Jewish date: 5 ’Iyyar 5770 (Parashath ’Aḥare Moth-Qedhoshim).
Today’s holidays: Day 20 of the ‘Omer (Judaism), Israeli Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day (Judaism), Monday of the Third Week of Easter (Roman Catholicism), Feast St. David Koresh (Church of the SubGenius; I have no idea what they are thinking).
Worthy cause of the day: “Continue Progress on the Human Rights Council - The Petition Site”. (And I am fully aware that expecting most parts of the United Nations bureaucracy to do the right thing is like expecting to win the lottery. But we still have to prod them anyway.)
Topic 1: Several of the more recent episodes of FlashForward: “Revelation Zero, Part 1”, “Revelation Zero, Part 2”, “Better Angels”, and “Let No Man Put Asunder”. While FlashForward is a lot less religious show than one would have thought for a show in which people see the future (and try to avoid undesirable fates), lately the topic of religion in various forms has crept into the plot-lines. There is a window-washer who survived the Blackout by a lucky accident who, based on his FlashForward, became a preacher and founded a religious organization, Sanctuary. He promotes love and, violating a common cliché, claims that fate and free will are compatible. This is not as crazy as one might think. E.g., every human alive must sooner or later die. Yet if we have free will, it is within our power to influence how and when we reach this ultimate fate. One could choose to live a healthy lifestyle and thus have a good chance of living to a ripe old age, or one could choose to abuse one’s body and have a much higher probability of dying early from a drug overdose or a disease.
A different religious type is Nicole’s mother, who has gone crazy. She is seen wearing fake angel wings, citing Genesis 2:17, and burning a Bible. She also covers a wall with pennies minted in 1989, the year Nicole was born.
A third religious type is the Somalian warlord Abdi. In his FlashForward he sees himself as a great leader. He decides that it is God’s plan for this to happen, and he makes the illogical conclusion that the ends justify the means. He thus becomes a warlord and works towards conquering all of Somalia.
Finally, almost as comic relief, one of the characters is revealed to have become a minister over the Internet.
Topic 2: Relevant to Israeli Remembrance Day: “A mother’s reflection on Remembrance Day” and “Continuing Herzl’s dream”. The first article reminds us that there are innocent Jewish victims of Islamic terrorism, despite the Muslim propaganda trying to gloss over that fact. The second gives some historical perspective on the current set of anti-Semitic attacks by Muslims has gone on and the tactics they have used. Arguably the article does not go back far enough, since Arabs trying to grab Israel for themselves goes back to at least the 1920s.
Topic 3: For today’s religious humor: “Basement Cat”: