Jewish date: 29 Ṭeveth 5770 (Parashath Wa’era’).
Today’s holiday: Friday of the First Week of Ordinary Time (Roman Catholicism).
Worthy causes of the day: “Take Action: No legitimacy for Bashir | Save Darfur”. Furthermore, probably practically everyone by now has heard of the disastrous earthquake in Haiti. Both the Red Cross and Orthodox Union are taking donations. If you do not have money and are able (or even if you do have money), please consider donating blood, which they can also use.
Topic 1: Reviews I have written relevant to this week’s Torah portion: “There can be miracles when you disbelieve: a review of The Prince of Egypt” and “You cut up the Bible, you bloody baboon!: A review of The Ten Commandments and The Ten Commandments: The Musical”. Note that the story in these movies and musical stretches over several Torah portions, so expect to hear mention of these again.
Topic 2: Televangelist Pat Robertson made a claim recently for which “controversial” would be an understatement: he claims that the Haitians made a pact with the Devil and this has caused bad things to happen to them ever since. This is documented here, including this video:
The idea that the Haitians are suffering for having made a pact with Satan does not sit well with a lot of people. Denny Burk in “What is Pat Robertson talking about?” does the history legwork and identifies the alleged pact with the Bois Caïman Ceremony, an Voodoo ceremony which allegedly took place during a rainstorm on August 14, 1791 to give rebels victory over the French; the ceremony may have never actually happened, and there is no explicit mention of the Devil in the description. Other articles criticizing Robertson include “Pat Robertson blames Haiti quake on 'pact with the devil'” (finding it hard to swallow people being punished for something their ancestors did or that you judge sinfulness by the extent of disaster), “A message for Pat Robertson” (asking people to not give Robertson’s remarks any attention because they are obviously unworthy of attention), “My Two Words for Pat Robertson: Shut Up!” (dealing with how far Robertson has shoved his foot up his mouth and is hurting others in the process), and “Is Pat Robertson a Prophet?” (which notes that Robertson has his facts wrong and cites the New Testament to show that he gets his theology wrong, too). Their criticism largely covers the issue, but I myself would like to note the Book of Job, the whole message of which is that bad things happen to people who do not necessarily deserve them.
Topic 3: For today’s religious humor: “I Can Has Credit?”:
To quote the description to make it make any sense:
Ceiling Cat [the god of the LOLcats] is always watching you… even when you’re at the store or gas station. He’s just making sure you’re buying enough catnip and cheezburgers for your kitteh.Peace and Shabbath shalom.