Wednesday, October 28, 2015

50 years ago: Pope Paul VI promulgates Second Vatican Council's Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions (Nostra Aetate)

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Proverbs 14:12 (also Proverbs 16:25)

Can two walk together, except they be agreed? Amos 3:3

On October 28, 1965, the Second Vatican Council's Nostra Aetate--Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions--was promulgated by Pope Paul VI. It urged Roman Catholics to "enter with prudence and charity into discussion and collaboration with members of other religions," expressed a high regard for Muslims, and absolved the Jews of responsibility for the death of Jesus, reversing the decree issued in 1199 by Pope Innocent III. The declaration helped to pave the way for the current drive for a one-world religion being promoted by Pope Francis I and others. Here are some of the more notable passages (bold inserted by blogger):

...2. From ancient times down to the present, there is found among various peoples a certain perception of that hidden power which hovers over the course of things and over the events of human history; at times some indeed have come to the recognition of a Supreme Being, or even of a Father. This perception and recognition penetrates their lives with a profound religious sense.

Religions, however, that are bound up with an advanced culture have struggled to answer the same questions by means of more refined concepts and a more developed language. Thus in Hinduism, men contemplate the divine mystery and express it through an inexhaustible abundance of myths and through searching philosophical inquiry. They seek freedom from the anguish of our human condition either through ascetical practices or profound meditation or a flight to God with love and trust. Again, Buddhism, in its various forms, realizes the radical insufficiency of this changeable world; it teaches a way by which men, in a devout and confident spirit, may be able either to acquire the state of perfect liberation, or attain, by their own efforts or through higher help, supreme illumination. Likewise, other religions found everywhere try to counter the restlessness of the human heart, each in its own manner, by proposing "ways," comprising teachings, rules of life, and sacred rites. The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men. Indeed, she proclaims, and ever must proclaim Christ "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6), in whom men may find the fullness of religious life, in whom God has reconciled all things to Himself.(4)

The Church, therefore, exhorts her sons, that through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions, carried out with prudence and love and in witness to the Christian faith and life, they recognize, preserve and promote the good things, spiritual and moral, as well as the socio-cultural values found among these men.

3. The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth,(5) who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.

Since in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this sacred synod urges all to forget the past and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom.

4. As the sacred synod searches into the mystery of the Church, it remembers the bond that spiritually ties the people of the New Covenant to Abraham's stock.

Thus the Church of Christ acknowledges that, according to God's saving design, the beginnings of her faith and her election are found already among the Patriarchs, Moses and the prophets. She professes that all who believe in Christ-Abraham's sons according to faith (6)-are included in the same Patriarch's call, and likewise that the salvation of the Church is mysteriously foreshadowed by the chosen people's exodus from the land of bondage. The Church, therefore, cannot forget that she received the revelation of the Old Testament through the people with whom God in His inexpressible mercy concluded the Ancient Covenant. Nor can she forget that she draws sustenance from the root of that well-cultivated olive tree onto which have been grafted the wild shoots, the Gentiles.(7) Indeed, the Church believes that by His cross Christ, Our Peace, reconciled Jews and Gentiles. making both one in Himself.(8)

The Church keeps ever in mind the words of the Apostle about his kinsmen: "theirs is the sonship and the glory and the covenants and the law and the worship and the promises; theirs are the fathers and from them is the Christ according to the flesh" (Rom. 9:4-5), the Son of the Virgin Mary. She also recalls that the Apostles, the Church's main-stay and pillars, as well as most of the early disciples who proclaimed Christ's Gospel to the world, sprang from the Jewish people.

As Holy Scripture testifies, Jerusalem did not recognize the time of her visitation,(9) nor did the Jews in large number, accept the Gospel; indeed not a few opposed its spreading.(10) Nevertheless, God holds the Jews most dear for the sake of their Fathers; He does not repent of the gifts He makes or of the calls He issues-such is the witness of the Apostle.(11) In company with the Prophets and the same Apostle, the Church awaits that day, known to God alone, on which all peoples will address the Lord in a single voice and "serve him shoulder to shoulder" (Soph. 3:9).(12)

Since the spiritual patrimony common to Christians and Jews is thus so great, this sacred synod wants to foster and recommend that mutual understanding and respect which is the fruit, above all, of biblical and theological studies as well as of fraternal dialogues.

True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ;(13) still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures. All should see to it, then, that in catechetical work or in the preaching of the word of God they do not teach anything that does not conform to the truth of the Gospel and the spirit of Christ...

NOTES

...

4. Cf 2 Cor. 5:18-19

5. Cf St. Gregory VII, letter XXI to Anzir (Nacir), King of Mauritania (Pl. 148, col. 450f.)

6. Cf. Gal. 3:7

7. Cf. Rom. 11:17-24

8. Cf. Eph. 2:14-16

9. Cf. Lk. 19:44

10. Cf. Rom. 11:28

11. Cf. Rom. 11:28-29; cf. dogmatic Constitution, Lumen Gentium (Light of nations) AAS, 57 (1965) pag. 20

12. Cf. Is. 66:23; Ps. 65:4; Rom. 11:11-32

13. Cf. John. 19:6

...
Those who think Chrislam is a recent invention might be surprised by the passages highlighted above concerning Islam. The idea that Christians and Muslims worship the same God can be proven false by a comparison of the Bible with the Qur'an; it should be obvious to anyone who's read both books that the God of the Bible and the god of the Qur'an are different gods. It must be emphasized that the views expressed in Nostra Aetate aren't the opinions of a rogue liberal priest, but are in fact the official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, still in effect today--with the typical deadly mixture of truth and error, which is far more dangerous and deceptive than complete error.

It's now fashionable in Christian circles to play down or virtually deny Jewish culpability in the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. In rebuttal, I offer the following account from the gospel according to Matthew--the gospel account that's most directed toward a Jewish audience--as well as comments by three Jewish leaders of the early Christian church who were either on the scene or in the area at the time:

When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:
And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.
Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.
And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.
And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood.
And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in.
Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day.
Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value;
And gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me.
And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.
And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.
Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?
And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.
Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.
And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.
Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?
For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.
When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.
But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.
The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.
Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.
And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.
When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.
Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
Matthew 27:1-25

Peter: But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:...
...Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:...
...Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ...
...But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;
And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses...
...Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole...
...The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree...
...And we are witnesses of all things, whih he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree;
Acts 2:14, 23, 36; 3:14-15; 4:11; 5:30; 10:39

Stephen: Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
Acts 7:51-52

Paul: For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:
Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:
Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.
I Thessalonians 2:14-16

Nostra Aetate was followed by Guidelines and Suggestions for Implementing the Conciliar Declaration "Nostra Aetate" (n. 4) , given on December 1, 1974.

An interesting postscript to Nostra Aetate is that in 2005, the United States Congress unanimously passed a resolution commending the decree on the 40th anniversary of its promulgation. The text reads as follows (bold in original):

H.Con.Res.260 - Concurrent resolution recognizing the 40th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council's promulgation of Noestra Aetate, the declaration on the relation of the Roman Catholic Church to non-Christian religions, and the historic role of Nostra Aetate in fostering mutual interreligious respect and dialogue.

Text: H.Con.Res.260 — 109th Congress (2005-2006)

[Congressional Bills 109th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H. Con. Res. 260 Enrolled Bill (ENR)]

H.Con.Res.260
Agreed to November 10, 2005

One Hundred Ninth Congress of the United States of America

AT THE FIRST SESSION

Begun and held at the City of Washington on Tuesday, the fourth day of January, two thousand and five

Concurrent Resolution

Whereas 2005 marks the 40th anniversary of the promulgation of Nostra Aetate, the declaration on the relation of the Roman Catholic Church to non-Christian religions;

Whereas on October 28, 1965, after the overwhelmingly affirmative vote of the Second Vatican Council of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Paul VI issued Nostra Aetate, which means ``in our time'';

Whereas Nostra Aetate affirmed the respect of the Roman Catholic Church for Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Judaism, and exhorted Catholics to engage in ``dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions'';

Whereas Nostra Aetate made possible a new relationship between Catholics and Jews worldwide and opened a chapter in Jewish-Christian relations that is unprecedented in its closeness and warmth;

Whereas Nostra Aetate states that the Roman Catholic Church ``decries hatred, persecution, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone''; and

Whereas Nostra Aetate clearly states that ``No foundation therefore remains for any theory or practice that leads to discrimination between man and man or people and people, so far as their human dignity and the rights flowing from it are concerned.'': Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress--
(1) recognizes the 40th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council's promulgation of Nostra Aetate, the declaration on the relation of the Roman Catholic Church to non-Christian religions;
(2) appreciates the role of the Holy See in combating religious intolerance and religious discrimination;
(3) encourages the United States to continue to serve in a leading role in combating anti-Semitism and other forms of religious intolerance and religious discrimination worldwide;
(4) acknowledges the role of Nostra Aetate in fostering interreligious dialogue and mutual respect, including, in particular, new relationships of collaboration and dialogue between Jews and Catholics since the issuance of Nostra Aetate; and
(5) requests the President to issue a proclamation recognizing the 40th anniversary of Nostra Aetate and the historic role of Nostra Aetate in fostering mutual interreligious respect and dialogue.
Attest:

Clerk of the House of Representatives.

Attest:

Secretary of the Senate.
The resolution, introduced on October 6, 2005, was sponsored by Rep. Rush Holt (Democrat--New Jersey), and there were 65 co-sponsors. The actions were:

11/10/2005 Passed/agreed to in Senate: Resolution agreed to in Senate without amendment and with a preamble by Unanimous Consent.(consideration: CR S12710-12711)
11/07/2005 Passed/agreed to in House: On motion to suspend the rules and agree to the resolution, as amended Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 349 - 0 (Roll no. 570).(text: CR H9701-9702)


I don't remember hearing anything about this at the time, and it makes me wonder where all the "separation of church and state" crowd were when the United States Congress was unanimously recognizing a decree from the Roman Catholic Church. Although the resolution emphasizes the importance of Nostra Aetate in fostering improved relations between the Roman Catholic Church and Jews, it should be kept in mind that Nostra Aetate also had many nice (and false) things to say about Islam, but the resolution omits any mention of that aspect of Nostra Aetate.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Playboy announces a cover-up

For those who missed this item a couple of weeks ago...as reported by Vinay Menon of Torstar News Service, October 14, 2015:

...On Tuesday, in one of the most momentous shifts in magazine history, Playboy turned on the lights and said it was getting dressed. At the age of 62 — which, oddly, makes it a sexagenarian — it is ditching the centrefolds and pictorials and scandalous baggage that were once as pivotal to its brand as twerking is to Miley Cyrus.

The magazine that helped trigger the sexual revolution while becoming a salacious rite of passage for young men was conceding defeat in the carnal trenches.

It was planting a white flag where the sun don't shine.

Or as Scott Flanders, Playboy's chief executive, told the New York Times: "That battle has been fought and won. You're now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it's just passé at this juncture."

But the bigger question, as Flanders asks, is "if you take nudity out, what's left?"

On the face of it, if you will, covering up probably seems like good business. You can almost see a team of new media execs huddling around a boardroom table in a grotto, itemizing the benefits of this "major brand realignment" as founder Hugh Hefner listens half-heartedly in a velvet robe while daydreaming about a threesome he had in Chicago during the summer of love.

"Sir, we'll be able to conquer new markets. We'll face fewer hurdles getting on mobile and tablet. We'll be safe for work. Readers will find us on newsstands next to reputable men's magazines. We won't be stashed behind a plywood concealer on a shelf that requires a stepstool and shame. Circulation will explode. The marketing tie-ins are huge. The possibilities are endless."

Yes, either that or this is the beginning of the end.

The problem for Playboy is not free porn. It is the powerful brand built up over more than a half-century and the equally powerful associations that are unlikely to dissolve just because Miss July is lounging suggestively in a turtleneck.

Whatever is depicted on the inside pages will still be no match for the entrenched subtext conveyed by that seven-letter title on the cover. This is why you never see a dad reading Playboy while waiting for his kids at gymnastics class — and why you never will.

This leads to an inverse problem: alienating customers who do buy the magazine for the pictures. While domestic circulation has dropped to about 800,000 from 5.6 million over the past 40 years, Playboy still has loyalists. When people buy products emblazoned with those bunny ears — and merchandising is now the revenue driver — they are doing so for the opposite reason dad is not thumbing through the magazine in public.

They are proud to be associated with Playboy. They want the world to know.

But by trading skin for more sophisticated lifestyle coverage, as Maxim is also trying to do as a de-sexual revolution rumbles through the men's magazine sector, will Playboy find a new audience filled with coveted millennials? Or is it diluting a brand that is big business in some parts of the world, including China, where the magazine is not even available?

It's hard to see how a future long-form investigation into, say, Senate corruption is going to help move bottles of cologne in Beijing.

The company tested this PG-13 approach in the digital realm this August when it jettisoned nudity from the website. The result, as the Times reported, was that the average reader age dropped from 47 to 30 and traffic spiked to 16 million from about four million unique users.

What's not clear in the context of a nudity-free print edition: how many of those readers are willing to pay for content?

The only place I've ever seen Playboy over the past couple of decades is at my old-school barber. Here, past issues are fanned out on a coffee table like crab claws at a Mandarin. They seem as anachronistic as the pictures of '70s haircuts on the wall...
The Playboy Club chain, which began with the opening of the first such club in Chicago in 1960, went out of business in 1991, and occasional attempts to revive the clubs have been mostly unsuccessful. The latest move by the magazine gives further evidence that the sexual revolution that Hugh Hefner and his magazine helped to create has long since passed them by, leaving Mr. Hefner and his creation as aging and pathetic relics of a bygone, "innocent" era.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Canada's "Conservative" Party sacks Sikh candidate for opposing homosexuality

Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Romans 1:24-32

October 19, 2015 is the date of another federal election in the multicultural monstrosity that still officially goes by the name of Canada, and the thought of any of the major parties--Conservative, Liberal, and New Democratic Party--forming a government is truly depressing, and is taken by this blogger as yet more evidence that the judgment of God upon the country is already well under way.

For non-Canadian readers, or those too young to remember, the "Conservative" government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been in office for almost 10 years, with a majority of seats in the House of Commons for the last 4½ years. I won't bother repeating my comments on the idea held by some that the Harper government has been trying to impose a Christian theocracy (see this post for just one example of evidence to the contrary). A more recent piece of evidence is the Conservative Party's sacking of their candidate in the Ontario riding of Mississauga-Malton, Jagdish Grewal, a Sikh and editor of the Punjabi-language Toronto newspaper Canadian Punjabi Post. As reported by Jennifer Ditchburn of Canadian Press, October 6, 2015:

OTTAWA — The Conservative party says a candidate in suburban Toronto who defended therapies that attempt to turn gays straight is no longer an official candidate for the party.

Jagdish Grewal, who is running in Mississauga-Malton, wrote an editorial entitled “Is it wrong for a homosexual to become a normal person?” that referred to homosexuality as “unnatural behaviour” and heterosexuals as “normal.”

A party spokeswoman said Tuesday night that Grewal’s comments “are not reflective of the views of the Conservative Party of Canada.”

“We believe that all Canadians — regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation — deserve to be treated with respect and dignity,” Megan Murdoch said in an email.

In the Punjabi Post editorial earlier this year, Grewal describes an NDP private member’s bill passed in the Ontario legislature in June that removed public funding for services designed to “change or direct the sexual orientation or gender identity of a patient.”

Grewal writes in the piece that some psychologists blame a “shock” during childhood for causing a person to become gay, but that the change “can be corrected.”

“The political competition of today raises the question of whether any person’s wish to become a normal person is wrong?” Grewal wrote in Punjabi.

“If it is a parent’s right to set guidelines for their children in terms of their education, career and health, then why is it illegal for them to strengthen their natural heterosexuality?”

Grewal said in an interview Tuesday that he was attempting to educate readers about an issue in the news and lay out the positions taken by the provincial parties and psychologists. He said he did not recall the names of the psychologists he mentioned.

In the editorial, he points to the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity, an American group that offers therapies to people who have “unwanted homosexual attractions.”

“Yes, there’s children who have tendencies, who are attracted,” Grewal said in the interview. “If that child wants to come back or tell the parents that he wants to get out of this life, then parents should have the right to bring them back to their straight life.”

Grewal’s editorial does not address professional criticism of so-called reparative or conversion therapies. The Canadian Pediatric Society’s position on adolescent sexual orientation states that such treatments “should not be provided because they do not work and have the potential to heighten guilt and anxiety.”

High-profile Ontario Progressive Conservatives supported the private member’s bill when it came to a vote.

In Surrey, B.C., NDP Leader Tom Mulcair held a unscheduled media availability late Tuesday to call for Grewal’s removal as a candidate.

“That type of statement is so totally inadmissible there’s only one possible outcome: Mr. Harper has to fire that candidate,” said Mulcair, who had earlier taken to Twitter to denounce Grewal’s “homophobic” comments.

Grewal is just the latest in a series of unacceptable comments by Conservative candidates, Mulcair said, noting that Harper has signed the nomination papers of Tory incumbents John Williamson and Larry Miller. Williamson complained last March that “brown people” were taking white people’s jobs and Miller told a call-in radio show that Muslim women who don’t want to remove their face-covering veils during citizenship ceremonies should go back to where they came from.

“Mr. Harper’s got to start getting it right and it starts by firing this candidate who said those things that are totally unacceptable about gays,” Mulcair said.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau also called for Grewal’s removal.

“There is no place for offensive and homophobic statements. The Conservatives should apologize and Stephen Harper needs to remove this candidate,” Trudeau said in a statement issued by the party.

Grewal is running against Liberal Navdeep Bains, a former MP who is also an organizer for the party in the Toronto area. Dianne Douglas, a former municipal executive assistant, is running for the NDP.

A campaign pamphlet recently spotted in the riding, with the fine print, “Authorized by the official agent for Jagdish Grewal,” features a picture of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne at the Toronto Pride parade. The slogan reads, “Are these the priorities of your family?”

In another picture, a piece of paper is superimposed onto Bains’ hand. The paper reads “Liberal priorities: Sex Education, Gay Marriage, Legalize Marijuana and Prostitution.”
Grewal says the flyer is not from his campaign.

There has been opposition to the Ontario government’s new sexual education curriculum from within some ethnic communities. The new content addresses sexual orientation and gender identity and homophobia. Children in Grade 1 will be taught the correct names of body parts.

Earlier this year, Wynne said she believed the federal Conservatives were using sex ed as a political wedge issue in the province in advance of the election.

Grewal says he’s been getting an earful from people in the Muslim, Sikh and Hindu communities upset by the curriculum.

“There are families who are keeping their kids at home, they’re not sending them to school they’re so frustrated with this,” said Grewal. “They don’t talk about any other issues. This is their biggest issue at the time at the door.”

Bains disagrees, saying people understand that a federal MP has no power to shape a provincial education plan.

“Unemployment is high, higher than the national average, youth unemployment is high and people are worried about the economy, worried about jobs,” Bains said of the riding. “Those are the issues that matter.”
Here's another small benchmark in the rapidly increasing slide of Canada into the abyss of Trudeaupia. The term "cuckservative" has become popular lately. I don't think there's a dictionary definition yet, but I'm inclined to define a cuckservative as someone who claims to be, or is identified as, conservative, but who considers it more important to be seen as not racist, sexist, "homophobic," or [insert politically correct pejorative here] by people who don't like him, rather than to take a principled conservative stand. It's worth noting that Christians aren't the only people who are opposed to sodomy; devout followers of non-Christian religions are, as well. It's worth noting that the "Cuckservative" Party of Canada would rather offend the views of non-Christian religious minorities, and even risk being accused of racism, than tolerate within its midst a candidate who expresses views on sodomy that are currently unfashionable.

The matter of "conversion" or "reparative" therapy is controversial (professing Christians such as Warren Throckmorton and Al Mohler have come out against it, claiming that it doesn't work), but the "Cuckservative" Party of Canada has made opposition to "conversion therapy" a litmus test for its candidates--refusing, in the name of "tolerance," to tolerate a candidate who supports the freedom of choice for those who want to leave the homosexual lifestyle. There is a form of "conversion therapy" that does work, and it comes from God Himself, as declared under divine inspiration by the Apostle Paul:

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
I Corinthians 6:9-11

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Scholar claims to have found the earliest known draft of the King James Bible

As reported by Jennifer Schuessler of The New York Times, October 14, 2015:

The King James Bible is the most widely read work in English literature, a masterpiece of translation whose stately cadences and transcendent phrases have long been seen, even by secular readers, as having emerged from a kind of collective divine inspiration.

But now, in an unassuming notebook held in an archive at the University of Cambridge, an American scholar has found what he says is an important new clue to the earthly processes behind that masterpiece: the earliest known draft, and the only one definitively written in the hand of one of the roughly four dozen translators who worked on it.

The notebook, which dates from 1604 to 1608, was discovered by Jeffrey Alan Miller, an assistant professor of English at Montclair State University in New Jersey, who announced his research on Wednesday in an article in The Times Literary Supplement.

While the notebook has yet to be examined by other scholars, experts who have reviewed Professor Miller’s research called it perhaps the most significant archival find relating to the King James Bible in decades.

David Norton, an emeritus professor at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand and the author of several books about the King James Bible, called it “a major discovery” — if not quite equal to finding a draft of one of Shakespeare’s plays, “getting on up there.”

Gordon Campbell, a fellow in Renaissance studies at the University of Leicester and a consultant for the planned Museum of the Bible in Washington, said the new manuscript shed fresh light on how the King James translators actually did their work, as opposed to how they had been told to do it.

Studying the creation of the King James Bible “is like working with a jigsaw puzzle where 90 percent of the pieces are missing,” Mr. Campbell said. “You can arrange the surviving pieces as you wish, but then you find something new and you realize you put it together the wrong way.”

The King James Bible, published in 1611, was produced by six teams of translators, known as “companies,” in London, Oxford and Cambridge, who were charged with creating an authorized version that would support the Church of England against the Puritan influence seen in some earlier translations. Along with Shakespeare’s First Folio of 1623, it is one of the most influential books in the history of English and the wellspring of common phrases like “salt of the earth,” “drop in the bucket” and “fight the good fight,” to name only a few.

While some records of the committee that supervised the overall translation survive, only three manuscripts of the text itself have been known to exist until now. The Bodleian Library at Oxford owns nearly complete drafts of the Old Testament and the Gospels, in the form of corrected pages of the Bishops’ Bible, a 16th-century translation that the King James teams used as a base text. Lambeth Palace Library in London has a partial draft of the New Testament epistles.

Professor Miller discovered the manuscript last fall, when he was in the archives at Sidney Sussex College in Cambridge, researching an essay about Samuel Ward, one of the King James translators and, later, the college’s master. He was hoping to find an unknown letter, which he did.

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“I thought that would be my great discovery,” he recalled.

But he also came across an unassuming notebook about the size of a modern paperback, wrapped in a stained piece of waste vellum and filled with some 70 pages of Ward’s nearly indecipherable handwriting.

The notebook had been cataloged in the 1980s as a “verse-by-verse biblical commentary” with “Greek word studies, and some Hebrew notes.” But as Professor Miller tried to puzzle out which passages of the Bible it concerned, he realized what it was: a draft of parts of the King James Version of the Apocrypha, a disputed section of the Bible that is left out of many editions, particularly in the United States.

“There was a kind of thunderstruck, leap-out-of-bathtub moment,” Professor Miller said. “But then comes the more laborious process of making sure you are 100 percent correct.”

The draft, Professor Miller argues, dates from between 1604, when the King James Bible was commissioned, and 1608, when the six teams were asked to send their work to the general committee for review. Unlike the other surviving drafts, which scholars date to later parts of the process, it shows an individual translator’s initial puzzling over aspects of the Greek text of the Apocrypha, indicating the reasoning behind his translation choices, with reference to Hebrew and Latin as well.

“You can actually see the way Greek, Latin and Hebrew are all feeding into what will become the most widely read work of English literature of all time,” Professor Miller said. “It gets you so close to the thought process, it’s incredible.”

The draft, he argues, also complicates one long-cherished aspect of the “mythos,” as he put it, surrounding the King James: that it was a collaborative project through and through.

The companies were charged with doing their work as a group, rather than subdividing it by assigning individual books to individual translators, as was the case with the Bishops’ Bible. But the Ward notebook, Professor Miller said, suggests “beyond a reasonable doubt” that at least some of the companies ignored the instructions and divided up the work among individuals, at least initially.

Further, he said, the notebook contains a complete draft for the book of the Apocrypha known as 1 Esdras, but then, after a run of blank pages, only a partial manuscript for the book known as the Wisdom of Solomon, suggesting that Ward picked up the slack for another translator.

“Some of them, being typical academics, either fell down on the job or just decided not to do it,” Professor Miller said, with a laugh. “It really testifies to the human element of this kind of great undertaking.”

In recent years, scholars have chipped away at the idea of Shakespeare’s plays as the product of an isolated genius, emphasizing instead the intensely collaborative nature of Elizabethan theater. Professor Miller said that the origins of the other great monument of 17th-century English literature is due for a similar reconsideration.

“There’s a strong desire to see the King James Bible as a uniform object, and a belief that it’s great because of its collaborative nature,” Professor Miller said.

“It was incredibly collaborative,” he continued. “But it was done in a much more complicated, nuanced, and at times individualistic way than we’ve ever really had good evidence to believe.”
Click on the link to see Professor Miller's article, Fruit of Good Labours.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Spain and Portugal have begun granting citizenship to descendants of Sephardic Jews

As reported by Associated Press, October 14, 2015:

LISBON — Portugal has started granting citizenship rights to the descendants of Jews it persecuted five centuries ago.

The Justice Ministry said Tuesday that on Oct. 2 it approved the first three of more than 200 applications it has received so far. The other applications are still being processed following a law that began in March.

Seeking to make amends for past wrongdoing, both Portugal and Spain adopted laws this year allowing citizenship for descendants of Sephardic Jews — the term commonly used for those who once lived in the Iberian peninsula — persecuted during the Inquisition...

...The Jewish Community of Oporto in northern Portugal, which is one of the organizations vetting applications, ...said Tuesday it has issued certificates for Jews from 23 countries, with two-thirds of them for Sephardic Jews from Turkey.
Portugal's action is subsequent to that of Spain, which passed a similar law in June 2015. However, according to Soeren Kern of the Gatestone Institute in an article published on June 21, 2015, the Spanish law "does not right a wrong" (read the full article for the details:

The final version of the law introduces so many hurdles to obtaining Spanish citizenship that most prospective hopefuls are likely to be deterred from even initiating the application process. Indeed, the law in its current form ensures that very few of the estimated 3.5 million Sephardic Jews in the world today will ever become Spanish citizens.

Spanish authorities -- presumably fearful that the list of Sephardic surnames could provoke an avalanche of citizenship applications -- issued an urgent notice that the government has no intention of ever publishing an official list of Sephardic names.

"All these facts lead us to conclude that the government has the clear intention that the fewer the number of applicants, the better. And the economic filter ensures that only people with high purchasing power can apply. ... Considering all of these factors, we believe that this law does not right a wrong. This law is more of a symbol, a first step, but not a law that will serve to satisfy the majority of Sephardim who would like obtain Spanish nationality." — Jon Iñarritu García, a congressman from the Basque Country.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Major oil find reported on Golan Heights

As reported by The Times of Israel, October 7, 2015:

A company drilling for oil on the Golan Heights claims to have found “significant amounts” in the plateau.

“We’re talking about a layer 350 meters thick,” Yuval Bartov, chief geologist of Afek Oil and Gas, a subsidiary of the American company Genie Energy, told Channel 2.

The layer is ten times larger than the average oil find worldwide, Bartov said, “and that’s why we’re talking about significant amounts. What’s important is to know that there’s oil in the rock, and this we know.”

Three drilling sites on the Golan have uncovered what is potentially billions of barrels of oil, enough to fulfill the Israeli market’s 270,000-barrel-per-day consumption for a very long time, the report claimed.

Exploratory drilling began in December 2014. In recent weeks, Afek requested permission to drill an additional 10 wells.

While it says the oil find is confirmed, the firm says the quality, more precise measures of quantity and cost-effectiveness of extracting the oil won’t be known until the extraction is begun.

Afek has faced numerous challenges from environmental groups concerned about the impact of drilling, some of which reached the High Court of Justice.

Since Israel’s founding, companies searching for oil across Israel have drilled 530 exploratory wells, and none of them has turned up commercially viable oil, Genie CEO Geoff Rochwarger said in September.