Category Archives: Religion

Man of the Bible

I sent this video of Sarah Cooper lip syncing the President to my French pen pal S. It is, of course, complete gibberish so I typed up the transcript.

NOTE: if the image doesn’t play go here.

Q. I am wondering what 1 or 2 of your most favorite Bible uh versus are and w…?

A. Well, I wouldn’t want to get into it because to me thats very personal. You know when I talk about the Bible its very personal so I don’t want to get into it. I

Q. You don’t want to get into…

A. No, I, I…

Q. continued….means a lot to you that you think about or cite….

A. The the Bible means a lot to me but I don’t want to get into specifics.

Q. Even to cite a verse that you like…?

A. No! I don’t want to do that….

Q. Are you an Old Testament guy or a New Testament Guy?

A. Probably equal. I think its just an incredible, The whole Bible is an incredible – I joke very much – so they always hold up the Art of the Deal – I say my second favorite book of all time. But a, I just think the Bible is just something very special.

I also mentioned that the President tear gassed peaceful protesters away from the church across the street to make room for his photo op.

NEWS I’M READING 5/23/2020

A lot of interesting things as usual but I’m only going to post one item I made sure to read. Its a NYTimes story about how fast Tyrannosaurs ran. Remember the scene in Jurassic Park when the driver of a jeep was racing to escape a Tyrannosaurus and looked in his side view Mirror?

NYTimes: Long limbs helped propel T Rex up the Dinosaur food Chain https://nyti.ms/2A2CNJn

This isn’t a very impressive story. Its just one more deduction from millions that paleontologists have made to give us a clearer picture of an apex predator that died out 65 million years ago. However one of the delights of the NYT is that its online stories are followed by a string of other related stories. If you like dinosaurs or the other subjects covered its fun to leaf through them.

I have been a science buff since we were agonizing over THE “missing link” when I was a kid in the fifties. Since then dozens of links have been found not that the willfully blind have noticed. Today half of America believes a snake oil salesman for the sake of politics than the millions of scientists who have drawn conclusions based on research. Which reminded me of a post I wrote. I just popped the search terms dinosaurs, Limbaugh, locksmith, moon into my blog’s search engine and found it. I’ll remove the very tedious middle and cut-to-the-chase.

STUFF HAPPENS AND THEN YOU DIE AND MOON DUST
AUGUST 16, 2013 HARRYWELTY

Other than substituting a saltier four letter word with the soft gauzy nothing “Stuff” there is truth to this unexceptional saying. (Moon dust will show up later in this post)

I lead today’s posts with this saying because I have half a dozen things – “stuff” – to do today, most of no great consequence. I know that sounds fatalistic but I am hardly a fatalist. Had I been I would not have run for political office 15 times. Neither would I have helped lead the charge against a dim witted school building boondoggle. I know that in four billion or so years our sun will wink out and I know that that leaves Earth 16 future stretches of a quarter billion years (about the length of time that dinosaurs “ruled” the planet) …

If you presume that extinction is immediate, as Christian fundamentalists do, then the Earth still has roughly 400 times five-million-year stretches left (5 million being the length of time modernish humans have existed) before our planet’s demise – Praise the Lord!

So here is a short list of the “stuff” I hope to accomplish today:Boring Boring Boring stuff now removed

I began by writing about the future of the Earth and that reminds me of a conversation I had with a Christian fundamentalist twenty years ago.

I had sculpted three huge dinosaurs in my yard out of snow the year before I called a locksmith to replace the locks on my home’s doors. The dinosaurs were on his mind. As I recall he was of the opinion that humans had walked on Earth with them owing to his notions about the Bible’s timeline. I said something about science and he gave me his take on the folly of scientists.

Apparently before the moon launches of the 1960’s he had taken to heart the wild speculations of some scientists about what we would find on the moon. Some had theorized that the moon would be covered by hundreds and thousands of feet of dust that had accumulated there over millions of years in the absence of an atmosphere. He told me that when Neil Armstrong and company landed on the hard surface of the Moon he realized how fallible scientists were and no longer paid them much attention.

Sounds like today’s Republican Party. I’ve visited his shop many times through the years and he always has Rush Limbaugh on the Radio.

As I said I’m not a fatalist. Life is sweet, or can be. Finding a purpose in life, or making one, makes life just that much sweeter. I’ll die long before humankind winks out and my fate is not much more important in the long run than the red ants I ran over backing out of the garage yesterday as they came scurrying back to their nest with smaller captured black ants in their mandibles which they were going to enslave.

For myself I’ve determined that to make my life sweeter I must do my best to make a sweet life possible for my children and grandchildren and what I hope will be a long succession of my descendants who are quite likely to evolve way past today’s version of humanity as they travel on to every corner of our galaxy.

But, before that happens I have many days ahead of me to make up lists of stuff for me to do. If I’m lucky and live to be one hundred that will give me another 14,400 days. Getting the Duluth School district out of debt is on that list. Only the voters can spare me messing around with that task by handing the chore to some other candidate. Its their choice and as long as they can exercise their right to cast that vote I won’t need to riot in the streets.

Two shows to Stream

I found this map in Wikipedia while reading the book on the black Death by Norman Cantor. Cantor mentions how the ignorant Europeans decided that Jews were responsible for the horrendous casualties of the Plague. It helped that they gained a confession through torture of a poor Jew who admitted he had gotten poison from a Rabbi and poured it into wells all over Europe. Yay Waterboarding!

What I was specifically interested in was the expulsion of the Jews from England. I remembered a scene from the old black and white movie Ivanhoe which showed the hero and a lovely Jewish maiden, we’re talking chaste if forbidden love here, and how the Jews generously loaned money to the English King…..or something like that. I wondered when this Hollywoodized scene would have taken place vis-a-vis the expulsion.

Cantor, who has also written a well reviewed history of the Jews, wrote about how Jews all over France and Germany were burned en masse to avenge their aledged poisoning of the wells. Fortunately for the Jews, a Slavic king welcomed them into Eastern Europe where they lived happily for a couple hundred years until the Orthodox church turned on them unleashing torrents of pograms against them. And then, of course, the millions of Polish jews were wiped out after the Nazi invasion.

This brings me to two shows that my wife and I have been watching. Both are excellent, really excellent. The first is HBO’s serialization of Philip Roth’s dystopic history of what could have happened had FDR not been reelected in 1940 but instead had been replaced by America’s 1920’s sweetheart, Charles Lindbergh. I read the review of the book The Plot Against America twenty years ago but dismissed it as a novelty. I knew our history and even though Lindbergh’s reputation after the war began never fully recovered he was an unlikely presidential candidate. And besides that, the Republicans nominated my Dad’s hero, Wendell Wilkie, who unlike Lindbergh, supported FDR’s war efforts.

But what if? What if Lindbergh had become the President? I have to say that the five sepia laden installments ring true. I was sucked into its dark imaginings. America is not immune to demagoguery and maybe worse.

The other series called “Unorthodox” is a four-parter we finished a couple nights ago. The Polish Jews sent to the holocaust didn’t go completely extinct. Some had already made a home for themselves in America. In the US they continued to live their orthodox eastern European lives. They live scattered in select cities on our Eastern seaboard. Claudia and I boarded a plane a few years back crammed with orthodox Jewish families flying to Israel which was our destination too.

The orthodox communities are pretty insular and don’t mix with outsiders much except in business. They remain very true to the Old Testaments laws Jews are expected to live by. The series we watched was based on the experiences of a young woman who fled New York to escape the smothering confinement of her orthodox life in America. She fled to, of all places, Germany.

The series is an honest portrayal and even a sympathetic portrayal of a life most Americans would avoid like the plague.

Warrenism 2

Brad took issue with Mr. Wilkerson’s NY Times opinion piece. This was how I defended Wilkerson’s point of view:

Brad,

Just because the Congressional eunuchs in the GOP have surrendered tyrannical power to the corrupt chuckle head in the White House doesn’t mean they will let a President Sanders do the same thing. One thing Republicans got when they let the Southern Dems into the party was the Dixiecrats long game which they had been honing starting in the 1830s as they realized slavery made them a near permanent Congressional minority. That’s why the Missouri Compromise, the Mexican American War, the Compromise of 1855, the Dred Scot decision and the issue of Popular Sovereignty were such big deals leading up to the Civil War.

Starting with the shelving of Reconstruction they started their long game again. Their allies have always been the corrupt industrial interests in the North that were Republican oriented.

LBJ knocked them back on their heels again but with the Reagan revolution and the Deep South’s Republican conversion the GOP gained the skills augmented by Koch money and big tech to create the poverty you and I see all around us.

Warren may have blown it trying to be “electable” but her strategy was long term. But she or any other Democratic President will need a Congress in Democratic hands for a decade to accomplish that mission.

She needed what the GOP’s gamers got in the 2010 election and subsequent reapportionment after the subsequent national census – huge gains in all legislatures to rig and gerrymander the system. The 2020 election is that election. Bernie’s allure was proven to be shallow after the also-rans gave up before Super Tuesday. His youth vote was pathetic.

Only the non-threatening Biden will give Democrats the down ballot votes to take back the Senate and the legislatures. That will enable them to claw back the election laws away from the corporatized cretins in today’s Paula White driven, get-rich-quick-and-stupid GOP.

Today in the Reader- David Brooks is Wrong…

…Will Rogers Had it Right

It begins:

Last week I began sleeping well for the first time since Donald Trump became a Presidential contender. The powerful summation by Congressman Schiff, “Shifty” to the “Lock-her-up-crowd,” comforted me. Then David Brooks the eminently reasonable PBS News Hour pundit wrote off a second Trump victory. Brooks said too many Americans don’t want a Trump Presidency for four more years, never mind a hot economy.

I know better.

http://duluthreader.com/articles/2020/01/30/19419_david_brooks_is_wrong_will_rogers_had_it_right

Three visions of Satan

One of my favorite stories is The Devil and Daniel Webster. Our great old debater got the best of Old Scratch as I recall. But there are many takes on Satan. Of the three I offer here the first is the most eye popping.

Paula White “Trump’s personal religious advisor” and now advocate for aborting Satan’s babies: Click this link to cringe”

https://twitter.com/i/status/1221208783411650560
A …..

Here’s SNL’s Satan treatment as a fan boy of the President’s lawyers:

And finally, one of my favorite scenes as a kid in the musical Damn Yankees. I just watched it for the first time in thirty years on Youtube. VIEWER WARNING: One scene now makes my flesh crawl extolling the delight with Indians scalping people on wagon trains. Other than being played a joke about how Old Scratch likes to inflict hell on innocents its not unlike the depiction of the “savages” in our Declaration of Independence. Wish I could clip it out.

“Those Were The Good Old Days” Ray Walston singing the Devils song in the musical Damn Yankees

Note the Capitol dome behind the curtains in this scene. Times never change.

If God ordained Trump King…

…it was to humble the arrogance of today’s golden calf worshipers in the evangelical church.

This is one of many stray thoughts while shoveling out of “snowmegeddon” the closest to hell I ever expect to be after four years of Donald Trump proving that Americans are as prone to moneychanging at the Temple as any other people besotted with Satan’s snake oil.

Congressman Stauber, Congressman Tlaib

Pete just came back from Israel where the Netanyahu government gave him the keys to the Kingdom. He loved it.

Meanwhile his sugar daddy Trump ordered Netty to bar two of Stauber’s Congressional colleagues from traveling to Israel and he did.

Not long ago I offered one of the Congresswomen my Sympathy. That was Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar. Now I offer my sympathies to Congresswoman Tlaib who will miss seeing her 90 year old grandmother in Palestine.

Once again I will share my witness of a trip three years ago to Israel and Palestine. I saw a few things that Congressman Stauber was steered away from. Here’s a picture I took while on my trip.

I wrote about it for the Duluth Reader: here!

Smug get rich quick Christians support…

Tough love at the border:

2019-06-28_10-11-30

Or as Presidential candidate Buttigieg said at last night’s Democratic Presidential debate:

“For a party that associates itself with Christianity to say it is okay to suggest that God would smile on the division of families at the hands of federal agents, that God would condone putting children in cages, has lost all claim to ever use religious language.”

Maybe another way to put is that: Jesus only loves the little fetuses.

Proverbs 6: 16-19

Proverbs 6:16-19 New International Version (NIV)

16 There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19 a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

In the Absence of Humility

In the absence of humility sexual predation is rampant. We expect it in secular quarters like politics but its true in the church as well. Catholics are and will continue to reel from recent expose’s. Ditto the Boy Scouts. Pedophiles flocked to the schools where Indian children were taken from their parents and shipped away to forget their Indian languages and learn of the greatness of the United States. It has made its way into Christian evangelism where, as was the case with Leroy Moore of Alabama, the true believers refuse to take the scales off their eyes.

What I didn’t know is that in a lot of the new evangelical churches the decks are stacked against victims by a contract kind of like Donald Trump’s non disclosure agreements. The Times’ story today about pedophiles in the evangelical world explains it thusly:

“It was the kind of community that Ms. Bragg, who was not raised in the church, wanted for her children. They signed the church’s Membership Covenant, an agreement stating they would submit to the Bible and to the authority and spiritual discipline of church leaders. Members promise to “practice complete chastity” unless in a heterosexual marriage, to “refrain from illegal drug use, drunkenness, gossip,” and to “diligently strive for unity and peace within the church.” Leaders promise “to lovingly exercise discipline when necessary.”

“Ms. Bragg could feel her faith growing. She embraced evangelical tenets, like trusting God, not one’s own feelings. She learned the importance of being slow to anger and quick to forgive.

Mrs. Bragg would learn the hard way that bowing to this church was like putting on a pair of handcuffs. Like the first eruptions of scandal in the Catholic Church these evangelical churches have no room for apology or confession. In this they are just like their hero Donald Trump and the new Republicans and Bill Clinton too for that matter.

Jesus and Washington, lone wolves vs herds

This is a thought I may pursue before the day is out after I attend to some mundane chores. Otherwise I might just delete this post like a dandelion seed about to be blown to oblivion.

ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT! FOR WHAT ITS WORTH:

For an American George Washington is the first citizen of the land. He is the nation’s Father and Founder above all others. For Christians the same must be said of Jesus. George W. Bush was once roundly ridiculed when asked who his favorite “philosopher” was for answering, “Jesus.” That in a nutshell demonstrates the challenge of dual loyalties. By so honoring the founder of Christianity, even if thinking of him as a philosopher was a stretch, Bush offended the same crowd that Hillary Clinton may have had in mind when she called Trump folks “deplorables” and handed the Presidency to him. Continue reading

More on Ilhan

I am pleased that the new Congress members have stuck up for Ilhan Omar and added Islam to Judaism in a resolution opposing unfair criticism. My initial defense of Congresswoman Omar could similarly be amended. So today when an old friend “M” emailed me out of the blue and asked for my Minnesota perspective on the subject I replied by sending him my colunm as well as an even more nuanced critique from Minnesotan and New York Times reporter, Tom Friedman.

Here’s M’s Query:

——– Original message ——–
From: M
Date: 3/7/19 6:42 AM (GMT-06:00)
To: Harry Welty
Subject: Ilhan

What’s your perspective on Ilhan Omar?

“Omar sparked a new firestorm one week ago for criticizing what she called “the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country,” again comparing organized political support for Israel to lobbying efforts for “the NRA, or fossil fuel industries or Big Pharma.””

Inquiringly,M

I sent this reply to my old friend:

On Thu, Mar 7, 2019 at 9:03 AM harrywelty wrote:

M _ _ _ _,

This is a column I sent in to our local tabloid immediately after the firestorm.

http://m.duluthreader.com/articles/2019/02/15/16051_you_have_my_sympathy_ilhan

Tom Friedman had a more nuanced critique at the Times.

https://nyti.ms/2XHiybp
Bloviatingly, H

You Have my Sympathy Ilhan (includes the seven paragraphs missing from today’s Reader)

You Have My Sympathy Ilhan

Prologue:
Ilhan Omar, Minnesota’s new Islamic Congresswoman, has offered her “unequivocal” apology for twitting the fiercely pro-Israel Political Action Committee AIPAC in a tweet. Some of her fellow Congressmen are not satisfied. Full abasement is called for and perhaps Congressional censure. Nevermind that traditional Republican condemnation of “Hollywood” for unraveling our moral fabric echoes similar calls from earlier politicians that paired amoral Hollywood with the slur “Jew controlled.”

Three years ago, I submitted the following column after accompanying a peace studies class to the Holy land. I suggested that it be the first of several to follow covering my two-week tour of Israel and Palestine. I’d grouse about how the reputedly corrupt Prime Minister Netanyahu insulted President Obama. I’d gasp about the belligerent drunk who hectored my liberal Jewish
guides. I’d describe how I wept at Yad Vashem as an archival movie showed two small shivering brothers sitting on curb in Warsaw, the little one listless and near death; both boys the age and image of my grandsons. The Reader didn’t get back to me back then so I resubmit the column today to register my own impatience with the one-sided debate allowed in today’s America over an issue almost as important as guns, gays and gynecology.

Harry Welty’s Holy Land Haj, Part 1 – Bookends Continue reading

Dear Republican Party. Look who thought being liberal was virtuous.

At tonight’s touching remembrance for the recent victims of White nationalism which was held at Duluth’s Temple Israel our pastor gave a compelling description of Pittsburg’s Squirrel Hill where she grew up.

Then the Rabbi said he wanted to read the wonderful and thoughtful words of our President sent to the Jewish community. The words were those of the first President, George Washington, sent to the Jews of Rhode Island in 1790:

Gentlemen:

While I received with much satisfaction your address replete with expressions of esteem, I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you that I shall always retain grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced on my visit to Newport from all classes of citizens.

The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security.

If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good government, to become a great and happy people.

The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.

It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my administration and fervent wishes for my felicity.

May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants—while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.

May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy.

G. Washington

Politics at the DNT

The new more fair and balanced Duluth Trib that has apparently been endorsing a bunch of Republicans did them all a big favor a few years ago by dropping Gary Trudeau’s Doonesbury. If it hadn’t been for Facebook I would have missed this one. It gives me hope that despite my agnosticism the evangelical God will welcome me into heaven.

https://www.facebook.com/619396493/posts/10156841988991494/

But not everything out of the Trib rings false. They did not endorse my 2013 school board opponent, Nancy Nilsen, for the County Auditor’s position. Instead they pointedly mentioned her role as a Duluth school board member helping give birth to the Red Plan.