Your weekly Baltimore City Power Rankings (April 3) read like a tirade projected by a whining child, bemoaning the truth as professed by Dr. Ben Carson. But just answer this: When was it part of God's plan and purpose to refer to blacks as three-fifths of a person, or a woman as her husband's property? Never. By contrast, it is indeed God's definition of marriage, by his own good wisdom, not ours, which blesses a man and woman's sacred union. Hence, the ever-present God problem for some.
Also, the mental midget who wrote last week's Power Rankings took an obligatory swing at one of the world's great theologians, Benedict XVI, while [they were] apparently willing to absolve people like the Chicago Charlatan's Prada wife, Mrs. Obama. Just a guess.
So, while proving to redefine "brain freeze," the author of Power Rankings continues to bang the drum for a more hideous politics without God and for a public square absolutely controlled by little tyrants saying all the right things and doing horribly wrong things. There's just no room for bigots/cowards in the super-secular sandbox!
But hold on. An opportunity for redemption can be found by visiting the National Katyn Memorial in Harbor East, where the world is reminded of the Stalinist terror unleashed upon those who would not accept the poisonous ideology of the USSR. Do you see a parallel here? Where might we find the future mass graves of Americans who detected a modern-style Molotov-Ribbentrop stewing within today's crock of "equality"?
Editor's Note : You ask, "[W]hen was it part of God's plan and purpose to refer to blacks as three-fifths of a person, or a woman as her husband's property?" As for women's subjegation to men, the Bible is clear about this. For example, "ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands" (1 Peter 3:1), among many other quotes (including some that say it's cool to rape your female slaves). As for the three-fifths (which CP never claimed was "part of God's plan"), it appears in the U.S. Constitution, which I would certainly think counts as a "traditional" document to Dr. Carson and a patriot such as yourself: "Taxes. . . shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons . . . three fifths of all other Persons" (Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3). Also, the Bible says nothing about gay marriage.
Power Spanking In two previous issues (Baltimore City Power Rankings, March 20 and March 27), City Paper has referred to the members of the White Student Union of Towson University as racists. To be fair, I honestly don't know the details of what has been said or done by the group or its founding members to warrant your vitriolic accusation.
I do know, though, if Towson University sponsors a black student union, in the spirit of diversity, equality, and justice, a white student union should also be allowed to exist and participate on campus.
I challenge the notion, the myth, put forth by so-called civil rights organizations that only because of color do minorities face discrimination, and that only white people are narrow-minded, bigots, and racists! Civil rights and civil liberties are important whatever one's skin color or political ideology may be!
It appears to me, in this age of political correctness, that anyone who doesn't walk lockstep with the current, populist, fashionable view of our culture and society, if you challenge in any way the views, the agenda, the motivations of any of the so-called minority groups, then ridicule and disrespect are hurled at you with reckless abandon.
Have we become so insecure as a culture that we don't truly understand honest dialogue, even if it disturbs our preconceived notions and concepts? Unfortunately bigots and racists come in all colors and political persuasions!
Perhaps the members of the White Student Union should be given an opportunity to defend themselves for your insult, a forum to express themselves so that I, and other readers, can determine whether City Paper's racist label is objective or offensive. You know, diversity!
Incidentally, I support the National Rifle Association and just recently became a first-time member even though I have never been around a firearm.
Smuggling Freedom Instead of ascribing an American obsession with "smuggling" as an underlying cause of such disparate activities as the importation of tea and heroin, as Bret McCabe highlights in his review of Smuggler Nation (A&E, April 2), I would say it is a healthly obsession with free trade and liberty. By artifically restricting an individual's right to engage in the trade of a specific good, a black market is automatically created that, as Mr. McCabe writes, "made violent the people doing it" while constructing an expansive bureaucratic regime to enforce the illegitimate laws-an unequivocal recipe for an ever-growing freedom-limiting state.
Amesh A. Adalja, M.D.
Ark-ing Out Evan Serpick's review of the Walters Art Museum exhibition of the Ben Ezra ark door (Art, March 27) solicited more of this cultural artifact's backstory. I studied the Ben Ezra synagogue, and neighboring Jewish and Coptic structures. This Roman-occupied territory was called Babylon before the eighth-century's Islamic conquest and the founding of Cairo, which means "victory" in Arabic.
Egypt's history [is] written by water-no Nile River, no Egypt. The Nile is the sole major waterway flowing from the south (from the mountains that feed the Blue and White Niles), north through the delta, and on into the deepest trenches of the Mediterranean created by the earthquakes that erased much of historic Alexandria. Traveling on the Nile, the casual tourist is confused that "up-river" means lands to the south. Near where the Nile divides into the Nile delta are historic sites such as Gaza (pyramids and sphinx), Memphis (Old Kingdom capital), and the Roman encampment of Babylon.
Benefiting from Roman security, Jews and Copts built and lived nearby. From the Greek term for Egypt, Coptic is an early Egyptian Christianity, and Egypt was the first government to have Christianity as its state religion. From the Biblical story of Joseph welcoming his father and brothers, until the creation of Israel and the Suez war, Egypt had a large and prosperous Jewish population. At the end of World War II, Jews numbered over 80,000; now they can be counted with several hands.
Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria tetralogy is a rich, multilayered saga of Greeks and Jews in that ancient (but relatively new, for Egypt) metropolis. In the 1950s, Nasser exiled Greeks and Jews. The Alexandria I visited is a palimpsest of its cosmopolitan and cultural past.
I am writing of modern history. Let's turn the clock back by a millennium. The Ben Ezra synagogue was built or rebuilt in 882. Named for the Prophet Ezra, who is believed to have written here, it became a center of Jewish scholarship. Moses Maimonides (1135-1204) is its most famous scribe. Fearful of losing so much of Jewish history and thought, a georiza, or store room, was created. This "attic" was forgotten to the mists of ages past. During the renovation of 1892, the georiza and 109,000-plus pages of religious and secular manuscripts were found.
The ark was constructed to hold a Torah, which was replaced with other documents. Carvings on the wood box provide insight to Jewish iconography in this obscure era. There are traces of gold or gold leaf. Its wood was carbon-dated to circa 1040. According to The Sun, the ark was purchased jointly with the Jewish Theological Seminary of America for $37. A greater mystery might be why the Walters could not cough up the other $18.50.
To compare this ark with Indiana Jones' lost ark requires a willed suspension of disbelief. Jones' box is better at taking Nazis out of this world, but the Ben Ezra ark opens doors to a past world.
The casual tourist should notice a covered well-head adjacent to the Ben Ezra synagogue. A plaque tells how pharaoh's daughter found the baby Moses floating in a basket. The royal court was at Thebes, over 400 miles south-or up-river.