8 MAY 10: The Food Police
(BLOGGER'S NOTE: You may find the following item humorous, serious, or a little of both - but we offer these thoughts from time to time, as we keep a seventh-day Sabbath.)
Nine days after sine die, the smoke seems to have cleared at last from the Georgia General Assembly session. Now the only people who seem to be campaigning in favor of the legislature are the incumbents who have opponents.
The Columbus man who serves as President of the Georgia Christian Coalition sent us an end-of-session report this past week. You may recall he disagreed with the Southern Baptist Convention [8 Apr] on one bill in the legislature....
I was the only lobbyist to oppose the $1.00 per pack cigarette tax...until we had unusual help from the inaccurate, sarcastic, mean spirited biased letter from Southern Baptist Convention lobbyist Richard Land begging for a tax that would cost a smoker nearly $1,000 a year.
For my effort, supporters of the tax grab credit me with being the one to kill the tax and honored me as the "Biggest Ash in Georgia." At least they have a sense of humor.
Some senators were put off by the condescending tone of the letter, and from a man (Land) who lobbies his life away to oppose any tax paid by churches. Yet supports a 300% increase in a legal product from an industry which employs tens of thousands and provides a profitable legal product for retail.
And goes over the head of the Georgia Baptist lobbyist who is well like and respected and may could have gotten the tax at least considered.
We opposed it because the tax was because of someone's desire to punish products they see unhealthy. Popcorn is next, then soft drinks, then buffets.
We wanted Dr. Land to support a tax on lottery sales which He has not endorsed.
Religious Colleges receiving too much of that Hope gambling money, Richard?
Everything Luquire says about cigarettes also could apply to alcohol -- but you'll notice that's not on his list of potential punished products. Would he oppose higher taxes on that as well? Or does he think Jesus turned water into grape juice?
While the Georgia Christian Coalition opposes taxes on supposedly "unhealthy" items, some believers might want to go even farther. If they were in charge, certain foods would be banned completely -- and not because they're laced with potential poisons in Communist China.
Some Christians, Jews and Muslims have a specific list of foods they avoid. For instance....
+ Oysters. This group would say the BP oil spill should teach Gulf coast harvesters a lesson.
+ Pork. Somehow people west of Arkansas and Louisiana already know this, when they prepare barbecue.
+ Catfish. The next minor league baseball team in Columbus needs to remember that, when it chooses a nickname.
Where do they get this? From two chapters in the Bible - Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. They're the rules about "clean and unclean" meats and foods. But I'm not sure these believers would exterminate every last oyster bed and hog farm on the planet. After all, we'd still need "pigskins" for football season.
(Amazingly, I heard a public radio story as I was writing this about a "pork detector" - a new instant test to determine if your food has pork in it. If only someone would create a pork detector for legislation in Congress.)
Other Christians turn to Romans 14, and claim the New Testament church is exempt from these dietary laws. I'd guess the Georgia Christian Coalition would see things that way. But I'm thankful most church potluck dinners I've attended stick to the tried-and-true fried chicken.
While I personally can understand the Romans 14 position, I choose to go by the Old Testament food rules. They were good enough for Moses and Joshua, after all. And they've taught me to read ingredient lists on the packages carefully -- although I'm a little afraid to check what the "turmeric extract" in my crackers might be.
-> We had a big reason to say "T.G.I.F." at the poker table Friday evening. Learn why at our other blog, "On the Flop!" <-
E-MAIL UPDATE: We made a couple of assumptions in last Saturday's topic - and a reader in Tucson, Arizona now tells us those assumptions were wrong....
I saw your blog quoting my e-mail and I need to make several clarifications:
First, I am a man. You referred to me as "she".
Second, I'm not Jewish. I should have deleted my signature line or sent you e-mail from my g-mail account, as I was writing not as a representative of the Jewish Community Center. I work with the Jewish community and oftentimes work in Jewish-Christian relations and spend a lot of volunteer time working in the Christian community to help Christians understand Jews and Judaism. I need to be more careful when I e-mail people, that I am certain to indicate my gentileness. I just assume that people who know me know this, and forget when e-mailing someone that I don't know.
Your question was about the belief of Jews. I answered what most contemporary Jews believe. Your blog quotes a website which quotes the Talmud. A couple things you should know about the Talmud. It is considered scripture and of great importance to the Orthodox religious community, which is about 10% of Jews. Most Jews have never studied the Talmud, and most branches of Judaism don't hold the Talmud as authoritative.
Everything in the Talmud is not of great significance to those who do hold the Talmud as authoritative. There are actually two different versions of the Talmud. A currently published set of the books of the Talmud may contain between 5,000 and 12,000 pages. Many parts of the Talmud are discussions between two disagreeing parties. It is written with words and phrases missing, and it is often very mysterious and vague in some spots, while other spots are definitive to the most minute detail. The most important thing is that the Talmud is often quoted out of context, as in one of the web sites you linked to. The idea that the Talmud encourages pedophilia, etc., is silly. Anyone who has studied that passage knows that particular section does not allow any such thing. Unfortunately, it is the same kind of misreadings that led to lies, misconceptions, and misunderstandings that incited the murders of millions of Jews in the past 20 Centuries.
Please don't hesitate to e-mail me with further questions.
If you would like more information about reaching out to Jewish people in a non-conversionary setting, with the intention of working together for the State of Israel, which is in our common interest, please visit my friends at Christians United for Israel www.cufi.org.
Wow - a "Marty" at a Jewish Community Center is a Christian male. My apologies to Marty Johnston. And I'm thankful his correction showed as much gentleness as gentileness.
Some people sadly twist the Bible out of context, every bit as much as others twist the Talmud. When you hear someone claim an idea is Bible-based, you need to follow the example of one group in Acts 17 - which "searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." The musical Porgy and Bess needs to be rewritten to say: "The things that you're liable to read INTO the Bible, they ain't necessarily so."
This blog had more than 55,000 unique visitors in 2009! To advertise to them, make a PayPal donation, offer a story tip or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post your e-mail comment and offer a reply.
BURKARD BULK MAIL INDEX: 597 (- 67, 10.1%)
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.
© 2003-10 Richard Burkard, all rights reserved.