Jesus Camp and other stuff

Anyone who has not looked at today’s Boggart Blog yet should check out my article on last night’s Channel 4 documentary Jesus Camp
and then read this unrelated but complimentary story from Amanda Marcotte at Pandangon about a teacher in the USA who was sacked for showing his class a simple conjuring trick. Christian parents accused him of wizerdry. The hypocrisy makes you puke.

Teacher sacked in USA after showing class a simple conjuring trick.

We Lost This Thing In February it looks as if Hillary Clinton has lost the race for the democratic Party Presidential candidacy. But has she a dirty trick or two up her sleeve. Knowing the Clinton’s reputation for political witchcraft I’m not ruling it out.

Deliberative Democracy and the scientific method go together like chocolate and vanilla. Pandangon again, this time on the way America’s liberals have let the Rabid Right define the political agenda.

Preacher’s Pride before fall A new link for Little Nicky, to Scotland’s leading (so they claim) quality paper. Well they all help the hits keep rolling in.

The Sacred (Fore)Skin and Bones

The discovery (well not quite) of a set of ossuaries or bone caskets reputed to contain the bones of Jesus, his Mum and Dad, wife, children and brothers in Jerusalem this week seems to be the latest chapter in a campaign to discredit Bible literalists. I say the ossuaries were “not quite discovered” because these same caskets have been discovered several times before. Surprisingly the established churches have dismissed them as fakes without any investigation each time.
I say surprisingly because archaeologists have complained many times of phoney researchers funded by American churches “running round Palestine with one hand on the Bible” putting a very warped interpretation on every trivial find and ruining important historical sites.
Later, in 1996 Joan Bakewell made a documentary about this find for the BBC, The Body In Question (Sunday April 7, 1996, BBC TV.) Again the mainstream churches refused to comment. They were concerned that to give credibility to the idea that Jesus had an ossuary for his mortal remains would discredit the ascension dogma.
It would be almost impossible to prove the remains contained in the boxes were the holy family of course, the bones could have belonged to anybody. But that is not what interest Boggart Blog, oh no, what we are interested in is the sheer quantity of holy relics that have been in circulation since AD30.
In medieval times there was a whole industry built on the manufacture, distribution and retail of bits of dead saints and New Testament characters.
The most valuable of these was the Holy Foreskin. Jesus would have been circumcised at eight days old of course and his foreskin or prepuce buried by his mother. A thousand years later the foreskin turned up, well not just one but many, a minimum of fourteen (or fifteen if you count the one that ascended to the heavens and became the Rings of Saturn!)
Only slightly less preposterous is the story of the Roman Catholic mystic Catherine of Sienna who swore that on the day of her wedding to Christ she was visited by an angel who gave her the Holy Foreskin to be used as a wedding ring.
Another Catholic lady, one of several Saint Bridgets also received the foreskin from an angel. Being a bit of a nonce Bridget put this one in her mouth and experienced orgasmic sensations. But we only have her word for it.
Everybody in Medieval Europe knew that where Jesus and the Apostles were concerned the laws of logic did not apply. Not did the laws of evolution which will make creationists happy. Thus nobody ever found it remarkable the Holy Child had a minimum of fourteen willies.
The same applied to apostles little fingers. There were twelve apostles, each had two little fingers. And yet a half competent Pardoner could shift a few dozen Apostles little fingers in a week. And there were thousands of Pardoners in business from Greece to Britain.
Holy Sponges were big business too. A confession of ignorance here, I don’t know what a holy sponge is, every sponge I have ever used had holes in it, that’s the nature of sponges. But there was a market for Holy Sponges, it seems every respectable middle class household in Europe owned the one and only Holy Sponge.
Fragments of the true cross were always a good seller. The Dutch scholar Erasmus wrote that if all the fragments of the true cross in all the churches in all the world were genuine Jesus would have had to be crucified on an entire forest. And on top of that, the complete and entire cross was discovered buried in the Jordanian desert in the 1980s. Well it looked like a cross. It could easily have been the chassis from a dung cart of course.
There will always be money to be made from gullible people and as John Steinbeck said “it does us good to be cheated from time to time.”
The “new discovery of sacred remains will not be verified, of that there is no doubt. If the bones were, by some chance genuine, 2000 years of history and the whole of the Christianity industry would go down the pan, just as it would if the Dead Sea Scrolls were published as they prove the New Testament is just fairy stories.