The Pope Thing

Frankly, I’m surprised that more popes haven’t resigned.  Usually, they hang on way past their sell-by date and this pope is such a hard ass, I really have to wonder if it was as voluntary as they say it is.

What’s amazing is that the comings and goings of this one old dude in Rome still has the power to take up space on the front page of the NYTimes.  You don’t see that with other religious leaders.   Maybe Pat Robertson and the Dalai Lama will get  prominent obituaries.  But in spite of all the progress we’ve made since the 16th century, the pope still has the world’s attention and this one’s  brand of hard line, uncompromising patriarchal authoritarianism has been particularly irksome.

What are the chances that out of the Yes men he has undoubtably surrounded himself with that one will emerge who will modernize the church?

Yeah, I didn’t think so either.

What are the chances we could get the NYTimes to stop paying so much attention?

Monday Midday: Sacrilege in the Church of Baseball,* Midwest Christian Militias, Fundamentalist Manifestos, and Pedophile Priests

Fenway Park, Boston

* Annie Savoy in Bull Durham:

I believe in the Church of Baseball. I’ve tried all the major religions, and most of the minor ones. I’ve worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I heard that, I gave Jesus a chance. But it just didn’t work out between us. The Lord laid too much guilt on me. I prefer metaphysics to theology. You see, there’s no guilt in baseball, and it’s never boring…

Why is ESPN allowed to ruin an age-old Boston sports tradition?

The home opener in Boston has always meant a day game during the week, with kids skipping school, adults skipping work, and local pols skipping graft and corruption to watch the game. But thanks to ESPN and baseball, we now have a Sunday night game instead. That’s just pathetic! No sunshine, no opportunity to skip out of school or work. Baseball was meant to be played with the sun shining. Now there are so few day games and the powers that be have taken away the most sacred day game of all.

Do those ESPN morons even know what Boston weather is like in April? On April 4 (opening day) the high will be in the 70s in the daytime, which would be nice, but at night it will be in the 40s–ugly, horrible weather for a baseball game.

And why do the Red Sox have to play the Yankees on opening day? That has never been a baseball tradition. The Red Sox-Yankee rivalry isn’t even fun anymore, after all the exploitation of it by Major League Baseball and TV. it used to be we wouldn’t see the Yankees until Patriot’s day (Boston Marathon Day) after both teams had had a some chance to get up to speed.

Okay, rant over.

The rest of this morning’s post will be about religion and politics. I was a little bit intimidated by the reaction to my Friday post, but I got over it. Rude and offensive comments will be removed and posters of those comments will be put in moderation for the duration of this thread. I hope that is perfectly clear. Feel free to post and discuss news links on any topic at all.

Midwest Christian Militia Members Busted by Feds

Members of Hutaree and another Michigan militia group

Here’s some interesting religion/politics news. According to the Detroit News, seven members of a Christian militia group called “Hutaree” have been arrested in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana in “massive” raids involving the FBI, Homeland Security, and the Joint Terrorism Task Force. The raids took place on Saturday and Sunday.

Sources have said the FBI was in the second day of raids around the southeastern Michigan city of Adrian that are connected to a militia group, known as the Hutaree, an Adrian-based group whose members describe themselves as Christian soldiers preparing for the arrival and battle with the anti-Christ.

WXYZ-TV reports that helicopters were spotted in the sky for much of Saturday night, and agents set up checkpoints throughout the area. Witnesses told the station that it was like a small army had descended on the area. The Department of Homeland Security and the Joint Terrorism Task Force are also involved in the raids.

According to several reports, the town of Adrian, Michigan looked like it was being invaded.

Helicopters, foot patrols, Michigan State Police, FBI, and a tank were seen in Lenawee County since Saturday evening.

Resident Christina Lamb says folks said the group was “KKK. That they’re making bombs. That they have a whole bunch of drugs and guns.”

The focus of the raid was a large rural property in Adrian where a militia member lived in a house and his two sons lived in nearby trailers. From Huffpo:

Law enforcement swarmed a rural, wooded property Saturday evening near Adrian, about 70 miles southwest of Detroit, neighbors said. Two ramshackle trailers sat side-by-side on the property, the door to one slightly ajar late Sunday as if it had been forced open.

Phyllis Brugger, who has lived in the area for more than 30 years, said some people who lived there were known as having ties to militia. They would shoot guns and often wore camouflage, according to Brugger and her daughter, Heidi Wood.

Similar operations took place in Sandusky, Ohio and Hammond, Indiana.

In Hammond, Indiana, several young men standing outside a pizza place where they worked saw “a swarm of law enforcement” swoop in. According to George Ponce, 18,

“I heard a yell, ‘Get back inside!’ and saw a squad member pointing a rifle at us,” Ponce said. “They told us the bomb squad was going in, sweeping the house looking for bombs.”

He said another agent was in the bushes near the house, and law enforcement vehicles were “all over.” He estimated that agents took more than two dozen guns from the house.

Two more arrests were made in Sandusky and Huron, Ohio. From Huffpo article linked above:

A young man who answered the door at the trailer Sunday said no one from the family wanted to talk. A neighbor said he saw authorities with rifles run past his window and toward the trailer Saturday night.

“They took over the block like it was the Army. I thought we were being invaded,” said Michael Morin, who lives two lots away.

Park manager Terry Mills said authorities blocked off the street for about an hour Saturday night.

“Needless to say, this has everyone talking,” said Mills, 62. “We have a lot of retirees here who don’t want all this commotion.”

Some militia members are reportedly on the run, and perhaps more will be arrested. It also isn’t clear what the charges were in these arrests. Two possibilities I’ve seen are that the group may have made threats against Islamic groups and that they may have been selling pipe bombs. That was a lot of firepower for some pipe bombs and threats.

So what is this group all about anyway? Hutaree supposedly means “Christian Warrier.” The group’s web page says they are “preparing for the end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive.” According to news stories, this means they are preparing to fight the Anti-Christ. The Doctrine of the Hutaree is also posted on the site. It’s here if you’re interested in reading it.

According to Ann Arbor.com, members of Michigan militias, including Hutaree have recently helped local law enforcement to find missing persons:

…several Hutaree members were recently involved in searches in Bridgewater Township after two residents went missing in separate incidents. Schiel [seen in photo above, second from left] worked closely with Hutaree members during those searches.

Both missing people were found–unfortunately dead. One, a woman, died from hypothermia (friends said she may have taken too much anti-anxiety medication) and the other, a man, was found in his car dead from carbon monoxide poisoning. The large women on the left side of the above photo is a Hutaree member who helped in the searches, Wendy Lineweaver.

She joined the tightly-knit unit after meeting several members at a Ron Paul rally several years ago in Ann Arbor. Lineweaver opposes surveillance cameras on streets, the use of body scanners at airports and fears the government may microchip people.

“If you really want to try and install a police state in this society, you’re going to hit a brick wall, meaning us,” she said. “That’s what we’re preparing for.”

The group also has a MySpace page and a YouTube channel with lots of videos of people running around in camoflage and shooting off guns.
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