"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door." The Statue of Liberty (P.S. Please be so kind as to enter through the proper channels and in an orderly fashion)

Location: Arlington, Virginia, United States

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Bad Theology...Or Satanic Inversion?

Evil is the inversion of Good. In Milton's Paradise Lost, Lucifer boasted, "I will make a heaven of hell, and a hell of heaven," and spends many stanzas leveling the playing field with rhetorical tricks and moral relativism to equalize the respective values of Good and Evil, rotating the moral universe so that the poles rest on the same horizontal axis.

Then there is a quick exchange of cards, the rotation continues, and--from Lucifer's egocentric point of view-- the universe is turned upside down, with Lucifer at the apex and God at the bottom.

Up now equals "down," and down equals "up."

And voila: Milton's Lucifer steals the show as a freedom-fighting hero of sorts struggling out of the hands of an angry and oppressive Tyrant (i.e. God).

That it is Lucifer who demonstrates unbridled anger and boasts of his intentions to oppress and torment the entire human race is besides the point (as Lucifer himself assures us)...or is God's fault (as Lucifer explains with rationalizing sophistries).

It's all projection and rhetorical tricks, of course, as God Himself is Immovable, and Lucifer--a.k.a. Satan-- though deluded accordingly, knows it and must finally admit that spite is his motivation (though he manages to somewhat justify that, as well).

Nevertheless, the deft card-exchange can lead to confusion when the proverbial wolf-in-sheep's-clothing flashes credentials:

Virginia Tech mass murderer Cho Seung-Hui played this hand: "Jesus loves crucifying me."

That Jesus card was stolen (and shuffled in to a deck that was not full to begin with).

Christian Doctrine holds that Christ allowed Himself to be crucified in our stead in an act of selfless Love because he was not fond at all of seeing us suffer (no less "crucified"), however deserving.

Seung-Hui appeared to be the only one enjoying crucifying people for the purpose of satisfying his own selfish--and vindictive-- ego and sense of "just deserts," so he was simply projecting his own darkness on God--precisely like Milton's Lucifer did.

True, Christ told his disciples "Pick up your cross and follow me," but that was in the context of a wicked world that "loved to crucify," and Seung-Hui was an agent of that world, crucifying others, and then killing himself.

And it was utter destruction, not redemptive Salvation.

"Thanks to you, I die like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and the defenseless people," Seung-Hui played again.

Right. "The People." Seung-Hui was acting on behalf of generations of faceless, nameless, anonymous people while massacring weak (i.e. weaponless) and defenseless people who had faces and names.

Meanwhile on the cross, Jesus prayed for his crucifiers (both for those who had faces and names and for generations of us afterward, who continue to crucify, however unwittingly): "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do."

It was such forgiveness, and Love, which has inspired generations of "weak and defenseless people" to be strong and able to withstand--and prevail against-- hate and violence.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Global Warming Dunnit!

Binghamton, N.Y.:

11.7 inches of snow fell on April 16.

Pretty freakish indeed, surpassing the old April record of 11.5 inches set on April 9...

...1960! (which, it should be added, was probably cited as evidence in the 1970's to support the "expert" predictions for a "Second Ice Age").

Monday, April 16, 2007

On This Day In History

April 16, 2004

Deadliest shooting rampage in American history.

This Week In History

(From top: Apollo 13 blasts off; Fort Sumter is shelled; FDR; Vostok I; Thomas Jefferson; 1st Edition Webster's Dictionary; Lincoln's assassination; Titanic's sinking; Alexis de Tocqueville)

April 11

1970 - Apollo 13 radios: "Houston, we've had a problem."

April 12

1861 - Fort Sumter in South Carolina is shelled by forces under Confederate General P.G.T Beauregard, beginning the Civil War.

1945- FDR dies of a cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Georgia (four months before the end of WWII).

1961- Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union achieves Earth orbit in a Vostok rocket, and becomes the first human being in history to enter space.

April 13

1743 - Thomas Jefferson is born.

April 14

1828 - Webster's Dictionary is first published on this day with 30,000 entries.

1865 - Abraham Lincoln is shot in Ford's Theater in Washington, DC, on Good Friday, four years and two days after the attack on Fort Sumter begins the Civil War, and five days after Lee's formal surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House

April 15

1865 - Abraham Lincoln dies on this day.

1912 - The R.M.S. Titanic sinks on this day.

April 16

1859 - French chronicler of American democracy Alexis de Tocqueville dies on this day.