lördag, november 28, 2009

Swedish reaction to Ugandan anti Gay legislation

Translation of todays Article in Dagen (The Day, Pentecostal)

Sweden may cut its aid to Uganda, if the proposed harsh anti Gay legislation is carried through, Minister for In-ternational Development Cooperation, in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Ms Gunilla Carlsson (Conservative) said today in The Daily Echo news programme (Swedish Radio).

According to the proposal Homosexuals may be sentenced to prison or, in the worst case, death.

I think it’s horrible. My Secretary of State has taken this up in direct contact with the (Ugandan) Government. We have expressed our meaning locally and I myself have tried to contact organisations which work with those who are subjected to this oppression in Uganda, Gunilla Carlsson said.

The Minister expresses her particular dismay because Uganda is a country with which Sweden has had liaisons for a very long time.

According to the proposed legislation anyone who is caught having sexual relations with a person of the same gender may get 7 years in gaol. For so called “gross homosexuality” death penalty may be given.

Also persons who fail to denounce persons who are homosexual or work for the civil rights of gay people may be sentenced to gaol.

From 2000 Sweden has given aid to Uganda amounting to on average 330 million Swedish Crowns per year.”

It may be added that the present Ugandan Dictator lived his years of Exile in Gothenburg, Sweden, married a Ugandan and had his 4 children there. It was from Landvetter Airport that he went back to Uganda in triumph in 1986 carrying an attaché suit case full of Dollares of unknown provenance which he originally hadn't declared, which was a crime in those pre EU times of strict monetary regulations…

It obviously wasn't his own money, since when asked to declare it by Airport Security staff, he made an awful fuss... Actually, as I remember it, it was his refusal and untimely accusations of racism that made the Security staff suspicious as to the contents of the suitcase.

In the end he was allowed only to give the name of the Bank through which he had obtained the money. Indeed one wonders who is being the foreign agent here...

Click on the head line to read the original article in Dagen.

Addendum 1.

From Svenska Dagbladet (Conservative): Gunilla Carlsson expressed her horror at the repressive legislation in the making in Uganda, which for a long time has been a recipient of Swedish aid. If the legislation is passed homosexuality may be punished by a death sentence.

– It’s dreadful, especially since this is an oppression directed towards a minority. We have had contacts, and my Secretary of State has taken this up with the Ugandan Government. This is a country we have long term relations to, but it feels rather hopeless.

Question being what this means for the possibility of continued Swedish aid.

– It will be considerably difficult. We may consider withdrawing it in part.

Addendum 2.

I see on my little map that I have a visitor from Uganda...

Addendum 3.

Link to Andrew Brown's comment in The Guardian.

Addendum 4.

Article in the The Examiner

Addendum 5.

Link to Sveriges Radio international.

Addendum 6.

Link to The Times.

Addendium 7.

Box Turtle Bulletin gives the actual text of the proposed draconian legislation.

Addendum 8.

Rachel Maddow has this comment on the American political/religious powers involved in this affair.

Addendum 9, 7th of December

Crickets still chirping at Lambeth Palace... But in less than 12 hours a statement was issued on the election of two assistant Bishops in Los Angeles. Andrew Brown comments in the Guardian .

Thanks to Father Jake Stops the World (right hand bar) for the krickets.

Addendum 10.

Rachel Maddow explains the direct links between the proposed Ugandan legislation and the Washington-based Political/Religious organisation The Family (of the sex scandals and Presidential Prayer Breakfasts), of which both the promotor of this hatefilled legislation and President Museveni are long time members (High Treason, anyone?).

Addendum 11.

Yet another link to Public Eye .

Addendum 12.

Meanwhile, not all is hopeless in Uganda. An editorial in The New Vision , the Regime news paper, makes the claim that the propo-sed legislation shouldn't pass. It seems the American backers aren't so keen on their little Social/Legal/Political experiment, after all...

Silence = Death, whereas speaking up matters.

Addendum 13.

Yet another reaction, yet another link. US Senators do and don't speak up on this inhumane and ill advised proposal. From Rachel Maddow .

söndag, november 08, 2009

Consecrations at Upsala Cathedral

Arch-Bishop Anders Wejryd today consecrated the new Bishops of Härnösand, Tuulikki Koivunen Bylund, formerly Dean of Upsala and Stockholm, Eva Brunne, formerly Diocesan Dean of Stock-holm, at Upsala Cathedral, in the presence of Their Majesties and distinguished guests from far and near. For photos, click on the headline!

torsdag, oktober 22, 2009

Marriage Made Gender Neutral

The General Synod of the Church of Sweden assembled at Uppsala has voted to make Marriage Gender Neutral. 176 Ayes, 62 Noes, 11 Abstentions. In force from November the 1st.

Click on the headline!

tisdag, september 08, 2009

New Bishop of Stockholm confirmed.

Ms Eva Brunne was confirmed today as the 8th Bishop of Stock-holm after some legal wrangling (unjustified). Bishop Brunne who was elected by a majority of delegates on the 21st of April is partnered with another woman, who is also a Priest. Bishop Brunne will be consecrated on the 8th of November at Upsala Cathedral together with Finnish born Ms Tuulikki Koivunen Bylund, the new Bishop of Härnösand. Ms Brunne is currently Diocesan Dean of Stockholm and Ms Koivonen Bylund is Dean of Upsala.

lördag, september 05, 2009

Biblical Marriage.

With kind permission of the author, The Reverend William Fleener, Sr, Priest of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Michigan, retired.

“For instance, reading any statements in the Bible about sexual behaviour without recognizing that women were “things”, some-what less than men in completeness of humanity. All women were owned by their fathers until title to them was transferred to their husbands. For a man to have intercourse with a woman who was unmarried was an act of stealing from her father, who could no longer expect to receive a bride price in exchange for “giving a-way” (strange term, because it was a sale, not a gift) his daughter.

For a man to commit adultery was a matter of stealing the pro-perty of her husband.

Also, there were no “temple prostitutes”. Prostitutes sell sex for money. Baal temple priestess were fertile ground in which a man planted his “seed” in order to guarantee that Baal would bless his planting of seed in his land and his wife and the planting of seed by his male animals in his female animals. At the time of “planting” in the priestess, an offering was given to the Baal temple, but it was not to pay for the sex act.

By the time the Hebrews spread into the land after the Exodus, the Baalists had found out that some men’s families were in danger of not having good crops because those men could not respond to the female bodies of the priestess and plant their seed in them. The had chosen a few of such men and made them priests, to which the same-sex oriented family heads could go to plant their seed and guarantee Baal’s gift of grain to feed their families.

The women counted for nothing except receptacles, and inter-course with them was considered essential to good crops, not as stealing/adultery.

Such acts were abominations, not morally because they were adultery or same-sex sexual activity, but because they were acts of worship of Baal, not Yahweh, and made a man “unclean” and thus excluded from Yahweh worship.

Asking the people who had been farming the “promised” land for many generations how to guarantee good crops was no different from the English colonists in this country following the advice of Native Americans to put a bit of fish in with each mound of 4-5 corn seeds. The difference between the two is that the colonists considered the American Indians to be ignorant savages, and missed the “worship” content of the natives’ connection with the land and the Great Spirit who had given the land.

“The plain meaning of Scripture” has to take into account the meaning the words had to the original writers and hearers, not just what the words seem to us to convey in Century 21.

By the way, God seems to have negated the custom of ownership of women when Mary of Nazareth didn’t have to ask the Angel to wait, while she asked her father and Joseph for permission to accept her “call” to bear the Christ child. I look no farther than Luke 1:26-38 for the origin of the feminist movement. It took us a very long time to hear God saying women could make their own decisions, and we didn’t hear it until that idea gained popularity in our society, but it was our message originally.”

Pinched from the House of Bishops/House of Deputies (of the Epis-copal Church) list.

PS The Reverend Fleener has kindly let me know than anyone interested is free to reprint this.

torsdag, september 03, 2009


Pictures of my Cabin and part of the sur-roundings on Styrsö are now on my Face Book page.

tisdag, augusti 25, 2009

The Books of Concord

In Sweden the circulating edition of the German 1580 Liber Concordiae; the Books of Concord, is a private one, which was made in 1944 after the 1930 German "Urtext" after the Latin...

But in Sweden the Books of Concord have little standing; they are merely an explanation (1660) to the un-changed 1530 Confessio Augustana.

The 1580 Books of Concord are the Confessional writs of the Gnesio Lutherans of Germany, Dr Martin’s spiritual grandchild-ren. They were, however, only achieved through long draw out negotiations among the representatives of the most important Princes whose predecessors had once signed the CA during Charles V’s Coronation Parliament as German Emperor in Frank-furt in April 1530.

As you remember, there is also a Calvinism-leaning CA 1540; the CA Variata, and an Eastern-leaning one; the 1548 CA Variatis-sima.

In Sweden it has always been the 1530 Confessio Augustana which has been at the centre of discussions… meaning that in the 1563 Liquorist quarrel the opposition (Huguenot Senator Beur-reus, former teacher to the sons of King Gustaf I) claimed the 1530 CA, but quoted the Variata ;=) calling Lutheran Arch Bishop Laurentius Petri (the second longest serving to date) a Roman…

In fact the penultimate Provincial Synod, the famous 1593 Upsala Meeting changed the German languish version of the CA 1530 in its Confessio fídei of the 20th March 1593. It's only this Confessio fídei, published in 1594 and never reprinted (it’s the contents not the letter, even less the print, which is valid in the Church) which is the Confession of the Church of Sweden, despite what the 19th century Pietists say.

The 1st Article of the 1593 Confessio fídei retains the 3 Old Church formulas; the Apostolicum (largely a Roman Baptism Confession of the 2nd century, the filioque being Carolingian: the Council of Frankfurt 795), the Nicenum (first adopted not in Nicea 325 but in Constantinoples in 394), the Anastasianum (Spanish/Carolin-gian, only ever used in monasteries – its inclusion being the influ-ence of Melanchthon’s Academic Reform humanism), as well as the un-changed CA 1530.

The 2nd Article affirms God's Pure (“pure” meaning Gospel only, refuting Works) and Salvific Word as expressed by the Writs of the Holy Prophets, Evangelists and Apostles (this is a refutal of the Calvinist formula “the Prophets and the Apostles”, the OT minus the OT "Apocrypha" plus the NT plus the NT Apocrypha, the Gnosticist/Philosophical Alexandrian deutero-canonical (as best) writs, so dear to Calvinism ;=)

It also states that these comprise all that is necessary.

Further it affirms the church teaching in the Age of Old King Gus-taff I and the 1571 Church order of Arch Bishop Lars.

It also rejects remaining “unnecessary ceremonies”; candles, mo-ving the Missal from right to left, bells at elevation… saying that the Priest shall teach the people to drop these – but without anger and noise… (it’s doubtful if this actually happened before the 19th century).

The 3rd Article rejects the (2nd) Baptismal exorcism, come back in our days (this was Calvinist influence – the Kings from Charles IX were Calvinists until Adolph Frederic of Holstein-Gottorp, who had been the Lutheran Bishop of Lübeck).

The 4th Article rejects the 1576 Lithurgia (quasi Roman but non Tridentine) of King John III.

The 5th Article confirms the right of private assembly of immi-grated “foreign confessors” (Calvinists) for the sake of Trade and Commerce. However these were forbidden to have churches or profess their Religion openly. This came from a 1563 Open Letter of Eric XIV, in fact defending the adherents (including Berreus’ brother-in-law the Superintendant Ofeegh; un-Cowardly, of Väst-erås) of Zwinglian Supper, after the 1563 Parliament. The War with Denmark had made wine expensive - and the Zwinglian-leaning tried to take advantage of the situation...

The 6th Article promulgates the desicions and orders their publication (in 1594).

The Books of Concord, omitting Melanchthon’s Tractatus papae; his 1534 rebuttal of Gregory VII’s 1073 Dictatus Papae – obvious-ly, the Bishop of Rome wasn’t perceived as a Dictatus problem in Sweden - were only published in the 1730 Concordia Pia, contem-poraneous with the Senate’s eviction the Radical Pietists.

The sole exception seems to be the 1510s, when Albrecht of Bran-denburg, Arch Bishop of Magdeburg, paid for his 1514 elevation as Elector Arch Bishop of Mainz by the selling of indulgencies while the Pope simultaneously was pressed to support Charles V's policies in defence of his brother-in-law Christiern II against Sweden.

The indulgencies sold in Sweden ended up in Copenhagen paying for Christian’s War – which caused a rightful scandal, putting an end to the Union of Calmar and preparing the way for the Reformation...

The Books of Concord. like in Germany, were resurrected in the 19th century by the conservative Pietist in their fight against the established church in Prussia (think the 1830 Agenda).

Slightly enlarged from a comment on a place not to be named...

måndag, augusti 24, 2009

The Bible Canonical?

Counterlight has written some very interesting entries about the influences on early Christian art on his Blog and today he has reached Emperor Constantine’s time and the emergent Church Catholic. Which makes me wonder if the use by Constantine and his successors of Christianity as a means of unifying the Empire was an afterthought…?

Likeways it seems that there were no Bibles in our sense yet, only lose books sometimes collected, but more often separate: the 4 Gospels in different order in West (Matthew, John, Mark, Luke) and East (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), the Corpus Paulinum (originally of 7 letters by length), in the end of 14, the Corpus Iohanneum (including the Apokalypis, which having 7 addressees is often thought of as an Epistle), the 7 Alexandrian Catholic Letters.

The Codex Vaticanus seems to have been among the first Pandects or whole Bibles, closely (after perhaps half a century) followed by the (somewhat different) Codex Sinaiticus.

The suspicion being, that they too were the product of a need/use for “unity” in State and Religion.

Remember that to Roman State theory (and all later State Ideo-logy…) these were one and the same. The nescessitas of Unity for stabilitas; the quiet of the State, was a never questioned dogma, up till the arrival of Democracy in the 20th century.

But the Idea that it was Constantine who established the Bible as a "Canon" is heard only in America – typical 20th century Ameri-can Integrism, I would say. Also, the concept of Canonical itself is in my mind very late and spurious.

1st Millennium Bibles were a hotch potch of this and that – to be excised piece after piece from the 12th century into the end pro-duct; the Bibles we know.

Take the big Codex Gigas at the Royal Library in Stockholm, for instance. Click on the Headline!

Gigas is not like a modern Bible. It was taken from Emperor Rudolph’s library in Prague in 1648, whence it had been taken from a convent in Bohemia which had gotten it from a German convent around 1200 (the Bohemian Chronicle of Kosmas having been added in the process).

Codex Gigas contains the OT in the Alexandrian pre Christian order, and with the Historical books after the lesser Prophets, ending with the Maccabees, to which is added Josephus’ Jewish Antiquities and an Old Latin NT, with the Catholic letters preced-ing Revelation and the Pauline Epistles last. Then follow some works we wouldn’t dream of putting in a Bible including the Encyclopaedia and letters (Laodicians) by Isidor of Seville, a Confession (unclear whether Saint Augustine's), his City of God, with illustration.

Then follows the famous illustration of the Devil, which popularly gives the book its name "The Devils Bible", followed by witchcraft formulas DE FURTIS & FEBRIBUS : on Thieves and Fevers, Kos-mas’ Bohemian Chronicle c:a 1045-1125, and the Necrologium or Names of Benefactors, to which is added a Calendar.

In reality the first canonical Bible in the Modern sense seems to have been the short (Calvinist, that is without the OT Apocrypha, but with the NT ones = the Alexandrian writs) 1555 Geneva Bible, closely followed by the Tridentine canonisation (erroneously in Hieronomys’s name) of the 12th century Parisian changes (the Versio vulgata parisiensis) in the Old Latin translation of the long LXX Bible (including the OT Apocrypha), as further changed by Erasmus and the boys in the 16th century (editing out the 5th century Byzantine additions in favour of the more familiar Parisian ones – so they clearly were aware of what they were doing ;=)

A 17th century edition of this 16th century Bible is what often is referred to as the Texus Receptus; the received Text.

torsdag, augusti 06, 2009

Father Jake is back!

Woo Hoo! Father Jake Stops the World is back in business! Drinks are on the house!

Now go to his site and visit! His comments on the proposed covenant are as good as ever.

Pinched literally from Hillbilly Musings But I don't manage to get his picture :-(

tisdag, juni 16, 2009

The Colour Colour

Translation of the below:

I am altering the colour of my Blog in honour of the brave Iranian peoples, Farsi, Azeri, Kurds and so on, who are experiencing a new turn in their long and eventful history.

Andrew Sullivan has the updates. Click on the headline!

måndag, juni 15, 2009

Färgen färg

Jag ändrar nu färgen på min Blogg i solidaritet med Irans alla modiga folk, perser, aserer, kurder, osv, som just genomlever ännu en kris i sin långa historia.

Andrew Sullivan, t.ex, har fler länkar. Klicka på rubriken!

måndag, juni 01, 2009

"Pro Life" Murder in Wichita

A Gynaecologist specialising in abortion was murdered on Pente-cost Sunday in his (Lutheran) church in Wichita, Kansas, were he served as an usher. Click on the Headline!

President Obama is “outraged” at this “heinous crime” and has instructed Attorney General Holder to start protecting doctors and clinics. A little late, methinks.

It was not the first attempt. Back in 1985 his clinic was bombed, in 1991 his clinic was picketed, in 1993 he was shot in both arms.

Lately Fox News' Bill O’Reilly has campaigned against him person-ally, and through "guests", in no less than 28 of his “shows”. And-rew Sullivan has the details here

That the somewhat extreme political climate in USA here plays an important part in this and other outbursts of violence is obvious, at least to outsiders here .

However, anti abortion organisations try to distance themselves from the murder. The hypocrites! Here is a short overview of this anti Modern political terror here.

Randal Terry the leader of anti abortion group “Operation Res-cue”, which picketed Dr Tiller's clinic all summer in 1991, says that he is concerned about the possible reactions of the Obama Administration (which he misrepresents, as anti moderns are wont to do), but apparently isn’t at all worried about the murder itself.

Do check Cany's comments on her blog Just Another Black Sheep! And don't miss the horrible video with Randall Terry, were he de-fends the indefensible and talks of "a teaching moment"!

Addendum a must read, Frank Scheffer: How I (and other "pro-life" Leaders) contributed to Dr Tiller's death, in Huffington Post.

Poor wreched country.

Conclusion: The "Pro Life" murder in Wichita and other ideologi-cally motivated attacks like it, seem to me yet another example of the Triumph of Culture over Gospel. The obvious parallel is here.

Christ in Gethsemane told Peter in no uncertain terms to put his sword back in the shaft. Obviously He thought that taking the road of violence makes us equal to the things we want to oppose...

We seem to have forgotten that on the way.

UPDATE 1): Rachel Maddow reported 4th June that the suspect has indeed been tied to Randal Terry's Operation Rescue here. At the moment of his arrest, hours after the murder, he had a note stuck on the dash board with the telephone number of Operation Rescue's Policy Maker Cheryl Sullenger who herself served about two years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic in California in 1988, and admits to giving him directions as to Dr. Tiller's home and church...

Who would have thunk?

Also: here Hat tip to Crooks and Liars.

UPPDATE 2) Friday 5 June The Department of Justice weighs in starting a Federal criminal investigation in the case here

söndag, maj 31, 2009

Antichrist à la Wasilla

A Pastor Hamman, Independent Baptist Church in Wasilla, Alaska, has an article in the local paper Monday claiming that the Anti-christ in the Book of Daniel is a Homosexual. Click on the head-line! Don’t forget the comments section, which shows that the good people of Wasilla has better judgement than the Pastor.

The Book of Daniel is written in Hebrew and Aramaic. The verse quoted by Pastor Hamman is Daniel 11:37b. The pastor uses (as American anti Moderns are wont to do - remember that the Revi-sed Standard Version is probably Communist because it has red covers :=) bisexual King James old translation (1611, revised 1765): “Neither shall he regard ... the desire of women...”

The NIV says “or for the one desired by women”. The 1917 Swe-dish State translation does the same (in Swedish), whereas both the the LXX; the Septuagint, the ancient Greek translation from Alexandria – only a couple of decades later than the Book of Daniel itself (165 BC) – and the King James translation omit the “for the one” necessary in both contemporary English and Swedish saying: kaì epith-mía gunaikån and "the desire of women”, respectively.

But the "for the one" is imbedded, as it is, in the kaì.

So it is not that the King (of Syria as it is ;=) does not desire wo-men, it’s that he has no regard for the lascivious Idol (Baal or Adonis) desired by women…

Illiterate pastor for sure. As one commenter at Joe.My.God. says: “Since the asshat doesn't even respect his own holy book enough to actually read it I have no idea why he expects the rest of us to.”

I must add a reflection. The unfortunate pastor's Bible-reading is only of one half verse. Almost nothing. Further, the half verse only says what it says and means what it means. It shouldn't give cause for any mis-understandings or mis-interpretations.

Yet it does.

And I think that this is what generally happens and has happened, not only in our latter days, but for the last Millennium.

The person mis-understands, mis-interprets something which is really very easy and means only what it says. And the reason are his expectations. What he expects to be there - he sees. No matter what.

Eisegeisis in-reading, not exegeisis out-reading.

But then; Eisegeisis is the rule, not the exception.

Hat tip Eruptions at the Foot of the Vulcano!

More at Box Turtle Bulletin,

and Joe.My.God.,

and Chatta Box.

måndag, april 13, 2009

Culture Wars lost

Dr James Dobson of Focus on the Family , one of the leaders of the anti Modern movement in USA and the World, the one who de-nounced Harry Potter as witchcraft ;=) who resigned a couple of years ago as chair of FoF, one of the bigger lobby groups over there, recently said to his staff in his farewell speech that the Culture Wars are lost and the USA is "awash in Evil" ;=)

So far, I haven’t seen many comments on this (there is this one in The Telegraph ) but a link on the first page of Huffington Post lea-ding to The Washington Monthly (Click on the headline!), but I find this piece of news most significant: the maker of late modern anti Modern Social Politics in Biblical drag concedes defeat after almost 40 years!

"We tried to defend the unborn child, the dignity of the family, but it was a holding action."

"We are awash in evil and the battle is still to be waged. We are right now in the most discouraging period of that long conflict. Humanly speaking, we can say we have lost all those battles..."

Intolerance and Hate have lost.

But, Dr Dobson hasn’t given up hope quite yet: “… but God is in control and we are not going to give up now, right? ... I have been assured by the board [of FoF] and by many of you that we're not going to cow, we're not going to be discouraged."

Yeah, God is in control. Dr Dobson better start listening to the Gospel!

7 countries in the World (6 in Europe and 1 in Africa) presently allow Gay Marriage, so does 4 States in the USA, some only from this month, with more coming up.

Indeed, Intolerance and Hate and the Re-subordination of women as Social Politics have lost its appeal.

Time for the ancient Paschal cry of generations:
Χριστός ανέστη! Christ has arisen!

lördag, april 11, 2009

Moving house

In a week I shall be moving house. From my 1970ies suburban
Botkyrka, Bothwid’s church with 8 storey buildings built by the same Swedish company /the BPA; Byggproduction AB, the Buil-ding Production Ltd) which built many houses in Communist Poland and the DDR, to the ancient village on Styrsö or Steering Island (the Vikings used a cairn on it as a mark to go to the big Slave market on neighbouring Brännö (Burnt Island?).

Most everything is upside down at the moment. Yesterday I pac-ked the china. Tree big boxes full. About half of the books are done. It will be some 80 paper bags in total.

I’ve already sold two off of the book-cases (they are much too tall to take, the room which I intend to have for my library is just 185 centimeters high - Papa wasn't able to stand in it). Five book-cases remain, but we’ll see about that. Doesn’t seem much of a market for book-cases, or indeed anything, just now.

The lorry comes to Botkyrka this Thursday and arrives on the island by ferry on Monday, 8 days. I take the train next Saturday with little Casper in his cage. He detests the underground and the tram - they are too shaky and make too much noice, but last time he slept in the train ;=) Hopefully I shall be able to organise a bit in the house before the lorry turns up.

The house is our old summer cottage, a late medieval type log cabin, built in 1811, our neighbour Lisa Jonason always said. Three sections, vestibule and kitchen in the middle, a room to either side of about 22 square meters, 2 bedchambers in the attic.

And it’s already pretty full, for my mother never managed to throw anything away…

I shall do some repairs, of course. Take down an old cupboard-wardrobe, put up some wall paper (William Morris), put in a shower and a washing machine in the attic. Also, redo the kitchen and fill in a couple of very secondary doors, adding a cat door for little Casper.

Then it is the garden which has died almost completely in recent years when my parents rarely went. When we were children there were Apple trees (Transparente blanches, red Winter apples clim-bing on the cliff, & c.). A Sour Cherry tree, a Pear tree (which long-time was too young to give any fruit), a Plum tree (Victoria), and berries of all kinds.

There also were a few Farmer's Paeonia and a very beautiful old Rose bush with plenty of small, fragrant roses. They were a very light pink but otherwise like these.

Also the flower bed by the gate is gone. So is much of the gate it-self, and part of the fence...

But the outhouse (the one still standing) is full…

So I shall probably be silent from approximately Thursday next to the following Monday or Tuesday.

Bee good!

lördag, april 04, 2009

The Letter from Birmingham Jail.

Today is the anniversary of the death of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr, so I find it proper to post his Letter from Birmingham Jail to a couple of Episcopal prelates on the wrong side of History. The letter is very long but rightly famous.

16 April 1963

My Dear Fellow Clergymen:
While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities "unwise and untimely." Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

I think I should indicate why I am here in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against "outsiders coming in." I have the honor of serving as president of the Sout-hern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some eighty five affiliated organizations across the South, and one of them is the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. Frequently we share staff, educational and financial resources with our affiliates. Several months ago the affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on call to engage in a nonviolent direct action program if such were deemed necessary. We readily consented, and when the hour came we lived up to our promise. So I, along with several members of my staff, am here because I was invited here. I am here because I have organiza-tional ties here.

But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.

Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communi-ties and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concer-ned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.

Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be con-sidered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar con-cern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes. It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city's white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative.

In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action. We have gone through all these steps in Birmingham. There can be no gainsaying the fact that racial injustice engulfs this community. Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case. On the basis of these conditions, Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the latter consis-tently refused to engage in good faith negotiation.

Then, last September, came the opportunity to talk with leaders of Birmingham's economic community. In the course of the negoti-ations, certain promises were made by the merchants - for examp-le, to remove the stores' humiliating racial signs. On the basis of these promises, the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and the leaders of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights agreed to a moratorium on all demonstrations. As the weeks and months went by, we realized that we were the victims of a broken pro-mise. A few signs, briefly removed, returned; the others remai-ned. As in so many past experiences, our hopes had been blasted, and the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us. We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community. Mindful of the difficulties involved, we decided to undertake a process of self purification. We began a series of workshops on nonviolence, and we repeatedly asked ourselves: "Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?" "Are you able to endure the ordeal of jail?" We decided to schedule our direct action program for the Easter season, realizing that except for Christmas, this is the main shopping period of the year. Knowing that a strong economic-withdrawal program would be the by product of direct action, we felt that this would be the best time to bring pressure to bear on the merchants for the needed change.

Then it occurred to us that Birmingham's mayoral election was coming up in March, and we speedily decided to postpone action until after election day. When we discovered that the Commissio-ner of Public Safety, Eugene "Bull" Connor, had piled up enough votes to be in the run off, we decided again to postpone action until the day after the run off so that the demonstrations could not be used to cloud the issues. Like many others, we waited to see Mr. Connor defeated, and to this end we endured postpone-ment after postponement. Having aided in this community need, we felt that our direct action program could be delayed no longer.

You may well ask: "Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?" You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brother-hood. The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotia-tion. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.

One of the basic points in your statement is that the action that I and my associates have taken in Birmingham is untimely. Some have asked: "Why didn't you give the new city administration time to act?" The only answer that I can give to this query is that the new Birmingham administration must be prodded about as much as the outgoing one, before it will act. We are sadly mistaken if we feel that the election of Albert Boutwell as mayor will bring the millennium to Birmingham. While Mr. Boutwell is a much more gentle person than Mr. Connor, they are both segregationists, dedicated to maintenance of the status quo. I have hope that Mr. Boutwell will be reasonable enough to see the futility of massive resistance to desegregation. But he will not see this without pressure from devotees of civil rights. My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.

We know through painful experience that freedom is never volun-tarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppres-sed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing fami-liarity.

This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."

We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness"--then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the persona-lity. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an "I it" relationship for an "I thou" relationship and ends up rele-gating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separa-tion. Is not segregation an existential expression of man's tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong.

Let us consider a more concrete example of just and unjust laws. An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal. Let me give another explanation. A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up that state's segregation laws was democrati-cally elected? Throughout Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single Negro is registered. Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured?

Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.

I hope you are able to see the distinction I am trying to point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.

Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. In our own nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil disobedience.
We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal." It was "illegal" to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country's antireligious laws.

I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.

In your statement you assert that our actions, even though peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence. But is this a logical assertion? Isn't this like condemning a robbed man because his possession of money precipitated the evil act of robbery? Isn't this like condemning Socrates because his unswerving commitment to truth and his philosophical inquiries precipitated the act by the misguided populace in which they made him drink hemlock? Isn't this like condemning Jesus because his unique God consciousness and never ceasing devotion to God's will precipitated the evil act of crucifixion? We must come to see that, as the federal courts have consistently affirmed, it is wrong to urge an individual to cease his efforts to gain his basic constitutional rights because the quest may precipitate violence. Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber. I had also hoped that the white moderate would reject the myth concerning time in relation to the struggle for freedom. I have just received a letter from a white brother in Texas. He writes: "All Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost two thousand years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth." Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.

You speak of our activity in Birmingham as extreme. At first I was rather disappointed that fellow clergymen would see my nonviolent efforts as those of an extremist. I began thinking about the fact that I stand in the middle of two opposing forces in the Negro community. One is a force of complacency, made up in part of Negroes who, as a result of long years of oppression, are so drained of self respect and a sense of "somebodiness" that they have adjusted to segregation; and in part of a few middle-class Negroes who, because of a degree of academic and economic security and because in some ways they profit by segregation, have become insensitive to the problems of the masses. The other force is one of bitterness and hatred, and it comes perilously close to advocating violence. It is expressed in the various black nationalist groups that are springing up across the nation, the largest and best known being Elijah Muhammad's Muslim movement. Nourished by the Negro's frustration over the continued existence of racial discrimination, this movement is made up of people who have lost faith in America, who have absolutely repudiated Christianity, and who have concluded that the white man is an incorrigible "devil."
I have tried to stand between these two forces, saying that we need emulate neither the "do nothingism" of the complacent nor the hatred and despair of the black nationalist. For there is the more excellent way of love and nonviolent protest. I am grateful to God that, through the influence of the Negro church, the way of nonviolence became an integral part of our struggle. If this philosophy had not emerged, by now many streets of the South would, I am convinced, be flowing with blood. And I am further convinced that if our white brothers dismiss as "rabble rousers" and "outside agitators" those of us who employ nonviolent direct action, and if they refuse to support our nonviolent efforts, millions of Negroes will, out of frustration and despair, seek solace and security in black nationalist ideologies--a development that would inevitably lead to a frightening racial nightmare.

Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something without has reminded him that it can be gained. Consciously or unconsciously, he has been caught up by the Zeitgeist, and with his black brothers of Africa and his brown and yellow brothers of Asia, South America and the Caribbean, the United States Negro is moving with a sense of great urgency toward the promised land of racial justice. If one recognizes this vital urge that has engulfed the Negro community, one should readily understand why public demonstrations are taking place. The Negro has many pent up resentments and latent frustrations, and he must release them. So let him march; let him make prayer pilgrimages to the city hall; let him go on freedom rides -and try to understand why he must do so. If his repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history. So I have not said to my people: "Get rid of your discontent." Rather, I have tried to say that this normal and healthy discontent can be channeled into the creative outlet of nonviolent direct action. And now this approach is being termed extremist. But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Was not Amos an extremist for justice: "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream." Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist: "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God." And John Bunyan: "I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience." And Abraham Lincoln: "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free." And Thomas Jefferson: "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal . . ." So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime--the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.

I had hoped that the white moderate would see this need. Perhaps I was too optimistic; perhaps I expected too much. I suppose I should have realized that few members of the oppressor race can understand the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed race, and still fewer have the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent and determined action. I am thankful, however, that some of our white brothers in the South have grasped the meaning of this social revolution and committed themselves to it. They are still all too few in quantity, but they are big in quality. Some -such as Ralph McGill, Lillian Smith, Harry Golden, James McBride Dabbs, Ann Braden and Sarah Patton Boyle--have written about our struggle in eloquent and prophetic terms. Others have marched with us down nameless streets of the South. They have languished in filthy, roach infested jails, suffering the abuse and brutality of policemen who view them as "dirty nigger-lovers." Unlike so many of their moderate brothers and sisters, they have recognized the urgency of the moment and sensed the need for powerful "action" antidotes to combat the disease of segregation. Let me take note of my other major disappointment. I have been so greatly disappointed with the white church and its leadership. Of course, there are some notable exceptions. I am not unmindful of the fact that each of you has taken some significant stands on this issue. I commend you, Reverend Stallings, for your Christian stand on this past Sunday, in welcoming Negroes to your worship service on a nonsegregated basis. I commend the Catholic leaders of this state for integrating Spring Hill College several years ago.

But despite these notable exceptions, I must honestly reiterate that I have been disappointed with the church. I do not say this as one of those negative critics who can always find something wrong with the church. I say this as a minister of the gospel, who loves the church; who was nurtured in its bosom; who has been sustained by its spiritual blessings and who will remain true to it as long as the cord of life shall lengthen.

When I was suddenly catapulted into the leadership of the bus protest in Montgomery, Alabama, a few years ago, I felt we would be supported by the white church. I felt that the white ministers, priests and rabbis of the South would be among our strongest allies. Instead, some have been outright opponents, refusing to understand the freedom movement and misrepresenting its leaders; all too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained glass windows.

In spite of my shattered dreams, I came to Birmingham with the hope that the white religious leadership of this community would see the justice of our cause and, with deep moral concern, would serve as the channel through which our just grievances could reach the power structure. I had hoped that each of you would understand. But again I have been disappointed.

I have heard numerous southern religious leaders admonish their worshipers to comply with a desegregation decision because it is the law, but I have longed to hear white ministers declare: "Follow this decree because integration is morally right and because the Negro is your brother." In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churchmen stand on the sideline and mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic injustice, I have heard many ministers say: "Those are social issues, with which the gospel has no real concern." And I have watched many churches commit themselves to a completely other worldly religion which makes a strange, un-Biblical distinction between body and soul, between the sacred and the secular.

I have traveled the length and breadth of Alabama, Mississippi and all the other southern states. On sweltering summer days and crisp autumn mornings I have looked at the South's beautiful churches with their lofty spires pointing heavenward. I have beheld the impressive outlines of her massive religious education buildings. Over and over I have found myself asking: "What kind of people worship here? Who is their God? Where were their voices when the lips of Governor Barnett dripped with words of interposition and nullification? Where were they when Governor Wallace gave a clarion call for defiance and hatred? Where were their voices of support when bruised and weary Negro men and women decided to rise from the dark dungeons of complacency to the bright hills of creative protest?"

Yes, these questions are still in my mind. In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the church. How could I do otherwise? I am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson and the great grandson of preachers. Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.

There was a time when the church was very powerful--in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators."' But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent--and often even vocal--sanction of things as they are.

But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.

Perhaps I have once again been too optimistic. Is organized religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world? Perhaps I must turn my faith to the inner spiritual church, the church within the church, as the true ekklesia and the hope of the world. But again I am thankful to God that some noble souls from the ranks of organized religion have broken loose from the paralyzing chains of conformity and joined us as active partners in the struggle for freedom. They have left their secure congregations and walked the streets of Albany, Georgia, with us. They have gone down the highways of the South on tortuous rides for freedom. Yes, they have gone to jail with us. Some have been dismissed from their churches, have lost the support of their bishops and fellow ministers. But they have acted in the faith that right defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. Their witness has been the spiritual salt that has preserved the true meaning of the gospel in these troubled times. They have carved a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment. I hope the church as a whole will meet the challenge of this decisive hour. But even if the church does not come to the aid of justice, I have no despair about the future. I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham, even if our motives are at present misunderstood. We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with America's destiny. Before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson etched the majestic words of the Declaration of Independence across the pages of history, we were here. For more than two centuries our forebears labored in this country without wages; they made cotton king; they built the homes of their masters while suffering gross injustice and shameful humiliation -and yet out of a bottomless vitality they continued to thrive and develop. If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands. Before closing I feel impelled to mention one other point in your statement that has troubled me profoundly. You warmly commended the Birmingham police force for keeping "order" and "preventing violence." I doubt that you would have so warmly commended the police force if you had seen its dogs sinking their teeth into unarmed, nonviolent Negroes. I doubt that you would so quickly commend the policemen if you were to observe their ugly and inhumane treatment of Negroes here in the city jail; if you were to watch them push and curse old Negro women and young Negro girls; if you were to see them slap and kick old Negro men and young boys; if you were to observe them, as they did on two occasions, refuse to give us food because we wanted to sing our grace together. I cannot join you in your praise of the Birmingham police department.

It is true that the police have exercised a degree of discipline in handling the demonstrators. In this sense they have conducted themselves rather "nonviolently" in public. But for what purpose? To preserve the evil system of segregation. Over the past few years I have consistently preached that nonviolence demands that the means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek. I have tried to make clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. But now I must affirm that it is just as wrong, or perhaps even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends. Perhaps Mr. Connor and his policemen have been rather nonviolent in public, as was Chief Pritchett in Albany, Georgia, but they have used the moral means of nonviolence to maintain the immoral end of racial injustice. As T. S. Eliot has said: "The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason."

I wish you had commended the Negro sit inners and demonstrators of Birmingham for their sublime courage, their willingness to suffer and their amazing discipline in the midst of great provocation. One day the South will recognize its real heroes. They will be the James Merediths, with the noble sense of purpose that enables them to face jeering and hostile mobs, and with the agonizing loneliness that characterizes the life of the pioneer. They will be old, oppressed, battered Negro women, symbolized in a seventy two year old woman in Montgomery, Alabama, who rose up with a sense of dignity and with her people decided not to ride segregated buses, and who responded with ungrammatical profundity to one who inquired about her weariness: "My feets is tired, but my soul is at rest." They will be the young high school and college students, the young ministers of the gospel and a host of their elders, courageously and nonviolently sitting in at lunch counters and willingly going to jail for conscience' sake. One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters, they were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judaeo Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

Never before have I written so long a letter. I'm afraid it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else can one do when he is alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long thoughts and pray long prayers?

If I have said anything in this letter that overstates the truth and indicates an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me. If I have said anything that understates the truth and indicates my having a patience that allows me to settle for anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me.

I hope this letter finds you strong in the faith. I also hope that circumstances will soon make it possible for me to meet each of you, not as an integrationist or a civil-rights leader but as a fellow clergyman and a Christian brother. Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.

Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood,

Martin Luther King, Jr.

(hat tip to Padrey Mickey from Panamà)

onsdag, april 01, 2009

Gender neutral Marriage

Marriage is Gender neutral in Sweden from ist of May the Riksdag voted today. 261 Ayes, 22 Nays, 16 abstained.

Those who are against (the 22 Nays) are very much against, but there is not much by way of newspaper stories as of yet. One-liners mostly. Gender neutral Marriage is no big issue here.

However, there is an article in the British Pink News.

Click on the headline!

onsdag, mars 18, 2009

Civil Rights

Julian Bond, ordförande för American Civil Rights Movement, och National Association for the Advancement of Colored People( NAACP) håller tal vid en middag i Los Angeles förra lördagen.

Klicka på rubriken!

Knyckt från Just another Black Sheep.

Bängt XVI far runt i spalterna

Nu har Biskopen av Rom uttalat sig, igen. Denna gången på sin afrikanska turné.

Och, olämpligt nog, om kondomer och AIDS, en riktig plåga för Afrika, bl.a. genom politikers och kyrkoledares negativa och orealistiska inställning till information och kondomanvändning (ofta underblåst av "hjälp" från administrationen Bush och o-demokratiska regimer i Mellan och Fjärran Östern).

Bängt XVIs uttalande spär på den historiskt grundade misstron mot Rom och andra kyrkor; mot Kyrkan som helhet. Nog har Bängt varit ute i spalterna tillräckligt denna vinter, för att lära sig det!

Old men forget, hette en engelsk politikers oförglömliga memoirer - Bängt XVI tycks vara beviset att de inte heller lär sig...

Han får tåla spe-orden; han har jobbat för det - och vi får tåla resultatet :-(

måndag, mars 16, 2009

Från You Tube

Ett litet klipp från You Tube med en amerikansk singer/songwriter Roy Zimmerman, som jag har knyckt från Musings of an Episcopal Padre, som knyckt det från Telling Secrets.

Klicka på rubriken!

måndag, mars 09, 2009

Bank Gospel!

I'm on the TEC House of Bishops and Deputies mailing list as a "kibitzer". Today Louie Crewe sent a HBTQI-oriented commercial from an Argentinian bank. It's a bit sentimental, but very sweet.

And they've "got" the Gospel ;=)

Click on the headline!

söndag, mars 08, 2009

On Bedfellows

Reply for Grand'mère Mimi:

The 3 words malakoì oúte arsenokoîtai in 1 Cor 6:9 refer to the 7th Commandment, the Household, by Paulos the House Congre-gation, and translates "soft"/ neither / arseno-koît-ai respecti-vely. The latter word signifying male "bedders" or concubin(s).

As Boswell 1980 points out the construction itself does not indi-cate which half is the subject/object and thus the meaning rests indefinable. He gives the example of the comedy “lady killers”, which are neither… I always think of “Gefillte Fisch”, a Yiddish course which isn’t filled but in-baked, as far as I can see (it’s very tasty).

However, the Old Latin translation from North Africa (maybe just 3/4 of a century after Paulos, thus elder than the youngest Alex-andrian “Letters” in the NT), is masculorum concubitores: male bedfellows.

Such were male prostitutes (they may have been EU-nucks – the ancient world is a different landscape...). And probably they pros-tituted themselves more often with xärai; (lit. widows) self sup-porting women, than with men. The ársen; “male” is there to un-derline their aptness for their trade…

Antiquity was full of Greek specialitées à prix fix which weren't even translatable to Ancient Latin...

Bedfellows were an important institution in pre Modernity. Hardly even Emperors or Kings slept alone in their beds. It was too cold. Queen Elizabeth I had a Swedish Woman of the Bed-chamber, Helena Snakenborg called My Good Lady Marquess of Northampton, Queen Catharine Parr’s brother’s 3rd wife and widow.

Strange as it may seem to us, bedfellows always were of the s a m e sex – or none, as were the case with wet-nurses… ;=) Just as men went about holding arms - they still do in pre modern cultures, that is most everything outside the West.

In Ancient Egypt Household members slept on the roof, well into Medieval times they slept in mats on the floor. At the beginning of the last century, most servants still slept in attics.

Stable boys slept in the hay (blankets were for horses, as my Grandmother’s eldest Aunt Selma - the family saint, much into slums and good works - was once rebuked when visiting her Uncle at Ekenäs in Finland. It was winter and she had come upon a heap of woollen blankets in the Vestibule and asked if she could take them out to the Stables. Yes you can, said Uncle Claes. Whereupon Aunt Selma exclaimed: How the stable boys will be pleased… Not the men – the horses! her uncle retorted.)

The word arsenokoîtai itself is probably Corinthian slang and not known in writing before Paulos around 54 AD (“1st“ Cor:1-8 is at least the third letter to Corinth, Chapters 8-16 is the second, and the “2nd“ Cor is the first preserved).

When, in the centuries after Paulos, it is (rarely) used it refers to economic abuse of different kinds; Greed, 10th Commandment.

Only from the 10th century the word seems gradually to have taken on a sexualized meaning, parallel to the way malakoì; “soft” (primarily of textiles), was changed to refer to “masturbation” (having taken on that meaning in Modern Greek for both women and men ;=)

Malakós in its primary sense is found in Luke 7:24 and Matt 11:8, referring to clothes, those of John the Baptist to be precise.

fredag, februari 06, 2009

Dag Hammarskjöld and the RSV 4.

The dear librarians had found the book – and it was one book, not two as in the catalogue…

It took only 4 minutes to check 1 Cor 6:9 up in Specialläsesalen; the Particular Reading Room, one floor up by a spiral stair. It was in mint condition – didn’t seem to have been used, even. No scribbles! (which I had actually hoped for, a little ;=)

The cover was indeed red, with the words THE HOLY BIBLE in gold. It’s funny, that editors – proud of their work that they must be – are so unwilling (or coy) when it comes to stating that a particular translation (in this case the RSV) with an Agenda, is precisely that…

In the 1952 1 Cor 6:9 reads exactly as expected, but with a footnote: “Two Greek words are translated by this expression”. Rather strange, actually. More honest than Bible editions usually are, but too imprecise to actually say what is happening:

Two Greek words are NOT translated by this expression!!!

On the contrary! Three Greek words are falsely (and intentionally) rendered as one different word, one Modern Concept. One that didn’t exist before 1869 (when the newly minted Homosexual was a medical diagnosis for an exaggerated sexual lust for persons of the same gender) and has changed its meaning first in 1890 (when, in the English translation of Dr von Krafft-Ebing’s Psychopathia Sexualis it was made into symmetric twin Concepts: homo- and hetero-), and was later to change its meaning once more in late modern Times (Pater Zerwick 1966 “Sexual Orientation” as identity ;=)

In fact, it is the 1972 which is changed, made to conform to the spirit of the anti gay 1966 English language Jerusalem Bible saying "sexual perverts” for malakoì oúte arsenokoîtai – as do the versions found on the Internet (the Jerusalem Bible actually says (catamites and sodomites, following Pater Zerwick's symmetrical Concept of "passive" gay man vs. "active" gay man ;=)

This differs, however, from the French original which is not overtly "homo"-sexualised in this place, only saying – vaguely – “ni depravés, ni gens de moeurs infames.”

It would, of course, have been thrilling, in its way, if the change from malakoì oúte arsenokoîtai to the ghastly “Homosexuals” could have been nailed down more exactly than to around 1950... but it doesn’t really matter.

What is important is the change, the forgery, not the dating.

Remains that the change is Socio-Political, anti Modern. And that this change probably has a lot more to do with the refused drafting of applicants to the USA Navy during WW2 – which made San Francisco into what it is today - than with the Holy Scriptures of the Bible, where no such thing as a Political ban on GLBTI is ever imagined, be it in the late modern form of “don’t ask, don’t tell”, or the actual Modern Blue Discharge from the US Navy.

Dag Hammarskjöld and the RSV 3.

So, this Thursday I went to the Royal Library in Humlegården (the former Royal Hop Garden) to ask for Dag Hammarskjöld’s
own copy of the RSV. Apparently he bought it in New York 1953, shortly after becoming Secretary General.

It was a new venture by the New York Bible Association, following novel translation principles, a thorough breach with the ancient principle of Correspondence word for word.

It must have been the talk of the town, at least in "churchy" circles.

However, many (Evangelicals, who else?) refused to acknowledge it because of its Red cover – that didn’t go down well in the era of

It was really funny to present my query to the (really very nice and helpful) librarians, who were, first of all, marvelling at the sheer numbers of Bibles in the various catalogues on paper and in the computer – not to mention in Dag Hammarskjöld’s own library… (remember that Sweden only has had one translation at a time, no questions asked), and that I needed precisely this very copy and no other.

I explained that it was translated in 1952 and much reworked twenty years later, accommodating Roman Dogmatics (including the Tu es Petrus… and all that). It even has an Imprimatur ;=)

And the only copies I have found besides this one, are 1972 ones.

Now, as I knew that important changes, with the intent of suppor-ting anti modern Sexual and Social Politics globally (but especially in America), had been made in 1966 by Roman Academics at Cambridge (the English language version of the 1961 Bible de Jérusalem, a long Bible including the OT Deutero-canonicals) and Rome (its accompanying, so called Analysis philologica Novi Testamenti graeci, by Pater Zerwick, S.J. – which is not in any way an “analysis”, but presents Rome’s Dogmatic interpretations), I had begun to wonder, if the oft repeated “homosexuality” in 1 Cor 6:9, were put first in the 1966 Jerusalem Bible, and then inserted in the 1972 RSV.

In the intervening years I had also found that Calvinists and Romans sometimes have radically different and incompatible interpretations (for pastoral reasons?) even when they agree based on a shared Gnosticism/Neo Platonism. Like the word koítän; the Bed, which Rome claims is a Verb (euphemistic) and the (nowadays) United Bible Societies (the Stuttgart Novum) still claim is a Noun – which it is.

So I wanted to see with my own eyes what the 1952 Calvinist RSV (a short Bible, excluding the OT Deutero-canonicals) put there.

In short, is “homosexuals” a Modern or late modern addition?

The search went on for quite a while, before the librarians mastered the electronics. Dag Hammarskjöld’s library (which to my mind should be a real Gem in the Crown of the Royal Library!), isn’t really searchable. They did find a siglum at last – but it has to be found by foot. Deep down in the underground vaults.

I felt a bit like Harry Potter in Gringott’s bank.

Dag Hammarskjöld and the RSV 2.

This lasted a couple of days, while I tried to systematize the many Words into better Concepts.

I found that the 1917 Concepts did not correspond at all to the Greek, but were (as I later found out) grafts from the 1862 changes in the Criminal law – Sweden’s equivalent to the English “Black-mailer’s Charter”, the infamous changes in the mid 19th century (still alive and kicking in former Colonies, such as Nigeria) that sent Oscar Wilde to Reading Gaol for "dining with Panthers", prostitute working-class lads.

And the 1862 Criminal law itself was grafted on a comment “Crimes against Nature” in the Appendix to the 1702 State Bible. Moreover, Charles XIth’s Bible commission had tried to introduce the changes made to the Texts themselves by Charles IXth’s Bible commission in 1603, but failed – the Church of Sweden vigorously defended its early 16th century translation by Drs Martin Luther and Olavus Petri!

Even some of the King’s most faithful academics (into Absolutism and their careers ;=) realised it couldn’t pass – and withdraw the proposal. Simultaneously, the entire edition of the new (Calvinist) Catechism was used for making cartouches, or simply thrown in the stream below Stockholm Castle...

The 1702 Appendix (thicker than the 5 Books of Moses) was the enduring result...

But which were the Concepts?

The 1917 State gives 10 Concepts (as did its forerunner, the 1888 State Normal Edition for the School):

Neither un-chaste, idolaters; “marriage breakers”, “those that let themselves be used for sin against nature”, those that themselves do such sin”; thieves, greedy; drinkers, revilers, graspers...

Sex, Cult, Sex, Sex, Sex, Theft, Greed, Drinking, Slander, Greed…

In fact, the influence of the 1862 Criminal law makes the 1888/ 1917 the first Modern – that is the first “homo”-sexualised – translation of 1 Cor 6:9-11! Much before any other (French privateer Louis Segond 1911 comes second - to be followed in late modernity by many others).

The 1981 gives 9 Concepts as: “no one who lives” in un-chastity, idolatry; fornication, malakoì, arsenokoîtai, homosexuality; theft, selfishness; drinks, is rude, or exploits...

Sex, Cult, Sex, Sex, Theft, Greed, Drinking, Slander, Greed…

Three (3) pre modern Words are replaced by a (1) late modern Concept. Ho, ho…

Whereas the Greek has the following 10 Concepts: pornoì, eídololátrai; moixoì, malakoì, arsenokoîtai; kléptai, pleonéktai, methusoi, loídoroi, árpages…

Cult, Cult, Disloyalty, Disloyalty, Disloyalty, Theft, Greed, Drinking, Slander, Greed…

Paul is after all a Rabbi, thus systematic – though not at all as systematic as the Matthew evangelists (around 140 AD), or Polycarp’s Hellenistic boys at Smyrna in alias 1 Tim 1:10 (probably written after Polycarp’s death in AD 155/6), who have 6 Commandments to Paul’s 4 ;=)

The first two are the 2nd Commandment; Cult,
the following three are the 7th Commandment; Disloyalty,
the next the 8th Commandment,
which make up the Big Commandments, the ones mentioned approvingly in the NT.
The remaining ones are all 10th Commandment – if one does not see the 3 last as "extras” expressing yet more Disloyalty to the Body of Christ; the House-Congregation…

The last 3 may indeed be “extras” (perhaps not even by Paul himself) because not being separated, as are the others - which are indisputably grounded in 4 of the 10 Commandments - by an oúte; neither, but simply by an ou, not.

And the Structure? Well I have given the answer already, haven’t I? The 10 Commandments!

These are much overlooked today, but central, ever present in the Holy Scriptures, which basically are a commentary on the 10 Commandments.

The rest is commentary, as someone said of the Bible (Rabbi Hillel?).

As much – if not all – of the Bible (The Sermon on the Mount, the Sermon in the Plain, the Beatitudes, and so on), 1 Cor 6:9-11 is in the order of the 10 Commandments – which ought greatly hem the creativity of anti Modern “translators” with an Agenda...

For the meanings of the 10 Concepts cannot, reasonably, be sought outside of the 10 Commandments (or, rather, the few that appear in the New Testament) but – alas – this doesn’t seem very often to be the case...

As always I underline important words by marking them important,
I underline changed words, words different from the original by underlining them,
and mark words not corresponding to any word at all in the Text, that is words added by the "translators".

Dag Hammarskjöld and the RSV 1.

I began looking into translations of the Bible comparing them in May of the year 2000, before Seminary, when I still lived in Malmö. In February that year, during school winter holidays (a tradition since the harsh winters of WW2), there had been a bit of a local scandal. Some Free churches together with an American “Impact Tour” called New Generation International, had arranged a kind of Soul-fishing with Rock music cum Body Building at the Baltic Hall (itself a survivor of the Baltic Exposition 1914).

I’m so sorry I wasn’t there – it must have been awful!

“Bloody Beef”, posing to Rock music, exclaiming at intervals: I am so gloriously saved!

During the event an American Pastor-let, 20 years of age, had put forward the idea that “homosexuality is a sin which deserves death”…

He hadn’t made this up by himself though; it’s in the NIV…

The scandal was immediate. The hapless youngsters in the audience, who had been snared by the soul-fishing event unawares, went home to tell their parents. The parents called the newspapers (there were still two of them in Malmö), which produced whole pages about it, and there were Letters to the Editors for the rest of the Semester.

In May or early June there was, yet again, a Letter to the Editor, this once more theologically savvy than the majority. Written by a Pentecostal Pastor in northern Skåne, it tried to defend the pastor-let. The author referred to 1 Cor 6:9-11 as the relevant passage.

So I grabbed my Swedish State Bible 1981/2 (new NT 1981, plus, mostly linguistic changes to the OT). The one with big letters, which I had bought due to my failing eye-sight when I arrived at Lund...

I tried to find the method in 1 Cor 6:9-11, to catch the structure behind the words, for I knew from the Exegetical lectures that there would be one – as, for instance, in Matthew – the school of Matthew, late Bishop Stendahl calls it – symmetrically built around a peak in the centre (the Mount Sion Principle, our old Professor called it, contrasting it to the end-climax of Modern detective stories ;=)

The Professor was so ancient he had known the first family in the then British Palestine Mandate, who spoke Hebrew on a daily basis - as a 2nd language, of course.

Since then Hebrew has changed a lot - even using Tempi, an Indo-European construct which does't exist in Hebrew. So in Modern Hebrew Imperfect is used to allude Western Imperfect and Hebrew Perfect (God only) to allude Western Perfect. The little extra vowel signs, well known from Bible Hebrew, are not in use any longer.

He also told us, that on his latest trip just before the course started Israelis in shops had tried to speak English with him, poor foreigner as he was, whereas 50 years ago on his first stay, people simply didn’t notice… Everyone “broke” ;=)

But in early summer 2000, it was total bewilderment. I didn’t understand a thing. I found neither method nor structure…

This lasted for several weeks, until I got hold of my old Confirmation Bible, a 1967 copy of the 1917 State Bible printed in the Netherlands. Then (after a while) I saw it!

The translations – the much vaunted State translations (the former Bible Commission had been appointed on the 18th May 1773 by Gustaf III, only ending in the early 1920ies with the publishing of the OT Deutero-Canonicals, the last one had been in the working for 15 years by several committees; exegetical; linguistic; literary and so on (but in reality put together by 2 converts to Rome, one "official" one non-official – who converted officially after the fact, ejecting high shrieks of the "Apostasy" of the Swedish Church...) the whole costing some 40 or 70 million Swedish - I never remember which - were different from one another!

There had even been some Rabbis on one of the committées (won't tell you what they thought ;=)

The number of Concepts in 1981 and 1917 – and their translations – simply didn’t correspond.

Not only did the 1917 and 1981 have many more words than the Greek (after all, translations tend to have that, a quota of 115 % seems acceptable, then it becomes an other Gospel ;=) but – counting the Concepts instead of the words, it didn’t add up!

The Greek 1 Cor 6:9-11 has 26 Words to 10 Concepts;
1917 (admittedly pseudo archaic and verbose) has 43 Words to 10 Concepts;
NT 1981 has 35 Words but only 9 Concepts. One Concept was missing, and so were three (3) of the Greek words, following the RSV... (this actually happens a lot with Dynamic Equivalence ;=)

Before I had been just bewildered, now I was dizzy!