The Gospel of Thaddaeus, a newly discovered testament by the brother of Jesus Christ.

KAGIN’S COLUMN

Edwin F. Kagin is a lawyer-poet.  He believes that, through grace and faith, this will be a regular column, and, if events are predestined, whatever he believes makes no difference whatsoever.  He can be reached in care of this publication, or through e-mail at:  [email protected]


ON THE GOSPEL OF THADDAEUS

“But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:

And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.”

Saul of Tarsus, a.k.a., The Apostle Paul.

For the protection of persons yet living, the circumstances of the discovery and translation of the following cannot now be revealed.  The authenticity of  this document, and its accurate rendering into English from first century common era Greek, is assured.  It is presented now, and with some urgency, for fear that it might otherwise be lost through the efforts of persons who are aggressively attempting to suppress  forever any evidence of its existence. The very zeal of those who seek to prevent this work from becoming known, when considered together with the tone and content of the writing itself, indicates this is something far different, and perhaps more reliable, than the pseudepigraphical writings of the Canon pronounced holy at Nicaea. efk.

 

Thaddaeus, a Jew by birth, a Greek by temperament, and a scholar of Alexandria by circumstance and the Peace of Rome, to  Marcus Ulpius Trajanus, conqueror of Dacia and Mesopotamia, to the Emperor Trajan, in Rome, greetings. Long life and good health most noble Caesar, and thanks to the gods you worship for keeping you and making you victorious in  battle and bringing you safe to your throne as the worthy successor and heir of our late good and just Emperor Marcus Cocceius Nerva.

I write, great sir, as a man who has lived well beyond the four score years that, by reason of strength, are allotted to some men. It therefore comes as no surprise that the most able physicians of Alexandria, and therefore of the world, have assured me I am on my deathbed,  and that I will soon be gathered to my fathers by virtue of maladies that, while perhaps not beyond the skills of Aesculapius, cannot be cured by mortal means.  This assurance of imminent and certain death has provided a surprising sense of tranquility.  I now fear neither the wrath of men nor the whims of gods.  Neither have I the slightest concern for  debates  touching on any aspect of  this world or on the hoped for world to come, in that I will soon vacate the former forever, and learn first hand what truths,  if any, are to be learned  in the latter.  Socrates  was surely right when he observed that death is either the most peaceful of all sleeps or the opportunity to meet souls who have gone before. Neither option should cause a dying man any concern, and neither concerns me.  I can truly say that I am at peace, or, more correctly, I will be at peace when this testament to you is completed.  Please forgive me the digressions permitted, and expected, from old men, be assured that my mind is sound and my memory good, and I will explain why my final hours  are spent in writing the Emperor of the Romans, the oppressors of my people.

It is said that all manner of shameful things wind up in Rome.  In the same wise, all subjects of intellectual curiosity, no matter how obscure, wind up somehow, eventually, in Alexandria.  Thus I came to learn that you had inquired, through Pliny the Younger and others, for information on a religious sect that has come to be known of late as Christians.  I will not reveal my sources for  this information, but assure you that Pliny did not violate your confidence.  There are things known to curious scholars that are denied even to kings. I also know that you do not believe the Christians are a serious threat to the security of the state.  From my deathbed, great Caesar, I write to tell you that you are wrong.  This superstition, if  left unchecked, will become a fire upon the earth that will destroy your empire. This irrational movement, that you perceive  as a religion of slaves, has the potential to infect even the imperial throne in Rome,  to reduce learning to a barbarism that will cause longing for the erudition of the Celts and the logic of Gaul, and to make men wish for the return of the murdered despot Domitian.  How do I know these things?  Permit me to reveal something of my personal and, until now, secret history.

 I was born two years before the death of Caesar Augustus, in the village of Nazareth, in the country of Galilee, north of Judea, north of Samaria.  This land is, or rather was, part of the region you Romans called the province of Palestine before it was destroyed, and its people dispersed, during the reign of the Emperor Vespasian, by the authority of his son, that compassionate idol of the Romans, Titus Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus, later your predecessor, the Emperor Titus. My given name was Judas.  My father was Joseph, a carpenter.  My mother was Miriam.  My older brother was named Joshua, in full Yehoshuah, or in Greek, Jesus, whom some now call Christus,  or the Christ, the Messiah, the anointed one, the son of god.  In consequence of his tragic life, and of certain beliefs that arose concerning his final end, the cult of Christianity was born. As your historian Tacitus is no better informed concerning the history of this belief than he is on the history of the Jewish people, and as our own historian  Joseph Ben Matthias, better known to you as Flavius Josephus, understood the true history of the Jews too well to give any credence at all to my brother’s life and death, and in that widely circulated anonymous tracts have built  fantasies around Jesus that many, to the detriment of themselves and the state, believe to be true, so it has fallen to me, an eyewitness to the events of his life, to tell the truth of that life, my reliability and my safety both being assured by the comforting and certain knowledge of my pending death.

My brother was over twice my age when he began his, for want of a better word, ministry.  This  ministry lasted about three years. I, at his urging, became one of his apostles, whereupon I was given the surname of Thaddaeus.  I, who had barely become  a man under Jewish law, was the youngest of the apostles, and not on good terms of friendship with any of them, all also relatively young men, save for my best friend, another Judas, given the surname of Iscariot when, out of friendship, he joined me as an apostle. I did not know Jesus well.  I do not believe anyone did.  He was a man by law when I was born.  I admired him, respected him, and loved him. He was my older and wiser brother.  But he was a stranger, even to his own family. He kept his distance, and brooded often.  He was frequently disrespectful to our mother, did not obey our father, and later even maintained that his followers should leave their families and responsibilities to follow him to live in poverty, without giving any thought to how they might be housed, fed, or  clothed. I realize now that my brother Jesus was mad.    It is hard to believe that an illiterate peasant from the despised Nazareth, together with twelve equally illiterate peasants as followers, could start a movement, a religion, that could change the world.  To appreciate how this could happen, you must understand something of our people and our times.

The Jews, sir, must be the most conquered, despised, and warred against of any people.  We are not merely a religion, we are a nation, even now in exile without a country of our own.  At the time my brother and his followers started out to do whatever we were doing, there were several competing religious groups seeking to dominate Judaism.  Chief among these were the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes, each vying to be the most repressive, the most religiously authoritarian, and the most holy.  Stir into this mix the fanatical Zealots, those Maccabees imitators who arose during the time of Herod the Great and were  slaughtered by their own hands at Masada some two or three years after the destruction of our temple, and you can come to better appreciate the instability and uncertainty of our national spirit.  Common to all these groups was a hatred of everything Roman, and the hope for the coming of a deliverer sent from god, a Moses, an Elijah, a David, a Samson, a Judas Maccabe, a Messiah who would lead the Jews in glorious war to drive out the invaders and restore the grandeur of the reign of Solomon.

 There was no shortage of pretenders.  The ill-fated John the Baptist was one.  There was also Judas of Galilee, and Theudas the magician, and many other rivals for the office of Messiah.  Some, in the manner of Elijah, were said to be able to raise the dead, walk on water, cure the sick, and perform other miracles, and all had their followers.  My brother’s message was so unusual, so ill-defined, so incoherent, and so incapable of being articulated or understood, that a few  thought he must be the promised one.  These shepherdless sheep seemed to believe the more obscure the speech, the more holy the speaker.  An analogy might be found among those who find meaning in the unintelligible utterances of the Delphic Oracle.  Jesus said such things as his followers were the salt of the earth, and that salt could not be salty if it lost it’s saltiness. Some found this a brilliant parable.  If  anyone could explain or demonstrate just how salt could ever cease to be salty,  there might be some justification for taking the statements of Jesus seriously.  But all religions have their mysteries.  This is how priests control fools.

My brother was a harmless madman.  He didn’t view himself as the Messiah.  To my observations, he had no clear definition of himself, or of anything else, at all.  Our little band wandered about for three years, attracting attention to ourselves, creating some followers and more enemies.  Our mother and father had given up on Jesus long ago, but still held hope that I would eventually come to my senses.  From the time we left Nazareth, we never saw our parents, those rather good people, again.

But I digress, and grow tired.  Death waits for no man.  I must hasten to finish this narrative so you may understand what happened, and appreciate the threat of the irrationality I fear will overcome the world.

Eventually we made our way to Jerusalem.  Jesus rode into the city of David on an ass, and was mocked by some who threw palms in his path.  I have never been so embarrassed.  Few in Jerusalem had heard of Jesus, and, because our religion prohibits the making of images, even fewer knew how he looked.  Nevertheless, his activities and small following had managed to attract the attention of the Sanhedrin, the supreme national tribunal of the Jews.  One night as we slept, outdoor as usual, agents of the Sanhedrin came upon us with torches and weapons looking for Jesus, who freely identified himself to them.  The band of apostles, weary of our way of life, missing their families, uncertain of Jesus and his mission, and unwilling to confront the intruders, fled into the night, never to be reunited again. They were ignored by those who wanted Jesus.  Only I, loyal to the safety of my brother, remained, together with Iscariot, who remained from loyalty to me. We asked to be permitted to accompany Jesus, who appeared unaware of all that was happening.  This was granted, and we were taken to the meeting chambers of the feared Sanhedrin.

The officials who questioned us were surprisingly reasonable.  They attempted to interview Jesus, but when he responded to questions with incoherent answers, for example saying that faith in the kingdom of heaven is a mustard seed, the authorities realized their problem was not political as they had feared.  Nevertheless, Jesus had proved an embarrassment to them, and Roman authorities had been disturbed upon learning that Simon, one of the apostles, was a Zealot. The last thing the Sanhedrin wanted was a Jewish movement in revolt against Rome.  They had worked with Pontius Pilate, the procurator placed in Jerusalem by Tiberius Caesar, in an effort to maintain safety through an uneasy peace.

Iscariot’s talents had been wasted in the wilderness, as he proved a master of sensible compromise. By morning it was agreed that we would remove Jesus from the country forever, and  word would be circulated that he had been crucified for treason.  This would both explain his sudden disappearance and warn off other potential troublemakers.  Judas was provided with thirty pieces of silver to finance our relocation. To make the ruse more effective, the authorities agreed to use their influence to have  a wreath of thorns placed on the head of one of three anonymous persons who had been hanging on stakes of execution on Golgotha for several days, and to place a sign above the poor victim’s unrecognizable head announcing that this was the King of the Jews. Officials would be instructed to keep the curious at a distance.  Finally, the unclaimed body would be placed in a new tomb that could be bought from one Nicodemus, who was suffering financial difficulties. The timing was perfect, as the Sabbath started that evening, and all elements of our departure and the burial of the surrogate could be accomplished while potentially interested parties were in their homes obeying ritual Jewish laws.  We were provided a room where Iscariot could wait with Jesus until sunset, the beginning of the Sabbath, while I spent the day in Jerusalem spreading the word of Jesse’s death.

I was successful in locating several friends of my brother’s and wept with them over the story.  As a final assurance that everyone would soon learn of the tragedy, I went to the lodgings of Mary Magdalene.  Mary was a woman of loose virtue who seemed to know everyone in Judea.  She had a face of angelic stupidity, and a body that could have tempted a castrated stoic.  Properly bathed and attired, she might have been a courtesan in Rome, were she not so hopelessly ignorant and so subject to fits of dementia.  It was said that Mary Magdalene wanted only two mites and a mattress and the wit to fall backwards.  I couldn’t say.  She had a great fondness for Jesus, perhaps because he had no carnal interest in her.  Indeed, he seemed to have no carnal interests at all, unless credence be given to a work that has been falsely attributed to the apostle Thomas.  The less said of it the better for both  their memories.  Mary was, in a word, insane, but pleasingly so.  She believed Jesus had freed her from seven demons.  She was overcome by grief at the story of his death, and feared the demons would now return.   I left her just in time to return, before sunset, to the upper room where Jesus and Iscariot waited.  Under cover of darkness, we hired passage with a caravan bound for Alexandria.

It is difficult enough to predict the actions of the sane.  Mary Magdalene was unpredictable at her best, but no one even wildly could have guessed what she, in her grief and delusions, would do next. What she did may well change the world.  The next morning, the first day of the week, by first light, she went to visit the tomb of Jesus.  And she went to the wrong tomb.  She had somehow gotten the idea, that is now part of the emerging mythology of Christianity, that Jesus had been laid in the tomb of a rich man called Joseph of Arimathea, and he, enjoying the attention, not knowing for sure and not really caring, never denied it. When Mary came to this newly finished unused tomb, she naturally found it open and empty. She immediately concluded Jesus had risen from the dead.  She told others who went to the tomb, and, seeing it empty, believed her.  Her illness was such that the story changed in every telling, and thus grew stories of angelic visitations, and even visions of Jesus.  Those who believed her added their own embellishments, until many accepted the story as too complex and fantastic not to be true.  The three of us were with the caravan and learned nothing of these events until it was much too late to attempt a correction, had we had any desire to do so.  The story was a more perfect cover for our disappearance than we could have hoped.  People either believed Jesus was dead, or that he had ascended to his Heaven.  In either case we would not be missed.  After some days we arrived in Alexandria.

 Words cannot convey how overwhelmed we three from a small village felt in that great city.  It would be error to say we were out of place, for nothing ever seems out of place in Alexandria.  It is the crossroads of the world and gives meaning to the very ideas of city and civilization. But we saw ourselves as out of place, and dislocated from all certainties we had ever known. We rented a room with the silver of the Sanhedrin.  After refreshing ourselves with sleep and foreign food, we set out to explore the wonders of this new world.  In one of the many markets run by persons of  strange race and tongue, Jesus wandered away.   At length we found him at the booth of a trader in exotic reptiles. He was gesturing and talking wildly, to people who did not understand Aramaic, about how those with faith in his idea of god could handle poisonous serpents and not be hurt.  Before we or any of the shocked onlookers could stop him, he somehow grasped an asp from a closed basket and held it to his bare chest.  He was bitten repeatedly in the neck and face before the reptile could be safely removed.  My brother Jesus died before our eyes, in the manner of Cleopatra, in her city, in the dust of a foreign market, before horrified gentiles he had hoped to win to his vision of the kingdom of god. He had preached his belief in the virtue of remaining ignorant of the things of this world.  In his death he demonstrated the folly of that belief.  Iscariot and I had my brother buried privately, in a manner and place I will not even now reveal.  This information must die with me.  We grieved for Jesus and for a life wasted and ruined by destructive beliefs and religious madness.

Iscariot and I changed our names.  I have not used the name by which I now write since we left Jerusalem.  We knew our money would soon be gone, and we agreed to part ways.  We were grown men who had to claim our own lives.  My friend, who had helped save Jesus, had a great love of the sea, and he found employment on a Roman ship going to the seaside resort of Pompeii.

He planned to settle there and to seek his fortune as a servant to the wealthy.  I never heard from him again, and, if he remained there, he either died before, or in, the great calamity.  In either case, all memory or record of him is probably forever lost.  I resolved to take advantage of the opportunities to acquire knowledge available in Alexandria. I sought out, and became apprenticed to, that most famous and worthy Jew known to you as Philo of Alexandria.  The only time I left Alexandria was when I accompanied him to Rome where he argued in defense of the Jews of Alexandria before your evil predecessor, the Emperor Caligula.  I remained Philo’s student until his death.  I note, with some grim amusement, how his writings on the Logos have been contorted, by some Christian writers, to appear to apply to my poor brother, whose snake bitten body lies dead in an unknown Egyptian grave.  I  became a scholar and teacher in my own right.  Pardon me, and please understand, when I do not reveal even to you the name by which I have been known.

 In the many years that have followed our great deception in Judea, I have had occasion to read diverse and contradictory tracts purporting to give  truthful accounts of my brother.  I am mentioned by name in some of them, but, perhaps because of my unexplained disappearance, nothing else concerning me is reported.  I am almost disappointed at this absence of myths about  myself when they are so liberally bestowed upon my associates.  The stories tell preposterous lies.  They usually even start out as lies, with the unknown author falsely claiming to be one of the named apostles of Jesus. This was no doubt done to give credibility to their reports, either invented in whole or borrowed from other fictitious accounts.  I will not attempt to recount all of the nonsense, as unhappily it is all too easily available for you, if you are so disposed,  to read and believe, or reject, as you choose.   To mention but a few of the lies, you will find reports that Jesus was born in Bethlehem where he was worshiped by goatherds and astrologers, that our mother was a virgin, that he was taken as a child to Egypt while Herod the Great killed all the little boys, that angels announced his birth, that the dead came from their graves when he died, and that he was taken to heaven after his promise to return shortly.  If any of these things had happened, there would be no doubts, no excuse for disbelief,  and no reason for faith.  If they had happened, Josephus, you can be assured, would have reported them, as would your own correspondents.  You may also note that the promise of my brother’s quick return has not been fulfilled.  I believe, great Caesar, that this superstition would never have taken root and flowered if it were not for the work of another madman, a Pharisee named Saul of Tarsus.  His bizarre life and work are known to you through his writings under the name of Paul, assumed after he saw, in a fit that temporarily blinded him, Jesus arisen from the dead.

I tire, my Emperor, and must end this writing even as the gods end my hours of life.  Much more could be told, but I lack the strength, and hopefully I have given you enough to cause you to consider my warnings.  Much mischief has been spawned by these Christians, and many evils lie ahead, the nature of which can only be seen in dreams. What can be predicted of men whose main religious ceremony involves the belief that they, by consuming bread and wine, are eating the flesh and drinking the blood of my dead brother?  One might wonder if they would do this as eagerly if they knew he had died from snake venom.  I have informed you as best I can, have cleansed my conscience, and can die in peace.  I will never know if you receive this, so there is no need for a reply, even if you knew to whom to write.  I have charged my beloved daughter, who I know by our secret name of Kather, with making three copies of this writing.  One will be sent to you personally, under seal, through the usual channels.  One will be hidden in a safe place known only to ourselves in the Museum, the great library of Alexandria, for if anything of our time and culture survives the intellectual destruction I fear from the Christians it will be the library’s priceless repository of the collected knowledge of the world that has survived even the onslaughts of the great Julius Caesar. The third copy will be taken for concealment and protection to a Greek island of Ionia, where knowledge and science will  surely continue to exist and flourish despite the mischief of this new superstition.  There, my daughter and a fellow scholar will see that these words of mine become known in  proper season.

May that measure of peace, justice, harmony and understanding denied  religion and its deities be attained by mortals through the use of their minds,  and may reason, science, curiosity, and discovery replace the fear, the guilt, the pain, and the ignorance of trembling in terror before capricious gods. Ecce homo.

Here the text ends.

Edwin F. Kagin (c)

The Case of the Frozen Embryo

                                      ON THE CASE OF THE FROZEN EMBRYO

 

Jesus loves the little children

                     All the children of the world    

                    Red and yellow, black and white

                    They are precious in his sight.

                    Jesus loves the little children of the world.

From song sung by Christian children

 

Ever seen an icon of a pregnant Virgin Mary?  How about a mosaic of the divine vaginal delivery?

Human beings, like other mammals, reproduce themselves by sexual contact.  This fact bothers religious people who believe sex is sinful.  They may not know they think this way, but they do.  Sex is perceived by Christian mythology as the original sin or the result of, or punishment for, disobedience to the deity.  Sex  is discouraged, hence celibate nuns and priests.  The Catholic church, per edicts of aged male celibates, proclaims the only purpose and only morally acceptable use for sex is the production of children, each a unique gift from the deity.  The use of sex for pleasure, joy, fun, or celebration with no intent to reproduce is a sin, a minority view shared by other diverse Christian sects, and rejected by the majority of the world’s historic religions.

Since the belief is divinely correct, sex that results in conception has fulfilled its only acceptable purpose.  The products of conception are considered human life, supernaturally created. To treat a zygote otherwise would legitimize sex for play, not procreation.  If a child is unwanted or a fetus defective, or if you can’t take care of yourself, much less a child, too bad.  If you want to play, you’ve got to pay.  And, this belief system, coming from the deity, justifies itself forcing the belief on those who think the system stupid.

If all that’s not bizarre enough, the view extends to the non-sexual union of human male and female reproductive material in a laboratory.  Join a fertile egg and sperm and, bingo, you’ve got a human being with legal rights.

A while back, a married couple achieved laboratory fertilization of some of her eggs with his sperm.  The resulting embryos were frozen, presumably awaiting fetus transplant to a rent-a-womb.  When the couple divorced, the products of conception became a disputed asset of the marriage.  What happened inspired the following:

 

THE CASE OF THE FROZEN EMBRYO

Bye baby banting

Soon you’ll need decanting.

                                                   Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

A biology student named Delf

 Scientifically played with himself

And when he was done

He labeled it “Son”

And filed it away on the shelf.

                                                                                                     Anon

Nonsense struck another blow

In the case of the frozen embryo

A Judge has ruled them human life

And awarded custody to the wife

In the divorce it was her wish

To get the goo from the petri dish

Where the little ones were conceived

Where marital passion was relieved

The children went to a frozen tomb

To await resurrection in some womb

There will have to be child support

Ordered by paternity court

To keep the frozen kids alive

Until it’s time they should revive

But it really must be nice

To keep your babies lives on ice

Frozen solid until you say

You are ready to let them play

But there must be other fears

For those who wipe their icy tears

If they should be flushed away

Or allowed to thaw and rot one day

Would a murder charge obtain

Against the one who sent them down the drain

And what should their birthday be

Those conceived in petri

Do the cold days of gestation count

For little souls who just want out

Of a limbo that won’t start

The beating of a little heart

Of course there is no heart to beat

Or even tiny fetus feet

There are no bitsy toes on embryos

And what sex nobody knows

So you cannot even name

Those cells that all look just the same

Ah, the problems that occur

When rational thought and reason err.

Edwin F. Kagin

Happy Birthday Charles Darwin. Ode to the Butterfly Mind by Edwin Kagin.

 

Ode to the Butterfly Mind

 

The Parliament of Butterflies

Was racked by deep division

Questions of what to teach the young

Demanded their decision.

 

It had been known and taught and thought

Since butterfly life began

That butterflies in glory rose

From their creator’s mighty hand

 

Now some few who this truth mocked

Had attacked faith’s very pillars

“All butterflies,” these scientists claimed,

“Came from caterpillars.”

 

This indecent theory spread

Into butterfly education,

Until this “caterpillar cult”

Threatened creation’s revelation.

 

The faithful sought to restore the truth

About the origins of butterflies;

And to build an absolute moral base,

To stop the metamorphic lies.

 

“Believe you  descended from some worm

And wormlike you will be!”

Reasoned those who’d seen faith’s light

And knew there was nothing left to see.

 

“We see no proof,” some butterflies said

“That we are all come from cocoons–

Unbelievers who would teach this tale

Are all immoral loons.”

 

Some said the metamorphous lie

Was laid  by “the enemy,” they believed,

Set, like candle flames and windshields,

To destroy all who were deceived.

 

The matter was at last resolved –

Both theories must be taught — how fine!

Now all youth can simply decide the truth,

Each in their own simple butterfly mind.

 

Edwin F. Kagin ©

 

On Restoring Traditional Family Values by Edwin Kagin

KAGIN’S COLUMN

 

ON RESTORING TRADITIONAL FAMILY VALUES

 

Come, my friends,`Tis not too late to seek a newer world.  Tennyson

Say you wanted to destroy civilization.  Create a mythology whereby all products of human conception must be born.  Punish indiscriminate breeding by insuring that every pregnancy produces a baby.  Run slick T.V. ads showing a neurotic woman lamenting an earlier choice to have an abortion, a lament created by the mythmakers.  Show tidy, nicely dressed, scrubbed, well fed little children and convince people their unwanted kid will be that way.  Base all of this on the will of God, and decree the authority of scripture over absolutely everything, including evidence and common sense.  Ban all sex education, contraception and pregnancy interruption.  Deny public funds for abortion, but rather give women free state money for every baby produced.  This method will insure that the most useless and uneducated will have the most children.  Then those little gifts of God, unwanted, unloved and unparented, can grow up to kill and rob you, and make more kids who will, if the Mother Theresas prevail, accumulate to be seen starving or murdering on the nightly news.

One should then, with civilization in chaos, decide that the most Christian nation on earth is in trouble for drifting from the myths that created the problem.  Confident that the myth must win no matter what, create a movement to return to “Tradition Family Values,” i.e., a comprehensive mythical control system, based on the Bible, a prescientific bronze and iron age  document. If a Trojan horse wrecks your civilization, haul in another one to fix the problem.  Our restoration of Traditional Family Values won’t be the first time religion has destroyed a culture.  Just watch the news.  Better yet, read a history book.

To restore these Traditional Family Values, we should have some notion of what they are.  What type values?  What kind of family?  What is traditional?  That kind of thing.  “Traditional Family Values” means those beliefs held and customs practiced by a white Anglo-Saxon protestant church going married with children unit in a small American town between 1946 and 1956.  If we live exactly as they did, everything will be fine.  That’s the goal.  Any other vision is a highway to Hell.  Now that we’ve defined them, how do we restore them.

Basic to the restoration of Traditional Family Values is the abolition of democracy.  Democracy really has no place in Christian thought, is not found anywhere in the Bible, and is a troublesome holdover from pagan systems Christianity destroyed.  Democracy permits diversity and invention for individuals and cultures.  Expansion of ideas is forbidden by Traditional Family Values, for all we need know is in the Bible.  School boards must be controlled so wrong ideas like birth control, evolution, and the solving of problems without supernatural intervention do not get into students heads or text books.  Democracy prohibits this control.  Democracy encourages independence of thought and seeking of new ways for believing and doing.  New ideas and different  ways are bad — democracy must go.  Despite attempts by the righteous to establish a government controlled by their religion, our founders gave us a democracy.  Democracy has tolerated thoughts and actions that are properly forbidden, and the sooner we get rid of it the faster everyone will get back to right thinking.

In our efforts to restore Traditional Family Values, we should be able to learn from the examples of those who advocate them.  Regrettably, some of our finest models are flawed by over-exposure to democracy.  His soon to be Most Christian Majesty, King of England, Charles, heir apparent, has separated from his wife and children to sport in adultery with a married woman.  Our own Ronald and Nancy Reagan married following divorce and after conceiving their daughter Patti.  Patti, appears buff naked in Playboy  (July, 1994).  She is also on the periodical’s cover sky clad with a Negro standing behind her with his arms about her and his black paws cupping her exposed white breasts.  If not for that democracy business, she would be in prison for this pornographic display.  And this Reagan daughter was raised by parents who practiced astrology and who want everyone to return to Traditional Family Values.

The example of one Rush Limbaugh, an outspoken, if boorish, advocate  for the religious right and Traditional Family Values, may help.  He was recently united in holy matrimony with a woman by a member of the U.S. Supreme Court, Mr. Justice Clarence Thomas.  Perfect?  Hardly.  Brother Limbaugh had been twice married and divorced before the wedding, as had been his bride.  Further, he and the female had cohabited, and, presumably, fornicated (a crime under Traditional Family Values) by engaging in sex before the church said they could.  This behavior deserves the Traditional Family Values Hall of Shame, not emulation.  And the marrying judge was civil authority, not church certified.  The judge was also a Negro.  Under proper Traditional Family Values, he would have been known as a nigger.  He could not have sat on a jury, much less the Supreme Court.  Indeed, he would have been in jail, for he has a white wife.  Othello, on the Supreme Court, would have been unthinkable, and Traditional Family Values prohibited interracial marriage.  The crime was called miscegenation.  So Traditional Family Values are simply not satisfied by persons married to four other people being married civilly by a nigger who couples lustfully with white women.  The evolution of constitutional freedoms has changed all that, but we are seeking Traditional Family Values as they are properly, and undemocratically, understood.

Failing to find, among the powerful and outspoken, proper role modeling for Traditional Family Values, let us attempt to construct a composite of what can be, and must be, if we are to restore what was and live by biblical truths.  Consider the ideal, in Francis and Felicity Fundangelical.  We meet them on their wedding day, in their bridal suite, alone at last, where Francis says, “Felicity, my darling, do you know what we are going to do tonight?”  “No, my beloved husband” she says, “what?”

Felicity knew from her Traditional Family Values training that her duty as a woman and wife was to obey her husband Francis as she had obeyed her father.  Men had received the right from God the Father to control women, daughters of Eve who had caused the fall of man from the Garden of Eden.  She was Mrs. Felicity Fundangelical and it was her wedding night.  Her Norman Rockwell world of Traditional Family Values was fulfilled.  She had her MRS degree and would devote her life to God, church, husband and children, in that order.  It was 1954, in Sperm Bank, Georgia, and all was right with the world.

The marriage of Francis and Felicity Fundangelical had made them one flesh.  Divorce was unthinkable–they were mystically joined for life.  Neither partner had any idea whatsoever of sexual union, for this nasty little subject was not discussed by anyone, inside or outside of marriage.  The couple generally knew that married people had babies (only married people!), but had been told they were gifts of God, and, for all they knew, occurred through spontaneous generation.  Francis had heard boys giggling about naughty things in shop class, but had averted his ears, and Felicity had wondered what her Home Economics teacher meant by the remark that a girl on her wedding night was well advised to think of canning apricots.

The Fundangelicals brought their collective life experiences to their wedding night.  They knew they lived, and would live, in a relatively secure world, with little crime, most people employed, and everyone doing and believing much the same, so long as they were just like the Fundangelicals.  And everyone they knew was.  Life would proceed as it presumably always had.  We are studying them as a model of Traditional Family Values to better learn how to restore the Traditional Family Values we’ve lost because of participatory democracy.  Prince Charles, Rush Limbaugh, and Ronald and Nancy Reagan all proved wanting as proper role models.

(Here it must be confessed that an error was made earlier in this treatise, wherein the human male standing naked behind the Reagan’s naked daughter Patti, and handling her breasts on the cover of the July 1994 Playboy, was incorrectly identified as a Negro.  Careful reading of the accompanying text, by Mrs. Lisa Mohnsam, has revealed he was not a Negro but a darkly tanned white dude.  However, he does simulate a Negro, mocking the Traditional Family Values we want to restore, mirroring similar pornography offered by Rolling Stone and Janet Jackson).

Our goal is to restore Traditional Family Values and to enjoy, in all its fullness, the world of the Fundangelicals.  To this end, Mr. and Mrs. Fundangelical provide a microcosm for explication of an America that tragically recedes before the assaults of godless humanism and democracy.  This world was not politically correct; it was religiously correct and grounded on the certainty that everything in contradiction was wrong.  There was prayer and Bible reading in schools, and everyone attended religious school plays.  There were church camps, potluck dinners, revivals, patriotic parades and minstrel shows.  Everybody smoked, even in hospital rooms and the minister’s study.  All men wore short hair and hats; women wore long dresses and girdles.  Library books were censored for right thought.  Divorce was illegal, abortion was illegal, birth control was illegal, strips bars and pornography were illegal.  Sex education was not taught in school, and certainly not in the home.  The Sears catalogue and National Geographic were the best sources for that information.  Science classes Francis attended were taught by the football coach, who knew evolution wasn’t true because it didn’t fit the Bible stories of God’s interactions with Adam and Noah.  There were no color televisions and no computers, two more things that have destroyed Traditional Family Values.  At least television and movies were moral.  Married couples were shown sleeping in separate beds, and while murder was okay, physical love was not.  It was no more discussed in polite society than cancer, or Uncle Herman passing out in his turkey and cranberries from alcoholism.

When one is right and good he naturally wants to keep himself and his children from people and ideas that are wrong and bad.  Traditional Family Values had erected for Francis and Felicity numerous barriers against wrong thinking and interaction.  Negroes (known as niggers) went to different schools, and had their own restaurants, restrooms, drinking fountains, waiting rooms, and places on public transportation.  They could go to the Fundangelicals’ church, but they sat apart in the balcony, while whites sat on the main level, fanning themselves with funeral home fans.  Interracial dating was unthinkable, and interracial marriages unlawful, except perhaps for Moses and Captain John Smith.  If we had restored Traditional Family Values in time, O.J. Simpson would not now be in trouble.  Of course he wouldn’t have played football either, at least not with whites.  No decent person interacted with the children of slaves as anything other than master to servant.  Some debated whether they possessed souls.

All foreigners, their countries, cultures, languages and histories were seen as vastly inferior to those values taught Francis and Felicity, who believed white Christians had “discovered” America.  The savages they discovered led to the maxim that the only good Injun was a dead one.  The Fundangelicals had learned cute xenophobic slurs for members of other races and of most foreign nations, and would teach them to their children.

Other religions were wrong, and were studied, if at all, only to refute them.  Jews were Christ killers, greedy, and universally damned; no Traditional Family Values person would have anything to do with this hated race unless absolutely necessary, like borrowing money to finance war.  The modern idea of a Judeo-Christian tradition was unknown.  Jews were bad people who refused to accept Christ’s offer of salvation and were to be shunned.  Catholics were little better.  They were Papist pawns and idol worshipers.  Francis and Felicity’s ancestors had killed many of them in holy wars.  A fish sandwich was known as a Catholic hamburger, and Catholics were called mackerel snappers.  Such religions as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam were understood as heathen beliefs having something to do with flying carpets.  All that was known of them was that they needed missionaries, or better yet, the killing of their followers.

Dirty minded readers probably think that when Felicity asked Francis what they were going to do on their wedding night that something sexual was afoot.  Repent!  We’ll get to it.  First, we must consider how to restore the Traditional Family Values of the Fundangelicals and destroy civilization and democracy.

If you want a taste of what those good old days were like, turn off the air conditioner

Those committed to an early and full restoration of Traditional Family Values should be heartened by recent events.  In Florida a religious crazy, named Paul Hill, shot and killed two gentlemen, a retired doctor who performed abortions and a retired U.S. Air Force Officer volunteering to help women exercise civilized democratic rights.  The Colonel’s wife, a retired nurse, was wounded.

In Rome, another religious crazy, his Holiness the Pope, John Paul II (J2P2) denounced a United Nations attempt to control the horror of humans destroying their species by over breeding.  J2P2 said abortion and artificial contraception deny couples the right to determine the size of their families.  And they could, if they didn’t want to populate, restrict sex to those days the female is not fertile.  This game is called Vatican Roulette and the players are called parents.  J2P2 believes limiting population any other way is unethical and immoral.

So we are well on our way to restoring the world of Francis and Felicity Fundangelical, the glorious world of Traditional Family Values.  Some who may find murder a bit extreme so early in the restoration process cannot argue with the results.  If civilization and democracy are to be destroyed by too many people overrunning a planet under dogmatic religious authority, no means of accomplishment is too extreme.

Prudence, however, dictates a more moderate approach.  We should simply repeal the Bill of Rights, and pass an Amendment making the Fundangelicals mythical system the law of the land.  Religious repression would then be fully constitutional and God, negligently left out of the constitution by the humanists who wrote it, would be back in control.  After all, God’s on the money.  There will be some resistance from Jews, blacks, liberated women, secular humanists, homosexuals, and probably the nation of Islam whose followers think they should be in control.

That’s the problem with democracy — too many different people thinking they’re right.  God’s on the side with the heaviest artillery.  Take away the guns of those who disagree with you.  Kill (maybe just jail) their lawyers, professors and judges.  Burn their books and write your own.  Outlaw computers.  If a manual typewriter was good enough for Harry Truman it’s good enough for us.  Ban color televisions.  The world should be seen in black and white.  Democracy will be gone and civilization will soon follow.  There will be arguments and tribal warfare over how best to enforce Traditional Family Values and just whose values are required by our Reformed Constitution.  But there are ways of handling these disagreements, assuming you are in power and have authority from God.

We are studying our model of Traditional Family Values,  Francis and Felicity Fundangelical on their Traditional Family Values wedding night. (Readers who may require Part I or II of this trilogy may request copies.)  The Fundangelicals actually believed their God had invented moral law.  To them, Socrates, Buddha, Cato, Euripides, and other pre-christian heathens had nothing to do with the awareness than an honorable life is to be preferred to a dishonorable one.  The moral law of Traditional Family Values would have seemed odd to those ancients whose works Christianity destroyed.  Particularly tonight.

Francis and Felicity’s first night as one flesh shows us the conflict between nature and nurture.  Their glands were programmed by nature, their minds by Traditional Family Values.  They knew that, now married, they were permitted to do something with each other, something beyond petting.  They knew they had God’s okay to go all the way.  There was great embarrassment and blushing, much fear, guilt, and fumbling.

To tell just what happened would be a gross violation of the Traditional Family Values we are trying to restore.  A description of that night could not lawfully be printed then or in the world we will have when Traditional Family Values are restored, the Constitution is changed, and democracy replaced by dogma.  From the later circumstantial evidence of babies, one might conclude they eventually got it right, but it was never discussed.  And there is precedent for exceptions.  We cannot, therefore, know what happened.  Before too long we will forget there was ever a time we could.

When Felicity told Francis she did not know what they were going to do on this night of nights, he took her soft hand.  He knew, without God, he and the wife he was to lead (sic) were incompetent to do anything.  He knew he needed guidance from a ready source of all answers.  He knew that earth was but a pilgrimage and Heaven was their home.  His world had not yet evolved beyond Traditional Family Values.  Francis looked at his wife Felicity with the fixed smile and thousand yard stare characteristic of the Fundangelicals and said “Let us pray.”

And the Fundangelicals turned off the light.

 

Edwin Kagin

 

ON DISPLAYING THE TEN COMMANDMENTS IN PUBLIC PLACES AS ANOTHER SATANIC STRATEGY FOR DESTROYING AMERICAN DEMOCRATIC FREEDOMS

 

KAGIN’S COLUMN

 

Edwin F. Kagin is a lawyer‑poet.  He believes that, through grace and faith,

this will be a regular column and, if events are predestined, that whatever

he believes makes no difference whatsoever. He can be reached in care of

this publication, or through e‑mail at: [email protected]

Permission for non-profit reproduction is given, so long as credit is given,

so the villagers will not go after the wrong person with pitchforks & torches.

ON DISPLAYING THE TEN COMMANDMENTS IN

PUBLIC PLACES AS ANOTHER SATANIC STRATEGY

FOR DESTROYING AMERICAN DEMOCRATIC FREEDOMS

It is as I have said:  every statute in the Bible and in the law books is an attempt to defeat a law of God–in other words an unalterable and indestructible law of nature. These peoples’s God has shown them by a million acts that he respects none of the Bible’s statutes. He breaks every one of them himself, adultery and all.  Mark Twain, Letters From the Earth.

As everyone knows, the United States of America was perfect until the 1950’s. Things started falling apart in the 1960’s, just after “In God We Trust” was stuck on our money, and “under God” was added to our Pledge of Allegiance.

We had gone through a Revolutionary War, a Civil War, two World Wars, the Great Depression, and various other dramatic, but easily solved, national problems, like slavery and women wanting to vote, without any need for a statement of reliance on a deity being placed on the cash or an unnamed god being added to our secular expression of loyalty to flag and country.

And Satan rejoiced. He saw the insecurity and the fear. He knew that people’s need for public religiosity and for revealed rules meant private personal ethics had been replaced by public show and by dictated declarations of forced faith of the sort condemned in the Sermon on the Mount. The U.S. of A. had fallen into Satan’s hands, and he has been pretty much in control ever since. The worse things have gotten, the more his maniacal merciless minions, wrapped in reeking robes of hypocritical righteousness, have caused the unsuspecting faithful to fall into the waiting clutches of that fallen angel.

Lucifer, that Great Serpent, deceiver of Eve, author of evil, nightmare enemy of all that is right and good, remains tirelessly at work in other ways, deceiving even the faithful, verily as he deceived our first parents. He has, for example, in his attempt to destroy our democratic freedoms and bring about our ruin as a free nation, laid it falsely upon the hearts of some, who are weak of faith and easily misled, that abortion is a sin prohibited by Holy Writ. It is not, of course. Satan knows full well that little souls not yet tempted to sin go straight unto their Heavenly Father, who in his greater wisdom and for his own purpose and pleasure, hath predestined them from all eternity to come early home and be in communion with him forever (it should be here noted that the Roman Catholic Church, a self-styled infallible only true church, had for centuries said that these wee souls went to Limbo–but now they have announced that there is no such place). Satan can’t stand it, for he wants to create chaos and destroy our hard won liberties and take away the personal choices that are only available to free people. He wants these children to be born unto sin, and to commit crimes, and to grow unto profane vice, and to fall from their innocent state of grace, so they can be his, so they can be denied the beatific vision and the heaven of the sinless that was planned for them. Satan has raised up “pro life” a.k.a. “right to life” groups, composed of persons misled and misguided, so innocent souls can be profaned by sin and required, under the very laws of god that are flaunted, to burn in hell for all eternity (for a more complete analysis of this particular line of blasphemy, please consult Kagin’s Column On the Mythology of Abortion, possibly available from this publication, or available for sure at www.edwinkagin.com on the Internet, if you can secure the assistance of an eight year old to help you work a computer–a device negligently not mentioned in the bible).

Satan has also successfully inspired support for forbidden-by-god public prayer in public places. This has helped the Prince of Darkness to hasten the establishment of an unholy profane theocracy and to further damage and diminish personal freedoms so that democracy can be more easily eliminated. Misguided demonically influenced school officials and elected law makers have actually wanted people to risk their immortal souls by engaging in public praying–when the son of god has specifically forbidden such activity (Matthew 6: 6, Holy Bible), and said that those who disobeyed would be as imperiled as fools who build their houses upon sand. (See Kagin’s Column On Public Prayer–obtained same way as above). What are children to think or do when they read in their school required bible readings that their school required public prayers are in direct violation of the word of god?  Fortunately, this particular slippery slide to perdition has not been implemented in all that many places. In those venues where public prayer is actually regularly and heretically practiced, like in the Congress of the United States, the deleterious consequences are so obvious that reasonable persons cannot dispute the dire truth of the Savior’s warnings.

Then there is the Satanist plot called “creation science.”  This movement oxymoronically trys to replace scientific fact and proof with the pre-scientific biblical mythology of origins. If he can get us to accept this stuff and repudiate evidence, Satan will have made much progress in destroying what our society has achieved with science and democracy.

But that ancient terror is even more clever than previously understood. We note with horror that there is emerging a far greater Satanic threat–an attempted direct fatal blow aimed at the very heart of democracy.  He wants the gullible faithful, those who should know better but don’t, to make laws requiring that the so called Ten Commandments  be posted in public places–places like public schools, courtrooms, and government buildings.  Imagine!  Satan has gotten public servants to actually give official endorsement to a set of primitive rules written in Hebrew for a bronze age community of nomadic Jews.  He knows that the fighting and the bloodletting certain to result over the meaning, the enforcement, and even the correct translation, of these Hebrew rules will put democracy on the ropes for sure.

He has laid it upon certain of our elected elect the fanciful fear that without these dictated declarations of forced fealty, the faint of faith must needs wallow in sin. He has persuaded some uncertain souls that we all need certainty and a fixed moral law that should be interpreted for us by those in power over us.  And since the rules are unclear and impossible, like not coveting (there goes capitalism, the stock market, achievement awards, financial rewards, aspirations to succeed and acquire–in short, the American Dream that we had until god got put on the mammon), citizens are expected to constantly reaffirm their belief in the deity and his rules.  Like quoting the Nicene Creed for example.  This is not required if something is clearly so.  We do not chant together, “I believe in gravity; I believe if I drop a thing it will fall down; it will not fall up as the unbelievers say.”  A ritual for facts is so unnecessary it seems foolish.  Religious ritual is so foolish it seems necessary.  Try believing in the Holy Trinity without faith.  If a thing can be shown to be so, one does not need a religion in order to believe in that thing, and believing in a thing does not make it so.

Now it would indeed be nice if there existed on our earth  ten rules, precepts, laws, or anything for that matter, that everyone agreed were absolute rules of law and life that were so clear and so correct in their expression, application, and understanding that all people at all times would unanimously agree those rules should be followed as presented. Then we could post them in public places. And not a person would object, because everyone would agree with them and follow them as a matter of course. Sort of like the rule requiring breathing. Everyone follows it, and no one objects to the requirement that they breathe. Of course, in such circumstances, posting the ten commandments would be quite superfluous. We don’t really need publicly posted signs commanding unto breathing people, “Thou shalt breathe” (some religious types command “Thou shalt breed,” but that’s a different type of thing, and is another generally unnecessary directive).

Most people who think there is nothing wrong with displaying the Big 10 in public forums really don’t know just what they are.  So here are the ten commandments–in unnumbered Edwinian paraphrase:

I am the same god who brought you out of bondage in Egypt. There are many other gods, but you are not to prefer any of them over me, for I am a jealous god. You are not to make images of anything, worship any images, nor take my name in vain or I will punish your descendents unto the fourth generation. Because I created everything in six days, and rested on the seventh day, you are not to work on Saturday, nor is anyone in your house to work on Saturday, not even your slaves. If you want to live long in the land I have given you, you must honor your father and mother. You are not to steal, kill, commit adultery, lie about your neighbor,  nor covet anything your neighbor owns, like his wife, his livestock, or his slaves.

As a public service, and in the interests of promoting greater biblical literacy, especially among those satanically inspired to, and treasonably intent on, imposing the bible into all aspects of public life, your narrator additionally and thoughtfully now provides our readers with the actual words (King James Version, of course) of the so called Ten Commandments.  The sacred text says:

EX 20:1 And God spake all these words, saying, [2] I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. [3] Thou shalt have no other gods before me. [4] Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: [5] Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; [6] And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. [7] Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. [8] Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. [9] Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: [10] But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: [11] For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

     EX 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. [13] Thou shalt not kill. [14] Thou shalt not commit adultery. [15] Thou shalt not steal. [16] Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. [17] Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

That’s them. The rules the pro posters say underpin our civilization and laws. Note there is nothing in them about democracy, due process of law, compassion, or being kind to your children so they just might honor you without a direct order from god.

God seems kinda insecure too.  Why need a god command worship if he is so clearly the better god?  Why should he care?  Does it bother you if an ant doesn’t believe in you?

Despite current claims that they have nothing to do with religion, the first four commandments are religious rules (the secular basis for our culture indeed!), and the remaining six prohibit behavior that most societies address in laws that are usually much clearer about informing citizens of just what is in fact prohibited. Those who say the commandments they want to publicly post are not religious should note that the first four have over twice as many words as the six that follow.

The commandments are subject to all kinds of interpretations and exceptions that can lead, and have led, to unpleasantness and even bloodshed.  This is why Satan wants us to do away with the notion of keeping church and state separate.  Forcing religion into public life is the very best way to destroy democracy.  What priesthood shall prevail?

Who is to say what the law of god means?  For example, “Thou shalt not kill” sounds reasonably clear. One might naively think this law of god prohibits killing. Not so. It is okay to kill animals, and okay to kill humans in war, in self defense, and in capital punishment. God endorses these (depending on who you ask), and other killings, but one learns this in Sunday School, not from the simple statement of the commandment itself.

People don’t agree on how, or whether, to follow the ten commandments with anything like the unanimity with which they agree on the not needed law requiring breathing. Roman Catholics, for example, don’t have the second commandment as listed by the Jews and Protestants. That’s the one about not making any graven images or worshipping any images.  That’s what it says, and it still says it even if one don’t like it. The Catholics don’t like it, so they leave it out, and get their version of the ten commandments by making two commandments out of the last one. The practice of accepting as holy only those rules of god one likes and ignoring the rest is so common among different religious groups that they may be understood collectively as cafeteria christians.  That’s why various christians have public prayer, while others handle snakes, have women preachers, let kids die by withholding medical attention, think god really created the world in six days, believe the earth is flat, and so forth.

The fourth commandment (all references hereinafter are to the Jewish / Protestant Decalogue–that’s the one the public posting promoters are talking about–certainly not the other set of ten commandments in the Old Testament that prohibits, inter alia, the boiling of a kid in its mother’s milk) says to worship on the seventh day of the week, Saturday, as the Jews, Seventh Day Adventists and others do.  It doesn’t say to worship on the first day of the week, Sunday–as most Christians do, with no biblical authority whatsoever for so doing.

There is not a single commandment that is not subject to wildly different interpretations.  And therein lies the problem. In matters of faith, whose understanding should control? How do we know they are right?  Shall we, as in the past, have religious wars to decide?

But these matters are minor.  Satan’s true evil genius in selecting this issue to destroy democracy is seen when those who are both Theists and Satanists (if you believe there is a god, you are a Theist; if you believe there is a Satan, you are a Satanist) cannot even agree on which translation of the bible to use, much less on the meaning of the disputed text. Catholics use a different bible than do those Protestants they denounce as heretics.  Jews read it in Hebrew, and they read it backwards.

If we really want to destroy American democracy by declaring that the ten commandments are really secular, and that the rules contained therein regarding which god to believe in, and how to worship this god, and when to go to church, and so on, are not religious, then we should take care that we use the right translation of the Bible when posting these non religious principles to use for controlling the lives of others, for those who want them posted in public tend not to read Hebrew, and those who do read Hebrew tend to understand all too well how religious doctrines can be called something else when employed to harm others.

Since it’s translation into English in 1611, the King James Version has been the bible of choice of Protestants.  It was the bible brought to our shores by our Puritan forefathers.  It is the bible people know and quote.  It is the bible that, for well over three hundred years, has been to many the only divinely inspired true translation. It is the bible most quoted when the ten commandments are posted.  It is the bible quoted above.

Yet other fundamentalists have recently condemned it, and denounced it as unfit for Christians to read.  This is because they have finally discovered that King James I of England, who authorized the translation, was a homosexual–a fact historian have known for all those years the King James Bible has been the inerrant word of God.  This fundamentalist attack on the fundamentalist’s bible has been led, say the reports, by the Christian Coalition, the Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, and the Family Research Council (FRC). Gary Bauer, of the FRC, is said (falsely, by the way—the quote was satire—but it does seem the right tune) to have said “Anything that has been commissioned by a homosexual has been tainted in some way.” And Christian Coalition leader, Pat Robertson is quoted as saying, “It’s very important that we stand up to the homosexual wherever and whenever he appears” (for an analysis of homophobic thought, see Kagin’s Column On Homosexuality). Satan must be happy indeed.

How can this possibly be resolved to satisfy everyone?   Maybe we should just keep church and state separate and keep our democracy.  Maybe we should make public display of our American Bill of Rights.  There are ten of them after all, and they were written in English.

Unless, of course, we don’t really believe in them.

 

Edwin Kagin.

ON THE PRIESTHOOD by atheist Edwin Kagin

ON THE PRIESTHOOD

Fight the real enemy.  Sinead O’Conner, while  ripping up, on national television, a color photo of His Holiness the  Pope, an as yet unprohibited splendid example of the exercise of both protected speech and symbolic speech, an act roughly  analogous, in public outrage, to flag burning.

Someone (who, I can’t remember and apologize), observed that the priesthood originated when the first con artist met the first fool.  Con artist, Priest, tells Fool what to do because Fool believes the world is run by gods, and Priest says he speaks to one or more gods who tell him what to communicate to Fool.  All Fool has to do is obey the gods, i.e. Priest, and Fool will have better fortune, go to a pleasant immortality or indulge whatever fantasies  Fool thinks can only be satisfied by Priest, acting in loco deus. Fool is happy, and Priest has the roast sheep, wine, treasure or whatever Fool offers to the gods through Priest.

When this senerio first began is uncertain, both in religion involved and location.  It doesn’t really matter.  All Priesthoods work roughly the same.  Certain absolutist views are held by a group of people.  The Priests teach, spread, and reinforce the given myth.  Every religion has its priesthood, persons learned in the often highly complex system of belief and practice that, long repeated, become the creed and ritual of the faith.  Priests acquire specialized knowledge in the secrets or “mysteries” of their religion, and in manipulation of the believers through cultic magic presented and accepted as coming from the gods.

Understandably, this power is enormous and the priesthood knows it.  “Priesthood” means a collection of priests, the females sometimes called “priestesses.”  No matter how humble a priest may be, the ability to instruct on the thoughts of gods and deliver the will of the supernatural carries a lot of clout.

In some societies, religions have been, and still are, one with the civil government of nations.  That means the priesthood runs the country and controls people’s lives.  The law is the religious law, revealed to, and enforced by the priesthood.  Disbelief is a crime that can get one jailed or killed.  Such a government is called a theocracy.  That’s what some religious nuts want established in our country, and that’s why we have the First Amendment in our Bill of Rights to stop them.

It is probably comforting to many to have on their side a select group of the elite who communicate with the deity.  The system is so transparently paternalistic that some practitioners of religion actually address their priest as “father” or “mother” and a priest may respond “my children,” “my son,” etc.  This artificial family may be necessary to satisfy the yearnings for family of priests, many of whom are celibate, and the need of their flock for the authority of religion and for faith in something beyond the natural world.  Maybe some people are born to lead and control others; maybe some are born to follow.  The con artist and the fool are found in different forms in all human interaction.  The inability of the sheep to be sure which shepherd to follow leads to thousands of contradictory enclaves of religious thought.  Wouldn’t it be nice if any gods that be were to give a clear sign of their existence and will, like a message written on the moon, or the sky indisputably filled with angelic hosts singing hosannas.  Maybe the gods enjoy watching the confusion of mortals.

At any rate, why choose any priesthood at all?  What true leadership can these folks who claim to talk for gods really provide?  Is there evidence of moral superiority in any priesthood that makes its members better qualified to advise on earthly and eternal matters?  Actually, the behavior of many priests ranges from laughable to criminal.  What claim can a religion have to any ethical high ground when its leaders are hauled off to jail for everything from fraud to rape?  How can religious leaders who suppress the human search for knowledge and repress the human spirit really claim to represent the best within us?

Of course there are priests who are decent, caring human beings.  But such persons are not confined to any one religion, so these individuals are not proof of the correctness of a particular belief system.  Further, there are plenty of non-believers who, in their private and public lives, better exemplify the humanistic principals found in a given religion then do the acknowledged priests of that religion.

Living with uncertainty can be tough, but may be better than following a mythical system that is demonstratively absurd.  Priests certainly have a legal right to do their thing, but don’t hold them up as models of correctness and virtue, and don’t give them the power to control what you do with your life and your body.  There are worse things than ripping up pictures of Popes.  These worse things include religious authorities ripping up lives.

Be your own person.  Don’t be an “ite” following an “ism.”

Edwin

Edwin Kagin

On Public Prayer

       The family that prays together stays together. Religious putdown of the families of non-believers.

Prayer is the means whereby humans communicate with the supernatural deity or deities in whom they believe.  Most religions accept uncritically the reality of beings who exist outside the laws of nature and who can, upon appropriate application, alter those laws for the benefit of the believer.  One makes supplication to the god of choice by silent or vocal praise and the lodging of requests for divine intervention.  This practice is known as “prayer.”

Christianity is the dominant religion of the United States.  It is mythically based on the life and teaching of Jesus, the deity made man.  Fundamentalists believe every word of the Bible (the sacred texts) to be the word of God.  Here’s what God, through Jesus (also God), said about prayer: “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men.  Verily I say unto you they have their reward.  But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”  Jesus Christ, Matthew 6:5-6 King James Version in a stolen Gideon Bible.  We need not bother with the more recent translations.  If the King James Version was good enough for the Apostle Paul, it’s good enough for us.

What we have here is the Son of God, the Messiah, the Savior of the World, God Incarnate, the Light of the World giving definitive, authoritative, and unimpeachable information on how to pray if the person praying wants God to pay attention.  Preempting all contrary mandates, the one God has given his orders on prayer to all people for all times until the end of the world.  The instructions are strict and inflexible.  There are no exceptions.  When one prays he should go into his closet and shut the door.

This command of the deity on earth in human form was given publicly in the “Sermon on the Mount,” wherein the Christ conveyed the will of the Father.  The Lamb of God went on to dictate into the record an example of how to pray:  “Our Father which art in heaven,” etc.  (How Jesus was God and discussed the will of his father, who was also God in heaven must wait for a future consideration of the mythology of the “Holy Trinity.”)  This is known as “The Lord’s Prayer.”  When one prays it, or any other prayer, one has to do so behind closed doors in one’s closet, not publicly.  The “Lord’s Prayer” was not openly prayed by Jesus, but was taught to be repeated only in private.  When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, before being crucified, he prayed privately.  He probably didn’t have a closet.  While hanging on the cross, he prayed with others about, but he really couldn’t, under the circumstances, be expected to deliver these final prayers elsewhere.  Thus, prayers are to be given from behind closed doors unless you are alone in the mountains or trussed up for execution.  In fairness, the orders probably leave room for any silent or quiet prayer that is not rendered in public.  All public prayers are forbidden and are a deliberate disobedience to the will of god.

The Son of Man not only set out the rules for prayer and other matters in the sermon on the mountain but concluded with a warning of the dire consequences of disobedience:  “And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”

Matthew 7:26-27.

So there it is.  Our world is coming unglued and we suffer crime, violence, and war because of public prayer.  The more out of the closet prayer, the more awful things get.  Those who yell loudest that the Bible is the inerrant word of God are the worst offenders.  The more they argue that we must return to the Bible, the more they blasphemously engage in uncloseted prayer.  They doom us by their forbidden entreaties to the Almighty whose commands they flaunt.  Nowhere is the influence of Satan clearer seen.  Satan has deceived the faithful to engage in prayer meetings, prayer breakfasts, and all manner of condemned celestial communications reaching into the very foundations of government.  Heaven help us, there are even those who advocate publicly praying in our schools as a solution to the problems directly created by that very disobedience to ultimate authority.  There are prayers on radio and on television, in churches, in homes and in auditoriums.  The more we publicly pray, the more we become the most violent and crime-invested nation on earth.  Is this our American heritage, our family values?  Why do we deliberately disobey God?  The American civil war was conducted by armies who publicly prayed and believed god supported their cause and was on their side.  Lincoln observed that “both sides may be, and one must be, wrong.”

Humanists who wrote our Constitution tried to prevent the problem.  God is not mentioned in the Constitution, and church and state are separated in the Bill of Rights.  This is probably all that has kept Satan from totally leading us to destruction.  Our greatness comes from humanists, our problems from the folly of those who advocate and practice public prayer.

It is all so simple.  A believer is not permitted to disregard a direct order from the deity without consequences.  Better to be a non-believer than one condemned under one’s own rules.  Examples that impious prayer doesn’t work are legion.  Every fundamentalist bigot in the country publicly prayed that Mr. Clinton not be elected president of the United States.  The prayers failed.  God is not mocked.

So if you must be a believer, get it right.  Read your Bible.  Do you think Jesus was wrong?  Obey your God.  Stop all forms of public prayer.  It’s hard to stand on your feet when you’re on your knees.

And don’t naively assume your daughter has religion when she comes home with a Gideon Bible in her suitcase.

Edwin Kagin ©