An Explanation of Religious Freedom

Listen, people of Earth: religious freedom does not mean you get to take rights away from, or continually deny rights to, other people so you can continue to freely subjugate, oppress, or objectify them because your religious beliefs say you must.  In other words, if you think ‘religious freedom’ means that you have the freedom to force the dogma of your religion onto others in an attempt to bind their actions to your views of morality and what you think constitutes punishment for those actions like a form of sharia law, then you are wrong.  Period.

Religious freedom means you have the right to opt out of something because you don’t agree.  That’s fine.  You don’t have to allow same-sex couples to be wed at your church or in your private establishment.   You don’t have to take contraception or use condoms.  That is your right.  You can still pray in public school so long as you don’t force everyone to pray like you or with you, nobody is going to point fingers and freak out (unless they’re jerks, in which case you should just ignore them).  You won’t be thrown in jail.  Nobody is taking your rights as a religious person from you.  In fact the government tolerates how silly some of your beliefs are, whether you believe that a tribe of Israelites lived in America before Columbus, or whether you believe the ghosts of aliens from outer space came here and are inhabiting the bodies of humans today; the government can’t tell you that what you’re practicing is wrong, even if you believe you’re really eating the flesh and blood of a man who died 2,000 years ago.

But that also means you have to tolerate everyone else.  Capice?  If you want to live in a religious state, move to a theocratic country where you can enjoy all the fruits that come from following the laws of a religious text that stopped being relevant to society hundreds of years ago.  Have fun!  But don’t you think for a second that you have the right to deny someone the same type of life you live simply because you have an ick factor that you cannot overcome.  Tough shit.  I have to put up with your crappy eisegesis of the Biblical text, so you have to put up with two gay men kissing in public.

Also, if you can’t recognize the difference between a government which allows religious freedom and a theocracy or a religious oligarchy then you should not be engaging in political debates or discussions. Consider, instead, taking a political science course. You need it.

Finally, you’re not being persecuted.  If you live in the West and you are a Christian, you have no clue what persecution is.  These people are persecuted (in the Middle-East).  Just because things aren’t going your way does not mean there is some secular war on religion or that the government is persecuting the Christians in this country.   Ironically, by seeking to deny rights to same-sex couples and women you’re persecuting others.  And if your moral code via your religious laws persecute others for being different, then perhaps you might reconsider the values your religions possess.

Camera Technology in Ancient Rome: The Surprising Facts Revealed!

Bob Cargill, in his usual way, has informed the Biblioblog community of yet another dilettante making absurd claims by abusing ancient texts and the field of history.  In light of this and recent shows like Ancient Aliens, I have decided to start my own claim: ancient Roman cinematographers.

It’s just that easy to misuse our primary sources and eisegete meanings out of context to prove anything.  And what better than prove that an ancient class of people was dedicated to filming events using camera technology?

Just look at the arch of Titus for example:

I have marked these odd objects which I have chosen not to investigate in their historical context with red boxes.  These look remarkably similar to cameras on tripods:

Clearly these bizarre objects being carried by Roman solders are archaeological evidence of movie cameras on tripods recording the looting of the second Jewish temple.   I’m sure then that if they had these large cameras on tripods, they must have had smaller hand-held cameras for detailed video-recording in tight locations.  I imagine it looked something like this:

And if I take enough ancient primary writings out of context and their socio-cultural milieux, I can prove beyond any doubt (at least, as far as I’m concerned) that there is literary evidence of cameras as well:

A wooden base is constructed, and on it is set an altar-shaped box made of bronze. Uprights, fastened together like ladders, are set up on the base, to the right and to the left (of the altar). They hold the bronze pump-cylinders, the moveable bottoms of which, carefully turned on a lathe, have iron elbows fastened to their centres and jointed to levers, and are wrapped in fleeces of wool. (Vitruvius Pollio, The Ten Books on Architecture 10.8)

Sounds like an ancient camera and camera stand to me!  Of course I don’t care about context.  It took minutes and minutes of research (re: Google searching ancient texts for key words that fit the general description for which I was looking) but I believe I can finally label myself an expert on ancient practices of cinematography.  I need a catchy title like the ‘shroudologists’ have (those who are ‘experts’ on the Shroud of Turin).  Maybe ‘Archeo-Cinematologist’!

Now don’t bother asking me for any more evidence since I’ve supplied it all and I shall eagerly expect payment for a book deal and a promotion campaign and, hopefully, a concept script for a History Channel special.  Because history is only here for people to make money off the ignorance of others, right?

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