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Sep 29 2011

Theocracy will sneak in one justification at a time

Rick Perry is unsuited to high office. That he’s a cretin is one thing, but that he has an anti-American, unconstitutional attitude towards the law is another. He thinks the US is in an alliance with Jesus, as revealed in his recent comments about Israel.

Well, obviously, Israel is our oldest and most stable democratic ally in that region. That is what this is about. I also as a Christian have a clear directive to support Israel. So from my perspective, it’s pretty easy. Both as an American and as a Christian, I am going to stand with Israel.

So the US role in the Middle East is driven by Christian fundamentalist theology? That’s scary stuff to announce, on top of practicing.

I don’t even know what the Israel of the Bible is, except that it is defunct and doesn’t exist anymore. To equate the modern state of Israel with the fantasy kingdom of the Bible is even more absurd than pointing at Italy and calling it the Roman Empire.

113 comments

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  1. 1
    davidct

    Hopefully what sells well in Texas will be rejected by the country at large. Perry is unaware that he does not speak for the majority of Americans. Hopefully, that will translate to declining polls as it has for “What’s her Name?”.

  2. 2
    Alverant

    Stuff like this convinces me that you can either be a Christian first or an American first because the two have a values conflict. Being an American means accepting that freedom applies to all. Being a Christian means using providence to justify reducing the freedom of some.

  3. 3
    llewelly

    hm, Is Rick Perry the sort of Christian who believes Jesus has a special, unique salvation plan for the Jews, or the sort of Christian who needs the Jews to suffer through horrible wars in the middle east in order to bring on Jesus Apocalypse? The preachers he invited to his Pray For Rain event were overwhelmingly of the latter sort.

  4. 4
    raven

    Hopefully what sells well in Texas will be rejected by the country at large.

    Don’t bet on it.

    Historically, when the economy is sick, which ours is and will be until about 2018, the party in power gets tossed. Obama is in big trouble and already the vultures are circling.

    Hoping your opponent shoots off both feet and their head is a very poor strategy but about all the Dems have left.

    Still the US people just might gaze into the abyss and see Rick Perry looking back. And decide that national suicide isn’t such a great idea after all.

  5. 5
    Torugu

    Are you trying to doubt the divine authority of Silvio Augustus Caesar Berlusconi?

    Looks like the lions will sleep on a filled belly tonight…

  6. 6
    Etiene

    raven #4:

    Still the US people just might gaze into the abyss and see Rick Perry looking back. And decide that national suicide isn’t such a great idea after all.

    I do hope you’re right, because from this side of the Atlantic I’m becoming increasingly worried that the electorate is failing to realise that the US economy is in the toilet because the Republicans put it in there and have spent three years holding its head under the water…

  7. 7
    MikeC

    I know Morocco isn’t in the Middle East, but it is part of “that region”. It’s an old, stable democracy and was the first country to recognize a new independent US back in 1787. Unfortunately, a Morocco, a moderate Muslim country, being the US’s oldest friend, doesn’t fit with these morons’ history rewrites and corrupted world view.

  8. 8
    Abbie

    The historicity of the bible is pretty complicated. The Torah-> Judges is clearly entirely mythological. While there are historical elements in Kings, the extent and event existence of a unified (Israel + Judah) kingdom is murky and unproven.

    But ultimately, that doesn’t really matter. Best case scenario is: 3,000 years ago there was a small kingdom that lasted less than a century. THREE THOUSAND YEARS AGO. LESS THAN A CENTURY. That’s the land claim Israel uses to displace Palestinians. Ridiculous.

  9. 9
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    The only reason fundamentalist Christians are interested in preserving Israel and standing with it is because of the fact it’s mentioned in their Rapture Ready-style theology and that it needs to stay together and be a super-power in order to allow the fomentation of the end times.

    It has nothing to do with whether they’re right or wrong, it’s all about their sick apocalyptic desires.

  10. 10
    growlybear

    I’m not much taken with the notion that Israel exists because it belongs to them as a religious gift and gives them entitlement through their god. However, it is the only viable democracy in the region, has a reasonably good educational system and appreciation for science and technology. While in the country you can see religious nuts regularly, the bulk of the population seems pretty secular. Just for the sake of preserving those good things in an area lacking most of them leads me to more support rather than less. The argument for Israel from religion is a big disappointment. An argument from a position of secular success in a sea of religious idiocy has its appeal.

  11. 11
    raven

    that the electorate is failing to realise that the US economy is in the toilet because the Republicans put it in there and have spent three years holding its head under the water…

    It was hard to miss. The Great Recession started when Bush was president. This was how and why Obama even got elected in the first place.

    The Federal Reserve has a recent report that says it takes ten years to recover from a “severe financial shock”. They are predicting recovery in 2018.

    If Perry gets elected, add another decade. Recovery in 2028.

    2028 is getting near my statistical projected lifespan.

  12. 12
    Gregory

    Making the idiocy even more poingnant….

    Our ties with Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia are significantly older than our ties with Israel: we were propping up totalitarian dictators in those countries since before the British Mandate. We helped to put the House of Saud into power: it was easier to get oil concessions from a single, absolute ruler who “owed us a favor” than it was to deal with dozens of tribal sheiks who had to answer to their clans. We overthrew the Gilan Republic in Iran to install the Pahlavi Dynasty in 1921 and prop them up for 60 years, specifically because we did not want a democracy controlling a very rich oil reserve. We supported the absolute monarchs of Iraq when it was a kingdom. We briefly lost control in 1958 when the Iraqis objected to their government being a US catamite, but we regained control in 1968 when we overthrew the Republic of Iraq and installed the Baathist Party as head of a one-party state. To stave off a coup, we helped Saddam Hussein come to full, absolute power in 1979, and kept him there until he started having delusions of independence.

    The fact that Israel is the only democracy in the region is due solely to the fact that Israel does not have any oil. Otherwise, it would have the same totalitarian absolutist government we have been fostering in the region for almost a century.

  13. 13
    skeptifem

    Stuff like this convinces me that you can either be a Christian first or an American first because the two have a values conflict. Being an American means accepting that freedom applies to all.

    BWAAHAAHA! Sorry, if you judge america by its actions rather than its rhetoric your comment is fucking ridiculous. The US doesn’t care about “freedom” unless the results are what US interests want them to be. If you don’t think vietnam is a good enough example check into how the US has treated latin american countries. The kind of economic and military aggression that the US perpetrates all the time has fuckall to do with religion and everything to do with authoritarian power structures. It isn’t a problem unique to US government or leaders, so it is difficult to say it is a problem with any specific religion with any real certainty.

    An atheist president would have to say the same shit about supporting Israel, not because they give a shit about the religious situation, but because they are a strategic ally in a region of the world that is economically important to US business interests. Without our constant support israel is kind of screwed so it isn’t as though we could pause support of israel and then resume it again when it becomes useful. Keeping them dependent is a strategy that has worked out well so far (for americans, not palistinians). That isn’t to say that I agree with what is being done, I think it is awful and wish for radical change to be effected, but if you want the US to continue as the same basic entity that it always has been, israel is important.

  14. 14
    inging

    Only democracy in the region? Lebanon anyone? Its a state that even has a large population of christians. But they’re kept destabled and pushed towards anti Israel policys because of Israels seeming casual disregarrd of the lives of Lebanese citizens.

  15. 15
    cervantes

    Actually, they don’t equate the Israel of the Old Testament with the Israel of today, it’s even worse than that. They view the creation of modern Israel as fulfilling the prophecy of The Revelation of John, and consolidation of Israeli control over historic Palestine as a harbinger of the apocalypse. Perry is a Christian dominionist and millenialist. He believes that the last days are upon us — the rapture and the tribulation, followed by the reign of Christ, and then the end of time. That’s what his Christian support for Israel is all about.

  16. 16
    Gregory

    Regarding the history of Israel….

    The historic Israel that theocrats claim to be rebuilding ceased to exist in 926 BCE. That is correct: based on the best historical and archaeological evidence, Israel has not existed for almost three thousand years.

    After King Solomon died, the kingdom was divided into two: the kingdom of Judah in south, made from the old tribal territories of Judah and Benjamin with its capitol in Jerusalem, and a much smaller Kingdom of Israel in the north, made from the other ten tribal territories with its capitol in Shomron, later known as Samaria.

    The Northern Kingdom was destroyed in the advance of the Assyrian Empire. Basically, the Assyrians came a-knocking in 732 BCE and ordered them to submit and pay tribute. Israel said “No,” so Assyria came in and dispersed the population in a successful campaign of cultural genocide. (This is where the mythical “Lost Ten Tribes of Israel” comes from.) The region eventually came to be called Samaria… yes, that Samaria, with its religion that was very similar to the Judean religion that survived as Judaism. After seeing what happened to Israel, the Judeans told the Assyrians “How low do you want us to bow, and do you prefer check or credit card?” Judea was allowed to survive.

    The Southern Kingdom was conquered by the Babylonians in 586 BCE, who began a similar campaign of genocide. It was interrupted when the Persians conquered Babylon in 539 BCE, and those Judeans who had been forceably exiled were allowed to return home with a newly monotheistic (previously henotheistic) religion and the “miraculously discovered” book of Deuteronomy, which was used as the template to “reconstruct” the other four books of the Torah. Judah remained a vassal state of Persia until the brief Maccabean kingdom from 164 BCE to 63 BCE, when it was conquered by Rome to become the Province of Judea under the puppet Herodian Dynasty. It remained a minor part of the Empire until 636 CE, when it was consolidated into the Arabian conquest of the Middle East.

  17. 17
    vel

    This “standing with Israel” claim by Christians makes me always want to vomit. It’s not standing with Israel at all, it’s using them and desperately hoping that their religion isn’t true but that Christianity is and will lead to the damnation of all Jews who dared not to accept a “savior” that didn’t fulfill their magic book. Why Israelis and Jews in general stand for this garbage seems to either speak to their pragmaticism (using idiotic Christians right back) or their utter ignorance.

  18. 18
    pelamun

    MikeC,

    I don’t think your Morocco thing flies, prior to its gaining independence in 1956, Morocco could hardly be called a constitutional monarchy, opposition parties haven’t been allowed until very recently. As long as the king retains his considerable powers, the political system can hardly qualify as democratic. Also don’t forget the problems with West Sahara.

  19. 19
    Gregory Greenwood

    If this joker becomes president, I suppose we will have to routinely deal with the stupidity of his new policy advisor – the little voice in his head. The one that tells him that homosexuals are evil and all muslims are suicide bombers.

    *Sigh* depressed now…

  20. 20
    julian

    How can people vote for this guy? If feminism and talk of discrimination can scare away voters by the herd how the hell can this bullshit get by and actually win votes?! We’re crazy but we can’t possibly be that crazy, can we?

  21. 21
    Etiene

    raven #11:

    It was hard to miss.

    For people reading this kind of blog, this is true, but we happen to be the sort of people that don’t think socialised medicine will sneak in during the night and bump-off Grandma to save money.

    From my point of view in a British university, it’s hard to get a decent impression of where the electorate in general lies. I always have to remember that the vast majority of the Americans I’ve known have been Democrats, even the cattle-ranch raised Texan, and their sanity doesn’t necessarily indicate a trend. They were devastated in 2004…

    Some of the polls seem to indicate that people understood that the credit downgrade was Republican’s fault for playing chicken with Obama, but increasingly comments here and at Dispatches indicate a lack of confidence in the electorate doing the sane thing next year. Even though Obama seems to have skipped out on most of his liberal campaign promises, the insanity on show from the GOP really isn’t an option.

  22. 22
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    @julian:

    Because Obama is a socialist Muslim-atheist who wants to become a dictator, kill babies, give your job to illegal immigrants, and force Churches to go underground. Oh, and he also destroyed the economy, that bastard.

  23. 23
    SmooveBB

    It would be pretty nice if Israel didn’t exist as a state in the middle east at all. Once again you have misguided actions based on religious concepts causing problems for millions (potentially billions) of people.

  24. 24
    David Marjanović, OM

    He thinks the US is in an alliance with Jesus

    Mm, no. He thinks he is in an alliance with Jesus.

    I know Morocco isn’t in the Middle East, but it is part of “that region”. It’s an old, stable democracy and was the first country to recognize a new independent US back in 1787.

    WTF? Morocco is a monarchy which used to be a French colony and is now very slowly undergoing a few reforms towards more democracy because the king was smart enough not to ignore the protests that came over from Tunisia.

    The fact that Israel is the only democracy in the region

    Turkey.

    Tunisia, Libya and Egypt are getting there. And just wait for Syria and Yemen.

  25. 25
    pelamun

    Gregory, interesting historical facts. However, there was a continuous Jewish presence in the region, but do you know what the main areas where? The coastal ports of the Levant?

    The fact that Israel is the only democracy in the region is due solely to the fact that Israel does not have any oil. Otherwise, it would have the same totalitarian absolutist government we have been fostering in the region for almost a century.

    I would be cautious with historical hypotheticals. I don’t think that liberally-minded Jews would have stood for an undemocratic system, oil or no oil… And look around in the region, there are plenty of autocratic systems, even without oil (though some of them were just toppled).

  26. 26
    Anthony K

    I’m not sure why everyone keeps nattering on about the stability of this democracy or the longevity of that one.

    As skeptifem and Gregory point out, US foreign policy has never much favoured democracies.

    (Which is a certain kind of blindness all unto its own: North American democracies, at least, seem just as willing to throw their citizens under the bus for corporate interests as any tyrant king.)

  27. 27
    SmooveBB

    Perry can’t become president btw. If he is nominated, it will be up to us to ensure he is laughed all the way to a loss in the election. Obama may not be living up to all of his promises, but at least he isn’t attempting to hasten the end of the world. Besides, it can be hard to get things passed when you are dealing with lunatics that couldn’t logically reconcile their own beliefs with their lifestyles if they tried.

  28. 28
    pelamun

    julian, what I don’t get is: he isn’t even that hot in Texas. He didn’t do too well in his last two campaigns for governor… He must have some unique political calculus…

    Turkey.

    Tunisia, Libya and Egypt are getting there. And just wait for Syria and Yemen.

    To be fair, Turkey has always had military coups as a strong antidote against democracy. This has gotten better only fairly recently.

    And we don’t know how the Arab Spring will turn out yet. I would advise cautious optimism, but we won’t know for a few years. Especially Libya is questionable, and in Egypt the military seems to be trying to exert control from behind the scenes, but we will see….

  29. 29
    David Marjanović, OM

    The historic Israel that theocrats claim to be rebuilding ceased to exist in 926 BCE. That is correct: based on the best historical and archaeological evidence, Israel has not existed for almost three thousand years.

    Hah. Based on any archaeological evidence, and on any historical evidence outside the Bible, that kingdom has never existed at all, and neither have David or Solomon.

  30. 30
    hockeybob

    With all the out-jesusing each other that the GOP candidates are doing, there’s going to be an endless supply of this garbage from now until the 2012 election. Gee, that’s just swell… at this rate, with all of the facepalm-worthy bullshit Palin, Bachmann, Perry, Romney, and the rest of the Rapture-ready crew (all clamoring to get hold of the nuclear football) are spewing, none of us are going to have a face left to facepalm!

    (Lack of)god help us.

  31. 31
    Anri

    pelamun:

    julian, what I don’t get is: he isn’t even that hot in Texas. He didn’t do too well in his last two campaigns for governor… He must have some unique political calculus…

    Not to be overly cynical, but in those last two campaigns, he was running against white guys, right?

    That’s his calculus.

    If he should be nominated, all he presumes he’ll have to do is stand up, point to his face and say “So, who do you want to vote for? Me or him?” and he’ll have 100% of the GOP base.
    What’s repulsive is that he’s probably right. Maybe not for overt racism specifically, but it will be hard to tell, I suspect.

  32. 32
    Marcus Ranum

    Israel is democratic? Really?

  33. 33
    Aaron Pound

    He must have some unique political calculus…

    The political calculus is “right-wing Christians are desperate to find someone to nominate who is crazy enough to satisfy their insane desires, but able to hide it well enough that normal voters don’t realize the candidate is batshit insane.”

  34. 34
    Anthony K

    Hah. Based on any archaeological evidence, and on any historical evidence outside the Bible, that kingdom has never existed at all, and neither have David or Solomon.

    But David: Christians have died for their beliefs. Why would they do that if they weren’t true?*

    *As with most apologetics, argument not valid for all of the other, incompatible religions it clearly supports, or outside of the continental US.

  35. 35
    Special One

    Shut up numpties!

    If there was, perhaps, championship of American middle-east allies I think Turkey would come in first. They’ve been doing democracy like Billy-O since 1922 and have been allies since 1944. They’re fantastic!

    Be champions.

  36. 36
    julian

    @33

    He ain’t hiding it. He’s wearing it plain as day on his sleeve.

  37. 37
    Glen Davidson

    So from my perspective, it’s pretty easy. Both as an American and as a Christian, I am going to stand with Israel.

    Yay, just another issue that can be godbotted through without thinking. Palestinian injustice? Well, if God doesn’t care…

    I guess if you can’t think it’s nice to have something that excuses its lack.

    Glen Davidson

  38. 38
    pelamun

    Special One, check out a book on the history of Turkey. (unless I failed to detect POE, then ignore me)

    Re Perry’s political calculus: oh I know that was his plan, and probably be ABO instead of ABB, but I just hope for America’s sake that voters will see through this. Though as long as the economy stays that bad, the ABO factor keeps rising…

  39. 39
    One Hand Clapping

    @22 Katherine –

    You forgot that he’s also gunna take yer gunz!

  40. 40
    stanton

    I don’t even know what the Israel of the Bible is, except that it is defunct and doesn’t exist anymore. To equate the modern state of Israel with the fantasy kingdom of the Bible is even more absurd than pointing at Italy and calling it the Roman Empire.

    More or less absurd than pointinto Iraq, and justifying the war there as just punishment for the crimes of the ancient Babylonians against ancient Israel?

  41. 41
    pelamun

    More or less absurd than pointinto Iraq, and justifying the war there as just punishment for the crimes of the ancient Babylonians against ancient Israel?

    Anyone in any position of political responsibility ever did that?

  42. 42
    stanton
    More or less absurd than pointinto Iraq, and justifying the war there as just punishment for the crimes of the ancient Babylonians against ancient Israel?

    Anyone in any position of political responsibility ever did that?

    Would Christian fundamentalist soldiers and their recruiters count?

  43. 43
    Sour Tomato Sand

    Okay, hang on–

    The Prime Minister of Israel is appointed. The mostly-powerless President of Israel is appointed. Members of the Knesset aren’t even elected; their party is elected and they are appointed by the party.

    So how exactly is Israel a democracy?

  44. 44
    Amerikagulag

    He’s not only unfit for high office in the US, his allegiances are to ANOTHER COUNTRY.

  45. 45
    Mus

    At least The Roman Empire was something good in itself.

    The kingdoms of Israel and Judah on the other hand: raving crazy monotheism, with a bit of fundamentalist hatred against everyone that isn`t of the same opinion…

  46. 46
    pelamun

    Sour Tomato Sand, you seem to be unclear about how a parliamentary democracy works…

  47. 47
    pelamun

    Would Christian fundamentalist soldiers and their recruiters count?

    as long as they weren’t US military recruiters acting in an official capability..

  48. 48
    Anthony K

    Sour Tomato Sand, you seem to be unclear about how a parliamentary democracy works…

    Indeed.

    In Canada for instance, individual Members of Parliament are elected, and the Prime Minister the leader of the party with the majority (though technically, the PM need not be a Member of Parliament.) If Harper were to die tomorrow, there would not necessarily be an election: the ruling Conservative Party would simply select a new leader who would then become Prime Minister (in each case by appointment by the Governor General, who represents the Queen.)

    Just because it doesn’t involve a “Bill for Dogcatcher” American-style popularity contest, doesn’t mean it’s not a democracy.

    Plus, that electoral college bullshit is all kinds of fucked up.

  49. 49
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    Sour Tomato Sand, your ignorance of parliamentary systems is appalling.

    Israel, like it or not, is a democracy. It being a parliamentary republic, of course the bloody president and prime minister are appointed. That’s how parliamentary systems work. Further, the president is largely ceremonial, as in most parliamentary systems.

    Israel has a proportional representation electoral system, so coalition governments are common in parliament. The members of the Knesset are directly elected every four years, though the system used in Israel (a variation of which I would dearly like implemented in Canada), means that people vote for the party of their choice and the member of the Knesset for their riding is incidental.

    In parliamentary systems (and I cannot think of an exception) the candidates fielded for representation of a riding are always appointed by the party. The only distinction that is made is whether the population of a riding vote for a candidate or for the party that candidate represents.

    This is all very common and democratic.

    If you’re American, I find it seriously ironic that you have the gall to attack the chosen form of democracy of any other nation, considering the apparent dysfunction of the constitutional republic as implemented in the US.

    I don’t like the policies of Israel and I disagree strongly with US relations with the country (never mind Canada’s relations), but Israel is a democracy, and whether it is or isn’t wouldn’t make it any different given its actions.

  50. 50
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    Brownian, seconded on the electoral college. That is one fucked up mess of an electoral system. The facade of democracy is terribly thin from a perspective outside of the US.

  51. 51
    Alverant

    @skeptifem
    I go by our laws not by the actions of temporary leaders.

  52. 52
    farang

    Good post. Yes, I suppose we will see if Texas style Megachurch bible-thumping plays well in Peoria….I know when I heard Biden braying about “I’m a Zionist too” I knew I’d never vote Democratic again…and of course, nothing and nobody in the fake opposition called the Republicans is very appealing either.

    Love hearing the Ron Paul supporters yap about how he’ll change the Fed and straighten out the monetary system to serve the People again…..hellfire, he’s the chairman of the committee overseeing it now for how long?…Heard of anything Earthshaking he’s accomplished? Me neither.

    In my fantasy….I envision a populace fed-up with being conned by msm, lied to and deceived over and over by the imbedded political “parties” (party)…and actually taking the time over the next 14 months before the next presidential election to actually listen and read up on all the positions ALL the other candidates, and there will be dozens we never hear of unless we make the effort, actually are calling for.

    It might just surprise Americans to learn there ARE other candidates out there…and they have some awfully good ideas and platforms.

    Or, we can continue beating our head against the wall and wondering why we wake up post-election with a hangover and feeling like someone slipped us a date drug.

  53. 53
    Anthony K

    The members of the Knesset are directly elected every four years, though the system used in Israel (a variation of which I would dearly like implemented in Canada), means that people vote for the party of their choice and the member of the Knesset for their riding is incidental.

    Yep. Our “vote for the morons in your riding and may the first past the post win” system is stupid, says the guy who was represented by Rahim Jaffer, winner of the ‘laziest MP’ award, for 11 fucking years.

  54. 54
    Sour Tomato Sand

    Yeah, okay, that might have been a bit of an emotional “fuck Israel” outburst on my part. I’m mostly just pissed that Netanyahu is in power again; I’m tired of seeing the stream of douchebaggery coming from that man, and I’m really disappointed by President Obama’s continuing support.

    Retracted, and re: the mess in America, seconded.

  55. 55
    Gnumann+,with no bloody irony at all (just an anti-essentialist feminist with a shotgun)

    So how exactly is Israel a democracy?

    It isn’t. Anyone who thinks Israel is a democracy either needs education in what a democracy is, or the goings-on in Israel.

    The “more democratic than it’s neighbours” is mostly true though.

  56. 56
    pelamun

    Thomathy:

    ceremonial president: as I’ve been arguing with our monarchist-in-residence on TET, a ceremonial president without too many power would be an ideal substitute for a monarch. I don’t like semi-presidential systems where the role of the president isn’t clearly delineated from that of prime minister, i.e. having two powerful offices in the executives needlessly introduces political friction into the system (France, Taiwan, Austria). Better to have the president in a ceremonial role from the start, not interfering in most day-to-day matters, above the fray….

    Israeli prime minister: there was actually a brief period where the prime minister was directly elected by the people, but of course that runs counter to how parliamentary systems work and was abolished rather quickly.

    candidates in parliamentary systems: in all parliamentary systems I’m familiar with, there is the option of independent candidates. But most parliamentary systems recognise the important role played by parties, so yes parties are central to most systems..

    electoral college: if you look at the original constitution (indirect election of president, appointment of senators, tacit acknowledgement of slavery), you find a lot of evidence for the fact that the United States was founded as a republic and not as a democracy (or that’s how the bonmot goes anyways)

  57. 57
    lofgren

    An equally accurate statement:

    As a Grail Knight, I have a clear responsibility to support Avalon and Camelot. They are, after all, our oldest allies in that region still ruled by kings whose heart and veins flow with the blessed ichor, aside from the very brief period when we were shooting each other on sight for fifty years or so. Therefore it is my duty to bomb the fuck out of France in Britain’s name.

  58. 58
    Fatboy

    That’s not a huge surprise coming from Perry. He’s a Texan Republican. And according to the 2010 Texas Republican Platform:

    Our policy is based on God’s biblical promise to bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel and we further invite other nations and organizations to enjoy the benefits of that promise.

  59. 59
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    Brownian, Jaffir? Oh, sorry. Yes, we need electoral reform. Sadly, as a nation we’ve shown very little inclination toward any change in that respect.

    Pelanum, I agree that a president would be an equivalent to a monarch. I don’t, however, see any good reason to supplant the monarchy in Canada. No, I’m not a monarchist, it’s just ‘getting rid’ of the monarchy would be making a change with little distinction. It’s so tangential to Canada and we de facto have the equivalent of such a president already in the tangentially monarchical role of the governor general. Frankly, I’m comfortable with the cultural peculiarity of being a constitutional monarchy. It’s quaint and any move away from it would be, as far as I can tell, aesthetic. Call me an apathetic pragmatist, the monarchy just doesn’t concern me that much.

    There have been independents in the Canadian Parliament, and they’ve even fielded successful legislation. The nature of a parliament, of course, means that an independent or minority party form de facto coalitions on votes in parliament. Parties, or, more accurately, ideological allegiances, are central to all parliamentary democracies because some measure of stability is needed in order to have a functioning government.

    I’ve been one to say that the US is a republic in the trappings of democracy. I don’t suppose that says anything good for either system.

  60. 60
    René

    Haredi Israel: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-09-23/knight-make-no-mistake-israels-existence-is-under-threat/2935080

    Israel is fucking up the ME, and Israel is fucking up itself.

    The U.S. of A. is fucking up almost everything.

    Après moi le déluge.

  61. 61
    pelamun

    Thomathy,

    I think there is indeed a qualitative difference between the institution of the governor-general in Canada and Australia, and only having a monarch like the UK. I’m not sure how a governor-general is appointed, probably not in a bipartisan (or do you say cross-party in Canada?) way, but by recommendation of the PM to the monarch, would be my guess, but it does open up the highest office in the state to minorities, while that is not the case for a monarch..

  62. 62
    tomh

    farang wrote:
    It might just surprise Americans to learn there ARE other candidates out there…and they have some awfully good ideas and platforms.

    It would surprise me a great deal, although we may differ on just what are “good ideas.” And, do you actually think that any president could actually implement these so-called good ideas without replacing both houses of Congress?

    deceived over and over by the imbedded political “parties” (party)

    And to repeat the silly mantra that there is only one party, or no difference in the two parties, just shows that you don’t pay attention and have no clue about American politics.

  63. 63
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    Pelanum, appointed on the recommendation of the PM to the Queen. Yes, yes, there’s a qualitative difference and it’s exactly as you describe. Obviously, we’re appionting the GG or the would-be president where the country that hosts the Monarchy gets whatever progeny happens to be heir. Of course, the matter of who gets appointed has only relatively recently become so open as it is now (which is a funny thing to say about an appointment that’s still closed to virtually every citizen of the country).

    What I mean to say about the Monarchy is that it doesn’t seem to be something that needs to be changed in Canada. If the UK wants to get rid of the institution, they’re welcome to it. I suppose the Commonwealth would just have to come up with something else …or import the royals (blah).

    But this is seriously OT, so I think we can leave this discussion here.

  64. 64
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    Oh, an cross-party or bipartisan both work. I think bipartisan is winning out though.

  65. 65
    CJO

    The Southern Kingdom was conquered by the Babylonians in 586 BCE, who began a similar campaign of genocide. It was interrupted when the Persians conquered Babylon in 539 BCE, and those Judeans who had been forceably exiled were allowed to return home with a newly monotheistic (previously henotheistic) religion

    The neo-Babylonian conquest was no more genocidal than any of the imperial land grabs throughout the region for centuries. It was the policy of empires to move elites around, separating them from the peoples they had ruled. “Return from exile” is imperial propaganda: in at least some cases, it was just another name for exile. We frankly have no way of knowing if the repatriated Jewish elite really was any such thing. But this is broadly correct, as far as any of this is knowable, given that our only narrative source is various Biblical texts, and paraphrasing the Bible just because it presents a reasonably plausible continuous narrative does not a critical historical reconstruction make.

    As for a newly monotheistic religion replacing the old Israelite/Canaanite henotheism, this is probably too simple. First of all, the vast majority of the population had stayed at home, so popular religion likely remained as it had been in 586, allowing for the absence of a temple at Jerusalem. Lip service to monolatry with widespread polytheist practice was probably the norm, but again, the Bible is the primary source and the authors of the relevant texts had no particular interest in satisfying anyone’s objective historical curiosity. I doubt that Jewish monotheism per se originated during the Babylonian captivity, but clearly elements of Persian and Mesopotamian religion were influential on its subsequent development. Prominently we should include the stark dualism of Persian beliefs and the cosmic orientation of the Mesopotamian mythology as opposed to the relatively down-to-earth affairs of the old Canaanite pantheon from which Yahweh had been lifted.

    and the “miraculously discovered” book of Deuteronomy, which was used as the template to “reconstruct” the other four books of the Torah.

    Hm. I view Deuteronomy as a rewrite of Torah; that is, the book of Deuteronomy becomes “Torah” (Law) and the Deuteronomist History (Deuteronomy – 2 Chronicles) is the continuation of the history of God’s chosen people after the events recounted in Exodus and Numbers. The Levitical law almost certainly existed and had governed practice at the first Temple at Jerusalem. Likewise, the J/E text comprising substantial portions of canonical Genesis, Numbers, and Exodus is pre-exilic. But it was definitely at around this time that the Priestly compositional and redactional activity took place. One could note in this context the Temple Scroll, from the Dead Sea Scrolls, which looks to be another attempted rewrite of or addendum to Torah, of unknown date, one that didn’t ultimately make the cut.

    Judah remained a vassal state of Persia until the brief Maccabean kingdom from 164 BCE to 63 BCE,

    The Persian empire ceased to exist after the conquests of Alexander. Judea was first held by the Ptolemies and then by the Seleucids first under Antiochus III, and only then by the Romans

    when it was conquered by Rome to become the Province of Judea under the puppet Herodian Dynasty.

    The Herodian kingdom was called a protectorate, under a client king. Rome didn’t establish the province of Iudaea until 6 CE under Quirinius, the first procurator of the province.

  66. 66
    Rod Tanner

    The Lord Jesus Christ shall smite all thee non-believers down!

    After all, he took on all the dinosaurs and won.

    I often wonder when I hear stories of Christ and other Biblical figures whether, as in the deserts of Northern Mexico, there was an abundance of powerful hallucinogenic plants available to those folks. I mean, God has spoke to me on occasion, too. I just chose not to talk about it after I came down.

  67. 67
    Anthony K

    I don’t, however, see any good reason to supplant the monarchy in Canada.

    Shh! Talk like that will summon the Walton, and we’ll have to hear in excruciating detail how much more aesthetic pallid, inbred, ugly white people in stupid hats that we can parade around and fawn over are than regular people.

    Frankly, I’d rather listen to the RCC apologists.

    There have been independents in the Canadian Parliament, and they’ve even fielded successful legislation. The nature of a parliament, of course, means that an independent or minority party form de facto coalitions on votes in parliament. Parties, or, more accurately, ideological allegiances, are central to all parliamentary democracies because some measure of stability is needed in order to have a functioning government.

    You’ll get no disagreement from me. Can you imagine a system of nothing but independents? I’m seeing high school council elections all over again. “Hmm, should I vote for the guy from the football team or the girl who was in my math class for a week in September? Fuck it, let’s skip and go to the mall.”

    I did once get exactly one write-in vote for university student union president, though. I ran on a platform of “Tired of student union presidential campaigns? Then vote for me, the guy voting in the booth to your left.” It was an inexpensive campaign, and was limited to one conversation with one fellow immediately to my right who couldn’t decide whom to vote for. That’s my kind of politics.

    I mean, God has spoke to me on occasion, too. I just chose not to talk about it after I came down.

    Hah! I have said to people, “You mean to tell me you believe that there must be something supernatural because you had a compelling experience that felt real to you? Then you sir/madam, have not dropped nearly enough acid.”

  68. 68
    Ichthyic

    Shh! Talk like that will summon the Walton, and we’ll have to hear in excruciating detail how much more aesthetic pallid, inbred, ugly white people in stupid hats that we can parade around and fawn over are than regular people.

    thanks for that.

    *tosses a flower*

  69. 69
    Ichthyic

    I’ve been one to say that the US is a republic in the trappings of democracy.

    uh, not just you.

    because that’s what it actually is, and was always designed to be!

    you will not find the word “democracy” in the US constitution.

    It was always designed to be a representative republic.

    Pure democracies are an idealistic notion; they can’t work on a large scale. btw, for similar reasons to why libertarianism can’t work on a large scale.

    cheaters ruin the system, every time.

  70. 70
    David Marjanović, OM

    The Prime Minister of Israel is appointed. The mostly-powerless President of Israel is appointed. Members of the Knesset aren’t even elected; their party is elected and they are appointed by the party.

    So how exactly is Israel a democracy?

    *headdesk*

    By “appointed”, you stupidly mean “elected by the Knesset“.

    How is it not democratic to vote for the party which you want to represent you in parliament?

    In parliamentary systems (and I cannot think of an exception) the candidates fielded for representation of a riding are always appointed by the party. The only distinction that is made is whether the population of a riding vote for a candidate or for the party that candidate represents.

    In many European countries, there simply is no such thing as a riding/congressional district. How many seats in parliament go to each party depends on the share of the total national vote that each party got in the last national elections; each member of parliament represents a party, a bunch of interests that somebody voted for, not a piece of real estate.

    It isn’t. Anyone who thinks Israel is a democracy either needs education in what a democracy is, or the goings-on in Israel.

    Then please provide some education on the latter.

    I don’t like semi-presidential systems where the role of the president isn’t clearly delineated from that of prime minister, i.e. having two powerful offices in the executives needlessly introduces political friction into the system (France, Taiwan, Austria).

    I don’t know about Taiwan, but Austria is very different from France in that the president is almost ceremonial. Friction has basically never happened, except from 2000 to 2002.

    That’s because the president of Austria has plenty of theoretical power, but little practical one. In theory, the president appoints the Federal Chancellor (prime minister) – but in practice that’s just about always the head of the biggest party, the one in the best position to negotiate a coalition agreement. (Austria is almost always ruled by a coalition, usually of Social Democrats and conservatives.) In theory, the president appoints the entire government (administration in US terms); he* could appoint the Seven Wisest Men In The Kingdom – but a government that loses a vote in parliament is thereby automatically fired, so what happens instead is that the freshly appointed chancellor and his party negotiate a coalition treaty with another party (usually the second biggest one), then proposes a government to the president, and the president signs it off. It was very unusual when the president did not accept two prospective ministers in 2000 because they were walking talking Godwin alerts.

    * Always been a he so far.

    if you look at the original constitution (indirect election of president, appointment of senators, tacit acknowledgement of slavery), you find a lot of evidence for the fact that the United States was founded as a republic and not as a democracy (or that’s how the bonmot goes anyways)

    Bah. The terms “republic” (head of state isn’t a monarch) and “democracy” (laws are made by an elected parliament) are orthogonal. (That’s why the first sentence of Austria’s constitution is “Austria is a democratic republic.”) What you find is that the states were supposed to elect the president of the United States. That’s what the Electoral College is there for.

    Incidentally, this doesn’t work anymore – now that people in safe state can trade their votes with people in swing states.

    all thee

    Singular:
    I – me
    thou – thee
    he – him
    she – her
    it – it

    Plural:
    we – us
    ye – you
    they – them

  71. 71
    Ichthyic

    Bah.

    not Bah.

    Germany is also not a democracy, David.

    It is a republic.

    there are no democracies in the world.

    just because people can vote, does not then automatically define the system as a democracy.

    you CAN say it’s “democratic”, in that it allows people to vote, but it’s still defined as a republic.

  72. 72
    David Marjanović, OM

    there are no democracies in the world.

    You mean there are no direct democracies in the world*. A representative democracy is still a democracy.

    * With the arguable exceptions of some Swiss cantons and various villages in the Congo and the highlands of New Guinea.

  73. 73
    Ichthyic

    I know David already knows this stuff, but for those unclear on the difference between how a democracy vs how a republic works, here’s a concrete example of why democracy doesn’t work, and it’s something relatively recent:

    Proposition 8 in California.

    IOW, the referendum process.

    referendums entirely bypass the system of checks and balances between judiciary, executive, and legal branches of government which was how the US government was intended to work in the states and federally.

    referendums are “pure democracy” in action.

    and we see how well that works. In fact, we see exactly how cheaters can easily manipulate such a system; just as the Mormons.

    this is the reason why pure democracies do not exist.

    it’s the reason why republics, with checks and balances, are smarter.

    it’s exactly why libertarianism is a similarly ridiculous ideal completely doomed to failure, simply based on human nature.

  74. 74
    Ichthyic

    You mean there are no direct democracies in the world*. A representative democracy is still a democracy.

    if you have to add a qualifier, then that makes my point, see?

    it’s not a democracy, it’s a republic.

    it’s a simple matter of definitions.

  75. 75
    Ichthyic

    A republic is a country with a specific type of form of government, in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government, at least in theory, and where offices of state are not granted primarily based upon family, military, or business connections.

    right from the first paragraph of the wiki.

  76. 76
    pelamun

    To those who keep telling us Israel is not a democracy: what is a democracy according to your definition, and how does Israel not fulfill that definition?

    I mean democracy is not a binary feature, there are rankings of several different characteristics done by several institutions (and governments, incl. the US), and nothing I have seen from that type of data would suggest that Israel is not a democracy without ever ignoring the problems that do exist…

  77. 77
    pelamun

    ichthyic, I’m not a political scientist, but I don’t think that is the way “democracy” is usually used. If you look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy, you’ll see that it subsumes a lot of different types.

    For instances take this classification here: http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/20c-govt.htm

    Your use of “republic” would include autocratic regimes and would ignore the fact that it is often used as a feature orthogonal to democracy as in the table (from the same link)

    & rule of law & rule of whim\\
    monarchy & constitutional monarchy & absolute monarchy\\
    republic & democratic republic & tyrant*)\\

    *) I’d call it “dictatorship”

    David, I think I also mentioned in TET, but I find the fact problematic that the Austrian president has so many powers he never uses. This can lead to constitutional crises, as it did after Austria joined the EU, and with the president insisting that he represent the country within the EU.

  78. 78
    John K.

    The Israeli lobbyists are strong with this one.

  79. 79
    Ichthyic

    Your use of “republic” would include autocratic regimes

    no, it doesn’t, and since you liked the wiki reference for democracy, do check the one on the word “republic”.

  80. 80
    pelamun

    Oh David, about Taiwan: it is like the French system, with a president directly chosen by the people, and the prime minister (or “chief of the Executive Yuan”) appointed by the parliament (or “Legislative Yuan” – in Taiwan there are not three powers, but five, this is called 五院制 :) ). This can lead to conflicts when the president is from a different party than the dominant faction in the Legislative Yuan. But IIRC the situation has never been put to the test, how powers would be distributed in such a case are AFAIK unclear –> potential for constitutional crisis!!

  81. 81
    pelamun

    I marked the significant parts for you.

    A republic is a country with a specific type of form of government, in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government, at least in theory, and where offices of state are not granted primarily based upon family, military, or business connections.

  82. 82
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    David Marjanović, OM, on the parliamentary system of most European nations, I admit that truth. Most are too small to require anything messy like the systems in Australia or Canada and have comparatively better electoral systems.

    Icthyic, I think most of us understand that democracy /= pure democracy. We’re using the term casually, with implied qualifiers. I am, at least. I think it’s easy to tell where the distinction is not being appreciated …

  83. 83
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    John K., would you care to explain/expand upon your comment?

  84. 84
    Eurasian magpie

    I went over and read wiki references for both democracy and republic for I am thoroughly bemused by ichtyic’s peculiar use of the terms. Found three sentences that explained my bemusement:

    “A distinct set of definitions for the word republic evolved in the United States. In common parlance a republic is a state that does not practice direct democracy but rather has a government indirectly controlled by the people. This is known as representative democracy.”

    Are you ‘merkin ichtyic? Us Europians understand democracy the way David Marjanovic explained @70 and @72.

  85. 85
    Ichthyic

    I marked the significant parts for you.

    how does that prove your point, exactly?

    in fact, if you scroll down further ON THAT SAME PAGE, you will indeed find the US listed as a REPUBLIC.

    sweet plastic bobble headed jesus on my dashboard, you people like to pretend, don’t ya?

    there is NOTHING wrong with calling a representative system of government a republic, though it seems there is some knee-jerk rejection of the very term itself around here.

  86. 86
    pelamun

    in fact, if you scroll down further ON THAT SAME PAGE, you will indeed find the US listed as a REPUBLIC.

    Yes, so? No-one disputed that. Go back to post 77, and that little table, or follow the link for that table. There are two features [+/- republic] and [+/- rule of law] (which you could also substitute with [+/- democracy]

    So

    USA [+republic], [+democracy]
    Syria [+republic], [-democracy]
    UK [-republic], [+democracy]
    Saudi Arabia [-republic], [-democracy]

  87. 87
    Ichthyic

    HERE, you idiots, look:

    In modern republics such as the United States and India, the executive is legitimized both by a constitution and by popular suffrage. James Madison, the fourth President of the United States, compared republican government to democratic government, and found democracy wanting

    do you see the fucking difference now?

    if not, you can go ahead and keep misusing the term “democracy” if you wish, but that doesn’t actually change the fact that all modern systems of representative government are technically republics still.

    this is what they are called.

    REPUBLICS

    that they use a democratic form of representation does not change the definition of them as republics.

    get it?

  88. 88
    pelamun

    get it?

    Yes that you seem to have some problem with your reading comprehension. This is what David said, and I have marked the significant words in bold

    Bah. The terms “republic” (head of state isn’t a monarch) and “democracy” (laws are made by an elected parliament) are orthogonal. (That’s why the first sentence of Austria’s constitution is “Austria is a democratic republic.”)

    Get it? According to the terminology used by many political scientists internationally, republic and democracy are not mutually exclusive. This is why the US can be called a “democratic republic”. See for instance, this article http://www.williampmeyers.org/republic.html

  89. 89
    Mrjonno

    Israel isnt a democracy because quite simply the majority of people it rules over don’t get the vote (ie the millions of Palestians)

    Its the main reason it doesnt annex it and make them all Israeli citizens as it would become the first country in the world to vote itself out of existance

  90. 90
    sumdum

    Reminds me of what they sometimes say, an apple is a fruit, but not all fruits are apples. A republic might be a representative democracy, but not all representative democracies are republics. Seems pretty straight forward to me.

  91. 91
    ike

    @87: Nobody here is “misusing” the term democracy. It’s perfectly legitimate, and quite common (certainly in the political science and political philosophy literature), to refer to representative democracies as simply “democracies”.

  92. 92
    tim gueguen

    The obvious question is why some Americans get so incensed about the US being called a democracy.

  93. 93
    Jadehawk

    You mean there are no direct democracies in the world*. A representative democracy is still a democracy.

    if you have to add a qualifier, then that makes my point, see?

    what? a red coat is not a coat because it has a qualifier? don’t be silly.

    besides, by your reasoning, direct democracy isn’t democracy either, because it has a qualifier as well.

  94. 94
    Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa

    tim gueguen said:

    The obvious question is why some Americans get so incensed about the US being called a democracy.

    I don’t know how this meme managed to reach the antipodes, but apparently one of the Sacred Heroes of the USA once baaed “Republic good, Democracy baaaad“. Googling “United States is not a democracy” retrieves many patriotic sites explaining why calling America the d-word is a blasphemy against the undead corpse of James Madison.

  95. 95
    pelamun

    Phalacrocorax, I enjoyed your rebuttals to Walton’s monarchy post over on his blog btw.

    I think ichthyic might be an American in exile, IIRC

    I think the irony of all this is that the idea of “republic good, democracy bad” perpetuates some of the anti-democratic biases a good number of the founding fathers had. Gradually the American republic has become more and more democratic, and that is indeed a good thing!

  96. 96
    Gnumann+,with no bloody irony at all (just an anti-essentialist feminist with a shotgun)

    Israel isnt a democracy because quite simply the majority of people it rules over don’t get the vote (ie the millions of Palestians)

    This.

    And some small matters of minority (or in this case: majority) protections, basic notions of due process, respect for basic international law and so on.

    When black South-Africans say “we never had it this bad” it should be a fucking hint, shouldn’t it?

  97. 97
    skeptifem

    @skeptifem
    I go by our laws not by the actions of temporary leaders.

    Yeah who gives a fuck if everyone in power ignores the law, right? As long as we look good on paper, I guess? Our country broke hundreds of treaties with first nations people and we all live on their land now. It is really insensitive to only go by our laws rather than what actually happened.

  98. 98
    Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa

    me said:

    Googling “United States is not a democracy”

    Better yet, search that in Youtube. Only there you can find this little gem produced by the John Birch Society. The logic behind it is perfect:

    Monarchy = leftism = communism = fascism = nazism!!!
    Anarchists = brown shirts = Che Guevara!!!
    Democracy = mob rule = lynching = Wild West!!!

    And, of course, we learn that it was welfare that caused the fall of the Roman Empire.

    pelanum said:

    I enjoyed your rebuttals to Walton’s monarchy post over on his blog btw.

    Thanks! But I imagine my rebuttals have been rebutted by their turn. I gave up arguing before my behavior became excessively siwotic.

  99. 99
    Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa

    That should be:

    pelanum pelamun said:

    AHT

  100. 100
    pelamun

    Better yet, search that in Youtube. Only there you can find this little gem produced by the John Birch Society. The logic behind it is perfect:

    The stupid, it burns, but then it was by the John Birch Society, what would you expect.

    Thanks! But I imagine my rebuttals have been rebutted by their turn. I gave up arguing before my behavior became excessively siwotic.

    Well he is quite persistent about this topic, and thus in need of a persistent rebutter, I say! Though I’ve seen some cracks now, now it seems he can at least imagine the possibility that a ceremonial presidency in the UK could work out…

  101. 101
    spamamander, internet amphibian

    OT a bit but, gee thanks to David Marjanović for posting that link to Old Testament archaeology. I’ve been stuck in a TV Tropes-like loop on the site as my ADD finds one spiffy link after another. Damn you!

  102. 102
    Crissar

    How can Israel be a democracy when they don’t let a large portion of their population vote? Palestinians get to vote, but they don’t get to vote for the government who controls their borders, their commerce, pretty much everything a government does, aside from basic services like emergency and police. And even then, if Israel has a fit, they blow up all the government buildings (and police) of Palestine, and then it’s the Palestinians fault that they’re upset about it.

    Bleah.

  103. 103
    Crissa

    Oh for crying out loud, the cookie for this site keeps adding an ‘r’ to my name.

  104. 104
    Mark

    “…I also as a Christian have a clear directive to support Israel…”

    What EXACTLY is this “directive,” and WHERE in the Bible can I find it? I really need to know this, if anyone can help me, and especially Parry.

  105. 105
    Ben

    Hah. Based on any archaeological evidence, and on any historical evidence outside the Bible, that kingdom has never existed at all, and neither have David or Solomon.

    Not entirely true. In 1993 they found archeological pieces referencing the House of David in the biblical context in the city of Dan in Isreal. Search it on Google – the Christians love it and it’s everywhere.

  106. 106
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    What EXACTLY is this “directive,” and WHERE in the Bible can I find it? I really need to know this, if anyone can help me, and especially Parry.

    It’s in one of the more obscure books of the Babble, Merikunz 38: 24-40.

    “And the Lord sayeth unto the founding fathers, Lo for I have prepared for you a new world. And you shall people the world from sea to sea, and you shall speak only English, for it is pleasing to my ears. You shall play football in high school on Friday and in college on Saturday, but professional football shall you watch on the Sabbath, and I will provide you wings of buffalo for your nourishment. And you shall stand beside Israel and be a friend unto her in all she does. But woe upon you if you follow the path of lite beer, for that is an abomination in my sight and whosoever follows that path shall know the fury of the Lord.”

    That last bit explains a lot of what’s going on.

  107. 107
    Gnumann+,with no bloody irony at all (just an anti-essentialist feminist with a shotgun)

    But woe upon you if you follow the path of lite beer, for that is an abomination in my sight and whosoever follows that path shall know the fury of the Lord.

    I never read anything as true as this in any other part of the scripture.

    Are you sure this isn’t a mistranslation of some kind?

  108. 108
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    Are you sure this isn’t a mistranslation of some kind?

    Translation? Don’t you know that god speaks English? Only English.

  109. 109
    Gnumann+,with no bloody irony at all (just an anti-essentialist feminist with a shotgun)

    Aw, sorry. I’m not good at this god-stuff – I’m only in it for the beer…

  110. 110
    CJO

    Not entirely true. In 1993 they found archeological pieces referencing the House of David in the biblical context in the city of Dan in Isreal. Search it on Google – the Christians love it and it’s everywhere.

    But it’s not the slam dunk the apologists want it to be. First of all the Hebrew D-W-D “David” is a cue-name. It means “beloved (of the Lord)”. So the inscription is evidence that there was a dynasty in the Levant that was pleased to be called “The House of the Beloved (of the Lord)”. Clearly there are historical trajectories that could result in such an inscription other than the career of David as described in the Bible. The main point is, even if there actually was some bandit chief with a hill fort at the future site of Jerusalem who was given or took the name Beloved of the Lord, there simply was no state-formation going on in the region at the time the Biblical chronology says there was.

  111. 111
    Anat

    To Ben (#107) and CJO (#112):

    There are many possible interpretations to the BYTDWD in the Tel Dan inscription. It might be a dynasty name. It might be a place name, similar to bet-el, bet-shemesh, bet-anat etc. In that case it could mean a location named after a deity named DWD (beloved). Or it could be house-of-uncle or even house-of-kettle.

    If it is a dynastic name it doesn’t even prove the king of that time was a direct descendant of said DWD. The black obelisk mentions ‘Jehu of the house of Omri’, in contrast with the biblical account that has him as a rebel who supplanted the Omrides (support for such supplanting can be found in the short lived Jezreel, capital of the Omrides).

  112. 112
    mercurial

    It’s not just Rick Perry. Every U.S. politican must swear allegience to AIPAC if they intend to retain their political clout. Obama learned real fast that his pro-Arab speech in Cairo was not appreciated by the powerful Israel lobby. They promptly cut his balls off and installed Dennis Ross as his Mid-East advisor and nixed his appointment of Chaz Freeman as Chair of the National Intelligence council (footnote 1). Today, President Obama, a mere shadow of the man he used to be, stands in front of the U.N. with strict instructions from his zionist masters to piss on the Palestininans’ bid for statehood. So much for the promise of his great Cairo speech.

    (1) On February 26, 2009 the Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair named Freeman as chair of the National Intelligence Council,[9] which culls intelligence from sixteen US agencies and compiles them into National Intelligence Estimates. Blair cited his “diverse background in defense, diplomacy and intelligence.”[10]

    News of Freeman’s nomination met with criticism from a number of pro-Israel commentators and Chinese dissidents of his views about Israel and Arab nations and his ties to Saudi Arabia and China, with Steve J. Rosen, a former top official with AIPAC conducting the “opening salvo” according to professor John Mearsheimer.[1][11][12][13][14] The Zionist Organization of America called for rescinding “the reported appointment.”[15]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_W._Freeman,_Jr

  113. 113
    Ryan Sonshine

    Amazing passage! You should publish more!

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