The Swagger #10 — Resurrection Sunday Edition

— If even the President of the United States will not be explicit about what’s supposed to be celebrated, then it falls to nonbelievers

Well, it’s nearly 06.00 on Easter Sunday morning here in Pattaya, Thailand as I begin writing, and I’ve been up since about 03.

… And angry since 04….

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

That righteous anger has motivated me to derail all previous plans for this Sunday’s The Swagger, and instead, usher forth an ecclesiastical demonstration of respect for the bedrock faith and impetus, if you will, of Western Civilization (no, it is not Judaism).

You might even call it the fabric of our nation and of our civilization.

Remember the timeline.

The Jews, bless their hearts, had plenty of time to make something big out of humanity…and the Muslims…just late to the party altogether—and they still have some catching up to do, at least some of us would think.

I’ve put together a little outline of your legacy, Christians, and with respectful mentions of those contributions by Judaism and Islam.

On a pragmatic basis alone, no faith or belief required, one can respectfully acknowledge and give a solemn nod to Ecclesiastical organization and institutionalization with such a profound impact and real results for so many billions of human beings, on net.

  1. Christianity:
    • Bedrock of Western Civilization:
      • Christianity played a pivotal role in shaping Western civilization. It emerged from the teachings of Jesus Christ in the 1st century CE.
      • Over time, it became the dominant religion in Europe, influencing art, philosophy, law, and governance.
      • Christian monasteries preserved ancient texts, laying the groundwork for education and scholarship.
      • The Christianization of Europe impacted social norms, ethics, and cultural practices.
    • Key Contributions:
      • Legal Systems: Concepts like natural law, individual rights, and equality before God – influenced Western legal systems.
      • Art and Architecture: Christian art, cathedrals, and religious paintings are integral to Western cultural heritage.
      • Education and Universities: Monastic schools and later universities were centers of learning.
      • Social Welfare: Christian charity and care for the vulnerable shaped Western social structures.
  2. Judaism:
    • Foundational Influence:
      • Judaism predates Christianity and Islam. It provided the ethical monotheistic framework for both.
      • The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) profoundly influenced Western thought, morality, and literature.
      • Concepts like covenant, justice, and righteousness originated in Judaism.
    • Key Contributions:
      • Ethics: The Ten Commandments and Jewish legal traditions shaped Western moral codes.
      • Intellectual Legacy: Jewish scholars contributed to philosophy, science, and medicine.
      • Diaspora: Jewish communities dispersed across Europe, contributing to cultural exchange.
  3. Islam:
    • Influence and Exchange:
      • Islamic civilization thrived during the Golden Age (8th to 14th centuries).
      • Muslim scholars preserved and expanded ancient Greek, Roman, and Persian knowledge.
      • Al-Andalus (Islamic Spain) was a center of learning, fostering cultural exchange.
    • Key Contributions:
      • Science and Mathematics: Algebra, optics, astronomy, and medical advancements.
      • Philosophy: Islamic philosophers like Avicenna and Averroes influenced Western thought.
      • Architecture: Stunning mosques and palaces left an architectural legacy.

In summary, while Christianity significantly shaped Western civilization, Judaism and Islam also contributed in various ways.

I should mention one other contribution by the Jews: It was they, after all, who created Christianity.

Naturally, not all Christianity is created equally, and one issue with it is that each religious group believes it has the upper hand when it comes to divine righteousness. I’m kind of a mutt, actually. My dad was a Lutheran-German immigrant. My mother was from an Idaho Mormon family.

When I was about 10 or so, they naturally decided that Born-Again, Evangelical Christianity was the way to unite and resolve, and they dove in head first…going so far as to co-found both a Fundamentalist Independent Baptist Church (Grace Baptist Church; Reno, Nevada) and a K-12 adjunct school (Reno Christian Academy, where I attended 7-12 and graduated). I went on to do a year at the somewhat more reasonable in the grand fundamentalist scheme of things, Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga.

And that was about it for me.

It didn’t make a lot of sense and so it was mostly lip service for the next 10 years or so and hell, not even lip service…just professions of faith if asked. I really didn’t know what else to say, and proclaiming disbelief seemed unspeakable.

But this is about your faith and celebration, not about me. And by damn, I’m here to show some respect and to acknowledge that in spite of all its faults, we would not be here as we are, to the extent we are, in the lap of luxury and convenience we are, were it not for Christianity and the vast network of interconnecting and inter reliant incentives and motivations it offers human beings on very practical levels.

That’s inarguable, and you’re simply not doing your homework if you deny it. Resist the urge to toss out babies with bathwater.

Is it the long-term solution for humanity, or just an epoch along its way? I staunchly believe the latter and that’s why I have lightened up entirely in my resistance to things religious but that are also pretty damn sane…and speaking of sanity, especially so when contrasted with the religion on offer from the socio-political Left.

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 1:9

Before I get into what made me angry enough to devote this whole article to a polite celebration of our collective Christian heritage, let me give you my recommendation as to which flavor I like best.

Let me back track 15 years or so, back when I was a Paleo Diet influencer and Paleo was a big tent, welcoming all sorts of whole food peeps, low-carb peeps, Weston Price peeps, and others, into a superb wholesome food view primarily focussed on animal sources for main nutrition.

Two gentlemen stuck out as really solid on all this stuff, both having ties to the Weston Price peeps: Chris Masterjohn, PhD, and Michael Miles. Long story short, they are both pretty staunch practitioners of Orthodox Christianity. From what I gather, it’s moderately similar to Catholicism on the surface, but underneath is neither Catholic nor Protestant, so far as I can tell.

Anyway, it struck me as odd that two such rational guys would be so religious, but over the years, the tidbits I’ve gathered suggest to me that it’s the sanest form of Christianity.

So, if you were looking for an endorsement of one flavor over another—with no disrespect implied or expressed toward any of them—then there you have my Two Thumbs Up. Way up.

After I got up this very early AM and after puttering around here and there, I checked X and I came across a screen clip with no link or other substantiating information and I absolutely knew it was fake, intended only to troll Christians on Easter Sunday.

Had to be.

That’s my screen clip, not the far smaller one I saw with no identifying information and just an assertion that it came from Joe down at the white crib. The entire text reads as follows.

A Proclamation on Transgender Day of Visibility, 2024

On Transgender Day of Visibility, we honor the extraordinary courage and contributions of transgender Americans and reaffirm our Nation’s commitment to forming a more perfect Union — where all people are created equal and treated equally throughout their lives.  

I am proud that my Administration has stood for justice from the start, working to ensure that the LGBTQI+ community can live openly, in safety, with dignity and respect.  I am proud to have appointed transgender leaders to my Administration and to have ended the ban on transgender Americans serving openly in our military.  I am proud to have signed historic Executive Orders that strengthen civil rights protections in housing, employment, health care, education, the justice system, and more.  I am proud to have signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law, ensuring that every American can marry the person they love. 

Transgender Americans are part of the fabric of our Nation.  Whether serving their communities or in the military, raising families or running businesses, they help America thrive.  They deserve, and are entitled to, the same rights and freedoms as every other American, including the most fundamental freedom to be their true selves.  But extremists are proposing hundreds of hateful laws that target and terrify transgender kids and their families — silencing teachers; banning books; and even threatening parents, doctors, and nurses with prison for helping parents get care for their children.  These bills attack our most basic American values:  the freedom to be yourself, the freedom to make your own health care decisions, and even the right to raise your own child.  It is no surprise that the bullying and discrimination that transgender Americans face is worsening our Nation’s mental health crisis, leading half of transgender youth to consider suicide in the past year.  At the same time, an epidemic of violence against transgender women and girls, especially women and girls of color, continues to take too many lives.  Let me be clear:  All of these attacks are un-American and must end.  No one should have to be brave just to be themselves.  

At the same time, my Administration is working to stop the bullying and harassment of transgender children and their families.  The Department of Justice has taken action to push back against extreme and un-American State laws targeting transgender youth and their families and the Department of Justice is partnering with law enforcement and community groups to combat hate and violence.  My Administration is also providing dedicated emergency mental health support through our nationwide suicide and crisis lifeline — any LGBTQI+ young person in need can call “988” and press “3” to speak with a counselor trained to support them.  We are making public services more accessible for transgender Americans, including with more inclusive passports and easier access to Social Security benefits.  There is much more to do.  I continue to call on the Congress to pass the Equality Act, to codify civil rights protections for all LGBTQI+ Americans.

Today, we send a message to all transgender Americans:  You are loved.  You are heard.  You are understood.  You belong.  You are America, and my entire Administration and I have your back.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 31, 2024, as Transgender Day of Visibility.  I call upon all Americans to join us in lifting up the lives and voices of transgender people throughout our Nation and to work toward eliminating violence and discrimination based on gender identity.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-eighth.

JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

While it appears, understandably so, to be a disrespectful moral disgrace, that’s not its intent.

It’s a political maneuver.

Its intent is to engender the predictable outrage from the Right, Conservatives, Republicans, and Christians. And it certainly will do that, for sure. It’s already happening.

But here’s the rub.

The Left, increasingly, is failing to politically “read the room.” They’ve gotten so cocksure since they began impeaching Trump in 2019 and getting away with no accountability ever…with such things as the election coup, the Covid coup with associated lockdowns, financial ruin, and death by experimental drug trial…that they’ve lost any perspective of going too far.

But things like 100 criminal indictments against Trump, a half-billion-dollar judgment in a business-case with no victim, and efforts to remove him from the ballot entirely to prevent people from democratically voting for him (to protect Democracy) have turned many never-Trumpers and even some Democrats into—if not allies and supporters—sympathetic ears.

And now this, where not only is there no mention of Easter—only an animated gif bunny and eggs on the letterhead, along with kids barred from painting religious symbolism or themes on eggs—but in-your-face language that is clearly intended to inflame.

“Transgender Americans are part of the fabric of our Nation.”

… But not Christians and Christianity? Not even on its Easter Sunday Resurrection Ceremony and Celebration?

You don’t say.

… And I digress, but there’s this bit:

“It is no surprise that the bullying and discrimination that transgender Americans face is worsening our Nation’s mental health crisis, leading half of transgender youth to consider suicide in the past year.”

I submit to you that nobody much believes that, and increasingly fewer average Americans do, or human beings for that matter. It’s quite obvious that the source of the suicides, attempts, and contemplations is the act of going so far out of nature’s boundaries at such young and impressionable ages—wholly susceptible to peer pressures, with a desire to belong.

Then they realize that their lives are tarnished, diminished…ruined even, and that there’s no going back. The damage is permanent, and they feel as though they’ve been sacrificed at the altars of profits, agendas, and political influence and status games—a bunch of throwaways; disposable pawns.

It’s substantially mystifying that there aren’t even more suicides.

But anyway, in the light of full context, all these “hundreds of hateful laws that target and terrify transgender kids and their families” are lifelines and increasingly, people on all sides of all political isles see them as such.

There is simply no other way and Joe at the white crib can authoritatively sign all the proclamations he wants and because this has gone way too far already a long time ago, the walk, march, and run back is unstoppable.

The bottom line is this: with such an obscene an insulting slap in the face of the 63%, 210 Million Americans who identify as Christian, the outrage that ushers and issues forth will not be seen as unreasonable.

It will be felt in tens of millions of hearts that such outrage and emoting is warranted and justified, and that this has gone too far. Already.

Finally, since Joe at the white crib asked that we “visualize the fabric of our nation,” I’ve gone ahead and prepared a visualization for you.


I’ll see you back here on Tuesday. Please subscribe to The Swagger for free, so you can get these direct to your inbox where you have the convenience and flexibility to read them right there in email, or on the web archive.

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Richard Nikoley

I started writing Free The Animal in late 2003 as just a little thing to try. 20 years later, turns out I've written over 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from diet, health, lifestyle...to philosophy, politics, social antagonism, adventure travel, expat living, location and time independent—while you sleep— income by geoarbitrage, and food pics. I intended to travel the world "homeless," but the Covidiocy Panicdemic squashed that. I became an American expat living in Thailand. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. ... I leave the toilet seat up. Read More

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