers proof: People really do love to eat Chinese food on Christmas,” Roberto A. Ferdman, Washington Post

“The War on Jewish Christmas must be stopped,” Daniel W. Drezner,Washington Post

“Are Jews Doomed to Lose the War on Jewish Christmas?” Paul Waldman, The American Prospect

“Why ‘Jewish Christmas’ (Movies and Chinese Food) is Going Mainstream,”  Sarah Seltzer, Flavorwire

“Fa-La-La-L’Chaim: Why It’s Okay For Jews to Celebrate Christmas,”
Charlotte Alter, TIME

“Holy Night: The little-known Jewish holiday of Christmas Eve. Seriously.” Benyamin Cohen, Slate

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Corporate Person Opens Bible Museum In DC

November 17, 2017

Corporate Person Opens Bible Museum In DC
Today a well-known corporate personHobby Lobby, opened the Museum of the Bible in a former warehouse near the railroad tracks in Southwest Washington DC. Once the Washington Design Center, the original building was built as the Terminal Refrigeration and Warehouse Company in 1923.

The new tourist attraction features a ballroom modeled after Versailles (mentioned in la Nouveau Testament, maybe?), replicas of the village of Nazareth and the Jerusalem Chamber of Westminster Abbey, holograms, the Drive Thru History of the Bible Theater, and a restaurant serving biblically themed meals. Oh, and some historic books and 40,000 artifacts from the Green Family collection (sorry, the artifacts the family smuggled from Iraq were confiscated and won’t be on view). To ensure historical accuracy, the museum has the same advisor as the Creation Museum, where dinosaurs romp with cavemen. In fact, while museum admission is free (a $15 donation is suggested), there’s an amusement park price structure, where you pay to see each special exhibit or attraction.

Hobby Lobby CEO Steve Green and his family believe the government of the USA is based on Christian biblical principles, and the family has enough money to share that misconception with an unsuspecting public.

Unbelievers can beat the church-going crowds. Unlike Hobby Lobby stores, the Museum of the Bible is open on Sundays from 10 AM to 7 PM.

More:

“Just What Is the Museum of the Bible Trying to Do?” Candida Moss and Joel Baden, Politico

“Jefferson took a blade to his Bible: Presidents, faith and the new Bible museum,” Rachel Siegel, Washington Post

“We’re All Living in Hobby Lobby’s Bible Nation,” Sarah Jones, New Republic

“Critics call it evangelical propaganda. Can the Museum of the Bible convert them?” Noah Charney, Washington Post

“Mystery at the new Bible museum: Are its Dead Sea Scrolls fake?” Daniel Burke, CNN

“The Museum of the Bible reflects the discouraging state of Christianity,” Christine Emba, Washington Post

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Kinky Hair Is No Disgrace

October 29, 2017

“Kinky Hair Is No Disgrace,” a sermon by Rev. J.M. Gates. Recorded before the congregation of Atlanta’s Mount Calvary Baptist Church, 1930. Okeh 8884, the flip side of “Pay Your Policy Man.”

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How Martin Luther Went Viral

September 6, 2017

How Martin Luther Went Viral

500 years ago a disgruntled Catholic priest named Martin Luther is said to have nailed his handwritten 95 Theses to a church door in Wittenberg. Well, maybe he did, but that 1517 parchment blog post, with the clickbait title Disputatio pro declaratione virtutis indulgentiarum, was picked up by the cool kids of the day, nerds who translated it from Latin to German, coded it into moveable type and spread it across Europe with their newfangled printing presses.

More:

“How Technology Helped Martin Luther Change Christianity,” Tom Gjelten, NPR

“Long Before Twitter, Martin Luther Was a Media Pioneer,” New York Times

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Image (“Martin Luther with His iPad, after Lucas Cranach the Elder”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Trump Is Meeting With the Wrong Guy at the Vatican

May 22, 2017

Trump Is Meeting With the Wrong Guy at the Vatican
U.S. President Donald Trump will meet with Pope Francis on Wednesday when he visits Vatican City, but he should really meet with another Francis while he’s in town — Father Francesco Bamonte. He’s the leading Catholic exorcist, president of the International Association of Exorcists, and well-practiced in casting out demons.

Related:

“Can the pope save Trump?”  E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post

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Image (“Trump and Francis on the U.S./Mexico Border”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Adulterer and Dissembler Speaks to Impressionable Young Christians

May 14, 2017

Adulterer and Dissembler Addresses Young Christians
On Saturday, renowned sinner and U.S. President Donald J. Trump, flanked by Secret Service agents and 2 Corinthians, gave the commencement speech to graduating students at the world’s largest Christian college, Liberty University. He was introduced by University President Jerry Falwell Jr., the gun-totin’ Christian lawyer famously sired by televangelist and Liberty U. founder Jerry Falwell Sr., who had endorsed Mr. Trump during the election. 1300 LU students and a prominent university board member protested the endorsement.

Even though Mr. Falwell Jr. has encouraged Liberty University students to carry concealed handguns on campus and keep them in their dorms, firearms were not permitted in Lynchburg’s Williams Stadium during commencement exercises. Oh ye of little faith ….

Mr. Trump urged the graduates to adhere to the basic founding principles of our Republic, Christian Nationalism, critic-bashing, and college football. Since 30% of Americans are not Christians, will their citizenship be revoked? And if you’re counting critics, 58% of your neighbors disapprove of the job President Trump is doing. And of course many people prefer the NFL to college football. No wonder Trump is fast-tracking Deportation Force recruiting.

Related:

“At Liberty University, All Sins Are Forgiven on the Altar of Football,” Michael Powell, New York Times

Update:

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Christmastime For the Jews

December 24, 2016

“Christmastime for the Jews,” a Robert Smigel stop-action animation featuring the voice of Darlene Love in a “Wall of Sound” production, from a  2005 Saturday Night Live episode (lyrics here).

Gut yom tov to all, and to all a good night.

Related:

“Why American Jews Eat Chinese Food on Christmas,” Adam Chandler, The Atlantic

“Google offers proof: People really do love to eat Chinese food on Christmas,” Roberto A. Ferdman, Washington Post

“The War on Jewish Christmas must be stopped,” Daniel W. Drezner,Washington Post

“Are Jews Doomed to Lose the War on Jewish Christmas?” Paul Waldman, The American Prospect

“Why ‘Jewish Christmas’ (Movies and Chinese Food) is Going Mainstream,”  Sarah Seltzer, Flavorwire

“Fa-La-La-L’Chaim: Why It’s Okay For Jews to Celebrate Christmas,”
Charlotte Alter, TIME

“Holy Night: The little-known Jewish holiday of Christmas Eve. Seriously.” Benyamin Cohen, Slate

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