Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Saul of Tarsus ...

... was the Wayne Allyn Root of early Christianity.

He started off on the other team, "converted," then immediately went to work trying to change (by Hellenizing/Romanizing/paganizing) the religion he had adopted.

He worked himself up into a major snit whenever those who had been Christians when he was still thumping heads for the Sanhedrin chided him for preaching positions diametrically opposed to those of Jesus Christ (who preached ... Judaism!).

According to his own (allegedly) accounts, both the council at Jerusalem and his "incident at Antioch" with Peter went his way, but in the latter case at least there's no particular reason to believe that to be true.

And, eventually, he disappeared. Tradition has it that he departed for Rome to be persecuted and eventually executed, but there's no particular reason to believe that, either. He may well have retired to Rome to live out his life in a well-appointed villa as reward for a job well done.

Unfortunately -- for the actual early Christians, anyway -- his ideas didn't disappear with him. The Judaism taught by Jesus mutated into a pagan cult per Paul, and eventually caught the eye of Constantine, who made it an official Roman religion at a bargain-basement price (abandoning the Sabbath in favor of the day of the sun, official religious day of the state's Sol Invictus cult; settling on the doctrine of trinity -- along with Paul's deification of Jesus -- rather than the Arian interpretation as official policy, so as to return the Paulinized church to at least pro forma monotheism; and putting Rome in charge of the church).

I wonder if Root's ideas will fare equally well in the Libertarian Party now that he's gone?

Friday, September 21, 2012

What's So Controversial ...

... about the possibility that Jesus was married?

A recently dicovered scrap of papyrus -- dating to the 4th century and possibly a transcription of a 2nd century text -- depicts Jesus as referring to "my wife."

Certain clergy are in a bit of a snit about the thing, or at least in a hurry to write it off.

According to Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi, there exists an "enormous tradition, very clear and unanimous" that Jesus was a bachelor.

Unanimous? Hardly.

Thomas White, vice-president of student services and communications at Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary, says that "the Bible we have is reliable."

Well, is it? Because if it is, then Jesus was quite possibly married.

He is referred to by the Pharisees and others, multiple times and without apparent sarcasm, as "rabbi" in all four gospels of the New Testament. While Jewish law was in a cycle of evolution at the time (the Mishnah came out of that evolution circa 200 CE), it's a fairly non-controversial claim that in first century Judea, among the qualifications for recognition as a rabbi were that one be a husband and father. If Jesus was an exception to that rule, surely there would be some remark to that effect ("he's so cool we call him rabbi even though he's single!").

Mary Magdalene keeps showing up in Jesus' life in ... well, intimate ... roles. She anoints his feet with oil prior to his entrance to Jerusalem. After the disciples (with the exception of the "Beloved Disciple," usually called John but probably her brother Lazarus) flee, she remains at the cross until Jesus' death. She goes to maintain his corpse/grave after the crucifixion. She is the first person to see him alive after the resurrection, and is the one who informs his male disciples of his return (they don't believe her).

She is clearly not a minor figure in his life. In fact, she seems to be the single most important human figure in that life with the possible exception of his mother. What was her role?

Here's a clue: A woman sitting shiva (i.e. grieving) for a dead relative or loved one was not permitted to leave her home unless called forth by her husband. As, for example, when Mary of Bethany and her sister Martha were sitting shiva for their brother Lazarus. Jesus approached, and Martha ran out to meet him. But Mary remained in the house until Jesus called her out.

If Mary of Bethany is the same person as Mary Magdalene (I understand there are some scholarly arguments on the subject), things seem to fit together pretty well. The shiva incident indicates that she was Jesus' wife, and her other appearances in the gospels tend to confirm it.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

PSA ...

The post that used to be here was a pretty cool graphic about the War on Drugs, provided by Camille Brockman of

This morning, I had an email from the same site (opening with "My name is Molly," but signed "William Pritchard") asking me to remove the graphic and links due to some gobbledygook about "the advent of new Webmaster Standards" and "over optimized anchor text" and whatnot.

There are two things I normally don't do at KN@PPSTER:

  1. Post "guest content" that is transparently submitted for no other reason than as an "SEO link-building" ploy. I made an exception for because frankly the content was really good.
  2. Remove posts. I'm making an exception again because they asked me to ... but in my opinion, asking people to post your stuff is a "no-backsies" kind of thing and it's rude to ask them to clean up the mess you asked them to make in the first place. So you won't be seeing any future content from that particular venue here.
That is all.

Page 52

Per Rad Geek:

  1. Grab the book closest to you.
  2. Turn to page 52.
  3. Post the 5th sentence. Copy these instructions along with the post.
Why? Well, for me it's an opportunity to link to Rad Geek. Anyhoo, page 52, fifth sentence of the book closest to me:

I simply don't want to know.

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Convergence of Sorts ...

Over the last few months, I've stepped up my work in "Internet Marketing" as opposed to politics.

Among other things, I administer a traffic exchange -- an interesting kind of marketing site operating on the principle of "I'll look at your site if you look at mine" (with differentials in that swap that the site owner can monetize).

The other day, I was thinking about traffic exchanges -- in particular about the king of all traffic exchanges, StumbleUpon -- when it occurred to me that TEs are actually a perfect platform for political junkies.

A little research revealed that I wasn't the first guy to have that idea. Back in 2007, a company launched three political traffic exchanges. They seem to have disappeared very quickly. I can't say for sure why, but I think undue compartmentalization was likely part of the problem: The three sites were Republican Surf, Democratic Surf and Independent Surf.

Better to let all the parties, ideologies, etc. mix it up a bit, don't you think? People have at least as much fun following and critiquing "the enemy" as they do reading the stuff they agree with. And they want people who don't agree with them to read their stuff and be persuaded.

So ... check out Soapbox Surf. It's not quite ready for prime time yet (this is the first time I've used this particular script and I just opened up shop this morning ... "under construction" as they say), but if you're interested in showing off your political blog, candidate web site or whatever, and are willing to look at other people's offerings (or cough up cash) for the ability to do so, it's already getting the job done.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Important Bleg

Scott Bieser is one of the finest human beings I know.

I've never had the privilege of meeting his wife, EJ, but since they're married I have to assume she's one of the finest human beings he knows.

EJ is in treatment for small cell lung cancer, and while they do have insurance, anyone who's dealt with catastrophic illness knows that even the best insurance policy tends to leave gaping holes in a family's finances.

Click here (scroll down on the page) for more about Scott and EJ's situation, and please help out a little if you can.

h/t Wendy McElroy

Sunday, September 09, 2012

A Thousand Years of Darkness ...

... if Barack Obama serves George W. Bush's fourth term in office rather than Mitt Romney serving Barack Obama's second term in office?

Where have I heard this before?

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Don't Lecture People About Not Understanding the Constitution ...

... if you don't understand the Constitution.

Over at, Laurence M. Vance writes:

Under the Constitution, the federal government has no authority whatsoever to ban high-power weapons, high-capacity weapons, high-tech weapons, machine guns, automatic weapons, armor-piercing bullets, "cop-killer" bullets, sawed-off shotguns, assault rifles, gun sales to felons, bazookas, armored personnel carriers, grenades, IEDs, bombs, or tanks. ... Permitting or prohibiting these substances is a matter for each individual state to decide.

Um, no.

It is true that there are some matters which the Constitution leaves up to the states. Where it does so, it specifies either that those are state matters, or just that they aren't federal matters.

With respect to the right to keep and bear arms, however, the constitutional provision regarding keeping and bearing of arms is very specific. The 2nd Amendment recognizes that right as a "right of the people," not a power of the states (see the 10th Amendment for another instance of this distinction), and prescribes that it "shall not be infringed," period.

Not by the congress.

Not by the president.

Not by the governors.

Not by the state legislatures.

Not by anyone.