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From the Same Folks Who Brought us Torquemada March 17, 2008

Posted by voolavex in dying.
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UPDATED:  In Loving Memory of George Carlin –

Leave it to the reliable ol’ Catholic Church to come up with a snappy new list of sins.  As if we don’t have enough to worry about – they dump another list of do-nots on their community centuries too late – euros too short.  The new list and the old are as follows – let’s look:

The seven social sins are:

1. “Bioethical” violations such as birth control and pedophilia

2. “Morally dubious” experiments such as stem cell research

3. Drug abuse

4. Polluting the environment

5. Contributing to widening divide between rich and poor

6. Excessive wealth

7. Creating poverty

The Original Seven Deadly Sins*:

1. Pride

2. Envy

3. Gluttony

4. Lust

5. Anger

6. Greed

7. Sloth

It seems to me that this is a PR attempt at modernizing the church – yet all of the new sins are so anti-enlightenment and hypocritical – well they may not be idiotic – but they are certainly a little late at this point in time and actually redundant when compared to *Pope Gregory’s 6th century list.  Let’s see why:

1.  Bioethical violations. Birth control and abortion wrapped in a different baby blanket.  AND…pedophilia – Madonna mia! – unclear on the concept as usual.

2.  Morally dubious experiments i.e. stem cell research, i.e. scientific inquiry and medical progress. 

 3.  Drug Abuse – does this include no wine and no smoking?  There goes most of Catholic Europe.

4.   Polluting the environment – did this used to be a virtue?

5.   Contributing to the divide between rich and poor – they didn’t mean it  the way it sounds.

 6.  Excessive wealth – No, they didn’t.  The current estimated worth of the Vatican assets fluctuates between $5bn and $15bn.  This does not include offshore accounts which require walking on water to access.  No, they didn’t.

 7.  Creating Poverty.  Huh?  Those thermometers in front of churches that measure fund raising will have to go and so will passing the plate.

You will need the Baltimore Catechism and Noam Chomsky to figure these out.  What do they really mean?  The old list is much easier to parse  Let’s look:

1.  Pride – “Look at all my money – oops – I didn’t really deserve it.”

2.  Envy– “I wish I had everyone’s money;  oops – I am satisfied with what I have.”

3.  Gluttony – “I want to taste everything in the world until I burst open or get the gout.  oops – I am going to run five miles a day and become a vegan”.

4.   Lust – “I want your sex”  oops – I was just using the bathroom. ” For Christ’s sake bring me an altar child – just kidding”.

5. Anger –  “You will be sorry… if you don’t renounce the devil I will burn you at the stake.  Oops.  Would you like to renounce Satan?”

6.  Greed – “I want more money, I want all the money Oops – I was thinking of Donald Trump – HE wants all the money, not me”.

7.  Sloth – “Why should I get up and work?  Oops – Wal-Mart is hiring – better run and fill out an application.”

As usual the Catholic Church has adopted another do as I say not as I do policy that dates from its founding in about the 1st century C.E. and has been interfering in people’s lives ever since.  (This is not exclusively the domain of the Roman church – but we are not talking about non-Christian fanatics or Holy Rollers here – they have much longer lists).  But what do these sins really mean?  They seem to be the same as the others only spun into savvy words and hot button issues that will boost the circulation of L’Osservatore Romana.  And they make no sense. Let’s consider:  

Can infertile Catholics utilize medical intervention to have babies?  Why can’t they use stem cell research if it will save a life.  Especially since abortion is considered murder? 

Can dirt poor Catholics escape poverty (a sin) by using birth control (another sin). 

Why doesn’t the church use its billions to feed all the poor and reduce the gap between hierarchal wealth and worshipper poverty.  Selling their art collection might be a start.

What about dreaded Idol Worship?  That is one of the original Ten and the church loves it some statuary. 

And the calendar of saints – where one used to wait hundreds of years for a nod; now they have speeded up the process to about two weeks give or take a week.  Where is the Devil’s Advocate when you need him?  Often mentioned for the calendar; Mother Teresa didn’t even get a squeak from the Almighty for 50 years – which may qualify as a miracle but not one I know about.

Out of touch with reality – more like never in touch with reality

 The new list first was published in L’Osservatore Romano – so you know it’s the God’s Honest Truth – but I don’t know.  I think the truth about the sins lies somewhere in the thoughts of  Father Guido Sarducci when he commented:

Life is a job. You get $14.50 a day, but after you die, you have to pay for your sins. Stealing a hub cap is around $100. Masturbation is 35 cents (it doesn’t seem like much, but it adds up). If there’s money left when you subtract what you owe from what you’ve earned, you can go to heaven. If not, you have to go back to work. (Sort of like reincarnation — many nuns are Mafia guys working it off.” (Obtained from Father Sarducci.com) 

My advice: Ignore both lists.  Do what you know is right and failing that, hang around St. Peter’s;  buy a few indulgences and fuhgettabout the rest.  (Oops – I think  blasphemy is on some list too – Jesus, Mary and Joseph (Blessed be their holy names), I’m going straight to hell.)

For Gillian Gibbons November 30, 2007

Posted by voolavex in Catholic Church, Darfur, Gillian Gibbons, Hadith, Koran, Lashes, Muhammad, Sudan, Sunnah, Teddy bear, Uncategorized.
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Recently I posted about the ins and outs of “Baby Shopping with Leviticus” – my adventure into buying a baby gift for a brand new Orthodox Jewish baby.   After today’s alarming news about Gillian Gibbons’ ordeal in Sudan, I revisited my post and realized that even had I brought a teddy bear to that baby, it would have been a faux pas at worst and something we would all laugh about.

How does our tattered, damaged, world  explain Gillian Gibbons, her students and the bear?  As I understand it, the students named the bear in a class election and the name Muhammad got 20/23 votes.  I suspect they thought they were naming him the most wonderful, respectful name of the three names suggested. So where is the problem that will put a British woman in jail for allowing a teddy bear to be named Muhammad.   If Islamic children were not allowed this name because it was sacred, one might understand.  There would be no exceptions obviously. (even a small baby of special goodness or intelligence might be idolized if improperly named Muhammad – it’s happened before).  And in spite of some cultures using the name Jesus for boys – it is not widespread because I suspect it sounds a little sacrilegious to most Christians.  But certainly not blasphemous.  Even though Leviticus, himself mentioned those who has blasphemed would “surely be put to death” (Leviticus 24:10-16).  And Luke the Apostle (Luke 12:10) called it the eternal sin,  I don’t think it had much to do with the naming of stuffed animals or babies.  The times they spoke in and of were rife with Idol Worshippers.   And the act of blaspheming is generally meant to libel or defame a god or gods.  That presents another problem with the bear who was not even named Allah; he was named after Allah’s prophet who made it quite clear he was not God.  You might also ask why these children – some of whom are Muslims, felt it was perfectly all right to name the bear as they did.  Probably because it was okay.

The real question for me is why this particular faith in God requires so much, dying, bloodletting and  debasing punishments for so many things – with no recourse.  I am not Islamic, nor do I presume to imagine what Allah told his prophet – but in general,  quoting from Wikipedia:

“In ethics and law, “Let the punishment fit the crime” is the principle that the severity of penalty for a misdeed or wrongdoing should be reasonable and proportional to the severity of the infraction. The concept is common to most cultures throughout the world. (“Italics mine).

In the Koran  there appears to be no injunction about the naming of people Muhammad nor does it specify a teddy bear.  The law was simply meant to keep Islam idol free.  Just as Judaism has done.  And the Koran – which is more widely misused for gain, than quoted accurately does not condone the mistreatment of the innocent or the unknowing.  TheHadith and Sunnah – the laws and traditions of Islam began being added to Islam a full 100 years after the death of the prophet.  It comes as no surprise that anyone codifying a revealed faith  might get some of its best ideas for heresy from an already successful endeavor called the Roman Church. They, after all,  excelled at burnings, stonings, autos da fe and torture for those who didn’t believe correctly.  ( Possibly the Baltimore Catechism was a later inspiration, but you see where this is going)  Just as the Roman Church eagerly ordered these burnings and stonings and autos da fe; so too did the mullahs and ayatollahs who devised these codifications of the Koran.  Dramatic laws and punishment are proven methods for leading to a greater control of the population and a way to advance ones group into power. 

Submission.org  is an excellent source for logical  information about the Islamic faith and what it doesn’t stand for. 

Since the bear was not being worshipped and there was never any intention to worship the bear and nothing is in the Koran that even mentions naming toys after the prophet – I tend to think this is a convenient spin on Hadith and Sunnah in the Sudan and I can tell you it is not going to enhance or further the Sudanese government, its dictator or the cause of Islam an iota.   If you ever needed a small course in the mindset of the folks who created the Janjaweed and the disaster in Darfur – this should be your wake up call. 

And it makes me wonder too,  what will  become of the children and their bear?