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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Book Review: Christ in Egypt

Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection
By D.M. Murdock

This book is fascinating, and if its claims can be verified, it could and should change everything. Have we all been lied to since birth? Are our core belief systems based on a story that is not true? If there is no Jesus, who will guide us? Who will forgive us?

If we rely on our senses and the observable world, I must admit that the paradigm of “Christ in Egypt” is more plausible than that of the Bible. Murdock posits that the Romans needed a way to control both the Jewish and the Egyptian populations. They did this by creating a new religion, which combined ideas from those two cultures, plus others.

Among the book’s contentions: The Gospels were likely written in Alexandria, Egypt, from 100 to 200 and then backdated to around Year 1. Valentinus, Irenaeus, Heracleon, Theophilus, or Cerinthus could have written the Gospel of John. Christ was a composite of earlier myths, especially the Egyptian sun god Horus. If anyone walked the earth that most resembled Christ, it may have been the Palestine governor and future Roman emperor Vespasian, whom Josephus promoted as the prophesied savior. Vespasian’s son Titus later destroyed Jerusalem. The Therapeuts’ short works may have been the basis for the Gospels, but they were allegorical, not historical. The Gnostics were rooted in the hoary mists of time, developing alongside Christianity as both a sibling and a competitor. Gnostic founding father Simon Magus may well have studied in Alexandria. Cerinthus was a Gnostic.

The book works to prove that many aspects of Jesus are based on Horus, who was an allegorical personification of the Sun: We celebrate Christmas December 25 because that is when the sun begins to move again after standing still for three days at the winter solstice. Christ rising on the third day is symbolic of this. The three stars on the belt of the constellation Orion are symbolized by the “three kings” and point to the bright star Sirus and the rising sun at the solstice. The twelve disciples symbolize the months of the year and the twelve constellations. The cross symbolizes the four seasons, and was preceded by the Egyption ankh. Horus’s mother was the virgin “Isis-Meri.” Anup, who had the head of a dog and was thus decapitated, baptized Horus. Horus, who each day morphs into his father Osiris and back again, is dismembered like the stars in the sky, and then is pieced back together, or “resurrected.” Isis, who sometimes takes the form of a bird, is able to mate with the Sun. Horus, her son, has the head of a bird.

One might worry that a loss of faith could lead people into depression or social unrest. I don’t think that’s necessarily so. If one looks at things strictly scientifically, then they must admit they really don’t know, and that would make them agnostic. From there, one can assume there is no god and be an atheist, or tend that there is a God and be a deist. Either way, we are still evolved as social creatures and it’s natural for us to have a moral compass. To me, I am heartened by the thought of natural cycles, big and small. If the sun can be renewed, so can the spirit. If the New Testament really is an amalgam of earlier faiths, documented at the Library of Alexandria before it was destroyed, then we can look for and keep what is good in the Bible, like the Sermon on the Mount, for example.

I actually finished reading “Christ in Egypt” last month, but I’ve been so busy I haven’t taken the time to write a review until now. The book is heavily footnoted, and I wanted to spot-check more of the sources to try and see if Murdock is telling the truth. So far I have checked a few notes that cite the ancient “Pyramid Texts” as I was able to find those online:


So far the footnotes check out ok for the most part. Other sources may require me to buy more books – I’m not sure.

Murdock herself states in the preface that her book is not a “quick read” – I would like to research more. I hope I can find the time. It all looks extremely intriguing, and I encourage others to check it for themselves!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Police review chair ordered to do his job

From Dave Bicking: News flash - much more to come later tonight when I have the documents and the time....

Late this afternoon District Court Judge Susan Berk (sp?) signed a Writ of Mandamus directing CRA [Civilian Review Authority] Chair Don Bellfield to obey the law - the CRA Ordinance saying that he SHALL notify the Executive Committee of the Mpls City Council of the failure of Police Chief Dolan to follow the section of the CRA Ordinance regarding the issuing of discipline in sustained CRA cases. He must submit that notification to the Executive Committee by 10am tomorrow morning (Wednesday, Feb 17), OR appear in court to show cause as to why he has not done so.

We couldn't have asked for anything better.

He is being served with that order tonight at his home. It will be up to him which course of action to choose. If he makes the notification, it will happen before or during the Executive Committee meeting which starts at 9:30am. We will be prepared for the court hearing, at which both sides may make their case. The court hearing is open to the public, in the Hennepin County Government Center - check with the assignment desk if you want to come.

This is a granting of the first half of our "Petition for Writ of Mandamus", which is directed at Bellfield. The second half asks the Court to order Chief Dolan to comply with the law, or show cause at a court hearing. That is less urgent - though more important - and will be decided later. This ruling is a good sign, though.

This is a small but significant step toward restoring the authority and purpose of the CRA.

Dave Bicking

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Public Hearing on Dolan Reappointment

Date: Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Time: 1:00pm - 5:00pm
Location: City Hall Council Chambers
Street: 350 S. 5th St., Room 317
City/Town: Minneapolis, MN

RSVP on Facebook!

The CRA (Civilian Review Authority) then meets at 6:30 that same day, in room 333. Please attend both and demand accountability!

Friday, February 05, 2010

CRA abandons Bicking

On Wed. Feb. 3 I attended a meeting of the Minneapolis Civilian Review Authority (CRA), a volunteer board appointed by the Mayor and City Council to investigate citizen complaints of police misconduct.

The meeting began with a surprise visit from Tim Dolan, who had not attended a CRA meeting since becoming police chief. He spoke for a few minutes, and left shortly after. He stated that he does believe in civilian review, and expressed a willingness to answer CRA questions at a later date.

This apparently so impressed the board that they failed to get anything in writing, leaving to chance whether Dolan will keep his word. The CRA refused to go on record. They rejected a resolution, offered by Dave Bicking, which would have verified that Dolan follow through.

But the main event of the evening involved a written message from CRA Chair Don Bellfield to CRA member Dave Bicking, calling for Bicking to resign if he attended a forum on whether to reappoint Police Chief Dolan.

The following paragraph is from an email I got promoting the Jan. 26 forum:

“DAVE BICKING: Member of the Mpls Civilian Police Review Authority (CRA), which recently released an 18 page report on the performance of Chief Tim Dolan in relation to his impact on Civilian Review. The report rates Dolan as ‘far more negative than positive’, especially in the area of imposing discipline on officers.”

Bellfield, who was absent from the meeting, contended this was not neutral enough, even though the promotion nowhere claimed Bicking was speaking on behalf of the CRA.

So Bicking offered some resolutions which would have clarified that the CRA was not calling on Bicking to resign, since members have a right to exercise their freedom of speech as individuals on their own time.

The following CRA members voted to gag Bicking: Justin Terrell, Vernon Wetterach, Sharlee Benson, and Patrick Kvidera. Abstaining was Pam Franklin. Voting in favor were Dave Bicking and Austin Zuege. Staffer Lee Reid spoke about respect as a reason to gag Bicking.

The board did adopt unanimously a resolution to meet so they could clarify their neutrality policy.

They then opened the meeting for 3-minute statements from the public. It was a Who’s Who of Minnesota’s leading progressives, there to defend Dave. Michelle Gross of Citizens United Against Police Brutality (CUAPB) was furious. When acting chair Justin Terrell said that her time was up, she defied him to call the cops, and kept on speaking. Darrell Robinson, also of CUAPB, and who has been beaten by police, reminded the board that the city is under siege. Michael Cavlan accused the CRA of complicity with the Mayor and City Council. Also speaking were Amber Garlan, Jan Nye, David Weisberg, and myself. Also in attendance were David Shove, Melissa Hill, and Dori Ullman.

When it was my turn to speak, I said I was at the Jan. 26 meeting, and that Dave Bicking stated repeatedly that he was there as a private citizen, and not speaking on behalf of the CRA. I said that as private citizens we have a right to exercise our freedom of speech. I quoted Thomas Jefferson, “Information is the currency of democracy,” and asked, “How can we have an informed citizenry if our brightest citizens are censored from voicing their opinions?” I agreed with others that Dave was quite an asset to the CRA, and that their work is important. I explained how, as a political activist, I set out to verify CUAPB claims, and how my research was documented on my blog. I mentioned Dominic Felder, Tycel Nelson, the black cops that were demoted under Dolan, and how Dolan gave the Medal of Valor to the cop who shot Fong Lee.

After the meeting, I asked Michelle Gross what motivated Justin Terrell, Vernon Wetterach, Sharlee Benson, and Patrick Kvidera. She believes that they’re benchwarmers, looking to pad their resumes, possibly seeking higher office in the future, and that’s why they don’t want to rock the boat. I asked her about CRA duties, and she explained that reviewing citizen complaints is just the tip of the iceberg. They need to be doing a lot more in terms of citizen outreach. Well, if they’re not doing it, and Dave can’t do it, then where does that leave us? Afterward, Justin Terrell told me he would continue to support Dave, but he sure didn’t go to bat for him during the meeting.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

My DFL caucus experience

Tonight I attended my Senate District 44, Golden Valley Precinct 7 DFL caucus.

Brian White was the convener, and was elected Associate District Chair. Ellen Sue Balk was also elected Associate District Chair. George Maxwell, the DFL Director for District 44, made a fundraising pitch, noting the recent Supreme Court Ruling for unlimited propaganda.

I was elected as a delegate to the SD 44 convention March 14, and the Hennepin District 2 convention March 16. I was also elected to the Rules Committee, though I am working Feb. 6. Precinct 7 was allotted 44 delegates, so all 20 or so who wanted to serve were elected. The situation was similar for the 5 or so county delegate seats, and for committee assignments, with more seats than volunteers. For the Rules Committee, Brian said Elaine Wynn would contact me.

Ellen Sue Balk spoke on behalf of Keith Ellison.

Willis Grunquist spoke on behalf of Margaret Anderson Kelliher.

Lena Catharine Gardner spoke on behalf of Steve Kelley.

Jordan Kushner spoke on behalf of John Marty. Marty no longer has a $100 contribution limit, but Kushner said Marty won’t take money from the big interests that could influence him.

When there was some extra time between agenda items, I introduced myself and explained that I had been with the Green Party for 10 years. I said that we don’t have any strong candidates this year, and how I was checking in with the DFL to see how it is coming along, and if any candidates are acceptable. I mentioned the Green Party 10 Key Values, which include democracy, ecology, peace, and justice. I also noted that our U.S. Senate candidate got 10,000 votes in ’06, and how we didn’t run anyone in ’08 when Franken won.

The results of the GV-P7 straw poll were…

Anderson-Kelliher: 8
Marty: 6
Kelley: 5
Rybak: 4
Uncommitted: 3
Entenza: 1

Margaret Anderson-Kelliher visited our precinct personally. I think she will need to work on her speaking skills. To me, she sounded canned and fakey. Her subject matter was boring, with no emphasis on single payer.

The precinct then passed resolutions on sulfide mines, single payer, and LGBT rights. I reminded the group that single payer has been in the Green Party platform for years, which got a good laugh. So I will keep an open mind and keep you posted.