Musings by OHEA President, Dan Winslow
- Jesus’ Crucifixion
- One Humanist’s Belief
- A Parody of the Biblical Wise Men’s Story
- Johnny Reb, A Statue in North Carolina, Starts to Speak!
- The Gay Wedding Cake and the The Supreme Court
Jesus’ Crucifixion: A Parody by Dan Winslow
Jesus of Nazareth, or maybe Bethlehem, is one of history’s most controversial figures because of what allegedly happened to him, or his body, following his crucifixion. Here is one possible explanation as related by Dan Winslow’s Greek muse. The conversation begins at Judas’ supper table while he and Jesus drink cheap wine.
“I tell you Judas, I’m weary of people hounding me, listening to every word I utter, asking me to settle their disputes, heal their sick, and raise their dead. I tell you, Judas, there’s peace only when I’m in the bushes heeding the calls of nature and even then there are peepers. I long for peace, quiet, and escape from murderous Jews and Romans! What am I to do? Where can I go?”
“Jesus thank you for showing me a wider world with promise, teaching me to value others, and freeing me from daily drudgery and hunger, I will ask my fellow fishermen for ideas. Some have fished the great sea that touches the Land of the Pharaohs as well as our own and they tell strange tales of fish without scales that swim there.”
“Judas, I hear my enemies plan to crucify me but they don’t want to mistakenly kill my twin brother, fearing that I will lead a great revolt. Someone has been paid to betray me and I hear that you are that someone, Judas.”
“Yes I will betray you Jesus but don’t fear me. Your brothers, sisters, and a few friends can maybe help us. Let me speak with my fellow fishers. Stay out of sight. Say that you are going to pray and fast in the wilderness as you often do but tell me where to find you when I return.”
(They part with Jesus going into the wilderness and Judas going to Magdala. The scene opens with Judas sudden reappearance at Jesus’ home.)
“Judas! You startled me! Where have you been? Three months have passed since we last met. What have you learned?”
“Fishermen from Magdala, Mary Magdalene’s hometown, remembered your early ministry’s giving hope to all who lived there and they have helped us by providing this fishy powder, used by kidnappers, thieves, and murderers, which will cause you to appear dead for three days.”
“And just how is this powder helpful if I am crucified?”
“Jesus, I am to receive a small fortune for betraying you to the Roman soldiers and I have bribed the soldiers who are to nail you to the cross to place a support under your feet, to tie your arms and hands to the cross, and to pour enough lamb’s blood on you to convince gawkers that you have indeed been crucified with nails. Unfortunately you must hang on the cross a while.”
“Then what Judas? Gawkers will witness my crucifixion.”
“I will raise a sponge to your mouth and after you moisten your mouth with the bitter liquid you will soon seem dead. We have bribed a centurion to scratch your left side and your flowing blood will mingle with the lamb’s blood. The scratch will seem a mortal wound. Joseph and our friends will carry you, still living, away, and you will not reach a tomb.”
“What about my prophecy that I will rise from the dead on the third day following crucifixion?”
“Don’t worry Jesus, Your twin brother will take your public place and only trusted accomplices will be allowed to approach him.”
After the Crucifixion
“Jesus, wake up! Jesus, wake up! Your fishy drugs are wearing off, your wounds are salved and bandaged, and an oxcart awaits to carry you to freedom.”
Thus did Jesus, Judas, and their trusted friends deceive Romans, Jews, and all who wished Jesus dead. Jesus returned to his carpenter’s trade living quietly, building sturdy furniture, raising geese at what is now Nag Hammadi and willingly vanishing from history having suffered enough inconveniences to last his lifetime. He died a successful woodworker and goose farmer at age 77 years. Some say he reunited with Mary Magdalene and fathered children, but that’s another story.
Judas, after paying all bribes and expenses, remained a rich man, moved to Damascus, established a business selling only the finest swords, and died at his seaside villa on the Gulf of Aqaba, aged 97 years.
Dan’s Greek muse departed after changing the Biblical resurrection story from snuff film fodder into a story of two old friends retiring well and unknowingly hoodwinking history.
By Dan Winslow 10/02/2014
I believe that organic evolution, a powerful force allied with environmental change, has created earth’s great diversity of life.
Life’s origin is unknown but excellent scientific hypotheses exist to test and our current ignorance does not mean or imply that a great magician called God created life.
I believe that earth, my only home, is governed by scientific principles theoretically discoverable by scientific inquiry.
I believe that the scriptural Jesus, if he existed, was conceived as the result of human sexual relations.
I believe that Jesus recovered from crucifixion.
I believe that following his crucifixion and burial Jesus’s brothers and sisters carried him away and after his stupefying drugs wore off he publicly reappeared.
I believe that Judas Iscariot helped Jesus reach his goal of living quietly and building sturdy furniture funded by Roman money at what is now Nag Hammadi. Or perhaps Jesus settled down to raise geese.
By Dan Winslow 10/08/2014
There never was an unusual star in the East, but King Israel Sargon Jr. the one eyed king of a lost Israeli tribe living in the Western Parthian Desert thought otherwise. King Sargon was overly fond of fermented camel milk and cactus squeezings and had many visions including one of a bright new star in the East where others saw only familiar comets, stars, and conjunctions. However, King Sargon, or Junior as he was commonly known, wielded considerable authority so several lesser kings, their wives, their concubines, their slaves, their camels, their chickens, their asses, and their prophets journeyed East with him. This huge, hungry, and devout assembly numbering 17,646 beings, not counting lice, converted every edible plant and animal between the Western Parthian Desert and Jerusalem into dung.
Junior and his entourage suffered months of dry, windy, and scorching weather. Water was scarce; the devout were often dehydrated; kidney stones and their resultant screams were plentiful. Briars tore at the traveler’s skins, scorching sand blistered their feet, lice sucked their tender parts, and heatstroke killed the unwary. The survivors arrived at King Herod’s Jerusalem palace hungry, lousy, ragged, and filthy. Some of the devout were newly pregnant and / or had social diseases. Herod was distressed! What was he to do with this rabble? Why had they come?
Junior’s star had led him to King Herod, or rather Junior and his entourage had been captured and taken to King Herod as potential troublemakers. Once deloused, fed, bathed, and clothed, Junior told Herod that a bright new star was leading them to the newborn King of the Jews, Baby Jesus. Herod, an accomplished Biblical ogre, wished to murder any possible kingly competitor, so concealing his real intent he provided Junior and the other kings, now misnamed the Wise Men, with frankincense, myrrh, gold and other gifts for the Baby Jesus. Their assignment was to report Jesus’ exact whereabouts to King Herod. Junior and his followers journeyed to Bethlehem, approximately 20 miles distant. Junior’s star led only by night so the Kings traveled slowly falling into many holes, barking many shins and requiring 8 nights to reach Bethlehem. They arrived in the middle of the eighth night and blundered about until a whiff of pungent smoke revealed Mary, Joseph, and the Holy Babe sheltering in a stable warmed by a smoldering camel dung fire. Junior lit a torch; the kings entered, bowed low, delivered their gifts, and whispered devoutly among themselves as the babies mother changed a soiled diaper.
With Junior leading the way and screaming, “Let’s ride!” The Kings ran weeping from the stable, tore their beards, deserted their followers, jumped on their camels and fled towards their homes in the Western Parthian Desert. The Wise Men knew that Herod expected the King of the Jews to be a boy, and if they reported the King of the Jews to be a girl, Herod would kill every Wise Man!
Mary and Joseph laughed as the Wise Men fled, because they knew something the Wise Men did not know. Their identical twin sons slept with them five stables away while a friend’s daughter and baby girl occupied what the Wise Men thought was the manger of the newborn King of the Jews. Herod’s plans were well known to Jewish spies in his palace and were easily thwarted. Some sources say that Herod was dead by the time of Jesus’ birth but this is still a good parody possibly explaining Judas Iscariot’s mandatory kiss and in any event providing Baby Jesus and his family with escape time!
“Who just whistled at me? Oh! It’s Johnny Reb, but how? He’s a statue outside the library in Oxford, North Carolina!”
“Hello young lady. Today is Confederate Cemetery Restoration Day when we statues dedicated to the memory of the Confederate War Dead can say what’s on our minds just as we could if we were living people.”
“Well Johnny, what’s so important? Why did you whistle at me? What do you want to tell me?”
“I’ve been moved and turned about, and I’m no longer facing Yankee Land – home of the Northern Invaders. I’m facing east. I can’t see the Yankees coming if I’m facing east. Then there’s the sun, the rain, the snow, the pigeons, and the lightening. First Manassas was nothing compared to standing atop a marble column during a lightening storm!
“Johnny, do you ever think about your time and about how society might have turned out differently?”
“I sure do. I fought in young Jed’s place because his daddy paid me $200.00 and promised to feed and clothe my family while I was away – no more than six months he supposed. State’s rights were what the war was said to be about. I reckon it was mostly about a state’s rights to keep slavery legal. When President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and enlisted Blacks as Union Army soldiers I knew that slavery was doomed. I don’t like to think that I am sometimes seen as a symbol of a government that ensured slavery’s abolition by going to war to preserve it, but slavery’s abolition was surely one result of Jefferson Davis’s order to fire on Fort Sumter.”
“I’ve got to go Johnny. President O’Bama is speaking to the nation tonight about defending our country against terrorists. He’s an African American you know. Bye now.”
This article was inspired by Oxford citizen Evelyn Winslow’s comments regarding the Johnny Reb statue in front of the Richard H. Thornton Library, in Oxford, NC.
Jim Crow’s Resurrection as Jesus Crow – Horrors!
By Dan Winslow, President, Oxford Humanist Educational Association
Jim Crow laws have been litigated away so religious conservatives are proposing new discriminatory laws which might properly be named Jesus Crow laws because of their similarities to Jim Crow! James Spurgeon writing for the Independent Voter Network on March 27, 2015, identifies similarities between Jim Crow laws and religious freedom laws because both types of laws deny equal citizenship rights to every U. S. citizen by using Biblical authority to support legislative discrimination. Spurgeon writes that following Reconstruction in the American South, states of the defeated Confederacy passed Jim Crow laws and re instituted white supremacy laws by denying civil rights to former slaves and their descendants. Public facilities were segregated, interracial marriage was banned, and Plessy v. Ferguson ensured inferior public education for non-white children. The 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and the 1967 Loving v. Virginia decision rendered Jim Crow laws unconstitutional thus outraging those who benefited from those laws.
Jim Crow society is being exhumed from its metaphorical grave by so called religious freedom laws which as I understand them permit religiously aggrieved people to:
- Deny contraceptive and possibly other medical benefits to their employees.
- Deny sale of publicly offered products, like cakes, to members of the gay community or to anyone having different religious values.
- Ignore and litigate any law conflicting with their religious beliefs.
- Promote state laws for “religious exemptions to criminal child abuse and neglect statutes, including at least six (states) that have exemptions to manslaughter laws”. (Pew Research Center, August 12, 22016)
- Deny employment, insurance, and housing to gay, transgender, and other minority individuals.
- Pass laws negatively affecting economic development.
- Undermine laws designed to protect everyone by urging elected officials to replace United States secular constitutional law with religious law.
Humanists agree that we cannot allow any type of legal discrimination to be based on a belief in some ancient, ignorant book, written by and for ancient, ignorant people; e.g. the Bible or other religious canons. Religion must yield to secular law and after that, religious freedoms must be strong and protected. No one is preventing the baker from attending any church he so desires or believing any ancient nonsense he wishes to accept. Any delusion whatsoever. Humanists argue that it is immoral to allow a god to make decisions for you. We believe the rational mind is what must dictate human law and morality. One cannot use religious arguments to justify secular personal, secular discrimination.
Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, speaking in regard to the legal case above, put it this way on December 4, 2017:
Just as speech by a business open to the public is not protected when it communicates discrimination — “we don’t service your kind here” — discrimination by a business should not be protected simply because the refusal is of a service that involves speech or expression.
If the Constitution exempts the bakery from the law’s bar on discrimination — either because the discrimination is motivated by religion or because it is attached to an expressive service — it would mean that the Constitution protects discrimination. Period.
Today, there is no constitutional right to discriminate. Let’s hope the Supreme Court keeps it that way.
June 4th, 2018
Today the United States Supreme Court granted the constitutional right to discriminate.
Seven justices ruled in favor of Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Bakeshop in Colorado who refused on religious grounds to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. Only Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented, asserting, “Phillips would not sell to Craig and Mullins, for no reason other than their sexual orientation, a cake of the kind he regularly sold to others….[Colorado] prohibits precisely the discrimination Craig and Mullins encountered.”
This decision sets a legal precedent for businesses to decline other services to LGBTQ individuals under the guise of religious freedom and establishes a model for future discriminatory legislation which can undermine legal protections for all marginalized groups.