Tuesday, December 17, 2013


I haven't said much about conservative reactions to Pope Francis' talk about capitalism for a couple of reasons. Mainly it's because I know the Church, and while they might let Francis reap some PR hosannas for the talk-talking, they'll never stand for any walk-walking -- too much money at stake. So while it's pleasing to see wingnuts forced to either denounce or explain away the teachings of Jesus Christ, it's ultimately meaningless. You know it's Moses, I know it's Moses, but business is business

Still, it's nice to see a handmaiden of capitalism like Ramesh Ponnuru try and explain why the Pope doesn't understand it:
One can favor a much stronger safety net than the U.S. has and still disagree with some of what Francis has to say.
I'd like to see him explain that last sentence. Is there a Democrat somewhere outraged by Francis' anticapitalism? I mean besides Joe Lieberman.

Most of the arguments in Ponnuru's essay are on the order of "is not" or "is too," but overall "so what" is his favorite recourse ("the pope appears to blame businessmen for sometimes downsizing their companies... Even in a well-functioning economy with low unemployment, that’s exactly what businessmen will and should sometimes do"). As you might expect, he is especially wounded by the Pope's denunciation of trickle-down economics, which he first minimizes as due to "some issues that have been raised about how these words were translated from Spanish," and then dismisses because "self-interest can yield unintended benefits for others." And isn't that was Christianity's all about -- unintended benefits?

Ponnuru saves the best for last:
Much of Francis’s economic thought, though, seems to rest on the identification of free markets with extreme individualism. A generation ago, the writer Michael Novak and others were instrumental in persuading many American Catholics that markets could instead enable a creative form of community. The pope’s remarks suggest that this type of evangelizing still needs to be done.
If only some real Christians could talk sense to the Pope about how capitalism helps the poor! Maybe he'll listen to a Harvard professor who accuses the Pope of spreading "envy" and preaches Bible stories at him ("The Ten Commandments conclude with: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house...'"). Well, he's got a point -- there are lots of ungrateful peasants in the Bible, but not one story about a rapacious corporation destroying a community for its own profit.

This excites Ann Althouse, who thinks the Professor "may win over even the Pope fans." Then will come the inevitable backlash, with cries of "THANKS FRANCIS" and Ratzinger on "Miss me yet?" billboards, culminating in a new Pope who's a Calvinist.

UPDATE. In comments, Spaghetti Lee: "Maybe I'm projecting onto the Pope here, but I'd like to note that he spent his adult life in 60's and 70's South America, which saw a series of right-wing, authoritarian and explicitly corporatist dictatorships seize power, the most infamous of which, in Chile, was at the behest of the sort of people who write Ramesh Ponnuru's checks. Needless to say, I think he's seen plenty of the glories of unrestrained capitalism for himself"


  1. Formerly_Nom_De_Plume11:20 AM

    there are lots of ungrateful peasants in the Bible, but not one story about a rapacious corporation destroying a community for its own profit

    The role of "Corporation" in this evening's Bible will be played by "God".

  2. I don't know if I've ever mentioned this, but I actually made out with Ann Althouse at the bummer tent at Altamont.

  3. AGoodQuestion11:32 AM

    Not long after reading some argle bargle you reprinted in your voice column about how the MSM thinks the Messiah was born in Kenya in 1961, it's both amusing and puzzling to see a RW Catholic writer celebrating the trickle down gospel as formulated by the true Messiah, the one born in Tampico Illinois in 1911.

  4. AGoodQuestion11:32 AM

    Which I'm guessing is how the tent got its name.

  5. LookWhosInTheFreezer11:38 AM

    bummer tent at Altamont...sponsored by French Rabbit Chardonnay?

  6. I'm too much of a gentlemen to say.

  7. I'd actually like to address this furor seriously for a moment. The Pope is, naturally, deriving his economic statements in large part from the Bible. The Bible is a book truly fixated on economic justice - the forgiveness of debts on the Jubilation year, the forbidding of usury, the obligations of landowners to transients, the warnings against hoarding wealth. It's a big part of the message, some would argue the main part.

    Now, one could argue - as the cons above are - that these principles are impractical or even completely unworkable in the modern age. And you know what? They're right. The Biblical principles of wealth were developed in a time and place far different from this one. It was a world without mass production, remote communication or banks. Where people didn't really have "jobs" in the sense that we think of them, so they didn't really have "unemployment" in the sense that we think of it. Where there were no corporations and the landed elite bonded together through family and governmental ties. So the rules intended to address the plight of the poor in that era might not work in this one.

    But if the economic principles don't apply to a different age, then why do the standards of purity apply? Surely society has changed dramatically as well, so why do we have to keep their mores on sexuality when we aren't going to keep their standards on wealth? I've got news for you - the stuff about money takes up way more of the Bible than the stuff about sex, especially in the New Testament which is kinda the Pope's thing.

    Could it be that, for the moral scold, the iron rule of Biblical law only extends as far as the bottom line? That morality is great as long as I don't actually have to give anything up? That the moral code (be it from the Bible or any other source, religious or secular) is nothing more than a weapon to be wielded against people they don't like? And could it be that this is true of many, if not most, people who profess radical beliefs - that they favor massive change only to the point that it could possibly cost them? Could it?

    Sorry for that...you bumped into a weird sort of pet issue on this one.

  8. mortimer200011:49 AM

    How can the pope be against trickle-down economics? I mean, the Mega-Lotto jackpot is now at more than half a billion dollars! That's one heckuva trickle streaming down the legs of our beneficent overlords, I must say. Sure, if you choose the lump sum option, after taxes it's about $250 million, but that's still almost 5% of what hedge funder John Paulson made in 2010, and look at all the good he's done for us. Jeezus, next thing you know Francis will be railing against inequality.

  9. Dr. Hunky Jimpjorps11:52 AM

    Maybe he'll listen to a Harvard professor who accuses the Pope of spreading "envy" and preaches Bible stories at him

    Ah yes, the theological school of "y'all jus' jealous".

  10. Jeffrey_Kramer11:55 AM

    "For many years one of my favorite texts in Scripture has been Isaiah 53:2-3; 'He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrow, and acquainted with grief; he was despised and we esteemed him not.' I would like to apply these words to the modern business corporation, a much-despised incarnation of God's presence in the world." -- Michael Novak, in The Corporation: A Theological Inquiry.

    Since Christians almost universally see these verses as a prophecy of the coming of the Messiah, Novak is pretty much accusing anybody who wants to regulate Exxon of killing Christ. This is the guy the Pope should go to for lessons in the proper Christian attitude towards capitalism.

  11. Jeez, I knew "I'm at Harvard" could be a mark of arrogance, but I've never seen it directed at the absolute monarch of a fabulously rich microstate before.

  12. Budbear12:05 PM

    His disciples answered:
    "Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?" "How many loaves do you have?" Jesus asked. "Seven," they replied, "and a few small fish."
    Jesus said: "That's all? Fuck these moochers. Get rid of them. Tell 'em to get a job and let's eat."

  13. I would like to apply these words to the modern business corporation, a
    much-despised incarnation of God's presence in the world.

    He ... he literally equated a modern for-profit corporation with Jesus Christ the Savior. That is flat-out the most flagrantly blasphemous thing I've read since that one Harlan Ellison short story collection. And I'm the one who's trying to destroy Christianity with my leftist atheist beliefs?

  14. Derelict12:07 PM

    I really don't get the Right's continuous rage at poor people. Whenever anyone with a public voice says something that sounds even mildly like "Gee, maybe we shouldn't be shitting of folks just because they have no money," the Right goes into full freak-out mode and starts calling the speaker a communist.

    The Pope, of all people, is simply asking the Christian Right's favorite question: What would Jesus do? And the answer he's coming up with is straight outta the gospels. But I guess that Jesus as compassionate healer is just soooooooo outre with modern Christians. Today, Christ is buff, totes an AR-15, and would be standing on the steps of the temple demanding that nobody interfere with the money changers.

  15. glennisw12:10 PM

    It's been amusing to watch them tie themselves in knots over this.

  16. Budbear12:14 PM

    That's an interesting insight considering the only time in the gospels that Jesus, the "Prince of Peace", got angry enough to perpetrate actual physical violence, it was against bankers.

  17. One can favor a much stronger safety net than the U.S. has and still disagree with some of what Francis has to say.

    Oh, indeed. And I do: on birth control, on gays, on the legitimate role of women in a religious hierarchy, etc, etc. But I'm not a hectoring reactionary fucktoad who has repeatedly shrieked how anyone who doesn't use commas the exact same way His Infallible Holiness did in Humanae Vita should be kicked out of the Church, either. Or that anyone who rejects Church teaching about conception is a murderous monster. Hence, I avoid the charge of being a lying hypocrite in this matter. How 'bout you, Ramesh? What's your excuse for constantly bearing false witness in Jesus' name?

  18. Jeffrey_Kramer12:24 PM

    Yep. I think his next stop will be as theo-economic advisor to the Paul Ryan campaign. They'll announce plans to revive the economy by putting up golden replicas of the Wall Street Bull in every church and requiring that all who enter worship the Beast. This will be applauded by the American Family Association et al as a refreshing change from the Demoncrats' Antichrist ways.

  19. My understanding has always been that they really just want the mega-rich to get ever-richer. The fact that this causes the poor to be ever-more-fucked-over is, or at least was, just a byproduct. But at some point they started to worry, more or less unconsciously: oh shit, what if the fact that what we support invariably fucks over the poor means that we're bad people? So, rather than address the behavior, they decided that the poor are all horrible moochers and parasites who deserve everything they get. Problem solved! Fucking over those people is a sign of virtue, really. And before long, hating the poor just became a sport in its own right, without reference to anything else. Whee.

  20. In lighter news, we might see the Rapture newsletter crowd reactivating their somewhat dusty Catholic-bashing archives. Clear up through the nineties, Hal Lindsey reliably used the formulation "Antichrist of Rome" (hint, hint), until the Islamist threat and the chance at a new thousand-year conservative Reich got him to rein that in, so as not to rock the boat with the fundigelicals' allies in the ever-more-explicitly political US Conference of Child Rape Co-conspirators Bishops. Hey, maybe, if the faultlines get severe enough, we could see a return to the days when even conservative Southern Baptist theologians had no problem with Roe v. Wade .... Hahahahahaha no.

  21. Jeez, between aligning themselves with Putin and his henchmen over gay rights and now going to the mat with the Pope - the Pope fer crissakes! - I wonder what will fuck up the right’s shit next?

    If they find out Greenspan couldn’t get it up that one night with Ayn Rand it might mess up their whole holiday season.

  22. NonyNony12:40 PM

    What's been really amusing is their utter ignorance that the Catholic Church has been strongly anti-capitalist (and strongly anti-democracy) for hundreds of years. John Paul II downplayed this because he was more worried about squishing Communism than Capitalism while he was Pope, but it's always been there and it's still there. Hell Communism itself only makes sense as an outgrowth of Capitalism - the things that the Church hated about Communism are almost all baked into Capitalism as well because Communism is based on the idea of Capitalism, and the Church rejects that idea.

  23. Gromet12:56 PM

    Hey, corporations are people too, my friend.

  24. Gromet1:02 PM

    It is one of my favorite tenets of the rightwing that all them elites are ivory tower, pointy-headed poofs who exist only to be ridiculed -- until one says something they agree with. Then they all want a copy of that diploma they can frame and hang in the kitchen (in this case, right where the pope used to be).

  25. BigHank531:07 PM

    Michael Novak passes away after a long illness. He comes to awareness and realizes he's waking down an empty stone corridor. He emerges in a courtyard. In front of him there's an enormous wooden gate set into a stone wall, and an angry-looking man in a robe.

    "is Heaven inside there?" asks Novak.

    "Yes." The old man's scowl is starting to bother Novak.

    "Are you Saint Peter?"

    "Ha! No."

    "Well, who are you then? My name is Michael Novak, and I need to get in there."

    "My name," said the man as he picked up his hammer, "is Martin Luther."

  26. Gromet1:08 PM

    If you replace "God" with "Corporations" in the Job story, it makes a lot of sense. They dish out as much abuse as they can, all for a wager, and Job proves his worthiness by sucking it all up without complaint. Finally, when he DOES whine a bit, from a whirlwind the corporations just shout him down. After which he gets a bunch of new possessions to replace his old and broken ones.

  27. tigrismus1:12 PM

    he was despised and we esteemed him not

    for Lo, his stocks lost 5 points on the lackluster quarterly sales report and Morningstar has changed him from a "hold" to a "sell".

  28. Jay B.1:23 PM

    It's high-fucking-hilarious;
    "The pope’s remarks suggest that this type of evangelizing still needs to be done."

    Yes, yes, I'm sure he's a simple, naive man, the Pope. He just doesn't know about the crushing realities of capitalism, he just hasn't seen what wealth is or has brought him, because he's just that simple and blind. Maybe a few rounds of golf with the Exxon boys at Davos will show him the light.

    Unlike roy, though, I'm glad that the Pope — even with the Church's gilded mote in its collective eye — is tweaking the greedheads these days. Like Pierce said about Occupy, who knows if they'll succeed, but at least they are yelling at the right buildings. Francis is addressing the right problem, no matter why he's doing it, and upsetting the haves for a chance.

  29. Spaghetti Lee1:31 PM

    Maybe I'm projecting onto the Pope here, but I'd like to note that he spent his adult life in 60's and 70's South America, which saw a series of right-wing, authoritarian and explicitly corporatist dictatorships seek power, the most infamous of which, in Chile, was at the behest of the sort of people who sign Rannesh Ponnuru's checks. Needless to say, I think he's seen plenty of the glories of unrestrained capitalism for himself.

  30. One of the theories I've heard is that the rich hate the poor because the poor remind them of what they might one day become. Wealth is surprisingly transitory - all it takes is a few bad business decisions to get knocked off the mountain. And even though wealthy people almost never become truly destitute, there's plenty for them to lose.

    That's why you get all these people musing about the moral weakness of the poor. It's a sort of defense mechanism - people are poor because they're bad people, so if I'm a good person I'll never end up poor. Once you believe that, it's only a few steps to passing laws that punish the "lazy" poor.

  31. ...Christ is buff, totes an AR-15, and would be standing on the steps of the temple demanding that nobody interfere with the money changers.

    Well thank Christ he’s white, else he’d be known as the Black Panther Prophet and a very concerned Megs Kelly would be all over that shit.

  32. Spaghetti Lee1:39 PM

    And because someone will probably bring it up, yes, there are allegations that Francis collaborated with the late 70's junta, but there are just as many if not more claims that he didn't, or that he was an active resistance fighter: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Francis#Relations_with_Argentine_governments

  33. JennOfArk1:40 PM

    You got there just a minute before I was going to post along the same lines, except I don't think it's so much that the rich hate the poor as it is that they fear the poor, because the poor so vastly outnumber them and they, themselves, are more responsible for the poor being poor than anyone else is. I think the "hate the poor" thing has a lot more resonance with the almost-poor and middle class, most of whom personally know someone who used to not be poor but is now. Hating the poor is a defense mechanism to help distract them from how close they are from becoming one of them. It's magical thinking along the lines of "maybe if I don't acknowledge that my economic status is not within my own control and convince myself that being poor has more to do with individual actions than with broad economic trends, I won't become poor myself."

  34. Suddenly, I'm reminded of a popular theological topic. Biblical scholars often talk about how Christianity - with its very anti-power philosophy - was taken up by kings and emperors who used it to control the lowborn. Well, they do say history repeats itself - the noble class of our age is using Christianity as a tool once more.

  35. Spaghetti Lee1:42 PM

    Maybe Novak and Ponnuru think that after that, Jesus hung around and gave them some financial advice: a temple full of beggars and moochers is no place to build your personal brand, fellas. Ever thought of investing in the Roman army?

  36. Yeah, in a backhanded way, I'm sort-of glad that Francis is a traditionalist in other ways, too. If he were all, "Same-sex unions are okay, and we start ordaining women immediately, so they can start handing out the free contraception during Mass," then he'd immediately become some sort of radical liberal, "not my pope," etc. Instead, we've got a fairly traditional pope, with a reign name taken from a saint who long predates Marxism, underscoring what is in fact supposedly uncontroversial Church teaching on the rich and poor ... and aiming it at his fellow conservative Catholics, where it might actually do some good. It's not liberal American Catholics who have been embracing politicians who loudly and proudly kick the poor in their faces repeatedly.

  37. lawguy1:46 PM

    Not any more. That is the great secret of the 21st century rich. They will prop up each other so that once you have been born into or become one of them they will make sure you will never again have to worry about being poor. That will include their P.R. flacks and families. It is still a small enough part of the population that it leaves the other 95% of us in the dirt. And is a small price to pay.

  38. It's high-fucking-hilarious;

    Indeed, if nothing else, getting to hear Stuart Varney wax all indignant that a religious leader would insert himself into politics [insert wingnut gasps of outraged disbelief] was a real gut-buster.

  39. Spaghetti Lee1:52 PM

    I feel for Stuart Varney: it's gotta be tough to get people to take your Smart Classy Tory image seriously when you're just one syllable away from being Stuart Smalley.

  40. Hey, Varney: You need a checkup from the neckup.

  41. Jay B.2:02 PM

    Or three letters away from being Jim Varney.

  42. MikeJ2:05 PM

    I like the bit where Caiaphas shows up and starts drunkenly yelling at JC and the boys to "stop raping people!" then he falls over from a coke induced heart attack.

  43. Maybe he'll listen to a Harvard professor who accuses the Pope of spreading "envy" and preaches Bible stories at him

    Let's see, in this corner, we have Francis I, Vicar of Christ, using the Gospels as his direct source material. And in this corner, we have some random pompous Harvard fuck with access to Bloomberg, accusing the Pope of promoting sin by invoking a list made up by a 4th Century monk, and mysteriously still managing to miss that "avarice" is on it, too. Gee, I just don't know, might have to flip a coin on this one.

    Pro tip, Lant ("Lant"?): Never go against a Jesuit when theological arguments are on the line.

  44. TGuerrant2:13 PM

    Brilliant. Stealing that.

  45. I believe he's Mormon. So not to worry, he and his cronies will baptize His Popiness to the correct sect when the time comes.

  46. redoubt2:28 PM

    Yes. My boring opinion, but--when the Gospels talk about money, it's in a context of and for the community's benefit: driving moneychangers from the Temple, "Render unto Caesar," having the disciples go to catch a fish with money in its mouth to pay taxes. (You could argue that the man who buried his talent in the sand "went Galt".) Also, being rich carries responsibility to the community: the Rich Young Ruler, the whole camels, eyes and needles thing, not building bigger barns, etc.

  47. Mooser2:28 PM

    Well, you guys can be all wet alter cloth, but Josh Marshall of TPM announces himself a "Catholiphile" and thinks the Pope is almost wonderful!

  48. Jay B.2:33 PM

    When he was first announced, that's what I grabbed onto, because, well, the ultra-conservative one he was replacing was in the fucking HItler Youth, the actual Inquisition and helped shield pederasts, I just thought they were aiming for a theme. But he's managed to change my mind. He's clearly more influenced by Liberation Theology (if not nearly as radical as those who fully embraced it) and he seems to be walking the walk, as least opposed to the U.S. Bishops., who are mainly interested in slut-shaming and gay bashing.

    I knew a woman whose whole family was killed by the junta — they mailed her her pianist daughter's hands, for example — if she's still alive, I wonder what she thinks of Francis. I'm sure she knew him. Maybe I'll try and track her down.

  49. Its interesting that the discomfort some Catholics are feeling about this pope (not many since I think he's polling as very popular, like 98 percent popular) have been compared to the feelings of envy and anger that the "good son" feels in the story of the prodigal son. This was the explicit reference of serveral right wing catholic bloggers and it goes: how dare the pope (and god) offer love and acceptance to people who didn't stick around for the abuse and the hard work of being catholic/heterosexual/hardworking/white or whatever they think are the main attributes of being "the good son." The parable of the prodigal son is 100 percent in opposition to "he who won't work/doesn't eat" and "moochers and looters flee." It says communion and community are everything--as does the parable of the worker of the eleventh hour. And man they *hate* the thought that everyone gets a seat at the table in the end.

  50. Mooser2:39 PM

    " the Rapture newsletter crowd"

    Did you have to bring them up? I had forgotten they exist, and liked it that way.

  51. which he first minimizes as due to "some issues that have been raised about how these words were translated from Spanish,"

    The Pope is a smart guy, and there have been thirty-odd years in which numerous translations of, and explantions of, "trickle-down economics" have been available in el mundo hispano... Ramesh is an ass, pure and simple.

    "self-interest can yield unintended benefits for others."

    But trickle-down can't.

  52. Drive up window for cafeteria catholics? I think he's not bothering with the window and simply driving rigght through the cafeteria mowing down people, principles, and baby jesus.

  53. Yeah, a whole lot of free-market evangelizing going on!

  54. MBouffant2:43 PM

    Godhead is tyranny.

  55. Mooser2:45 PM

    "That is flat-out the most flagrantly blasphemous thing I've read since that one Harlan Ellison short story collection."

    Good Lord, what was in that?

  56. This is actually some kind of official line on the right--remember that Limbaugh argued that someone had "written the speech" or "gotten ahold of the pope" and I just heard a canny anti-pope Catholic nut interviewed on NPR who also said, delicately, that the Pope tends to "misspeak" because he speaks "off the cuff" in a way that can be "misunderstood." The obvious and plain meaning of his words at this point is so shocking to the retro catholics that they really have only two choices: one to accuse him of misspeaking or two to kill him. I so wished the interviewer had asked the guy I heard on NPR whether he thought that Catholic doctrine was so esoteric that it needed careful parsing before it could be communicated to the educated faithful or by an educated pope. Because the idea that an olde,r educated, priest is somehow confused, or ignorant of economic and political philosophy, strikes me as bizarre--this is not rocket science. The Catholic hierarchy has truly forgotten, if it ever knew, how to simply talk to human beings and to evangelize. Its spent too many hundreds of years issuing statements to itself about knotty points of theology if it thinks that the basic message of the gospels can be botched.

  57. My impression of the Catholic right is that they are besides themselves--they love the idea of a popular pope, like the Republicans like the idea of a popular president, but they hate the idea of a popular pope who isn't batting for their side, just as the republicans hate the idea of a popular Obama/democrat. So all the things they want to praise in this pope--like the fact that he's obviously very well liked and likable--they want to keep, but they can't figure out how to do that while undercutting the plain meaning of his words and his acts. The only thing left, really, as I said upthread, is to pretend he's some wooly headed idealist who continually bumbles his way into theolotical and economic debate he's not entitled to have. They are now going to go from wanting to have a dominant, activist, pope to insisting that he treat himself as a mere figurehead and they will try to create a lower level pontiff controller with a shock collar to keep the pope from straying too far past the boundaries alloted to him. Like a papal prime minister vs the pope as titular head of government.

  58. MBouffant2:51 PM

    No one could get it up w/ Ayn Rand. Or did I miss something about all her descendents?

  59. Mooser2:52 PM

    "the modern business corporation, a much-despised incarnation of God's presence in the world."

    Now wait a minute, isn't there a big Christian denomination which believes such a thing is possible, that commerce can be a manifestation of God's presence, blah, blah? Gosh, and wasn't that one of the things at issue when they split from the Catholics? Or maybe it came later.

  60. Spaghetti Lee2:53 PM

    Putting aside his papacy and his theological beliefs for a minute, I never really got on board with the 'Nazi pope' argument, mostly because you legally had to join the Nazi Youth at that time, and your parents might end up dead or imprisoned if you didn't. If the standard is 'did not, at age 14, take one-man stand against ruling fascist dictatorship with secret police' then, wow, it's more than just the pope who doesn't measure up.

    It's hard to objectively interpret claims that any given German citizen 'never supported' the Nazis and was 'privately opposed', as has been said of Ratzinger and his family, because obviously everyone would say so after the fact. But what is known objectively is that

    -He was drafted into the German Army in 1943 out of his seminary: he didn't sign up on his own.

    -He deserted two years later.

    -His family sheltered American soldiers in their home.

    Obviously people will think what they want, but I think you've got to remember that millions of German citizens were swept up in Hitler's plans, whether they wanted to be or not. The way people talked about him you'd think he was Josef Mengele on the lam with a new name.

  61. ADHDJ2:54 PM

    From the perfesser: "But this isn’t an argument against my point; it’s precisely my point."

    Never has an argument been made in such detail, or with such care.

  62. Mooser2:54 PM

    "....mowing down people, principles, and baby jesus..."

    ...and out the back wall, back on the road, and driving straight to the nearest Protestant Church of his choice? (Not that there's anything...).

  63. Waingro2:54 PM

    I'm a big fan of British insults and I can't help but think that Stuart has had the word "ponce" and "tosser" lobbed his way more than a few times.

  64. Spaghetti Lee2:55 PM

    Actually, Harold Camping just died yesterday at age 92, with relatively little comment. I guess Jesus decided he wasn't worth coming back ahead of schedule for.

  65. Mooser2:55 PM

    Courtesy is treason!
    Consent is fascism!
    Godhead is tyranny!

  66. mgmonklewis2:57 PM

    Not enough brain-bleach in the world to eradicate the image of Greenspan-Rand sexytime. Thank you for the lifetime supply of nightmare fuel.

  67. Agreed it is absurd how easily Americans accuse Germans of those days. Would they really have joined White Rose, and been executed?

  68. Mooser3:03 PM

    If a person like me (or, in this case, me) goes to the TPM article by Josh Marshall he can't help looking at the second paragraph, and substituting a host of social, ethnic, or religious designations for the word "Catholic". And not liking it.

  69. Mooser3:05 PM

    "But trickle-down can't."

    Or they wouldn't have right from the start called it a "trickle".

  70. Spaghetti Lee3:09 PM

    I believe the common translation is la orina de los ricos.

  71. And man they *hate* the thought that everyone gets a seat at the table in the end.

    Which is why countless rulers kept changing the philosophy. Strip away the dogmatic aspects of Christianity and consider it merely as a secular philosophy, and at its heart is an idea that is very radical and very simple: "Power corrupts." It doesn't matter where that power comes from, either - wealth, religion, the sword, it's all the same. Everyone who seeks power follows the same path - he becomes a tyrant and gets brought down. There's your message.

    It's a tough message to take, even when you're not that powerful. Which is why the powerful in our age do the same thing that powerful men have always done - change it. That's how you end up with David Barton claiming that the parable of the workers is really about the minimum wage. It's obviously not, but we can always pretend.

  72. Spaghetti Lee3:17 PM

    Oh, I'm sure many men wanted so badly to get with that vixen, but alas; for the committed objectivist, masturbation is the only acceptable form of sex, because that's the only way to keep all the pleasure you create.

  73. Mooser3:18 PM

    "I guess Jesus decided he wasn't worth coming back ahead of schedule for."

    You can't expect them to change everything for one stupid guy who got the wrong date stuck in his head, or day-planner! There's always people who show up a week early or late for any event, convinced it was this weekend.
    What about everybody else, who has the right date, and are proceeding according to plan? They deserve something, too, you know! Like an on-time, as-scheduled Apocalypse.

  74. BG, finally feck free3:18 PM

    Is there a Democrat somewhere outraged by Francis' anticapitalism? I mean besides Joe Lieberman.

    Left the Democratic Party and became an Independent, iirc.

    Either way, still an asshole.

  75. tigrismus3:19 PM

    "self-interest can yield unintended benefits for others."

    And unintended harm to the self-interested, but what it usually brings others is all-too-intended harm.

  76. Mooser3:22 PM

    If corporations are people, why don't they act like people?

  77. Well, it is the time for giving. So here ya' go...

    aMeow, pussycat!

  78. Mooser3:29 PM

    "After which he gets a bunch of new possessions to replace his old and broken ones."

    You might say he was the first winner of "The Price is Right"!

  79. Jay B.3:30 PM

    What you both say is true, of course. But then again, I have little or no sympathy for Germans of that generation. Almost no one was completely innocent.

  80. A scene in the Ryan household, twnety-seven years ago:
    Mrs. Ryan (pounding on the locked bathroom door for the fifth time in the past forty-five minutes): Paul! Paul! What the heck are you doing in there, young man!
    Paul Ryan: Geez, Ma! I keep telling ya'! I'm reading my book on the crapper.
    Mrs. Ryan: It better not be that Atlas Tugs book again, mister, because I'm tired of washing your socks!
    Paul Ryan: Aw Ma.

  81. "they mailed her her daughter's hands?" What a horrific story.

  82. Sure, but then again almost none of us are completely innocent either.

  83. Good head, though, is freedom.

  84. And, according to Novak, gods as well.

  85. mgmonklewis3:42 PM

    That come-hither sneer! Those sallow, sunken eyes! That pitted iron grate, as warm and inviting as her heart! Rrrrrrrowr! Baby, I wanna go Galt with you!

  86. Budbear3:43 PM

    And hard to find.

  87. The only thing left, really, as I said upthread, is to pretend he's some wooly headed idealist who continually bumbles his way into theolotical and economic debate he's not entitled to have

    "He's a little naive, he's a Third World Pope, bless his heart."

  88. You make a good point. The blogger rmj over at Adventus uses scripture (and philosophy) to underpin a leftist critique of contemporary issues, and he often talks about the central biblical message of "the power of powerlessness" and how it stands in stark contrast to the typical human impulse to gain power and lord it over others.

    Similarly, and not to get too far off into the weeds here, the oft-repeated and utterly false accusation that Ahmadinejad said Iran would "wipe Israel off the map" was actually Ahmadinejad quoting Khomeini, who prophesied that the Zionist government of Israel, like the former Soviet Union, would "disappear from the pages of history," since God does not allow tyrannies to prevail.

  89. You had me at ""hectoring reactionary fucktoad." Then I just swooned and heard angels' voices.

  90. Jay B.4:01 PM

    No. And as a result, I don't plan to be appointed Imam anytime soon, but if I am, I will decline.

  91. I should say first that I'm neither Jewish nor any sort of expert on Judaism. But I've been a close student of the Jewish religion, in its ancient
    and modern incarnations, for many years. And I think I'd count myself a Jewophile. So I say all that as preface to trying to make sense of his early moves which have enthused progressive Jews and
    increasingly worried conservatives.<./b>

    Funny, it doesn't seem that menacing when you actually do it.

  92. Budbear4:04 PM

    As someone who was under their tutelage in my adolescence I will state unequivocally, there is no order more "of the world" than the Jesuits.

  93. I remember a old German woman who was interviewed about the Nazi era, and she said that the common response to this or that disturbing thing at that time was "If only the Fuehrer knew!"

    She went on to say, it was apparent that the Fuehrer knew about this or that, he just didn't care about anything but power and taking Germany to war.

    While my German connections are perhaps hundreds of years old, the German question(about the era of Nazism) bothers me as well.

  94. mortimer20004:21 PM

    Seven Deadly Catholics
    Gluttony - Bill Bennett
    Greed - Larry Kudlow
    Sloth - Jonah Goldberg (Okay he's not Catholic, but, y'know, Jesus)
    Wrath - Marc Thiessen
    Envy - Camille Paglia
    Pride - Brent Bozell
    Lust - Newt Gingrich, [alternates, Rod Dreher (Just ask his orthodox confessor/meth dealer), Dinesh D'Souza, (ex-Catholic, adulterer, bullshit artist)]

  95. LittlePig4:39 PM

    Nah, he's not that Earnest.

  96. Spaghetti Lee4:43 PM

    C'mon, you've gotta fit Paul Ryan in there. I'm sure Greed or Pride have a few openings.

  97. Jay B.4:48 PM

    Yes. I met her as part of an Amnesty International protest over the Texas Death Penalty's then-latest atrocity. She was the kind of calm, decent, humane person that was a true inspiration. I can only wish I had a fraction of her humanity.

  98. mortimer20004:51 PM

    Absolutely. This is by no means a definitive list. I mean, Bill Donohue could carry Wrath all by himself, and Rick Santorum could own a couple at least. I think the biggest problem is there are just so many suitable candidates.

  99. Howlin Wolfe4:58 PM

    He's certainly scared stupid.

  100. Plus: trophy wife and kids Yay?

  101. But I think its a bit of a mistake to think even of the table turning at the temple as being "at bankers" so much as being at the intrusion of money between the worshipper and god. Because that is what they were doing there in the temple. They were enabling worshippers from all over to come and purchase/trade for the animals and offerings they were going to make at the temple. So I think you'd have to figure that Jesus was also objecting, perhaps even primarily objecting, to a particular form of cultic worship that was not unlike tithing is today.

  102. Says the bald guy.

  103. redoubt5:58 PM

    Justices Thomas, Scalia, Alito, and Roberts would like a word.

  104. You are forgetting that she forced one of her married disciples into a multi year affair with her, against his wishes.

  105. Yeah, no. The vast majority of Germans benefitted directly from slave labor and the appropriation of the wealth of the Jews and of the invaded countries, scientists and members of the academy benefitted from the shaving down of competition for university spots. People knew and they benefitted and they didn't kick up a fuss until afterwards when it became, obviously, politically and socially a little awkward.

  106. I think the term of art is "Holy Fool."

  107. I was referring more to right-wing racism than to the erudition of the Jesuits.

  108. Spaghetti Lee6:36 PM

    Clarance Thomas is a Catholic? In that case, he's got Sloth locked up. No need for J-Dough to pinch-hit.

  109. Spaghetti Lee6:37 PM

    Not all masturbation is literal.

  110. JennOfArk6:47 PM

    The only time J-Dough pinches anything is when he excretes a new column.

  111. AGoodQuestion7:07 PM

    Not being Catholic - although I'm not really a secular humanist either - I've never allowed myself a strong opinion on Benedict. To the extent that I'd have a problem following him, though, it's because he seems somewhat sclerotic in general. The Nazi accusation is pretty unfair.

  112. billcinsd7:08 PM

    Supply Side Jesus


  113. AGoodQuestion7:20 PM

    Sinners in the Hands of a Butthurt CEO>

  114. Nicely done, TGuerrant. I like the cut of your dild... Jib! I totally mean jib!

  115. I think you mean "not all masturbation is solitary."

  116. AGoodQuestion7:34 PM

    Going Galt is basically just crawling under a rock and hoping no one finds you. Ayn makes me want to do that too.

  117. A member of a newish Protestant-esque faith with especially ... colorful doctrinal features is lecturing the Pope on what counts as sin in Roman Catholic doctrine? Well, that makes it all okay. Next time, Lant, shit in the woods instead.

  118. I actually know a German Scientist who was in the hitler youth as a child--everyone was. But you know what? He grew up to really forcefully reject that legacy. http://www.amazon.com/Murderous-Science-Benno-Muller-Hill/dp/0879695315 and after a long career in science he researched in the archives and wrote this book. One could have a lot of responses to being a German during the war that a person could respect--Benedict's "sclerotic" embrace of the morals and the psychology of the inquisition, his devoted protection of child rapists, and his disinterest in rooting out the obvious financial improprieties associated with the most abusive and secretive branches of the church as well as his personal attacks on Liberation theology show that Benedict's response was not one of those respectable ones. I think you can actually predict that had the Nazis won Benedict would have grown up to be a very good little Nazi prelate indeed.

  119. Mooser8:09 PM

    I didn't say it was menacing. I didn't feel menaced at all.

  120. Jay B.8:12 PM

    Shit, Altamont really was as bad as they say.

  121. You don't have to be part of a religion to follow it, have some knowledge about it, or even to have an opinion about it, IMHO.

    I guess you're against men being gynecologists as well, amirite?

  122. M. Krebs8:35 PM

    (I'm late to this party, but let's just pretend, okay?)

    Hey! This new Pope reminds me of somebody. A character in some book. No, wait, the fucking Bible! The second part... yeah, the "New" testament. One of the main characters, some dude who feed people fish or something. What was his name?

    (I'll be here all week. Don't forget to tip the staff; just don't tip 'em over.)

  123. Budbear8:39 PM

    I got that, 4B. I was just (awkwardly) trying to support your initial point. Snark & irony can be difficult on the toobz.

  124. Budbear9:15 PM

    Indeed, I agree. Any fair reading of the gospels will reveal the anti-materialism of the biblical Jesus that underlies every statement and parable. There was nothing like what we call "bankers" in 1st C. Palestine. They were just entrepreneurs using the cloak of religion to exploit the faithful. But it's fun to spin it as 'bankers' to piss off my sanctimonious right-wing relatives and friends. It really gets the party going. Yes, I am a shit-stirrer, but in my defense, as a youth I was a big fan of Jonathan Swift.

  125. Oh,I'm not disagreeing with your attack on bankers or linking it to Jesus in the Temple, I'm just suggesting that you throw in an attack on organized religion and churches that demand fealty, tithes, and prosperity of and for their membership.

  126. Formerly_Nom_De_Plume10:48 PM

    See, you've taken the original story and completely re-edited it, thereby robbing it of its context. What kind of asshole would do such a...


  127. Theres no such thing unless we're talking teeth.

  128. Budbear12:02 AM

    Thanks, pal. I've been trying to forget that night.

  129. Spaghetti Lee1:02 AM

    She looks like she's waiting for someone to commit suicide by jumping off the roof, and hoping it won't be much longer.

  130. montag22:52 AM

    Old Testament-wise (and isn't that what the mouthbreathers are always harping about?), I would only add that right after all the rules about money comes a mighty healthy dose of genocidal war supposedly on God's orders. In Old Testament-speak, someone is always saying, "God said kill `em all and take their stuff because they're heathens and/or they're unworthy." That's pretty much the working definition of predatory capitalism, isn't it?

  131. montag23:17 AM

    I would say that this is giving the Kochs, to a greater degree, and the Waltons, to an only slightly lesser degree, much more credit than they deserve. They clearly aren't afraid of the poor, because they're hell-bent on making more of them. When you've grown up believing avarice to be a virtue, any obstacle to getting it all--such as wages--is an annoyance to be overcome. That predatory capitalism creates poverty is a thought that never enters the minds of the truly, obscenely wealthy, at least not until that first electric shock of the blade piercing the back of the neck.

    And, sometimes not even then.

  132. montag23:44 AM

    The problem, of course, is that Ratzinger, both as Pope and beforehand, as the Pope's chief inquisitor, behaved like a right-wing authoritarian asshole.

    That didn't exactly discourage speculation about his sympathies.

  133. montag23:57 AM

    In the new Catholicism, as practiced by Ryan, Stupidity is a virtue. And it's very, very popular.

  134. montag24:00 AM

    Indeed, Thomas is a Catholic convert. Comes from hobnobbing with Scalia and his Opus Dei friends. (He really does attribute his conversion to Scalia, honest.)

    Kind of makes one wonder what Thomas would have done if Scalia had been a Satanist (not that he still might be).

  135. smut clyde4:55 AM

    This new Pope reminds me of somebody. A character in some book.
    This one!

  136. mommadillo7:32 AM

    undercutting the plain meaning of his words and his acts

    Kinda like they do with that guy who made the comment about rich people, camels and the eye of a needle? That one always seemed pretty straightforward to me, but apparently not everyone agrees.

  137. BigHank537:43 AM

    I always wondered what happened to the guy who lost that coin toss with Meredith Hunter.

  138. Oh, yes, I was (many years ago now) throwing a model Seder for my Christian sister in law's ecumenical bible study group and this topic came up and this explanation was tendered. Christians have the god damnedest bush telegraph system--some watery tart or ninth century scrawl on thhe side of a document is offered as an explication de text when the plain meaning is, as you say, quite evident.

    Jesus's dopey followers, the greek chorus of dumb, even say to him "woah, if what you say is true who then shall scape whipping? We're all going to hell, right?" And he says "Right. Basically. Unless by God's Grace." He doesn't say "Oh, no, its ok, you can probably unload your wealth and your sins at the physical gate and then load them back up again and enjoy them inside the city of god. Really, you can take it with you. I was just kidding that poor rich guy about giving it all away."

  139. satch8:37 AM

    Well, Steve... I guess that beats being beaten by the Hell's Angels...

  140. NonyNony9:25 AM

    Unfortunately that stuff about "nobody getting into heaven except by God's grace" becomes an excuse to not do anything. Because in that form of Christianity what you do (Works) is meaningless - it only matters who you are (Grace). If God wants to save you, then you'll be saved and it doesn't matter if you are a miser who enjoys watching children starve. Similarly if God wants you to burn in Hell you'll burn in Hell and it doesn't matter if you give your entire inheritance away and work every day of your life to combating poverty.

    It's an insidious reading of the faith, though likely one that goes back to the Romans. I doubt that Christianity could have become popular enough to become the faith of the Empire if the proscriptions on wealth were taken seriously.

  141. Halloween_Jack9:51 AM






  142. Halloween_Jack9:58 AM

    I've read of something similar in Russia that dates to the czars, but has basically carried over to post-revolution government: if only the Czar knew.

  143. bulletsarepeopletoo10:27 AM

    This is why I wouldn't believe that Jesus is among us unless he created a reality show for everyone to watch while he threw all these assholes into the depths of hell (with running commentary, of course).

  144. Daniel Björkman11:02 AM

    Yep. Have some actual old-fashioned morality, Mr Conservative Christian. It's not what thirty years of Greed-Is-Good has led you to think it is.

  145. RogerAiles12:22 PM

    "Shrieks Ramesh Ponnuru, 'I'm your biggest fan ... Goldberg's in the basement....'"

  146. Mooser1:36 PM

    "I guess you're against men being gynecologists"

    You mean we aren't? I thought the degree came in Penthouse magazines.

  147. Mooser1:39 PM

    And I'm not trying to start an argument about religion. Some of my best friends are Catholic.

  148. JennOfArk1:43 PM

    Upvoted for "watery tart" in particular.

  149. smut clyde2:06 PM

    If the Church can collectively be the Bride of Christ, we have Pauline precedent for man-god / corporate marriages.

  150. The paragraph I wrote suggested by you is true for me, in that I have studied Judaism on my own extensively, etc.

    Some of my best friends are Catholic.

    So are some of mine, and I was raised in the Catholic Church.

    You probably should be more specific about why you don't like people having some knowledge and opinions about a religion they don't practice commenting on that religion, because I still don't understand your POV.

  151. Yes, it's the same mind-set, that the abuses inherent in an authoritarian system are bugs and not features of the system that would be fixed by the "Little Father", which was a popular synonym for the Czar.

  152. Your interpretation goes against the Biblical account:

    And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with
    the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers
    and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons,
    "Take these things away; do not make my Father's house a house of

    John 2:13-16

  153. JennOfArk2:36 PM

    Dude, I really need to tell you about the book I'm working on.

    Also, too: another shout-out to everyone that I really need someone's help on a photoshop for this project, so if anyone's got too much time on their hands, let me know.

  154. Brian M4:33 PM

    Nah. She's just keeping an eye out for the nexrt dreamy serial killer to appear. See that pensive stare?
    Brian M

  155. Brian M4:36 PM

    Which basic message? The "believe in me or be tortured for eternity" one? Because that seems pretty prominent to this "Angry Atheist" (tm)

  156. mommadillo4:38 PM

    You know what really gets me? Even in the unlikely event that they're right about the "gate into Jerusalem" rather than an actual needle, it still doesn't negate Jesus's point. It's hard to get a camel through, just like it's hard to get a rich person into heaven.

    It's like they're just throwing out some bullshit in an attempt to distract from their rejection of Christ's teaching. Kinda like the debater who, unable to refute the opponent's argument, is reduced to pointing out typos and misspellings.

  157. Wm Kiernan4:58 PM

    I think the issue is that in this country, the people in the middle have the ultimate political power. There aren't enough poor people to determine the outcome of an election all by themselves, and there sure aren't enough millionaires. To the guy with the median income, the poor and the rich are both unlike him; the rich take baths and enjoy personal possessions as he does, but they act arrogant and superior and unlike him they never have any fear of material want, whereas the poor smell bad, act uncouth and might be scary criminals, so there's not much sympathy in that direction either. But particularly in tough economic times Mr. Median looks at the poor and thinks "Another slump and that could be me. Hmmm..." So propagandists for the rich make it a point to constantly belittle and derogate the poor, in the hope that Mr. Median will vote for policies which punish them, and just coincidentally, massively benefit the rich.

  158. MikeJ5:16 PM

    And if you couldn't buy the sacrifice that the priest prescribed for a particular prayer, you weren't going to get that prayer said. Sort of like if you went to confession and the priest there told you to pray the rosary 10 times, but you had to do it on this specific rosary available in the gift shop.

    The form of worship at the Temple required a gift shop, could not exist without it. In closing it down, Jesus was saying you don't need the external trappings to speak to God, and anybody who says different is just trying to sell you something.

  159. I didn't say it was the sacrifices he objected to specifically--although of course supposedly his sacrifice did away with the necessity for those sacrifices. But the reason the moneychangers were there was that the temple was an enormous place of business and interaction for people coming in from outlying areas needing to change goods for things and purchase sacrifices. The temple had a function which included money/trade.

  160. Not "for their convenience." The distinction between the temple and a place of business is yours, not theirs. The reason they were there is that people needed to purchase stuff to make their religious devotions and that there was no separate economic sphere in which people from outside the city could do that.

  161. Nope, money changers and animal sellers could've been a quarter-mile from the Temple and still have carried out their functions.

    At a 20 minute/mile pace, you'd be able to get from there to the Temple precincts in 5 minutes. Hardly an inconvenience, IMHO.

    As I noted, it was the Judaisms' holiest site on the planet, so there was no reason to mix the sacred with the profane so close together.

    But I'm glad to find someone is sticking up for the Sadducees of the 1st Century AD these days.

  162. Really, there were no money changers anywhere else in the city, there were no animal sellers anywhere else in a provincial capital of a Roman-run province? They couldn't have it anywhere else but in the precincts of the Temple, the most sacred place on the planet as far as Judaism was concerned? They couldn't be located a 5 minute walk outside of the precincts of the Temple?

    Jesus also targeted the money changers. But for this post I want to
    focus on the dove sellers. Why target these people and these

    As most know, the preferred sacrifice to be offered at the temple was a
    lamb. But a provision is made in the Levitical code for the poor:

    Leviticus 5.7

    Anyone who cannot afford a lamb is to bring two doves or two young
    pigeons to the Lord as a penalty for their sin—one for a sin offering
    and the other for a burnt offering.

    By going after the dove sellers we see Jesus directly attacking the
    group who were having economic dealings with the poor. When the poor
    would go to the temple they would head for the dove sellers.

    The point being, while we know that Jesus was upset about economic
    exploitation going on in the temple, his focus on the dove sellers
    sharpens the message and priorities. Jesus doesn't, for instance, go
    after the sellers of lambs. Jesus's anger is stirred at the way the poor
    are being treated and economically exploited.

    That is what causes Jesus to engage in a protest action that shuts down
    the financial system of the city during the annual peak of its
    commercial activity, where he "would not allow anyone to carry
    merchandise through the temple courts" during the Passover week. An
    action akin to shutting down the Wall Street trading floor or shopping
    during Black Friday.


    Glad to know you're on the side of the dove sellers.

  163. But the Jews didn't separate "the sacred and the profane" the way you are insisting they had to. It was a different time and place and they had different ideas about sacred and profane, distance, the meaning of the temple precincts etc... You are projecting your own discomfort with money and the sacred and sacrifice which simply isn't there for them. Jesus did, and his followers came to, but the Jews at the time did not consider the temple defiled in any way by this convenient presence.

  164. The Saduccees who ran things didn't considered the Temple defiled by such economic transactions, you mean. We have no idea what the Jewish 'man in the street', to use a 20th Century term, thought of it.

    We do know that the Saduccees weren't above using the power of the Roman state to enforce their ways if anyone objected to them.

    But thanks for sticking up for the wealthy and powerful of a previous era.

  165. You seem weirdly overinvolved in this. I'm not on anyone's "side" in a badly understood 2000 year old story about what someone else's fake god may or may not have done. But I'm also a Jew and I think it should be obvious that what the practicing Jews of Jesus's era thought about their temple and what was going on in it was quite different from later Christian interpretations about it and its meaning or the precise meaning of what Jesus was supposed to have done there.

    But to reiterate: not everyone thinks that religion and the costs of religion need to be kept separate or that people bringing offerings, or changing money/bartering for things to be made into offerings, was an impure act or an act which polluted or oppressed people (necessarily). You have to know a whole lot about the commuity and how it was structured. You don't seem to know anything about how cities and rural areas function, btw, but I can assure you that when people come in from rural areas to do ritual activities in a major city they are quite likely to head straight for the temple to do all their business,where they find people they and their family have always dealt with. There's no abstract "bank" without a prior relationship.

  166. You don't seem to know anything about how cities and rural areas
    function, btw, but I can assure you that when people come in from rural
    areas to do ritual activities in a major city they are quite likely to
    head straight for the temple to do all their business,where they find
    people they and their family have always dealt with. There's no
    abstract "bank" without a prior relationship.

    Thanks for the gratuitous insult, aimai. I'm sure that your grandfather would've been proud of your rhetorical skillz instead of using logic and reasoning to make your point.

  167. Woah! I missed this. It wasn't a gratuitious insult--it was a straight up historical and anthropological observation. I'm talking about Nepali Hindu temples, about which I know quite a bit. Also: doves as sacrifices, which I've seen killed and eaten as prasad. Also: the odd goat. Early Judaism, like Hinduism, has a different relationship between the worshipper, the thing killed, and materialism.

    A gratuitous insult, which I can also assure you my grandfather would endorse, would be saying "fuck you, too."

  168. True, Josephus wasn't a Christian, and he did leave a description of how the Temple was kept from what was considered unclean in those days:

    Now the outward face of the temple in its front wanted nothing that was
    likely to surprise either men's minds or their eyes; for it was covered all
    over with plates of gold of great weight, and, at the first rising of the
    sun, reflected back a very fiery splendor, and made those who forced themselves
    to look upon it to turn their eyes away, just as they would have done at
    the sun's own rays. But this temple appeared to strangers, when they were
    coming to it at a distance, like a mountain covered with snow; for as to
    those parts of it that were not gilt, they were exceeding white. On its top
    it had spikes with sharp points, to prevent any pollution of it by birds
    sitting upon it. Of its stones, some of them were forty-five cubits in length,
    five in height, and six in breadth. Before this temple stood the altar, fifteen
    cubits high, and equal both in length and breadth; each of which dimensions
    was fifty cubits. The figure it was built in was a square, and it had corners
    like horns; and the passage up to it was by an insensible acclivity. It was
    formed without any iron tool, nor did any such iron tool so much as touch
    it at any time. There was also a wall of partition, about a cubit in height,
    made of fine stones, and so as to be grateful to the sight; this encompassed
    the holy house and the altar, and kept the people that were on the outside
    off from the priests. Moreover, those that had the gonorrhea and the leprosy
    were excluded out of the city entirely; women also, when their courses were
    upon them, were shut out of the temple; nor when they were free from that
    impurity, were they allowed to go beyond the limit before-mentioned; men
    also, that were not thoroughly pure, were prohibited to come into the inner
    [court of the] temple; nay, the priests themselves that were not pure were
    prohibited to come into it also.

    You can fuck off because you haven't cited anything approaching scholarship on the issue except what you've pulled out of your ass about the subject.

  169. Yes, because the ties between present-day Nepali Hinduism practices and those of the Second Temple are so close together.

    You still haven't cited anything directly about the practices of the priests in the Temple at that time, or why having the banking and animal sellers at a discreet distance from the Temple was unthinkable to the Jews of the time.

    A gratuitous insult, which I can also assure you my grandfather would endorse, would be saying "fuck you, too."

    Now, that's the kind of scholarship you should be proud of.

  170. MikeJ9:33 PM

    I especially don't think the Jews were worried about the Temple being defiled since the vendors were in the Court of the Gentiles. If there is an area of the Temple that specifically allows gentiles it wouldn't seem like they were concerned about it being defiled.

    I would agree with you that the requirement to buy, with a cut going to the priests, was what actually pissed off J-dawg more than where the vendors were located.

  171. Duncan11:12 PM

    You're close! See John 6:25ff, the aftermath of the feeding of the multitudes.

    25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

    26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

    [In other words, the miraculous feeding wasn't meant to nourish people, let alone to let them think that Jesus owed them a living. He wanted them to eat pie in the sky. And don't forget, Jesus was notorious for hanging around with "tax collectors and sinners," the former being collaborators with the Roman occupation who made their living by collecting taxes for the Emperor.]

  172. Duncan11:15 PM

    Both her husband and her disciple Nathaniel Branden did "get it up w/" her. What do descendants have to do with it? She didn't have any children. Children are parasites and moochers. But she did apparently have sex.

  173. raypc8004:15 PM

    This is all very simple the Pope believes in the Bible and what it has to say. He feels we all should live by the word.
    Those doing the screaming believe they should live by the almighty God money and the I got mine screw you.
    Very simple to understand for all. They just do not like being called out for trying to do what Jesus said could not be done. You cannot serve two masters.