Thursday, January 19, 2017

Profit worship. New Baal. Commodify the world. Sustenance as a market opportunity. Trump.

The commodifying of religion.  Nobody gets mobility, health, the vote, sustenance, education, opportunity, forty acres and a mule to seed the future after horrendous deprivation by culture and government, unless that person already can pay now for it, and no mind why he is so far behind.

The Trump Presidency.  We have hopes that he will make decent decisions for more than his status-equals, defined by himself. Our own son is not in that group. We have worked hard, he is ever so deserving as a fine human being, but heaven or somebody please help him when we are gone, and what we have has run out. We are not hope-full, but we can always hope.  Or is that delusional?

Putin perpetuates serf-hood in his land. Trump follows suit here.  I may be back later with a positive assessment update, but am not hope-filled. Good morning, America. I hope it is.


See  Baal us out?

That, Mr. Trump,  is not the way.    

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Duped believer syndrome. Secular and religious shape-shifters and accountability. Time to free the electors

Expanded idolatries. Duping believers. Soliciting converts. 
Financial, economic, religious, political.
All based on words, words. 
Get there fast, all ye on the internet express, before full information is out. 
A fine art.
Lured in by the music. Shapeshifter? Heilbrunn Palace, Salzburg; View from the top, at the fountains

Elections, religions, politics, fashion:  Moneymakers all. How to discern the duper, the insincere profiteer, barker, who gets the cash, the vote, the conversion, the disseminator who spreads false words for his own ignorant, entertainment or nefarious reasons, a commitment before full information is out and can be vetted. How to warn the duped, the voter, penitent, party-member, buyer, that this product is not and cannot/will not deliver as promised. What is the real McCoy; or (source)

Is there a shapeshifter at the helm? In the pool? How to tell? Is that even the right word to describe a duper? A super duper?

Shapeshifting takes intentionality. What if it is just in the nature of the beast to have one aspect visible from the top, and another aspect lurking beneath, all the time.

A.  Nature of the duped.  The gullible believer believes, out of circumstance, lack of access to information in time, or whatever reason --  and if there is remorse of enough, is it time to free the electors? what other accountability can there be? Is all speech alike, is political speech commercial speech, and if so, add protections. This is sales, people.:

1. In the Big Lie du jour, internet hokum, absorbed as truth,and spread not out of merit but because it can be spread. That Comet Ping Pong houses exploited children.  Get your gun, invade, and shoot. Wrong? Sorry-o.  Idolizing what the herd says, finding comfort in the herd.

2. In the Big Lie ongoing. That there is widespread voter fraud. No, there isn't.  Idolizing political ideology, the false conclusion without fact support, where the real result does not serve the ideology. See

3. In the Big Lie of yesteryear, carrying on today. That heresy is defined by God, so it is permissible, even sin-eradicating, to kill the heretic. Blow them away. Cathars all. In favor of a non-finding of heretic: One finds merit in their beliefs and right to so believe.  In favor of obliteration of heretics. No, they deserved to die because they were heretics as the church defined it, and that is enough, says another still.  Idolizing religious ideology.

4. In the western economic Big Lie. That the free market without regulation of exploitation serves the wealthy best, and so for all of us.   Subheading: All who profess to be republican must believe, see  Disagree on pain of heresy, apostasy. Idolizing economic ideology.
5. In the Big Lie of platitudes, idolizing fairy tales, trivializing gender abuse, drug abuse. See Idolatry of ideology, cultural ideology.

6.  In the big lie of persuader veracity idolizing the position, the person holding it. A kind of divine ordination, like the Oz until the curtain is lifted, is that so? Now who does that look like? See google (pay-no-attention-to-that-person-behind-the-curtain).
B. Forewarning the duped believer. If too late, can mere information change a convinced mind.  Hardly. What if there is new information in this old Codex, about 800 CE, and held at the Kremsmunster Abbey, Austria.  Fear of facts. Phobiafactorum. Or factaphobia.

There upside down.  So it goes. So is life.

Conclusion, if any.  Secular and religious idolatry, shape-shifters abound. We have come nowhere. Our new wrinkle: not so new. Legitimacy depends on ethnicity, belief system, party affiliation, and so on. Is so-and-so Republican enough? Plus ca change.

  • Believe this, and you will be delivered: from them, from yourself, from responsibility for your own vetting of what you are told, from your life that seems dead-ended, from picking up things that explode, X(Russia is not alone here, look back,, believe me and you will be lifted up into glory, especially Scranton.

Duped voter syndrome. Duped believer syndrome. Propaganda techniques can sell anything. Control. Marketing, sales, techniques apply to religious and moral ideas, as well as commercial, martial. why the market should be the sole referent for legislative virtue. Even bleeding madras could be morphed into a preppy moneymaker. See  Time to free the electors. Have a little lunch, do something nice for somebody.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Moscow statue Vladimir I. Surprising non Byzantine cross of Vladimir the Great near Kremlin

Vladimir I in Moscow: See photograph of Vladimir I, Vladimir the Great, ruler of Kievan Rus 980-1215 CE; and the elongated simple cross he holds, in a new statue near the Kremlin at; and at Vladimir Putin unveils statue of medieval namesake who 'united Russian lands.'
  • Yet Vladimir I was Byzantine, after he converted, adopting a highly ornamental complex ideological system. The old Byzantine Crosses, if the images are reasonably correct, are not simple. They are shorter, stubbier, ornate, heavy, it appears. They also have (when did these come in?) a slanted footrest portion, and separate sign area at the top. This, however, looks posts-Reformation Protestant. 
    • Pick out the simplest ones at images.  Long, narrow vertical, shorter horizontal toward the top for the arms, and the head rests on the ongoing vertical above the arm support.  
  • There are possible explanations. 
  • Would Vladimir himself cared much about all the Anthonies? Probably not. He became a man of faith and good deeds after he converted and already had what he wanted, after the violence needed to unify a disparate area, and had his political cards at the ready throughout, see  See
    • See the Primary Chronicle at pp. 107ff (and before). Arguments were entertained, lifestyles compared, a choice made, people told to convert and so they did, and without bloodshed.
      • Without bloodshed. Now, that is a religious idea worth dying for.
 Crosses can defy easy explanation. Still, this one, Vladimir I's Moscow Cross,  looks like (anathema!) a Western Protestant Christian cross. The question remains, Why that form used in Moscow, here, now?  The mindset in modern times has, apparently, stressed the need for re-Russianization, not cultural dilution, see Church and State, and both in international realm.

  • Metropolitan Kyrill has shown concern the nature of another's religious influence being not just faith, but an intententional undermining of Russian culture, identity, influences. See Report, Orthodoxy on the Threshhold of the Third Millennium, at 
  • How does this form of cross, rather than the Eastern Orthodox, serve that interest?

a.  Check out the Apostle St. Andrew's connection, if any. The St. Andrew of the Caves, Kiev, is historically corroborated. How about the Apostle? The Apostle, vouched for. Andrew the First-Called. See Orthodox Wiki.  Is St. Andrew the Apostle in Ukraine more than legend?  and new questions.

  • The history of the Orthodox Church and connections to an Apostle St. Andrew are not sure things.  This site mentions no St. Andrew in connection with Orthodoxy's founding or Kiev. See  Instead, see references to early missionaries from Byzantium as part of its outreach in the 9th century (very late).

Another site does put Apostle Andrew at the focal point, so that pictures of him in Russia holding a cross would make sense, but it relies on a cultural-support source, not an objective historical one. And there is no corroboration.  The Russian Primary Chronicle written with an ideological bent and compiled in about 1113 CE in Kiev, as to stories of origins centuries and a millennia earlier, and by religious institution persons. See   The Chronicles is not historiography, not a history text. So did the monks just put Andrew in the Kiev area because it had become more than legend in minds of believers, and added weight to the position of the Church? It looks like it.  There is a St. Andrew's Church in Kiev, but it is baroque, built 1747-1754, hardly on a historic site. See Encyclopedia of Ukraine.
  • The move from folktale to fact-belief process is familiar: There is no one Robin Hood, for example, but many individuals over time engaged in brigandage, their stories congealing. Also for William Tell -- no such, just a very long period of resisting the Canton authorities for this and that, and congealing into one legendary person. 
The apparently disputed connection of St. Andrew * other than legend (of course, there are probably some kernels that somehow apply, in some way, explore) should be a matter that even religious persons would welcome as a figurative matter, not literal. Fact-failures with anything actually Russian-Ukrainian does not detract from the arguments about messages to the people, in the fold and out, so long as the figurative is accepted. The simple cross either way, fact or not, affirms a universal, the Gift to be Simple idea, with its own complex history.  From that choice of Vladimir for an ally, a nice and locally already significan t religion that allowed him to continue his lifestyle,flows the ritual-filled Russian Orthodox Church that takes it to a new exclusionary level:  identifies its ideology as absolutely right-believing Holy Russia.  What would St. Andrew say to that? Would Vladimir I even recognize the concept, he who had free choice.
  • Use of the simple cross it raises issues critical of Moscow now usurping the role of Vladimir I in the first place for identification with the very different Moscow-Muscovy. Vladimir's ultimate conversion (which was for political reasons, but followed, apparently, by faith) coterminous with absorption of Ukraine and its firstr son, Vladimir, both to become Russia's ideological turf. 
  • Then ask, east and west, what is gained by all these instutitons calling themselves Christian adding their culture-control gewgaws to what was a perfectly good message by JC in the long ago. The site at Russian Orthodox Church, Early History and least explains the cross.
  • Use of the elongated simple cross here as a crutch, for artistic reasons only.
    • Any statue requires 3-point stabilizers or some such to hold it up, Here, however, the cross form itself stabilizes the statue. To do that, it reaches all the way from 'way over head, down to the toes -- and with its lack of ornamentation (a little bush would have helped).  But take it further: Vladimir leaning on this particular form? Really? 
b,  Why not the traditional Orthodox Cross?  Vladimir in traditional form:  See the Orthodox cross consistently elsewhere, example Medieval Prince Vladimir deepens Russia-Ukraine Split, at
  • See examples, and ask again why, when Vladimir himself finally converted in 988 CE, intentionally, to the Byzantine Christian church (Byzantium is not far away), he is not carrying its symbol.  He then converted his entire population, to Byzantine Christianity.  See the Russian Primary Chronicle (index is a good starting point). See the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica on Vladimir I. 
  • What is the earliest "Byzantine cross"?  Need a date.
b.  Cross clearly is not Orthodox; or later Byzantine, each with a long vertical, but three differing length horizontals: Here is one.  at top, short one for a nameplate; somewhat below, a longer one as for nailed arms, and at bottom, a slanted medium length, slanted up to meet the side of the thief who repented; or perhaps an anchor shape with other Christian significance, do a search, see images. See an informal forum on the topic at

c.  Cross is not Roman Catholic (here of a later date) with the body right there, hanging on the cross, long vertical:  But even the shape of the narrow cross, even without the body, suggests some affinity perhaps with Lithuanian-Polish Catholics in Ukraine, like an appeasement?  Make Vladimir the saint also of them?

Roman Catholic cross, with body on it, long vertical, site of Cathar crusade massacre, Montsegur, France, mm

d.  Cross is not anchor. The cross is not an anchor cross, with the crescent below.  Here, such an anchor cross, among the Roma.  First Century CE:  Christian symbol as anchor, not Christian symbol as cross, see

Roma anchor cross, Saintes Maries de la Mer, France

There is a later connection with anchor crosses, the Black Sea, and St. Clement, but that is not in issue here.

d.  So why the elongated simple Protestant-type cross in the hands of old St. Vladimir?

1)  The optimist says this:

 Compromise was needed by Vladimir then, so he would not alienate his people in changing their ways. In order for the conversions to spread without violence, as they apparently did, he could not push too much ideology at once.  He let the multi-deists coexist, without forcing a strictly ideological symbol on them.  Christians did the same thing in Scandinavia, using the "hanging on a tree" to sound like Odin on the tree, an area religious story.

2). The pessimist says this:

It is in error.  Noone thought to research it. Surely the Russian Orthodox cross would be held out for all to see, if this is Holy Russia, and its Orthodoxy the chosen framework, from which all Right-Believers flow..
  • And it is not an even better compromise, an equal-armed cross, here from a medieval graveyard

Those stubborn Varangians.  Go back to Vladimir's context.

A simple cross eases compromise. It took a Reformation, and conflict, but it started to come about. Symbols matter. Is that a subtext. See,-something-concrete-will-come-with-respect-to-a-meeting-between-the-pope-and-the-Russian-patriarch-35727.html.  No, says Varvara. Let the 1992 reflections on Sergianism, whether the church inappropriately collaborated with communism (the general idea, see, slide into history and let the state continue to hold the church's pursestrings now. Compromise, allowance for difference. A global issue. See footnote.

e.  Why the deep opposition to this statue here, now, regardless of the cross?

There are issues of legitimacy, of the identity, of the takings of physical as well as ideological territory of others. See BBC site, above.  Review facts: Vladimir the Great.  975-1015 CE.
  • Ukraine as seat of the Kievan Rus has always claimed him because Vladimir was born, lived, ruled as Grand Prince and died here (nearby). Ukraine fears further absorption, involuntary, into the Federation.  Vladimir had even been baptised in Crimea, and that territory is already in flux. Fears are with good reason. [So far, however, UN complaints go round and round, see]
  • Vladimir represents the success of the Varangian Period of the Kievan Rus, expansion, organization, structure, military and trade skills hand in hand, and its transition to the Christian Period when principalities of heirs warred with each other for turf, Kiev was abandoned to the Mongols, the Lithuanians, the Poles. Important. Vladimir ruling as Prince in Novgorod:  Areas blur, but there is a persistence of concept, supporting Varangian roots of Vladimir, and tolerance of Vladimir, once peace was attained see
Regardless, with ties north (Novgorod) and south (Kiev) for Vladimir I, the statue, is now installed, and still opposed by too many and for reasonable reasons.



a. Kievan Rus as multicultural, multiethnic, those with organizational, military, long-distance trade and focus skills ruling at the top, but needing the production of all the cultures in the boundaries, At p.91 and elsewhere, Russian Primary Chronicle, note the context: Vladimir was allied with Varangians (Scandinavians), was related to their royalty, went to Scandinavia to recruit his army, etc. In Vladimir's pre-Christian era, before his adoption of Byzantine monotheism, the Rus era was Varangian, multitheist. Vladimir made the fast transition, without alienating broad groups, when it suited his political and organizational needs. Fast forward. Does adoption of a simple cross, a more neutral symbolic cross help bridge differences, help coax the ongoing multi-theists of the day to join the fold, nothing to fear here. Consider:  acknowledging the legitimacy of the Other is the first step to coexistence. Start to understand Orthodoxy with
 Or is the choice of cross simply not an issue, somebody just picked one out.  Please, Mr. Putin, let it be.

b.  Is the expedience of Vladimir enough to make him a saint? Disconnect.  Examine Vladimir's purposeful conversion to a specific alliance and religious form, the Byzantine Christian, because it let him continue to live his chosen life without much interruption; and the later rigidity of religious rules of behavior and belief, Holy Russia and its sense of chosenness; and its blurring with the State in various pendulum moves in history, see footnote.

So Russia had a choice here.  A. Stress the importance of the nation's adoption of this Byzantine-based specific Orthodoxy in the cross symbol; the Holy Russia; or  B.  Use a generic symbol for the common origins of all Christianity, St. Andrew's; and so  C. Affirm how, in the original disciples, there was focus on essential message, not ideology. That is a compromises for the good of more people, not fewer. Different messages. Just make them conscious. It has confused the issue of roots by putting St. Andrew's cross in Vladimir's hands, instead of the Byzantine Cross, representing the institution to which Vladimir converted.

Change Vladimir's cross to the Byzantine, and for so long as that particular form of Christianity (a choice) is blurred with the Russian state and its merits or not.  Leave St. Andrew's essential form as an attractor for any so inclined, who do not then have to also fall into lockstep with the Russian state. There. Done.

1. Locations of the statue:  An earlier proposed location had been at the former KGB building, Lubyanka, see; and at high Sparrow Hills, where another saint would be more apt.  Saint Vladimir, Vladimir the Great, has now been installed outside these walls at the Kremlin, November 2016. Better idea.

2. Get the sound of Orthodoxy. Wonderful.
Find a youtube or other Troparion (Tone 4), short hymn, rhythmic prose form to honor:  Andrew, first-called of the Apostles and brother of the foremost disciple,entreat the Master of all to grant peace to the world and to our souls great mercy.

Kontakion (Tone 2), a form of thematic hymn, takes experts to explain difference with Troparion. Is it where it is found in the service? Let us praise Andrew, the herald of God,the namesake of courage,the first-called of the Savior's disciples and the brother of Peter.As he once called to his brother, he now cries out to us:'Come, for we have found the One whom the world desires!'

Here is a broadly relevant one, in Greek and then English, at

* [Andrew is also the patron saint of Scotland and Romania. President-elect Trump has a golf course in the area in Scotland, oops, page gone, go figure. See (cannot see) At any rate, St. Andrew is associated financially with lucrative golf, as well as religious roots in Ukraine and now Russia]. In the religious arena, Andrew was associated with miracles and preaching, and was tortured and martyred for it. Vladimir, however, is a man of no miracles (any preaching?) but led a common-good life (education, hospitals, schools) after conversion, so that's ok.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Judaism in China: Disputed roots. Khazaria. Ancient minority now oppressed.

Jews in China.  An ancient group, persecuted.
Timeline.  Explore Khazars, and fostering Jewish roots.

I. Background

A recent news account of persecution of Jews in China speculates about their origins, noting only a generic idea of Persian merchants involved. Look deeper into the roots of Chinese Judaism.  Look specifically to the Khazars, ancient Khazaria.  Khazar rulers indeed invited Persian and Byzantine refugees from various warring areas to settle in Khazaria, see An Introduction to the History of Khazaria.  There is agreement that Jewish-Persian merchants traded along the Silk Road.  A side point, however, is whether Khazars themselves converted to Judaism.

A.  Yea,  If Khazars converted to Judaism, Khazaria would then be the first and perhaps only State where the Jews ruled themselves, not as subjects to others, and conversions were completely by choice after comparisons. That issue of conversion is not mentioned in the news article, see New York Times, . Then again, there is no external evidence other than the legend-favorite tale in favor of the conversion theory? See arguments favoring the conversion at

B.   Nay.  Perhaps the Times is convinced that there was no such conversion, and therefore the origin of the Chinese Jews is satisfactorily explained by Jewish-Persian merchants on the Silk Road.
  • Some indeed say there was no such conversion, see reference to Hebrew University historian Professor Shaul Stampfer at  Scroll down at that site for arguments surrounding the conversion story as originating in the 1800's. Is the issue translations and linguistics? 
  • The significance of whether Jews have historic roots here relates also to Israel. This topic is beyond me, so here is my best summary:  If the Jewish people are not descended from Khazars, their historic claim to legitimacy in the srael is questionable (why should all hinge on the Khazars?), and relates to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  See Jewish Virtual Library site.
  • If there were no Jewish Khazars, then the Chinese Jewish minority population is not related to the Khazars other than by happenstance overlap with the vaguely worded Persian merchant connection, see NYT article above.
C.  Start here. Find the Khazars.  

See Maps of the Khazar Kingdom from 300 CE - 1000 CE, at  They were Turkic, and noteworthy for reddish hair, at least before the Mongol conquest and dilution.  See History of Khazaria (hair color is of interest because of the fabulous red hair of the current Udmurts in Russia, and any issue of genetics and Jewish ancestry among them is beyond my pay grade, see Site notes some Ashkenazic Jewish people resemble in phyiscal appearance East Slavs and West Slavs, even Lithuanians, see site. Is this DNA video topic reliable?  See

II.  Timeline.  Begin a timeline for the Turkic Khazars, any Jewish connections, myth or:  

I first summarize from  Refer to that unless otherwise indicated.

550 CE:  Death of Attila the Hun, whose empire had been controlled. Collection of tribute kept tribes in check, and a power vacuum emerges in Eastern Europe. See  With no protection from invasion from local tribes that the old tribute system provided, many Avars and Uighurs move west.

Khazars stay put, Caspian Sea on one side, Black Sea on the other. See An Introduction to the History of Khazaria.  Khazars at that location enjoyed another power vacuum where neither Rome nor Persia ruled, to their south so they could plunder and raid and enrich their own empire.  Incursions:  Into Georgia, plunder but not conquest over time, see

622 CE:  Muslim community migrates from Mecca to Medina (the Hegira); Islamic lunar calendar commences

627 CE:  Khazars ally with Byzantines and others for mutual protection, form the Western Turkish Empire (a/k/a Turkut), a kind of continuation of a Hun-type empire, see  Leader:  called a Kagan The Khazars also adopt the title Kagan for their rulers.  Is this Turkut related to the Gok Turks?

632 CE:  Prophet Muhammad dies. Research separate topic, competing claims for legitimacy of claims of succession, Sunni, Shia, not primary issue here.

633 CE:  Muslims conquer the Arabian peninsula, parts of North Africa, and Asia Minor, and Persia (Iran).  This parsed the region:
642 CE:  Islamists conquer Persia (Iran) and Egypt, see

651 CE -- Arab-Khazar wars. Khazar resist Islamization

680 CE:  Descendants of Muhammad:
a) Al-Husain from Benu Hashem Muhammad; and
b) Yazid Ibn Mu'Awiya from Benu Umayah Abu Sufyan

Hussayen, Grandson of the Prophet is killed at Karbala (site favoring the cause of Hussayen, a/k/a Husayn.

680 CE:  The Prophet's son-in-law, Ali ibn Abi Talib, founds the party to carry on, as the Party of the Prophet, a/k/a Shiat-Ali or Shi'ias (is this correct so far?); the Shi'ias start their battle to become independent from the Umayyad Caliphate.

651-737 CE -- Arab-Khazar wars:  Arabs prevailed.  Were the Khazars at that time Slavs? See social stratification below. See  Need to vet that site, but keep it in for now.

  • Arab-Khazar wars. Arabs defeated Khazars but elected not to control area of Darband, north of the Caucasus, but leave it and deal with other territorial and governance issues. 
  • Khazars develop agriculture, influenced by Greek colonies in the region (especially in the Crimea) in the 700's.  Soon followed settlements, castles, a hierarchical social system:

Top tier:  Ak-Khazars, with fair skin
Lower tier: the Kara Khazars, darker skin (India?)

730 CE -- Khazars attack the Caliphate, cities of Ardabil and Mosul, but were pushed back before arriving at Damascus.

732 CE:  A Khazar princess marries the future Emperor Constantine V.  Their son:  Leo IV, is known as Leo the Khazar, and subsequently rules.

Khazars expand to the north, in Dnieper River valley, forcing tribute from the Aral Sea, to the Urals and west to the Danube.

800's -- Yiddish emerges,  among Persian-Jewish populations and merchants, Ashkenazic, at points near crossroads for the Sikl Road, some also from Turkish village areas.  Jewish traders plied the Silk Road trade routes, see

840 CE -- Khazars sack Kiev, taking vast tribute from the Slavs there.

861 -- First Khazar Kagan (king), Bulan,  converts to Judaism.  Several versions, the first very like the story attached to Vladimir the Great.  Does this suggest that the Khazar Jewish tale borrows from the Rus, and is indeed a myth?

Version A.  Yehudah ha-Levi (Bulan) is visited by a angel who says God is pleased with his thinking but not his acting.  A philosopher consultant says either being Christian or Muslim would be right ways of acting.  Bulan consults a Christian wise man, and comes away with his logical conclusions unsatisfied. Goes to check further.  Bulan consults a Muslim Mullah, and still is unsatisfied. He seeks out a rabbi and is persuaded that the Jewish way is most legitimate because they descend from the Children of Israel, and evidence divine law here on earth. Bulan goes to a cave in the mountains where Jews observe the Sabbath. He is circumcised but only tells special friends. He fosters a community of Jews (from upper-class Khazars, apparently), they convert, and he goes public.

Version B.  Bulan invites three religious sages Christian, Muslim, Jewish (the origin of Three Men go into a ________ ... ) and they debate.

Version C.  The Khazars (not just Bulan first?) convert after an Army general became Kagan.

Not all became Jewish, however.  There apparently was no forced conversion, and many were or became Muslim.

961 CE -- Khazars barred the Vikings/Russians/Rus from reaching the Caspian Sea. See 

965 CE -- Rus attack the Khazars.  About this time, is there a Khagan who converts to Islam?  See d
The Khazars are not referenced hereafter.

By 1020 -- Fall of Khazaria -- See the competing cultural groups at map,  The Muslim victors there are the Khazar Muslims, not Muslims of the Caliphate, see site.  The battle shown there is against the Scandinavian Vikings, see site.

Is all that so?  Constant vetting.  Do your own searches to be reasonably sure.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Andrew Jackson's Bible. That Old White Religion.

Andrew Jackson. Seventh President. The Tennessee House of Representatives has voted to make Andrew Jackson's Bible the official State book.  See  Role model, or just his Bible. Which Bible? The one from his Inauguration, or the one on the floor by his feet as he grew old. Were they the same? Nobody knows what specific scripture was read at Jackson's inauguration, but this was true of other presidents as well, and many presidents did not choose, but heard whatever the random book-opening produced, see   In the US, Catholics seem to have used the Douay Rheims version of the Bible, and Protestants the King James. Is that so? What others were in circulation?

 Compare Biblical translations beginning at Interpretations vary.  Jackson's era was also a time of the Bible Riots, see  Sectarian disagreements were rampant.

Mormons were also weighing in at the time with critiques of existing translations of the "common Bible", and came up with their own, see  So: Does Tennessee, by its choice of AJ's Bible, intend to assert its old white supremacism idea over competitors, like Mormonism, as well as over any other religious group adopting a different translation from the old King James?  Write your legislator. Find out. The debate enspicens. That is, spices up.

Aside from the religious version book-adoption's Constitutionality, gather facts about which Bible should be deemed Jackson's (we surmise out of default that it was the King James); and move on to his views on what to implement in life from that King James. He was president from 1829-1837.

1.  Jackson's religion.  Apparently he separated religious ideology from political and other aspects of actual life, although he occasionally attended Presbyterian services and his wife was Baptist.  In the 1830's, the many available translations of the Bible and those still emerging in areas where the language, the vernacular, had had no Bible before, incensed self-proclaimed purists complained about words used, see

Was he a late convert, when the lights were dimming, or had he been religious under it all?
  • Did he ever invoke his religion as a guiding light while in office?  Apparently not. Yet, he referred while in declining health to his confidence that he would meet both black and white in heaven, see  
  • He came to a pious end, see Millercenter site below.
  •  above, and said, buttressing the view that he sympathized with the needy rather than the rich,  "The great can protect themselves, but the poor and humble require the arm and shield of the law."   See  He also said that one man with courage makes a majority, but he did not use that kind of courage to buck the brutality against others of this timed, see the Trail of Tears, below.
Religious precepts vs. real life.  Today, same old same old.  Tennessee also now does not use its laws to protect the poor; the medicaid expansion option has been rejected, see

2.  Jackson's policies.  Has Tennessee researched this President to see if more than his specific Bible should be referenced?  Is Jackson to be the official State President?

2.1  Find that, surprise, to now Red States, that Jackson was decidedly Blue in his age, fostering interests of the poor and farmers as opposed to banks and "conservatives," and wanting mail deliveries on Sunday, see

2.2  The Trail of Tears.  American genocide effort. Jackson is decried for his policy of Indian removal (quasi-genocide) to make room for internal white migrants, the Cherokee particularly afflicted in The Trail of Tears. Blaming Indians for trying to defend their ancestral lands against white settlers and land speculators, he authorized the Indian Removal Act, resulting in Georgia's forced march, The Trail of Tears, see; a policy as controversial then as now.  Some 4,000 Cherokee died (attempted genocide?) on this route from Georgia to Oklahoma in midwinter, see brief overview at; and

2.3  Andrew Jackson also fully availed himself of a spoils to the victor criteria for his hirings and firings, also true of others then and now.  See

2.4  Jackson fostered the American System including tariff issues affecting trade, and federal subsidies for transportation, a position deplored by the South as a way to pass wealth to the North, see; then backtracked when he saw corruption, but remained dedicated to a strong federal government, even if not expanded.  He subsequently also sought increased power to enforce revenue laws. See  Read details of those and other policy contests; he ultimately caved as to the American System, apparently.

3.  Tabloids of the times.  Among scandals exciting the electorate was this social-cultural issue: whether his wife by out-of-state elopement, Rachel, was immoral. Her first husband claimed adultery and abandonment, then obtained a divorce (examine the chronology). Did she and Andrew do whatever before they should, and was anybody bigamous here awhile.  Or had she been abused, and the scenario very different? see Does a sinful woman deserve the White House? The Jacksons then remarried after the divorce, just to be sure i's dotted.

4.  Mystery.  Where did Jackson's parrot learn to cuss?  Jackson was known to be religious especially as he aged, but he also had a pet parrot with a wide vocabulary of obscenities and nasty words that upset his slaves, or so the feathered tale goes, see  Pet parrots were popular at the time, and that and other bird species have perched with presidents, see  The whole thing about Jackson's avian friend sounds apocryphal, amusing and oft-repeated as it is. There is no verifiable source for this story, say various message boards. 

Conclusion:  Go ahead, Tennessee. Adopt some version of the Bible as your own true light; and find that no issues are solved, no bridges built, no-one else's positions destroyed, but probably re-energized.

Is this so:  That dogma about fact, significance, text intent, is a matter of cultural choice, a decision to believe in an "inspired" interpretation, and so justify the practices that come to surround it. So, gather all the exegetes, eisegetes and hermeneuts -- all fancy terms for people doing text analysis -- and see them point fingers at each other, accusing each other of imposing an interpretation outside the text.

But what text is "original"?  How much of opposing views were simply destroyed, buried. By who definitions are definitions we take for granted, definite.  Cardinal Ratzinger's Erasmus lecture 1/27/1988.  Texts to not easily, or clearly, yield intent or "significance."

Andrew Jackson:  role model?  Hardly, except to shelve moral issues until you are old, then adopt what you like.  Is that so, just to be sure?