Sunday, June 23, 2013

With god on your side ...

(Above: now where did we leave that bible?)

The pond has been taking a spell from the meanderings of religious loonery ...

And why not? What's the point of spending Sunday brooding about Cardinal Pell trying to loop the loop with statistics in his column for the Sunday Terror,  as you can read in Catholics.

Or trying to fix the Curia in Rome for that matter ... or work out what to do with an institution that has ruined so many lives in Australia and elsewhere ...

Pell somehow thinks that "devoted secularists" should be unhappy at the way Catholics are on the march and on the move and growing (try telling that to the number of priests serving the flock in Australia), and that somehow it's good that any growth in any religion is something that will stick it to the secularists:

No one is too surprised that the Muslim population in Australia has increased by almost 70 per cent in ten years to 476,000 in 2011. Overall the percentage is still low at 2.2 per cent, but the Muslim population in Australia is probably their fastest growing national group in the Western world, coming as they do from different nations reaching from Turkey to Fiji.

Uh huh. Now that's how you skew the stats.

Start with a low base, and then you can flash 70% at the world. Just remember that if you start with one and add one, why you've done even better, with a 100% growth rate.

Never mind, the point should surely be that Catholics should be the ones terrified by the growth in Islamics, and not the average "devout secularist".

You see, these infidels, these heretics, these unbelievers are an outrage, an affront to everything a devout Catholic believes, and are destined for an eternity of hellfire.

Now go to it lads and lasses, let's bring back the crusades, and mount some holy wars ...

Oh wait ...

And what about this bit of fuzzy logic, emblematic of the Pellist legacy:

Unsurprisingly the number of regularly worshipping young Catholics is much reduced, but they are more orthodox than in 1996, except on the resurrection, where one in three believes in reincarnation!

Yes, Catholics are on the rise, except the young are much reduced, and they're much more orthodox, except they don't have the first clue what that orthodoxy means, and instead believe in reincarnation, the tooth fairy, the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.

Does Pell have the first clue how telling this sort of anecdote produces gusts of laughter that sweep over the pond like a low bringing rain and cold over Sydney?

Pell's own grasp of the bible is a little dodgy, but that shouldn't come as a surprise. Catholics have never been big on reading the bible. It's usually reduced to tasty new testament gobbets in the mass, and the few that bother to read the old testament at length usually have an extremely ambivalent relationship with it.

Take this opening burst from Pell in his previous week's piece for the Sunday Terror, Anger:

"Don't get angry, get even" is a pagan, not a Christian saying.

Actually when it comes to the old testament, it proposed that you can get angry, and you can also get even.

While Matthew 5:38 abandoned the notion of an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth, it was Leviticus 24:20 that led with the get even routine:

And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death. And he that killeth a beast shall make it good; beast for beast. And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbour; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him; breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again. And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it: and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death.

Yes, once again your poor average humble pagan has been defamed.

Coincidentally around the same location, there's also some most excellent advice for owners of oxen:

If a man strikes the eye of his male or female slave, and destroys it, he shall let him go free on account of his eye And if he knocks out a tooth of his male or female slave, he shall let him go free on account of his tooth.
If an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox shall surely be stoned and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall go unpunished.
If, however, an ox was previously in the habit of goring and its owner has been warned, yet he does not confine it and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned and its owner also shall be put to death.
If a ransom is demanded of him, then he shall give for the redemption of his life whatever is demanded of him.
Whether it gores a son or a daughter, it shall be done to him according to the same rule.
If the ox gores a male or female slave, the owner shall give his or her master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned. 
If a man opens a pit, or digs a pit and does not cover it over, and an ox or a donkey falls into it, the owner of the pit shall make restitution; he shall give money to its owner, and the dead animal shall become his. 
If one man’s ox hurts another’s so that it dies, then they shall sell the live ox and divide its price equally; and also they shall divide the dead ox.
Or if it is known that the ox was previously in the habit of goring, yet its owner has not confined it, he shall surely pay ox for ox, and the dead animal shall become his.

Yes, it's completely useless nonsense, perhaps of interest to ox-owners or camel herders, and it shows one more time that god was inclined to micro-management.

Yet it's this sort of contradictory old testament guff that fuels much of the homophobia still going the rounds.

Typically, Pell in his piece has the cheek to have a go at pagans - while quoting a bunch of pagans, including Horace and Aristotle and Plutarch and the good old Stoics.

He barely gets around to mentioning the bible, and the old testament, and when he does it's over in a flash:

The Old Testament Scriptures speak frequently of God's anger and our good and merciful God, who gave us freedom, certainly has to put up with a lot of evil; wars, violence, abuse and trafficking of minors, drug running.

Actually the old testament was keen that people get angry and do a bloody sight worse than get even. Get furious and kill 'em all!

They attacked Midian just as the LORD had commanded Moses, and they killed all the men. All five of the Midianite kings – Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba – died in the battle. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword. Then the Israelite army captured the Midianite women and children and seized their cattle and flocks and all their wealth as plunder. They burned all the towns and villages where the Midianites had lived. After they had gathered the plunder and captives, both people and animals, they brought them all to Moses and Eleazar the priest, and to the whole community of Israel, which was camped on the plains of Moab beside the Jordan River, across from Jericho. 
Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the people went to meet them outside the camp. But Moses was furious with all the military commanders who had returned from the battle. "Why have you let all the women live?" he demanded. "These are the very ones who followed Balaam's advice and caused the people of Israel to rebel against the LORD at Mount Peor. They are the ones who caused the plague to strike the LORD's people. Now kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man. Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves.

And so on and so forth, and more here at the pond's favourite examination of the bible.

Kill, maim, pillage, loot, murder and rape. It's all okay if you've got god on your side ...

Which is no doubt why young people these days prefer to believe in reincarnation ...

If there is a god, She moves in most mysterious ways.

But sometimes there comes a season, there comes a time to put aside mayhem and allow a little time for celebration.

Yes the Sydney Anglicans have set aside their truly foolish front page idea for their website, and now if you google Sydney Anglicans, you get taken straight to their front news page, instead of to a story of pious redemption.

Slow learners, but at least they seem to be able to learn.

The pond would like to take a little credit, but it's way more likely that the hits they stopped getting helped them adjust.

And so the wheel has turned, back to where it began, and the pond, who pointed out the folly on a regular basis, is as righteous as any insufferably righteous Angry Sydney Anglican.

And now that the front page has again become the news page, what good news it carries, as the Jensenist heresy suffers a heavy blow (apologies to those who google the Jansenist heresy and end up somehow on these pages):

One last thing?

The pond is reminded of that Hollywood classic, Dude, Where's My Car:

Chinese Foooood Lady: And then? 
Jesse: No "and then"! 
Chinese Foooood Lady: And then! (and the rest of the "and then" routines at IMDB here)

Yep, that'll polish up a treat:

Jensen: One last thing.
The pond: No last thing, and especially no last thing in relation to the mal-treatment of the rights of gays and women ...

(Below: the pond refuses to play the Anglicans's Chinese food mind games).


  1. Good riddance Jensen.

    Jensen managed one last shot at gays before he left.

    “This week he continued to argue forcefully that gay marriage was an impossibility because ''marriage requires a sexual consummation, and that is what men and women do.''

    ''How do two men have sexual union?'' he shoots back, when challenged on the definition of consummation. ''You have joined a couple of people together at a spot where they shouldn't be joined together, really.''”

    ‘Joined together’?!? ‘Fucking’, I think he means.

    Anyhow why would god have made prostates erogenous if he hadn’t wanted them poked with a dick?

    In a brilliant act of subversion Marie Bashir delivered this back-handed compliment to Jensen at his farewell. She avoided any explicit reference to Jensen’s dark side, but all who heard knew what she meant.

    "His service with Christine to so many groups relating to the education of the young and the bearer of the message of love and forgiveness across the world - as far afield as Britain, eastern Europe, South Africa, Chile and North America - will long be rememembered (sic)," she said.”

    Why mention South Africa, but not countries such as Nigeria or Uganda where most of Jensen’s efforts in Africa have gone? The message was clear: there is no ‘love and forgiveness’ in giving succour (and perhaps no little financial assistance) to the vicious bigots who would see homosexuals jailed for merely expressing affection.

  2. Spot on, Brian, and a most revealing link.

    It helps if the English language is used as it is spoken. By Jensen's definition, straights would not be allowed fellatio, cunnilingus, anal intercourse, or even a hand job, no matter where the hand might fall on either sex, since by his bizarre logic they shouldn't be joined at these spots. The long absent lord help those who bring themselves off with a bit of toe sucking.

    You'd think there'd be an end to Victorian stupidity but Queen Victoria lives on in the minds of Sydney Anglicans ...

    As for the great shame of Nigeria, Uganda and other African countries, where the Sydney Anglicans have helped spread bigotry, prejudice, intolerance, persecution ...? Christ would be revolving on his cross to see it.

    What's even more extraordinary is to see the likes of Clive Hamilton line up with Andrew West to say a few kind words, and for Hamilton to share he shares a concern that relationships and intimacy are being trivialised ... oi vey ...

    Good riddance indeed, not that it will change anything because of the way the conservatives have deeply embedded themselves in the power structures, and will resist being winkled out ...


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