The Beatitudes, Republican Party Translation

I’ve been paying attention with interest to the 2010 midterm elections, where America seems poised to make the mistake of putting the Republican Party back in the driver’s seat, since apparently the 6 years of Republican rule in the last decade were simply not awful enough. What particularly fascinates me, though, is to listen to Republican primary candidates simultaneously promote themselves as Christian, with talk about values and such, while at the same time relentlessly undermining the values propagated by Jesus Christ.

It occurs to me that perhaps there’s a reason for this. Growing up Catholic, it wasn’t until I was a teenager that I discovered that the Bible I read had several more books than those of my Protestant friends. It was then that I also discovered different translations of the Bibles, sometimes hinging around quite important theological points.

Accordingly, perhaps it is not that Republican candidates who promote themselves as Christian while at the same time viciously working to undermine the lives of the poor are not hypocrites. Indeed, it seems much more likely that they simply have a different translation of the Bible than I do.

As it turns out, I’ve been able to find a part of this translation for Luke 6:20-26, more commonly known as the Beatitudes. As it turns out, the Republican Party translation is a bit different than the one you may be familiar with. Here it is:

Looking at his disciples, he said:

“Blessed are you who are rich,
for yours is the kingdom of God.

Blessed are you who want more drilling for oil,
for you will be satisfied and it will never run out or spill.

Blessed are you who weep now because of high taxes,
for you will laugh when they are lowered.

Blessed are you when the media hates you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil, because they’re liberal meanies.

Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is Fox News’ reward in the ratings battles. For that is how you can avoid contrary points of view.

But woe to you who are on unemployment,
for you have already received your comfort and you should get a real job.

Woe to you who are hungry,
because food stamps are a waste of taxpayer dollars.

Woe to you who laugh when Democrats are in office,
for you will mourn and weep when sharia is declared.

Woe to you when the media speaks well of you,
for that is how they treat RINOs who want to attend cocktail parties.”

You can understand now why the GOP is the way it is, right?

And We’re Back…

Yes, I know. Long absence. Apologies all around. Will be posting a bit today and hopefully more regularly in the future. Life has a way of spoiling the best-laid plans, doesn’t it?

Dirty Roman Coins

I’ve been out and about in the world lately, unable to blog much. But for your amusement, I do present this.

They don’t make coins like they used to.

I Don’t Care Much About Elena Kagan

As someone who’s decided to comment on politics, I feel somewhat obligated to comment on the Elena Kagan nomination, but it’s hard to care too much. Like Sotomayor, she’s pretty biased towards the system–police, prosecutors and Presidents–and doesn’t seem to be too much concerned about the rights of the accused.

But realistically, I wouldn’t expect any other type of Justice to be nominated anymore. I’m sure I’d have the same complaints about any of them.

That’s depressing, but it’s also the way of the world.

Taking Back Mother’s Day

I said back in my first post a couple of days ago that we’re going to focus on people doing good things and I feel like I haven’t quite lived up to that promise, focusing as I have been on the angry and depressing things in this world. So let’s work to change this for a bit, shall we?

Today is Mother’s Day–a day in which you should, of course, call your mother.

However, it’s important to remember that Mother’s Day did not begin as a windfall for Hallmark and flower shops. It was begun by Julia Ward Howe, the suffragette and activist. But it’s purpose wasn’t to congratulate mom’s. It was a stand by the mother’s of soldiers in the name of peace. Here’s a bit from the original Mother’s Day Proclamation:

We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm!

The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.

The good people of the organization Julia’s Voice will be out this afternoon reminding people of the original meaning of Mother’s Day. If you get the chance, why not show them some support?

Join the devastated Earth in crying “Disarm! Disarm!”

Who knows? If enough people hear us, they may actually listen.

How the Ocean Was Wrecked

This TED talk from scientist Jeremy Jackson is simply depressing.

I don’t really have comments here–it just speaks for its depressing self. I wonder, sometimes, if the ocean ecosystems will survive humans. And I wonder if humans will survive the loss of ocean ecosystems.

Your “Happy” News Today

Remember the hole in the ozone? Which we’ve managed to decrease substantially thanks to a rare willingness for the world to get together and do the right thing? Turns out that, but for a happy accident, the ozone hole might have killed us all.

Looking back, it’s remarkable to ponder the serendipity of these discoveries—and how little margin for error we had. As luck would have it, DuPont had been using chlorine instead of bromine to produce CFCs. As far as anyone could tell, the two elements were interchangeable. But, as another prescient ozone researcher, Paul Crutzen, later noted, bromine is 45 times as effective at destroying ozone as chlorine. Had DuPont chosen to use bromine, the ozone hole could well have spanned the globe by the 1970s instead of being largely confined to Antarctica—long before anyone had a glimmering of the problem. It’s not hard to see what massive worldwide ozone depletion would’ve meant. Punta Arenas, the southernmost town of Chile, sits under the Antarctic ozone hole, and skin cancer rates there have soared by 66 percent since 1994. If humans had destroyed stratospheric ozone across the globe, we would likely be unable to set foot outdoors without layers of sunscreen and dark shades to prevent eye damage. Worse, the excess UV rays could have killed off many of the single-celled organisms that form the basis for the ocean’s food chain and disrupted global agriculture (studies show that bean and pea crop yields decline about 1 percent for every percent increase in UV exposure).

Happily, though, scientists did discover the ozone hole. And, despite industry warnings that abolishing CFCs would impose unbearable costs, world leaders agreed to phase out the chemicals in 1987, and economic ruin never arrived. DuPont developed a substitute for CFCs, and ozone levels in the atmosphere have stabilized, with the hole over Antarctica expected to heal by 2050. A topic that once graced the cover of Time and generated heated congressional debates now barely gets mentioned. We learned to stay within one planetary boundary without impeding human prosperity. That should give us every reason to think we can respect the others we are now barreling past.

What’s frightening is that this lucky accident of using chlorine over bromine was simply that chlorine was cheaper. Somewhere in the multiverse, there’s an alternate world doing far, far, worse because there was a run on chlorine that caused Dow to go with bromine instead.

Our world barely missed the apocalypse by accident. But with so many other threats out there being ignored, how long can our luck hold out?