Archive for the ‘religion’ Category

I was going to do a housekeeping note, but this whole thing is a housekeeping note.

I was going to do an ‘it’s Yom Kippur, so just fast well, everyone who’s fasting, and I’ll see you tomorrow.’

Then I was going to do a post about nothing much, another odds and sods post, but I didn’t.

I was going to do several things, and maybe comment on what objectively is an entirely trivial thing that’s occurred in the UK, but has fascinated most people, including me, this morning.

But then…

But then…

This happened: Germany: two killed in Halle attack. Bild reporting it was outside a synagogue, and a grenade was thrown into a Jewish cemetery.

And I got nothing.

Oh, I could write plenty on it, but nothing that others couldn’t write better and with more skill and depth.

I could write about how to give in to fear and anger is to give them what they want, but that’d be pompous at best, and hypocritical at worst. For my only reactions are shaking, and a physical ache; my foot was hurting like hell, and I’ve no idea whether it was made worse by it or whether I was just more aware of it. It’s hurting even more now, because I just had a hard, deliberately hard, half hour walk on it. I’ll pay for it later, but it’ll be worth it.

That’s not true, by the way; they weren’t my only reactions. I’m also scared, genuinely, wondering ‘where next?’ and ‘when next?’

And ‘when here?’

And yet some people still suggest synagogues don’t ‘need’ security, that Jewish schools don’t need security.

So, no matter what I was going to write about my fury, my fear, my guts churning, it wouldn’t be enough; it wouldn’t be good enough. It wouldn’t achieve anything beyond writing from anger or writing in fear, neither of which are a particularly good thing for me, or anyone else reading it.

Instead, something else.

Fifteen years or so ago, I pitched a dozen or so stories to Marvel, one of which was bought, written by me, drawn by superb artists, and saw print in X-Men Unlimited, my only Marvel work.

One of the other story pitches, one that never saw print, took place on Yom Kippur, and deals with an… attack, but not one like today’s. Well, not quite.

For no reasons other than it’s Yom Kippur, here it is, in pitch format (links for the non-comics readers). Sixteen years old, and I still like it, and it’s a huge regret that it never had the opportunity to see print as it should have.



Kitty Pryde prepares for Yom Kippur (the Jewish Day of Atonement) and attends a local synagogue. She stops short as she sees a huge man walk into the temple and then he turns, greeting her with a broad smile. It’s Leonard ‘Doc’ Samson.

As they leave the temple that evening, Samson is attacked by the Abomination. Samson is weakened from having fasted all day… something the Abomination was counting on. (Only makes sense to me that even with his gamma irradiated body, he’d need more sustenance than a normal person to function, and that fasting for 25 hours would leave him weak; it would be at least 12 hours’ fasting by the time this story commences).

Kitty steps in and phases the Abomination, his fist passing through Samson, but her own fasting doesn’t allow her to hold him for more than a moment. It’s enough though, since the disorientation from being phased leaves The Abomination staggered, woozy, allowing Samson to finish him off with one hard accurate powerful punch.

Samson is enraged about being attacked on the holiest day of the Jewish year and is about to let a ‘head taking off’ punch go at the now unconscious villain… when Kitty Pryde halts him by uttering one of the prayers from the Yom Kippur service, asking forgiveness for the sins committed in rage…

Final panels: SHIELD taking Abomination away; Samson thanking Kitty; Nick Fury wishing them well over the fast; Kitty and Samson entering the synagogue, greeting someone out of shot, (obviously Ben Grimm.)

© Lee Barnett, 2003

Something else, tomorrow, when hopefully, I’m more together.

I’ve not written for a bit about the shitstorm hitting the US at the moment; in some ways it’s felt like I would be intruding on private grief. But something happened at the weekend, and the coverage of it yesterday and today, and the reaction to that coverage, has been bugging me all day. And I’ve been getting angrier about it.

OK, so last weekend, a large group of neo-nazi/nazi/white nationalist/white supremacist/alt-right* (*delete as appropriate, no wait, actually, don’t; all of them apply) folks got together for a convention in Washington DC. You might have seen it reported here and here and here and here and here and here and here. As well as a few other places.

While those and other reports refer to the Nazi salutes, the odious and racist comments from the self-styled leader of the alt-right, Richard Spencer, I want to concentrate on one specific thing, and why the reaction to it – or non-reaction from some – is bugging me so much.

Over the weekend, Spencer, president of the white-nationalist National Policy Institute, said he thinks Jews control the media to protect their personal interests, and said “One wonders if these people are people at all, or instead soulless golem.”

OK, white supremacist says antisemitic statement. Not exactly news. It is news that a President was elected with this man’s support. It is news that he was elected with the vigorous support of the Ku Klux Klan, with the overt and eager support of racists, white supremacists, antisemites, and that said President-elect has gone out of his way not to directly criticise them… but it’s hardly news that these people don’t like Jews.

CNN then did a segment on the statement and the reactions to the statement. I’m not entirely convinced the question “Should President-elect Trump condemn and denounce the remarks?” needed to be asked, but apparently so because they had a fucking discussion on the subject.  Screencaps from the segment then did the rounds on Facebook and Twitter, along with the hashtag #AreJewsPeople. Really, folks? Really? You didn’t for one moment think that might be incredibly offensive to Jews reading that? You didn’t think that every time a Jew read that, there would be an instant of “ok, now I’ve got to find out whether the person thinks ‘no'” before they read the tweet?

But, anyway, those screencaps. It’s important to note that none of the people on screen below are the people who made the comments about Jews.

(As I was writing this, CNN issued an apology for the crawl at the bottom of the screen.)

Now, being fair, plenty of people have criticised the comments. It’d be nice if more did, but yeah, I’m not denying that the comments have been condemned and denounced by many, criticised and decried. Not by Trump, though, nor by any of his senior people. But yes, condemnation by lots and lots of people. (Edit to add: it’s now being reported that Trump has condemned the gathering.)

Not by enough though. Not by nearly enough. Or not by some people I would hope would condemn. I’d expect them to condemn not because it’s the right thing to do – although surely it is – but because by not condemning they’re revealing their own hypocrisy.

And here’s what’s bugging me. I dredge the following example up every so often, so you’ll forgive me if I resurrect it one more time.

A meme did the rounds some time ago, viz:

“Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?” – Ernest Gaines. We would like to know who really believes in gay rights on Livejournal. There is no bribe of a miracle or anything like that. If you truly believe in gay rights, then repost this and title the post “gay rights.” If you don’t believe in gay rights, then just ignore this. Thanks.

Simple, easy to do, so you should do it, right?

No. It’s trite, insulting, patronising emotional guilt-tripping. And it’s wrong.


Well, suppose the message was this:

We would like to know who isn’t antisemitic on LiveJournal. There is no bribe of a miracle or anything like that. If you’re NOT antisemitic, then repost this and title the post as “I hate antisemitism”. If you are antisemitic, then just ignore this. Thanks

I’m supposed to then, presumably, believe that anyone who doesn’t post the comment in their own blog is antisemitic?

Utter nonsense.

Silence doesn’t indicate consent. Not in law, not ethically, not in practice. Everyone has their own ‘red buttons’ that can be pressed and the mere absence of condemnation of something is not in any way indicative of agreement with, nor support for, the thing you or I would like condemned.

While I support the aims and sentiments of Black Lives Matter as a movement, I’ve not marched on their behalf, and I’ve not blogged about it. And yes, while I think the UK government’s welfare benefits cuts have been wrong, cruel and dismissive of the consequences, I’ve rarely blogged about it. My non-blogging or non-tweeting about the coming cut in Employment Support Allowance doesn’t mean I support it.


Oh, come on, you knew there was a ‘but’ coming… BUT if you ARE someone who protests that silence is consent… if you ARE someone who says that silence means acquiescence or support for something…

People of colour who’ve been saying that silence means you don’t really support Black Lives Matter? LBGTQI folks saying silence means you effectively support homophobic/transphobic acts and laws? Benefits campaigners saying silence means you don’t care… Anti-austerity campaigners protesting that silence means acquiescence to austerity… Where’s your outrage over #AreJewsPeople? Where are your blogs and your tweets and your condemnation?

Because that’s what you’ve said.

You’ve said silence means consent.

You’ve said silence means acquiescence, that silence means apathy, that silence means support for the other side.

Again, this isn’t aimed at anyone who hasn’t used that argument, but those of you who have previously said “Silence means…” but have not condemned the rampant antisemitism of the alt-right, the overt antisemitism of “Are Jews People?”, the clear and present antisemitism that’s taking place…

Which is it? Is it consent, or acquiescence, or apathy, or support? Do you agree with the statement or do you just not care about it? Or it is just that you’re hypocrites, claiming silence means consent when it suits you but never when it’s your silence?

You know what? Fuck you with your “silence means…”

2016 minus 22: not for me

Posted: 10 December 2015 in 2016minus, religion
Tags: ,

I was reading this week’s Jewish Chronicle and came across a reference to this: “The bishops of England and Wales have appealed to Rome to change the Good Friday prayer for Jews as it is said in the Extraordinary Form”. Basically, for a long time the Catholics were encouraged (let’s be kind, budgie) to pray for the conversion of Jews. Vatican Two got rid of that bit, but Benedict (the one who retired/resigned?) put it back in. So the bishops are asking the current Pope to take it out again. No bishops have suggested yet that after in, out, in, out, they then shake it all about. But we can hope.

Now everyone has their ‘hot button’ issues, and this is kind of one of mine. I wrote yesterday that I don’t tend to get involved in religious discussions online, despite me following a number of both atheists and religious people (people of religion?). Religion itself isn’t a hot button issue for me, not in general; there are, however, a couple of topics in the field that do somewhat bug me. And one of them is those… people… who think that I should, how can I put it, not be Jewish but be another religion, and what a surprise, they’ve got one for me that’ll suit me just fine.

Mitch Benn in his current tour (“Don’t Believe A Word”) makes the good point – well, he makes lots of good points – that many of the proselytisers don’t engage in Arguments Of Fact but instead Statements Of Truth, one of the most insulting of which is “you know the Truth; you just don’t to want to admit it.” And this is where my ire starts to rise. Because what I’m told again and again – have been told again and again throughout my adult life by this bastards – is that the reference to messiah in the Jewish holy books is a reference to Jesus, that I know this – all Jews know this apparently – and as a result, I should accept Jesus into my heart.

I don’t like people sitting at the coffee table I’m using, so you can just imagine… OK, a bit of levity. But no, at times I just wish I had something clear precise and easy to use to slap them down. You know, a bit like when I did years back when faced with one of them on a tube train. So I wrote one.

Reasons why Jesus isn’t the Jewish Messiah

Here are the requirements, according to Judaism, for the messiah. Jesus did not fulfil them. Sorry:

  • World Peace (Isaiah 2:4; Ezekiel 39:9)
  • Universal Knowledge of God (Isaiah 11:9; Jeremiah 31:33)
  • Construction of the Third and Final Temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28)
  • End to Disease and Death (Isaiah 25:8, 35:5 & 6)
  • The Dead will Awake to Everlasting Life* (Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 22)
  • Ingathering in Israel (Isaiah 11:12, 43:5-6; Jeremiah 16:15, 23:3)
  • Material Help for Jews (Isaiah 60:5, 60:10-12, 61:6)
  • Eternal Joy for the Jewish People (Isaiah 51:11)
  • Jews Sought for Spiritual Guidance (Zechariah 8:23)
  • Burial for the Enemy Dead (Ezekiel 39:12)
  • Drought of the Egyptian River (Isaiah 11:15)
  • Yieldings of Fruit Monthly in Israel (Ezekiel 47:12)
  • Inheritance for the Tribes of Israel (Ezekiel 47:13-14)
  • End of Evil and Sin (Eze. 37, Zeph. 3, Zech. 13,Mal. 3, Isa. 60, Jer. 50)
  • Prophecy will return (Joel 2:28)
  • Life of ease (Isa. 49:23, 60:10-12, 61:05)
  • Extraordinary vegetation (Isa. 51:03, Eze. 36:29-30, Amos 9:13)

Additionally and specifically the ones we think of the most when speaking of Moshiach:

Maimonides wrote extensively on Moshiach and what is to be expected of him. The Rambam said following:

Moshiach is to be born of human parents. He is a man like all are. He will have to accomplish the following:

  1. He, Moshiach, will renew the Davidic dynasty
  2. He will build the 3rd Beis Hamikdash (Holy Temple)
  3. In his days all statutes will return to their previous state (sacrifices, jubilee and sabbatical a.s.o)
  4. Three more cities are to be added to the cities of refuge
  5. He will gather the dispersed of Israel

So if a King will arise from the House of David who is learned in Torah and observant of the mitzvot (as in the oral and written law) and if he compels all of Israel to walk in the way of Torah and fight the wars of God, we may, with assurance, consider him to be Moshiach.

If he succeeds in above and builds the Temple in its place and gathers the dispersed of Israel, he is definitely Moshiach. Jesus is 0 for 5. Jesus ain’t that person.

(* No, the proliferation of Zombie and Vampire movies doesn’t count.) 

Now, I’m not suggesting that the above will shut them up; nothing ever shuts them up. I’m not suggesting either that their minds can be changed; once again, quoting the philosopher Benn, “it’s impossible to reason someone out of a position they weren’t reasoned into.”

And now you know why I rarely write on religion.