Monday, September 17, 2012
The Lord's supper
The Lord's supper is a central event in Christian life. Just about all Christian denominations commemorate it at Easter (though the Eastern Orthodox are a bit pesky about when Easter is) and, in the form of the Mass, devout Catholics can commemorate it every day if they wish.
So where does Christian practice in the matter come from? Is it Biblical? Sort of. Below are the commandments concerning it in the Bible.
 And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.
 And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.
 And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.
 Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.
 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.
 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.
 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:
 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:
 For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.
 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
1 Corinthians 11
 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.
 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.
 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.
 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.
 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.
 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.
 And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.
"This do in remembrance of me" is pretty plain but at the risk of sounding like Bill Clinton, I want to ask what "This" is. Was it not a Passover celebration and is it not a special celebration of the Passover that Jesus commanded? I think any Christian who was careful to obey Christ's commands would do so by observing the Passover. You can draw other inferences about what "This" is but why run the risk of getting it wrong?
Against that proposition, however, we have the account of early Christian practice from Paul in Corinthians. Theologians claim that it describes a celebration that went on whenever there were meetings of the original congregations. So it was much more frequent than the Passover, which is annual.
To me that seems however totally perverse. Paul starts out saying that "When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper". How plain can you be? Paul is saying exactly the opposite of what the theologians claim. Apparently, there was a custom of a communal meal at meetings of the early Christian congregations and Paul is CONDEMNING that. He says it defiles the SACRED meal of the Lord's supper. Read the passage with that understanding and see if it makes sense. To me it seems the only way to get a straightforward meaning out of it. Theologians really have to twist themselves into a pretzel to get their meaning out of it, particularly in the light of verse 20.
So the whole of Christian practice in the matter seems fundamentally flawed to me. And from that flow other perverse responses to Christ's command. The "this" that he commanded was a meal around some sort of table, probably where the meal was taken in the form of a Greek symposium -- that is, where the diners were reclining rather than sitting up straight. I gather that a Pesach seder in some Jewish circles is still done that way. Be that as it may, however, there was certainly no kneeling or standing involved, unlike common Christian practice.
And perhaps it's a minor point of detail but the passing out of the bread and the wine were two quite separate events with a separate prayer before each. That too seems to be unknown in Christian practice.
And I won't go on about the wafers, grapejuice etc. which various Christian denominations substitute for the perfectly straightforward unleavened bread and wine. Why are they so disrespectlful of their proclaimed Lord? The connection between Christianity and the Bible gets very slender at times.
So there is only one commemoration that Christ commanded -- not Easter and not Christmas -- and Christians bungle that. But I guess their Lord is merciful. It is a good thing that the Christian god is not as demanding as Yahveh, though. Religious Jews have a much tougher time than Christians.
Judge rejects detention without trial
Shocking that this ever came to court. Huge arrogance in Obama's DOJ revealed
The Obama administration is battling to restore a controversial provision of a new federal law that it admits could have been used to arrest and detain citizens indefinitely – even if their actions were protected by the First Amendment.
A federal judge this week made permanent an injunction against enforcement of Section 1021 of the most recent National Defense Authorization Act, which was declared unconstitutional.
The Obama administration then took only hours to file an appeal of the order from U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest, and attorneys also asked her to halt enforcement of her order.
In her order, Forrest wrote, “The government put forth the qualified position that plaintiffs’ particular activities, as described at the hearing, if described accurately, if they were independent, and without more, would not subject plaintiffs to military detention under Section 1021.”
But she continued, “The government did not – and does not – generally agree or anywhere argue that activities protected by the First Amendment could not subject an individual to indefinite military detention under Section 1021.”
The case was brought last January by a number of writers and reporters, led by New York Times reporter Christopher Hedges. The journalists contend the controversial section allows for detention of citizens and residents taken into custody in the U.S. on “suspicion of providing substantial support” to anyone engaged in hostilities against the U.S.
The lawsuit alleges the law is vague and could be read to authorize the arrest and detention of people whose speech or associations are protected by the First Amendment. They wonder whether interviewing a member of al-Qaida would be considered “substantial support.”
“Here, the stakes get no higher: indefinite military detention – potential detention during a war on terrorism that is not expected to end in the foreseeable future, if ever. The Constitution requires specificity – and that specificity is absent from Section 1021,” the judge wrote.
Dan Johnson, a spokesman with People Against the NDAA, told WND it took only hours for the government to file an appeal to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. “It most definitely tells us something about their intent,” he told WND.
He cited Obama’s signing statement, when the bill was made law, that he would not use the provision allowing detention of American citizens without probable cause in military facilities. “Just because someone says something doesn’t mean they’re not lying,” he said.
Bloomberg reports the Obama administration also is asking Forrest for a stay of the ruling that found the law violates the First, Fifth and 14th Amendments.
The judge expressed dissatisfaction with what one observer described as the arrogance of the Department of Justice in the case.
Forrest asked the government to define the legal term, noting the importance of how they apply to reporting and other duties. “The court repeatedly asked the government whether those particular past activities could subject plaintiffs to indefinite military detention; the government refused to answer,” she wrote.
“The Constitution places affirmative limits on the power of the executive to act, and these limits apply in times of peace as well as times of war,” she wrote.
She said the law “impermissibly impinges on guaranteed First Amendment rights and lacks sufficient definitional structure and protection to meet the requirements of due process.”
“This court rejects the government’s suggestion that American citizens can be placed in military detention indefinitely, for acts they could not predict might subject them to detention, and have as their sole remedy a habeas petition adjudicated by a single decision-maker (a judge versus a jury), by a ‘preponderance of the evidence’ standard,” she wrote. “That scenario dispenses with a number of guaranteed rights,” she said.
The Obama administration already has described those who hold a pro-life position or support third-party presidential candidates or the Second Amendment fit the profile of a domestic terrorist.
Obama stated when he put his signature to the legislative plan that his administration “will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens.”
Virginia already has passed a law that states it would not cooperate with such detentions, and several local jurisdictions have done the same. Arizona, Rhode Island, Maryland, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Washington also have considered similar legislation.
Don't Misplace Blame for Middle Eastern Mayhem
An incendiary video about the prophet Muhammad, "Innocence of Muslims," was blamed for the mob attacks on our embassies in Libya and Egypt (and later, Yemen). In Libya, Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were murdered. The video stirred some passion here in America as well.
Over at MSNBC a riot of consensus broke out when contributors Mike Barnicle and Donny Deutsch as well as University of Pennsylvania professor Anthea Butler all agreed that the people behind the video should be indicted as accessories to murder. "Good Morning," declared Butler, "How soon is Sam Bacile [the alleged creator of the film] going to be in jail folks? I need him to go now."
Barnicle set his sights on Terry Jones, the pastor who wanted to burn the Koran a while back and who was allegedly involved in the video as well. "Given this supposed minister's role in last year's riots in Afghanistan, where people died, and given his apparent or his alleged role in this film, where ... at least one American, perhaps the American ambassador is dead, it might be time for the Department of Justice to start viewing his role as an accessory before or after the fact."
Deutsch helpfully added: "I was thinking the same thing, yeah."
It's interesting to see such committed liberals in lockstep agreement with the Islamist government in Egypt, which implored the U.S. government to take legal action against the filmmakers. Interestingly, not even the Muslim Brotherhood-controlled Egyptian government demanded these men be tried for murder.
Now, I have next to no sympathy for the makers of this film, who clearly hoped to start trouble, violent or otherwise. But where does this logic end? One of the things we've learned all too well is that the "Muslim street" -- and often Muslim elites -- have a near-limitless capacity to take offense at slights to their religion, honor, history or feelings.
Does Barnicle want Salman Rushdie, the author of "The Satanic Verses," charged with attempted murder, too? That book has in one way or another led to several deaths. Surely he should have known that he was stirring up trouble. Perhaps the U.S. Justice Department and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security could work together on a joint prosecution?
Perhaps Rushdie's offense doesn't count because he's a literary celebrity? Only crude attacks on Islam should be held accountable for the murderous bloodlust they elicit.
One might ask who is to decide what is crude and what is refined? But that would be fruitless because we know the real answer: the Islamist mobs and their leaders. Their rulings would come in the form of bloody conniptions around the world.
Are we really going to hold what we can say or do in our own country hostage to the passions of foreign lynch mobs?
If your answer is some of form of "yes," than you might want to explain why U.S. citizens aren't justified in attacking Egyptian or Libyan embassies here in America. After all, I get pretty mad when I see goons burning the American flag, and I become downright livid when a U.S. ambassador is murdered. Maybe me and some of my like-minded friends should burn down some embassies here in Washington, D.C., or maybe a consulate in New York City?
Of course we shouldn't do that. To argue that Americans shouldn't resort to mayhem, while suggesting it's understandable when Muslims do, is to create a double standard that either renders Muslims unaccountable savages (they can't help themselves!) or casts Americans as somehow less passionate about what we hold dear, be it our flag, our diplomats or our religions. (It's hardly as if Islamists don't defame Christianity, Judaism, moderate forms of Islam or even atheism.)
But, I'm sorry to say, that may in fact be the case. After all, with barely a moment's thought these deep thinkers on MSNBC were willing to throw out the First Amendment for a little revenge. It was a moment of voluntary surrender to terrorism.
Within 24 hours, however, it became increasingly clear that the video wasn't even the motive for the murders; it was a convenient cover for them. In effect, the terrorists behind the Libyan attack not only successfully played the Muslim street for suckers, they played Barnicle & Co. for suckers, too.
Another vicious Federal bureaucracy
Lance Armstrong, one of the greatest endurance athletes of modern times, who won the grueling Tour de France bicycle race a record seven consecutive times from 1995 to 2005, has been stripped of all awards and prizes he won during his storied cycling career. The reason for these harsh sanctions against Armstrong was a finding by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) that the athlete had used illicit, performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career. Yet, because of its status as unaccountable regulatory power, the USADA never had to prove its case against Armstrong.
Armstrong's unprecedented fall from grace has precipitated much gloating and smug cries of "we told you so" from the many jealous detractors his success inspired over the years. However, the manner in which the USADA conducted its prosecution of this athlete, should give serious pause to all Americans who believe fundamental fairness and basic due process should precede stripping a person of their career, their reputation, and their financial resources.
The USADA's actions also should precipitate action by the Congress, which annually appropriates $10 million taxpayer dollars for the Agency's operations -- operations which permit a small group of unelected, unaccountable men and women to investigate and punish athletes within its questionable jurisdiction, without so much as a passing tip of the hat to fairness or due process.
As a lawyer whose practice includes litigating cases in court, I rely on well-established rules of procedure to ensure fundamental fairness, so that both sides have a more-or-less equal opportunity to uncover and present evidence in behalf of their clients. Those procedures -- monitored and enforced by judges either elected or appointed as objective and uninterested umpires -- also permit both sides robust opportunity to challenge and test the credibility and strength of the other's witnesses and evidence. We inherited such procedures from Great Britain during the colonial era, and our Founding Fathers strengthened and enshrined them in our Constitution. Our Liberty rests on their continued viability.
But not for athletes subject to regulation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, as outlined in depth in papers filed with the federal court by Bob Luskin, one of Armstrong's attorneys.
In the world as defined by, and in which the USADA operates (with the official imprimatur of the U.S. government since 2000), the deck is stacked heavily in favor of USADA and against the unfortunate athlete who finds himself in its regulatory crosshairs. In fact, there is so little room for the defendant-athlete to maneuver, that it is virtually impossible for any such individual to enjoy even a slim chance of defeating a USADA charge. Thus the recent decision by Armstrong to end his challenge to the charges against him by this rogue regulatory agency.
Unlike the real world, in which a person charged with an offense enjoys at least a fighting chance to defend themselves, a defendant facing USADA-defined charges essentially is presumed guilty unless he or she can prove the drug testing on which USADA based its indictment was faulty. That might sound like a manageable task, until one considers that the athlete has no real opportunity to test the evidence available to USADA, and cannot conduct any meaningful discovery to prepare and present a defense as they certainly would in a real legal proceeding.
Moreover, as in Armstrong's case, despite having been tested between 500 and 600 times -- both random and scheduled -- and never having failed a single USADA-sanctioned test for illicit substances, he still faced fatal sanctions. The actions which led to Armstrong being stripped of more than a decade of hard-won accolades that placed him at the pinnacle of world cycling, were based not on scientific tests, but on allegations leveled against him by others, including cyclists he beat over the years.
The manner in which Armstrong has been subject to a regulatory witch-burning is a disgrace to any notion of fairness or due process; and it ill-serves either the cycling profession or the American legal system.
Insofar as USADA operates with the blessing of the Congress and under the nominal supervision of the White House "Drug Czar," and considering the un-American manner in which it conducts its business, it is high time the Congress moves to revoke its charter and halt its access to American taxpayer dollars.
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Posted by JR at 12:33 AM