WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Many Unanswered Questions about Boston bombing suspects

So many questions remain about the Boston Bombing brother suspects:

Did they hatch their plot alone, albeit, with ideological encouragement from Islamist sites?

Did something happen during their lives in the U.S. to predispose them to Islamist appeals?

Did the FBI drop the ball in following-up on Tamerlan Tsarnaev?

Bu, relevant to the current debates over immigration and guns, we know several things:

The two Tsarnaev brothers were NOT licensed to own guns in the communities in which they lived. (Of course, that doesn't even begin to address the issue of bombs.)

All the tightening of border security along the U.S./Mexican frontier would have done nothing in this case.

Racial profiling - initial accounts that the suspect or suspects might be "dark-skinned" - was absolutely irrelevant.

(And in another example of Americans' geographic illiteracy, the Czech Ambassador to the United States complained in a statement that some Americans using social media were confusing Czechs with Chechens. And, it's already been noted how some U.S. news anchors kept saying "Chechnyans" instead of Chechens.)

Some interesting articles:

From NATIONAL JOURNAL -- "Boston Bombing Case Upends Assumptions About Racial Profiling" (I love this line: "Their roots are tied to the Caucasus region -- quite literally, they are Caucasian.")


From The MOSCOW TIMES -- "Boston Bombing Seen as U.S.--Russian Intelligence Failure"


From The NEW YORK TIMES -- "Suspects Seemed Set for Attacks Beyond Boston"


At The ASIA TIMES on line... Brazilian investigative journalist Pepe Escobar (who correctly warned of 9/11 two weeks before the attacks) finds many holes in the accounts U.S. law enforcement has offered to the public and comes up with alternate scenarios. (Curiously, though, he doesn't bring up the case of the Saudi national being deported, which has circulated heavily on U.S. conservative news blogs & sites.)


Posted at 8:17am on April 22, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Mon, Apr 22, 2013 8:23am
Now that gun-related crime in our inner cities has been aided, for all practical purposes, through gun control, it's now time for the President and Congress to begin working on bomb control.

While they're at it, criminal control may be a good sub-clause to write into the bill.

Mon, Apr 22, 2013 8:46am
mrpizza: Nobody is a criminal until they've been convicted of a crime. These two weren't convicted of anything.

As MikeFromDelaware pointed out, with Obama's people deciding they can ignore Miranda, maybe they won't be able to get a conviction at all.

AllanLoudell: Why are you media types paying so much more attention to Boston than to Texas? More casualties and injuries. Far more devastation. More lives impacted. Homes lost. Businesses ruined. Impact far greater. Yet the chattering classes obsess about Boston. Maybe this is why so many people in the "flyover country" think the media are elitist.

Mon, Apr 22, 2013 9:25am
The questions I am waiting for answers to are: The older brother was married with a kid. Where is his family?

The younger brother was in college fulltime and the older brother traveled in Russia for 6 months and had taken a year off to train in boxing. How did they afford this and yet, were able to live in a more expensive suburb of Boston?

Mon, Apr 22, 2013 9:41am
MikeFromDelaware: FYI

NPR: "As Boston begins healing, residents are getting a little help from man's best friend. Five Golden Retrievers: Addie, Isaiah, Luther, Maggie and Ruthie. They're comfort dogs sent by Lutheran Church Charities in Illinois. One of their jobs? Be ready if someone needs a friend to hug." The group is also sending comfort dogs to West, Texas.


Mon, Apr 22, 2013 10:14am
Is Canada's prime minister giving Obama a slap in the face?

Obama went on TV promising reasons and explanations for the bombing: "Tonight there are still many unanswered questions. Why did two young men who grew up and studied here as part of our communities and our countires resort to such violence?" (Obama, who used to teach Constitutional law, seems to have already convicted the "suspects.")

Meanwhile, Canada's Parliament is debating extending anti-terrorism measures passed after 9/11 (not unlike the Patriot Act and similar US laws passed then). Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau (son of a former prime minister and another politician's kid going into the family business), sounding Obamaesque after Boston, called for "introspection" and said "we have to look for root causes."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper fired back at Trudeau (and Obama): "When you see this kind of violent action, you do not sit around trying to rationalize it, make excuses for it, or figure out its root cause."

Similarly, the media are fond of asking why. They speculate on why. They ask each other why. They find experts to ask why. And they ask the man on the street why. All this is useless speculation and an exercise in fruitless windbagging. When facts are lacking, the media speculate on "root causes" and turn to bathos. So does Obama.

"Understanding why is the booby prize of life."

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Apr 22, 2013 10:22am
Billsmith: Thanks for the info and the link about Lutheran Church Charities. What a cool ministry.

I'll have to got to NPR when I have time and listen to the podcast of that news story. Thanks !

Mon, Apr 22, 2013 10:53am
MikeFromDelaware: You're welcome. NPR only has one of those short blurbs they do at the beginning or each hour (often WHYY talks over those). But Google News has several articles and the LCC website has their press releases.

Mon, Apr 22, 2013 12:00pm

The "innocent" Saudi was on a terror watch list...more questions do indeed remain unanswered.

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Apr 22, 2013 1:15pm
Thanks Billsmith: Found a bunch of stories at Google News, including this one from ABC News.


Mon, Apr 22, 2013 2:20pm
MikeFromDelaware: Thanks. The ABC link actually played a bunch of "dog stories" in addition to the one about Lutheran "comfort dogs."

Interesting that Lutherans use Golden Retrievers. Instead of German Shepherds, Dachshunds, Great Danes, Keeshounds, or Norwegian Elkhounds. You know, good Lutheran dogs. Golden Retrievers come from Scotland so they'd probably be Presbyterians. ;)

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Apr 22, 2013 5:53pm
Interesting point Billsmith.

Mon, Apr 22, 2013 7:41pm
The RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police; the Mounties) have arrested two foreign students, graduate students in science, they say planned to derail The Maple Leaf, a joint Amtrak - VIA Rail train running daily between New York and Toronto. The plot to derail the train was to take place in Canada between Toronto and Niagara Falls.

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 1:45am
The oddest part of this post-bombing for me is this whole Miranda question...

If anyone can find a different story, please post it. But from my reading, it was weirdly stated by Eric Holder himself, ... oh we got the guy, and by the way, we didn't read him his Miranda rights...

What gets me, is why even mention it? Or more importantly, why volunteer it, knowing it will provoke a fight?

Which leads me to the conclusion, that is exactly what they wanted to do. Provoke a fight.

So the next question is why?

One answer is that they are playing to conservative sentiment. The type of guys who go: he doesn't deserve rights, he killed people. Being accused of being a liberal, this could be a case where they wish to be seen from the point of an eye for an eye, vengence is mine... and gain ar more centrist reputation for his administration....

If so, that is kind of shallow and easily seen through. Oh, were tough. we didn't read him is rights before imprisoning him... This is an odd interpretation but it could fit within the parameters.

Second idea: A lot of constitutional rights were violated this past week. Some libertarians have suggested that this was a test case to see what Americans would put up with. How far we would accept our rights eliminated and whether or not we would go along with it. By purposely saying he was not given his rights when no one even asked, this could be to guage the levels of both our willingness and our outrage over having basic Constitutional rights disappear. if so then Americans can easily be manipulated.... should a face coup or change of government occur at some future point... (There are very odd similarities between our Congress today and the deadlocked Senate leading up to Julius Caesars march into Rome and declaring of himself the new emperor). Anyways, if this was a test, Americans are fine with government doing just what it did....

And third, the most intriguing possibility, is that if from jail, this character repents, and then becomes a repented sinner addressing the muslim world as to the wrongness of its ways.... In other words a propaganda tool aimed directly at those who would do our nation harm. Something like, I made the mistake you are; Allah revealed through the actions he bestowed, that hurting innocent civilians is not his way... etc. etc... or something along those lines. It this person could be a tool against hatrid to the US, by saying, I used to hate the US too, but I came around, our nation could be greatly enhanced...

All three are speculation, and on some, the imagination even ran wild a little.

But the only reason for speculation period, is that it was a very odd thing, almost as if were planned in advance, to specifically have the Attorney General announce that no Miranda warnings were given...

There was good reason they weren't given... Somebody is trying to pick a fight it appears....

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 6:08am
If constitutional protections are not honored when they inconvenient or an individual is unpopular, they are worthless. Much of the constitution is designed to shield the government from popular opinion (the tyranny of the mob).

The Roman Senate, like congress, chose to yield, defer, and surrender its authority and prerogatives to an autocratic ruler. Why? Maybe there's something in human nature that causes people to want a king. Maybe politicians like passing the buck; avoiding responsibility while keeping the pay and perks.

John Wilkes Booth was a Shakespearean actor. He had performed in the play Julius Caesar many times, often playing Brutus. Brutus and his allies saw themselves as acting to preserve the Republic. So did Booth.

Nothing is more dangerous than Democrats trying to show the right how they can be tough, too. They are like school kids accepting any dare if somebody calls them "chicken."

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Apr 23, 2013 8:26am
Kavips: interesting thoughts. Any of those three ideas could and might explain what Obama' gang was thinking.

The second idea is a bit more "scary" for the nation. What many forget is IF we say its OK to not give one group of legal American citizens their rights that the Constitution defines then NONE of us will eventually have those rights.

Thus the hassle with the 1st amendment, freedom of speech. Some in this nation want to silence all religious talk, thought, and ideas, because they are atheists, and believe they should be free from even hearing or seeing anything that is remotely religious. On the other hand, the GLBT folks also want to have their point of view heard. Many in the religious community don't want to hear that. Both are wrong. The religious should be able to express their points of view AND the GLBT folks should be able to voice their points of view. Where the line should be drawn is where one is FORCED to have to listen, participate, or to have to agree with. So if my Lutheran Church was having an outdoor Lutheran Mass somewhere [maybe they rented one of the pavillions at a park for a church picnic that included a Mass as part of the festivities] those who aren't interested can simply walk pass. If the GLBT folks were holding a rally the next day at the same location, same pavillion, again those who aren't interested can simply walk passed.

Freedom of Speech and Religion doesn't mean never seeing or hearing something we don't like, but rather the freedom to express our beliefs and viewpoints and others being able to do the same thing as long as whomever is NOT making someone be there against their will, then it should be allowed.

The big hassle of the Ten Commandments being on display in many court houses around the nation [some have been on display for over 200 years and NOW all of a sudden its a problem??? No, it shouldn't be a problem. So IF there are other examples of law from some other cultures available to also post up with the Ten Commandments, why not post those too. Then a broader base of legal thought is being expressed, rather than taking down an important piece of law we're showing even more evidence of law through out history, not just Judao/Christian, and not instead of Judao/Christian, but along side with Judao/Christian. That to me seems more like a win/win.

In cases like this bombing in Boston, its easy to say heck with that guy, he doesn't deserve his rights, but again, if we say that about him, if any of us are ever in trouble [hopefully nothing like this] we'd sure not want others saying that even though we are legal Americans we don't deserve our rights. It works for all LEGAL Americans or it doesn't work for ANY.

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 9:04am
MikeFromDelaware: You seem to assume that if one is not Christian, one must be an atheist. And if one is an atheist, one must be hostile to organized religion and out to suppress it. Both are questionable. Recent surveys show the largest group of Americans are those who call themselves "spiritual but not religious." Also agnostics (yes, atheists and agnostics are not the same). And then all the other religions in the world outside of the many divisions of Christianity.

Historically, Christians are unique in their desire and efforts to suppress other views, other practices, and other doctrines. Even Islam has always shown far greater tolerance. Christians and Jews lived peacefully and prosperously under Islamic rule in Spain for 700 years. As soon as the Moors were expelled, the Inquisition started killing and persecuting them. At the same time, going to the New World to practice a combination of genocide and forced conversion on native peoples.

Don't tell me nobody's perfect. Maybe so. But it is Christians who have shown this penchant for suppression and persecution. Others have reason to fear you; you don't have cause to fear them.

LGBT groups don't picket funerals like Westboro and don't get in people's faces like anti-choice demonstrators at Planned Parenthood.

There are 613 commandments but you say that according to some guy who had a dream, 603 of them don't count. Fine. Four (or three - depending on which count you use) apply only to the practice of religion, and therefore have no place in a civic building, and have no relation to civil or criminal law.

The tradition of law in the US is of law arrived at by some representative process. The so-called 10 Commandments were imposed from outside. Nobody voted. Therefore, they are outside our traditions of law and representative government.

Christians got away with violating the separation clause for 200 years, so it should be OK now? Is that your argument? Actually, almost all those court-house displays were put up in 1956 to promote DeMille's remake of The Ten Commandments.

Funny, most court-houses have statues. But most Christians don't seem to mind this violation of one of those commandments in the same building in which they want the commandments displayed. Or did somebody have a dream about graven images and that's OK now, too? I guess that means we should start calling them the Nine Commandments. Oh, wait a minute. People swear oaths in god's name in court. Oops. Now it's Eight Commandments.

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 9:08am
I see they finally let the "suspect" have a public defender.

The death penalty gives prosecutors a bargaining chip. If that fails, they get to empanel a "death qualified" jury. People who favor the death penalty are more likely to assume the "suspect" must have done it, more likely to want to punish, and more likely to believe what cops and prosecutors tell them.

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Apr 23, 2013 10:19am
Billsmith: Gee thanks for taking my simple point and making some the Christians are the bad guys thing as those outside of the church, especially on the liberal side of the isle like to do.

My point is, both should be able to publicly express their beliefs and views. I wasn't trying to say anyone who's not a Christian is an Atheist. Rather than picking at the areas that may not have been expressed as clearly as possibly [I'm at work and don't have a lot of time when on break to write so its a quick once over probably no proof reading] so cut me some slack and address the point I was attempting to make. Please stop trying to read in between the lines, I'm not that complicated.

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 10:45am
MikeFromDelaware: I understand. However, the things I responded to are points you have posted before. I'm sorry but I don't get this fear you (and others) express that people outside Christianity have some agenda to suppress Christianity. But whenever any issue calling for greater tolerance of non-Christians comes up, somebody (not necessarily you) will talk about how Christianity will eventually be suppressed in someway or outside ideas or practices will be imposed on it.

The religious right is like cigarette smokers. Somebody wants to stop smokers from blowing second-hand smoke into other people's faces, and smokers start talking about how their rights are being violated. Gun-lovers are much the same. And so is organized Christianity.

And you were the one who brought up the Ten Commandments in courthouses. I recall you mentioning public prayer in the past, too.

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 12:53pm
I think Bill's response to Mike is that when Christians can't do something, it's rolled out as a giant affront to Christianity, but when Buddhists can't do something, it is fair and reasonable?

There is no problem with Christians believing what they want. The problem comes from their perception that they are forcing their ways on others...

Perception is nine-tenths of the law.

As to why the perception now of anti-Christianity, I would propose that it is now slowly becoming an affront because there are now more out there to complain against it?

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Apr 23, 2013 1:33pm
Let's try this again, I said "The second idea is a bit more "scary" for the nation. What many forget is IF we say it's OK to not give one group of legal American citizens their rights that the Constitution defines, then NONE of us will eventually have those rights.

Thus the hassle with the 1st amendment, freedom of speech. Some in this nation want to silence all religious talk, thought, and ideas, because they are Non-Believers [edited from original post], and believe they should be free from even hearing or seeing anything that is remotely religious. On the other hand, the LGBT folks also want to have their point-of-view heard. Many in the religious community don't want to hear that. Both are wrong. The religious should be able to express their points of view AND the LGBT folks should be able to voice their points-of-view. Where the line should be drawn is where one is FORCED to have to listen, participate, or to have to agree with. So if my Lutheran Church were having an outdoor Lutheran Mass somewhere [maybe they rented one of the pavilions at a park for a church picnic that included a Mass as part of the festivities], those who weren't interested can simply walk pass. If the LGBT folks were holding a rally the next day at the same location, same pavilion, again those who weren't interested could simply walk passed.

Freedom of Speech and Religion doesn't mean never seeing or hearing something we don't like, but rather the freedom to express our beliefs and viewpoints and others being able to do the same thing, as long as whomever is NOT making someone be there against their will, then it should be allowed.

In cases like this bombing in Boston, it's easy to say heck with that guy, he doesn't deserve his rights, but again, if we say that about him, if any of us were ever in trouble [hopefully nothing like this] we'd surely not want others saying that even though we are legal Americans, we don't deserve our rights. It works for all LEGAL Americans or it doesn't work for ANY.

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 2:16pm
MikeFromDelaware: I don't think you get it.

"Non-believers" (at least not believers in what you believe) feel they should be free from HAVING to hear or see anything religious. People should be able to attend public (i.e., government) meetings without having to participate in, sit through, or leave the room because somebody decides to say a public prayer. Neither should kids in school feel any kind of institutional or peer pressure to participate in prayers. Maybe you are not so insensitive to the feelings of "non-believers" as some others, but for many Christians this is all about they feel like saying their prayers and how can anybody object because, after all, this is a "Christian nation." To such Christians, and to much of organized Christianity, "non-believers" are tolerated outsiders, who should know their place and stand by quietly for prayers and Christmas celebrations.

If you want to stand on a street corner and preach, fine. If you want to introduce religion into these conversations, also fine. But don't object when people reply and take issue.

I have spent more time in Lutheran churches, confirmation class, and parochial schools than you have. It really grates when you say "Lutheran mass." You may find high church liturgy familiar, but Lutherans are not "neo-Papists."

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Apr 23, 2013 2:24pm
If non-believers have the right to NOT hear or see anything religious, then I should have the same right to NOT hear or see their stuff. It works both ways.

I didn't say anything about government meetings or a school meeting. Sure, I totally agree with that, because I don't want to have to sit through and listen to some prayer to the rabbit god, mother earth, or whatever. Again, that works both ways.

I don't have a problem with you taking issue, but at least address the example I gave, not go off on some other trail about government meetings.

Call it any other name you want, but it IS a Mass, not a Catholic Mass [there are major differences], but it is a Mass none the less, so I call it a Lutheran Mass, just as I believe the Episcopalians also have a Mass, which probably differs from both the Catholic and Lutheran versions. You're the only person, including various Lutheran pastors, to have a problem with that.

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 2:37pm
MikeFromDelaware: When have "non-believers" tried to stop you or anyone else from doing anything, so they don't have to hear or see you doing it?

Anglicans do call the communion service a mass (especially Anglo-Catholic parishes); so do Western Rite Orthodox churches.

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Apr 23, 2013 3:14pm
It's OK, I'll just not bother, this is more hassle than its worth.

This issue, I was trying to discuss is the type of issue where the left [libs] act in a similar way as the right [cons] by not answering or discussing the actual thought. Like when discussing guns the 2nd amendment with the right. I asked a bunch of times for those 2nd amendment folks here and elsewhere how doing a better background check infringes on a sane, legal, law-abiding American to get a gun? No responses to offer an answer.

Sometimes trying to get a thought across here is way more trouble than it worth.

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 4:04pm
MikeFromDelaware: To use one of your own phrases, don't get your knickers in a knot.

First off, the conservatives here seem to be with you on background checks for gun purchasers. I did try earlier to outline the reasoning of those opposed to ANY gun restrictions (maybe you missed it). Basically, they are making the "slippery slope" argument, too.

You said, "Some in this nation want to silence all religious talk, thought, and ideas, because they are Non-Believers [edited from original post], and believe they should be free from even hearing or seeing anything that is remotely religious."

You are wrong in stating that is the position of people you call "non-believers." That is my answer to your original thought.

I am going to assume you are not deliberately misrepresenting their position in order to set up a "straw man" to argue against (a common conservative tactic, but not your style). But I am not going to have a discussion based on a false premise.

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Apr 23, 2013 4:29pm
I think the scenario I presented about my Lutheran church renting a pavilion at a park to hold a picnic and Mass might draw some ire from those who don't believe a religious event should ever be held in a public setting such as a park [Those who tend to be liberal and generally not religious - Yes, not 100% of them, but a sizable number] would say separation of church and state or we have the right to be able to walk through a public park and NOT have to hear religious music, preaching, teaching, or ceremonies like a communion Mass, etc.; yet would have no problem with the LGBT or some other liberal group, a Kwanza celebration, or a music festival that features music someone doesn't like [for me that would be RAP or Heavy Metal], etc., etc., to have a public event in the same place. Both groups, in my scenario are tax-paying citizens, who paid the rental fee to use the pavilion [so no one got special treatment].

My point was that both have the right to rent that space and those who don't want to participate don't have to and are free to walk past, yet for those moments they are passing they may hear music or speaking that they might not like or agree with, but that is very diffent from going to a school or government meeting and having someone lead the group in a prayer, be it Christian or otherwise.

It seems to me that all of us need to be a bit more tolerant of the other. THAT was my point.

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 6:14pm
MikeFromDelaware: I agree with your second and third paragraphs. I think you're making some unwarranted assumptions in the first. Church groups often hold events in public parks and I have not heard of any "non-believers" objecting. If you have heard of this please say so. I have, however, heard of religious organizations objecting to LGBT groups holding public events.

In any case, if your church wants to hold a park event and anyone tries to stop you, the number for the American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware is (302)654-3966.

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Apr 23, 2013 7:32pm
Why then do folks get upset if a Nativity Scene is placed say in Rodney Square? I have no problem with a Menorah or other symbol for a Jewish holiday, as well as others when their holiday comes, like Kwanza. I remember when Charles Parks built that beautiful aluminum statue of the Virgin Mary for a church in California, and somehow he was allowed to put it on display for a few months in Rodney Square. I don't remember anyone complaining. It was funny how peaceful Rodney Square became during those months that this statue was there. Then after the time was up, it was sent to that church in California. Interestingly Parks made one for a Catholic church near New Castle, that you can see from I-295 as you enter Delaware, before the US 13/40 exit.

Rather than show our diversity of beliefs, today we say no, none, nada. Someone wants a neutered society, very "1984", if you ask me. It seems to me, that attitude just might have to do with those folks who are very vocal, and do not want to ever see or hear about religion ever, even if it is a passive thing like a Nativity scene, a statue of the Virgin Mary, or a Menorah, etc in a public square; or a cross or a star of David etc, in a military graveyard.

We'll just have to agree to disagree, I hear your point, but the city no longer allows the Nativity Scene to be displayed in Rodney Square, hasn't for many years, because some folks did complain, and rather than tell them to celebrate their thing when that time comes as all are welcome, they just said took out the Nativity Scene. That to me is a rather sad commentary, that a stable with a donkey, some sheep, a cow, a man and a woman, with a baby who's name is Jesus can upset some folks so much. But that has been the case since his birth as King Herod killed all those babies in hopes of eliminating the new born king over 2000 years ago. Some things don't change.

I respect your right to your beliefs; we just don't see this the same way, it is what it is.

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 10:48pm
MikeFromDelaware: We were talking about a church picnic and now you've changed it to a nativity scene. And then you turn around and compare removing a nativity scene to slaughtering all the babies in town. Please!

Now, the courts have ruled the putting one religion's display in a public square is "establishment" of religion. Putting all of them there would be OK. But local governments can't have any part of the display. They can't own the pieces and set them up using government employees (which was how it was done in the past; those were municipal nativity scenes). OK, so now any religious group can come in and put up a display in Rodney Square. You want to guess how many different displays (not just nativity displays) they are going to end up with? They can't say yes to everybody, so they say no to everybody. I can hear your wheels turning. You say they can work out some way ... no, they can't. You know how people get. Those who don't get their way are really going to squawk. Better just to avoid the whole issue.

"That to me is a rather sad commentary, that a stable with a donkey, some sheep, a cow, a man and a woman, with a baby who's name is Jesus can upset some folks so much. "

Come, on! You want that display because it has a special - theological and spiritual - meaning to you. The display represents dogma. And that is why it upsets "non-believers." This is about Christianity trying to claim a special status for itself and Christianity forcing its dogma on others. There are all sorts of churches in prominent and visible locations. They are welcome to put nativity scenes on their own land and "non-believes" who walk by won't care. That's not good enough. They want the "official location" of Rodney Square.

I know a lot of Lutherans who don't call their liturgy a "mass" and who would be offended by the idea of a Papist statue on public land they pay taxes to support. You haven't gotten the Catholic Church out of your system but people who attended Lutheran parochial schools or Sunday Schools started learning about the evils of indulgences and idol worship (of saints and Mary) in the second grade. And about how "Father Martin" sat in his cell practicing self-mortification like that nut job from Opus Dei in The DaVinci Code until he came across Romans 5:1.

When you paint yourself into a corner you talk about "agreeing to disagree." No, not when you got into that corner with wrong information, questionable premises, misinterpreting the positions of others or faulty reasoning.

Me, I don't want any display with live animals forced to sit out on cold December nights, which I have seen churches do.

Funny, that business with King Herod is mentioned in only one gospel and otherwise does not appear anywhere in the historical record. All sorts of groups in Judea trying to stir things up against the Romans. Even more who hated Herod. You don't think that if that happened they would have made it THE BIG STORY on Action News? You don't think they would have complained to Rome (where everything was documented)?

Mike from Delaware
Wed, Apr 24, 2013 12:03am
It's been many years since the Nativity Scene has been forbidden to be at Rodney Square [which I didn't realize had been owned by the city], and churches do put up their own, some are living nativity scenes, which is what St. Francis of Assisi used [he was the one who started putting up a nativity scene in 1223]. Interestingly enough he did it to combat the "secularization" of the holiday [Sound familiar?].

You may not agree, but from where I sit a nativity scene just as a church picnic with a communion Mass or Service is non-intrusive and shouldn't be a problem on Rodney Square as long as its owned and paid for by someone else other than the government.

However, I do understand the issue of the city/state owning the stuff and using government workers while on the clock being paid, to set up and take down, etc [I always thought it was put up by one of the Catholic churches in the city].

That might explain why there wasn't an issue when Charles Parks put up his Virgin Mary statue on Rodney Square as he owned it, he paid to put it there, after getting a permit from the city.

As I said, we both have strong beliefs and don't agree on many of those, so yes, we will have to agree to disagree on most of it.

Why does it bother you so much about what I call the Lutheran service? You apparently renounced your beliefs many years ago, so why do you get your knickers in a twist over that? Yes, I'm not a born and raised Lutheran as I've been to a number of different churches, so I'm sort of a Charismatic/Evangelical/United Methodist/Lutheran all rolled into one. I don't hold with most of the Catholic Churches teachings as they are definitely a "works oriented" faith, and I don't see that in the Bible at all [even though I don't agree with many of their teachings, I consider Catholics brothers and sisters in Christ as we worship the SAME living Christ).

My walk with Christ is growing and not stagnant, so I don't totally agree with any one denomination totally [Martin Luther started something by letting us regular folks read the Bible for ourselves rather than just letting the priest to read it to us and tell us what it meant].

I'm a follower of Jesus Christ, who happens to be a Lutheran now. So the denomination isn't what gets one saved, it's faith in Christ. Right now, God has placed me in a Lutheran Church, tomorrow, The Lord may decide I need to learn something from an other part of his church body and the Holy Spirit might gently point me in a different direction, that's up to God, not me. I simply want to be faithful in my walk and continue to grow and learn more so I better understand God's holy word the Bible and be able to serve Christ, his Church, his people, and be used to help bring others to a saving knowledge of Christ.

Funny how no matter how much you think you know about Christ, his teachings, his church, etc., etc., there are always new things to learn in our desire to better know God, his Son Jesus Christ as the Holy Spirit dwells in each of us who call Christ Lord and Savior.

Anyhow, I wasn't trying to pick an argument with you when I started this topic. I gave my example about a church picnic and it kind of grew from there. I realize we don't see it the same way so I realize that more often than not, we'll just have to agree to disagree on these type of topics, but that's OK. Be at peace.

Wed, Apr 24, 2013 8:07am
MikeFromDelaware: The main point is how can the city open up Rodney Square to any religious organization who wants to put up some kind of "holiday" display? The square isn't that big. And you put a whole bunch of displays in there at one time and it's a complete mess.

I can still appreciate the Lutheran tradition, without buying into the theology (and Lutheranism was started by a theologian and Lutherans are big on theology, and theological "correctness"). I did learn in the Lutheran Church that Catholicism is vile and evil and real world experience since has only confirmed that. I'm sure the people in your church consider your "conversion" a good "score" against Rome. Lutherans' attitude toward the Church of Rome is sort of like your attitude (as a resident of the "lower counties") toward Pennsylvania, only with more intensity and passion.

A while back, Garrison Keillor did a monologue on Reformation Sunday and talked about how the Lutherans opened the windows in the direction of the Catholic Church and sang "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" extra loud. That rang very true.

My prediction: You will be "church shopping" again and at the end, you'll ask for a priest.

Mike from Delaware
Wed, Apr 24, 2013 8:45am
Billsmith: No, I'll never be a Catholic again. I've read the Bible, and so much of their beliefs and "traditions" are NOT from the Bible, so that's a deal-breaker for me, no matter how much I love the Mass. If anything, if I ever leave the Lutheran Church, I'd be far more likely to go back to my spiritual roots of when I was first saved [back in 1976], and that would be a Charismatic type church like the Assembly of God.

Wed, Apr 24, 2013 9:49am
MikeFromDelaware: Things NOT in the Bible? You mean like the Trinity? Original sin? Some things not in the Bible may be good things to do. Confession is cheaper than a shrink and often just as effective. Repeating the rosary works like meditation (reduces stress and anxiety, lowers blood pressure).

Mike from Delaware
Wed, Apr 24, 2013 11:21am
Billsmith: Matthew 6:7 says, "7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him."

So repeating a rosary might be good in terms of reducing stress, etc., as you say don't know if that's true, but in terms of being a solid way to communicate with the Lord, maybe not so much.

Wed, Apr 24, 2013 11:37am
MikeFromDelaware: I'm glad you are familiar with Matt6. Christians who keep wanting prayers in schools and public meetings seem always to forget the first two sentences in that same paragraph: “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

The verse you cited refers to long-winded prayers, especially those done in public and intended to impress people, not to prayers repeated by an individual as a spiritual practice. Look at the context of the whole passage.

Mike from Delaware
Wed, Apr 24, 2013 11:54am
I believe it means both.

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