Posts Tagged ‘religion’

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.

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.

I’m not entirely sure when the phrase “I’m Proud Of The BBC” first became a ‘thing’ but certainly it became one after Mitch Benn wrote I’M PROUD OF THE BBC in 2010 and it became a fan favourite. I’ve a personal connection to the song, not only because I’m in the video (for about one and a half seconds) but because it was during the recording that I met Mitch, Clara and their children, after which my life literally changed for reasons that I may go into on another occasion. Suffice to say that without their love, support and friendship, my life would have been very, very different the past five years.

So, yes, I’m proud of the BBC. I’m very proud of it. I’m proud of public service broadcasting and how the BBC is so highly regarded around the world. I’m proud of how the BBC’s news service manages – more often than not – to ‘get it right’, not just in terms of accuracy, but tone as well.

Now before anyone jumps in to suggest that means something other than what it does, it’s worth reiterating that being ‘proud’ of something or someone doesn’t mean that you’re proud of everything it does or they do. 

I’m proud of my lad for many, many things. I’m proud of the young man he’s become, of so very much he’s done and accomplished in life. That doesn’t mean that I was particularly proud of him the day he tried to feed a jam sandwich to our video player when he was very young “because it looked hungry”. (Sorry, Phil!) Similarly, I wasn’t proud of him when he, as toddlers do from time to time, threw a tantrum in public.

In the same way, just because I’m proud to say that I’m proud of the BBC, it doesn’t mean that I agree with every decision they make, every programme they broadcast, the way they cover every news story. There are examples of each of the foregoing where I’ve problems with the BBC, and decisions they’ve made either in terms management judgement calls or about specific programmes. And yes, of course, the BBC puts out thousands of hours or original radio and tv programming; it would be astonishing if anyone were to have no issues with any of the programming. Harking back to the earlier mentioned philiosopher Benn, I agree with him that people want the BBC to be like a taxi, to take the individual member of the audience directly to where they want to go; in fact, it’s more like a bus service, taking everyone pretty near where they want to go, and occasionally right to their door.

All of that said, there are times the BBC as an organisation – and remember the BBC has a lot of organisations within it –  does things that are… well… ‘dodgy’ would be a kind way of putting it, and ‘indefensible’ a more accurate way of putting it.

And we don’t have to reach very far back to identify them. Leaving to one side, simply because there’s nothing to add, the culture that existed inside the BBC that allowed Jimmy Saville and Rolf Harris and others to operate their vile practices, it’s not that long ago that two directors general of the BBC were forced out of their jobs, Greg Dyke because of the fallout from The Hutton Enquiry, George Entwhistle after Newsnight incorrectly implicated Lord McAlpine in the North Wales child abuse scandal.

And then, there’s BBC Three Counties Radio and Iain Lee. I don’t know Iain Lee at all; to use an old line, he wouldn’t know me from Adam, though at least he’d acknowledge I was better dressed. But Iain Lee… (You know what? I’m going to use his first name just because it’d just be weird to refer to him as ‘Lee’, for obvious reasons.)

Iain has, or rather had a show on TCR during which he did much, but in which he definitely expressed his views as to the idiocy of others. Libby Powell of Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre appeared on the show defending a prison gardener and Pentacostal Minister who said he was being persecuted for telling prisoners to ‘repent’ for their homosexuality and for reading out passages from the Bible condemning homosexuality during a recent service at the prison. Iain asked her if she supported bigotry. “Homophobia is bigotry. Do you support bigotry?”

Apparently, this didn’t go down to well with Ms Powell because she defended her anti-homosexual views with church teachings, which led Iain to retort “You’ve chosen not to question it, because you’re a bigot” describing Reverend Barry Trayhorn’s views as ‘obnoxious’ and ‘poisonous’.

OK, so far, so contentious. It was combative but that’s part of why Iain was hired. It was direct and to the point and… and… and the BBC relieved him of his position. The official position is “Iain Lee will no longer be presenting his shows on the station.” To all intents and purposes they fired him. I specify “to all intents and purposes” because of course like many, odds are that Iain was not legally “employed”, but was hired as a freelancer. If he had been employed, I’d have expected the BBC, had they wished to dispose of his services, to have undertaken disciplinary procedures in line with the terms and conditions of his employment. That they could announce so quickly that he would not be returning… that says ‘freelancer’ to me.&

However, that’s a separate point. The main point I wish to make is… well, the main question I wish to ask is… WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU PLAYING AT, BBC THREE COUNTIES RADIO?

If someone makes a bigoted point, then the presenter has every right – one might even argue obligation – to say so. Their religion should not, does not and must not protect them from that, especially when they’re commenting upon a matter of public interest in the public arena. If a priest or rabbi or immam wants to mouth off about homosexuality in the privacy of their church, synagogue or mosque, without being called on it, that’s an arguable case. And inside a prison, the Authority isn’t God, but the Prison Governer. But the moment you enter the public arena, there’s no argument: you don’t get to muzzle others when they call you bigoted.

As many have said over many years, freedom of speech is not freedom from the consequences of that speech.

The BBC are wrong on this, flat wrong. And I’m not very proud of them at all for their decision. Their sacking of Iain Lee is a disgrace; it’s indefensible and contrary to what BBC should stand for: to educate, inform and entertain.

I hope that Iain Lee goes on to better and brighter things.

Another blast from the past today, sparked by the following tweet:

From YourDictionary (adjusted for British spelling):

pros·e·ly·tise (prs-l-tz)
v. pros·e·ly·tised, pros·e·ly·tis·ing, pros·e·ly·tis·es
v. intr. To induce someone to convert to one’s own religious faith; to induce someone to join one’s own political party or to espouse one’s doctrine.
v. tr. To convert (a person) from one belief, doctrine, cause, or faith to another.

Judaism frowns upon such activities, and Jews are not supposed to try to convert others. That in itself might explain why it pisses us off so mightily when others try to do it to us. I’ve no problem with people who are religious, merely with those who try to convert others to their religion. Now, this has come up in conversation a few times, and I always mean to post about it, so here it is.

Budgie’s encounter with a bible-basher once on the London Underground….
This happened a few years ago, when possibly I wasn’t the lovable, amiable easy-going (!) Budgie that you now know…

I know it had been a long day and I was very irritable. That has to be understood to appreciate the following. Now I can’t remember why I was irritable. Quite possibly, I’d been given a telling off at work… Maybe I’d had a bad night’s sleep the previous night… I can’t remember now, but whatever the reason, I was on a short fuse.

I got on the underground, the Tube, to go home and almost immediately upon opening my evening newspaper to read, I found a bible-thumper in front of me.

And the conversation went something like this:

Him: “Do you believe in God?”

Budgie: “Not now, eh?”

Him: “Ah, but if not now, then when?”

Budgie: “Leave it out, mate, ok? I’ve had a bad day.”

Him: “Ah, but God will make it right. He and His Son, Jesus Christ, will make everything OK.”

Budgie: “Look, I’m reading my paper. Go away. Please.”

Him: “Ah but Jesus never goes away. He is everywhere.”

Budgie: “No, really – not interested.”

Him: “Jesus is always interested in you. Just open your heart to Him and…”

(At this point, I thought I’d try one more time without getting nasty.)

Budgie: “You’re onto a loser mate, I’m Jewish.”

Him: “So was Our Lord Jesus…”

(I finally lost my cool.)

Budgie: “Yes, and we nailed him to a tree two thousand years ago. If you don’t want the same to happen to you, Piss. Off.

You have never seen a look like that which appeared on this bloke’s face. He stammered a bit and stumbled away. I glanced up and saw a half dozen people looking at me, some with barely contained amusement, some with poker faces. I looked at one of them and apologised immediately for any offence I’d caused. “No apology necessary,” came the response, “I’m a Christian myself and was just wondering if I’d get away with the line next time one of these loonies bothered me on the Tube… do you mind if I steal the line?”