Posted by: Harold Knight | 12/04/2009

Shiphrah and Puah: Direct confrontation rather than tilting at windmills (not the Nostradamus effect)

(Today’s DISCLAIMER: My, what evil my writing yesterday unleashed. Please, those of you who want to respond, don’t call me any more names or point out to me all the “might-be’s” masquerading as evidence and truth in your myopic little minds. I’m not going to approve any comments on my writing here that list evidence of my incorrect assertions. According to Google, a search for “9/11 Facts” results in 76,800,000 hits. My personal little blog is hardly necessary to make it 76,000,001.)

Ground Zero, Jerusalem

My cats, as I have said in posts before, are useless creatures. I asked them, please, as I was going out last night, to vacuum the living room carpet while I was out, but they did not do it. I can’t seem to get them to go to the supermarket next door to buy their own food, or to clean out their litter-boxes. 

Trying to prove that the events of 9/11 were an inside job is equally useless. So we discover they really were. What happens then? We bring down the government? We send Donald Rumsfeld to jail? We try W. and Dick as war criminals? We take the Obama administration by storm and force them to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan that very day (good luck with that massive task). Or worse, suppose we find out that David Griffin and his minions are wrong, that it really was Al-Qaeda and Osama Bin-Laden who brought down the World Trade Center. Then what? What? What? All this time and energy wasted on tilting at a very large windmill.

Where were the 9/11 truth squad when Shukri, Mohammed, Mufid, Abdulrahmen, and Ghassan were on trial? Have any of the people who have attacked me personally since yesterday been to the Middle East to perform acts of civil disobedience to help bring about the end of the wars of Imperialism? Have any of these people done anything to end the persecution of Dr. Sami Amin Al-Arian? Perhaps the answer is, “Yes,” and I am woefully ignorant. However, I have not heard of it. I would have known absolutely if David Griffin, as a part of the new American “Confessing Church,” (see below) had appeared in Dallas to help lead the support of the Holy Land Foundation defendants. Believe me, I would have known. Where is this supposed “Confessing Church” as the government continues to entrap Muslim Americans for prosecution as would-be terrorists?

It is easy to write a book.

It is not easy to involve oneself with those who are the real, in-the-flesh victims of the governmental policies David Griffin is concerned about. As Christians, perhaps members of the American “Confessing Church” might consider stints as a Ecumenical Accompaniers ( to get their minds off their obsession for awhile. And they have other opportunities to get outside their heads at least for awhile. For example, the website of the Center for Process Studies, the theological think tank with which Griffin is associated, says, “Recently gays have employed their outsider status to illumine features of our behavior and culture we do not otherwise notice.” (Recently? one might ask. I had “outsider” status experience at the School of Theology in Claremont as far back as 1967.) Has the “Confessing Church” mobilized its minions to help in the struggle for marriage equality for gays–campaigning in Maine, for example? 

John Cobb, Griffin’s long-time associate at the Center for Process Studies, an affiliated program of the Claremont School of Theology, who has made Christianity a possible way of looking at the world for countless might-be Christians (including me—although I am not yet convinced that God exists, so I have to emphasize a “possible” way of looking at the world) writes of Griffin’s work:

I myself cannot understand how anyone who reads Griffin’s books could continue to believe that the official account is true. The factual evidence points strongly, for example, to the conclusion that the three towers in the World Trade Center collapsed from explosives and not from fire. Since buildings of this kind have never before or since collapsed because of fire, the official account is implausible from the start. A dubious plausibility requires attributing a greater role to the airplane crashes that [sic] careful analysis allows, but at least this differentiates these buildings from others that have withstood much more destructive fires.**

One might think any theologian would be a bit more self-effacing in his pronouncements qua engineer or scientist. Or that he would remember his college rhetoric classes and not make assumptions that cannot be supported. “Since buildings of this kind have never before or since collapsed because of fire” is a useless statement. Simply because something has never happened before, one cannot assume that it won’t happen now. The Center for Process Studies website insists that the theology David Griffin espouses (John Cobb says David Griffin’s theory of conspiracy is not part of his theological studies, nor does it have the imprimatur of the Center) is, “…a basic conceptual orientation that sees the universe as creative, interrelational, dynamic, and open to the future.”** Obviously, therefore, my (hopelessly traditional) idea that one cannot predict the future from a non-event in the past is, by his standards, theologically unsound. I guess I believe more in miracles than he does.

But the most startling pronouncement I’ve read by David Griffin is his (almost/obliquely) comparing himself to Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Unlike the ‘German Christians’, who supported National Socialism, the Confessing Church said, in its Barmen Declaration, that this support violated basic principles of Christian faith, thereby creating a status confessionis, a confessional situation. I believe that basic principles of Christian faith are equally violated by support for the American empire, even if most Christians in America are not yet aware of this conflict. I hold, therefore, that no task is more important for theologians today than the attempt to make that conflict clear. I am also convinced that one of the most effective ways to do this would be to expose the truth about 9/11.***

If anyone actually believes himself to be in the company of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, he must surely be compelled  to DO something about the evil of our imperial government instead of simply writing books and talking incessantly in an intellectual game of “theology” that he has constructed for himself. Which is easier, to expose the truth or advance a conspiracy theory?

Shiphrah and Puah put themselves in harm’s way. The women have names because they are individuals who have the courage to stand forth and defy the imperial state and the great and powerful . . . .because. . . .their courage is worth recalling. They are remembered forever. . . .**** 

They published no books. They had the courage of, say, Ecumenical Accompaniers.
***Griffin, David Ray. Response to Ian Markham, in:
Markham, Ian “The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11.” Conversations in Religion & Theology 3.2 (2005): 217-236.
**** Gnuse, Robert K. “The Assault upon Kings and Tyrants in the Moses Tradition.” Biblical Theology Bulletin 39.4 (2009): 190-203.

Ground Zero Bethlehem


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