Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Archaeologists are set to announce the positive identification of the mummy of Queen Hatshepsut:
A single tooth and some DNA clues appear to have solved the mystery of the lost mummy of Hatshepsut, one of the great queens of ancient Egypt, who reigned in the 15th century B.C.

Archaeologists who conducted the research, to be announced formally today in Cairo, said this was the first mummy of an Egyptian ruler to be found and “positively identified” since King Tutankhamen’s tomb was opened in 1922.

Zahi Hawass, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Cairo, said Monday in a telephone interview that the mummy was found in 1903 in an obscure, undecorated tomb in the Valley of the Kings, across the Nile from modern Luxor, and had been largely overlooked for more than a century.

Dr. Hawass said the identification of the well-preserved mummy as Hatshepsut (pronounced hat-SHEP-soot) was made a few weeks ago when a CT scan of a wooden box associated with the queen revealed a tooth. The tooth, he said, “fits exactly” into the jaw socket and broken root of the mummy of an obese woman originally found in Tomb 60 at the Valley of the Kings, the necropolis for royalty in the New Kingdom before and after Hatshepsut’s reign.

“We therefore have scientific proof that this is the mummy of Queen Hatshepsut,” Dr. Hawass concluded, citing primarily the tooth but also current DNA analysis suggesting a family relationship between the obese woman and Ahmose Nefertari, the matriarch of 18th dynasty royalty.

Other Egyptologists not involved in the project said that the finding was fascinating, but that they would reserve judgment until they had studied the results of the DNA analysis and had some of the evidence confirmed by other researchers.

“You have to be so careful in reaching conclusions from such data,” said Kathryn Bard, an Egyptologist at Boston University.

This is a fascinating discovery. The description of her as 'obese' certainly deviates from the Cleopatra-esque drawings I remember from my 6th grade text book illustrating 'Queen Hat' (as my teacher called her).

This should prove to be interesting as more information is released.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Friend, former classmate and Theosebes reader Dr. Sean Busick is quoted on 'The Swamp Fox'--Francis Marion of South Carolina--in the latest Smithsonian magazine. Congratulations, Sean!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Episcopal Priest Is Both Muslim and Christian

Ann Holmes Redding, an Episcopal priest for 20 years, has now also embraced Islam:
Shortly after noon on Fridays, the Rev. Ann Holmes Redding ties on a black headscarf, preparing to pray with her Muslim group on First Hill.

On Sunday mornings, Redding puts on the white collar of an Episcopal priest.

She does both, she says, because she's Christian and Muslim.

Redding, who until recently was director of faith formation at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, has been a priest for more than 20 years. Now she's ready to tell people that, for the last 15 months, she's also been a Muslim — drawn to the faith after an introduction to Islamic prayers left her profoundly moved.

Well, it's a bit hard to know where to start in unraveling such a mess, but to stay on point we have this observation:
"There are tenets of the faiths that are very, very different," said Kurt Fredrickson, director of the doctor of ministry program at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif. "The most basic would be: What do you do with Jesus?"

Christianity has historically regarded Jesus as the son of God and God incarnate, both fully human and fully divine. Muslims, though they regard Jesus as a great prophet, do not see him as divine and do not consider him the son of God.

Indeed. The role of Jesus is impossible to reconcile. What could possess someone to do this? Well, Ms. Redding explained it best:
"It wasn't about intellect," she said.
Just so!

[Thanks to Jeff at Truth-In-Love for the link]

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Recognizing that the 'pastoral needs of motorists' need to be addressed, the Vatican has issued a 10 Commandments for Drivers:
The Vatican on Tuesday issued a set of ''Ten Commandments'' for drivers, telling motorists not to kill, not to drink and drive, and to help fellow travelers in case of accidents.

An unusual document from the Vatican's office for migrants and itinerant people also warned that cars can be ''an occasion of sin'' -- particularly when they are used for dangerous passing or for prostitution.

It warned about the effects of road rage, saying driving can bring out ''primitive'' behavior in motorists, including ''impoliteness, rude gestures, cursing, blasphemy, loss of sense of responsibility or deliberate infringement of the highway code.''

It urged motorists to obey traffic regulations, drive with a moral sense, and to pray when behind the wheel.

Cardinal Renato Martino, who heads the office, told a news conference that the Vatican felt it necessary to address the pastoral needs of motorists because driving had become such a big part of contemporary life.

He noted that the Bible was full of people on the move, including Mary and Joseph, the parents of Jesus -- and that his office is tasked with dealing with all ''itinerant'' people -- including refugees, prostitutes, truck drivers and the homeless.

''We know that as a consequence of transgressions and negligence, 1.2 million people die each year on the roads,'' Martino said. ''That's a sad reality, and at the same time, a great challenge for society and the church.''

The document, ''Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road,'' extols the benefits of driving -- family outings, getting the sick to the hospital, allowing people to see other cultures.

But it laments a host of ills associated with automobiles: drivers use their cars to show off; driving ''provides an easy opportunity to dominate others'' by speeding; drivers can kill themselves and others if they don't get their cars regular tuneups, if they drink, use drugs or fall asleep at the wheel.

Uh-oh. My car is due for a tune-up, but thankfully it didn't address how fast I can really drive in a 55 MPH speed zone.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


The Delcambre, Louisiana has passed an ordinance banning baggy pants:
A mayor in the US state of Louisiana says he will sign into law a proposal to make wearing saggy trousers an act of indecent exposure.
Delcambre town council unanimously passed the ordinance earlier this week making it a crime to wear trousers that show underwear.

"If you expose your private parts, you'll get a fine" of US$500 (£254) Mayor Carol Broussard said.

Offenders will also risk up to six months in jail.

Speaking of people who wear saggy trousers, Mr Broussard told the Associated Press news agency: "They're better off taking the pants off and just wearing a dress."

Perhaps there is hope for our nation.

Saturday, June 09, 2007


Continuing the 'I Told You So' files, three years ago Theosebes brought up the issue of Christian persecution in Iraq (see here and here). It seems the problem has not gone away:
An al-Qaida-affiliated insurgent group is giving Christians in Baghdad a stark set of options: Convert to Islam, marry your daughters to our fighters, pay an Islamic tax or leave with only the clothes on your back.

A U.S. military official said American forces became aware of the threats only last month and now have erected barriers around the largest Christian enclave in Baghdad's Dora neighborhood in an effort to protect its residents.

Christians in Baghdad refuse to discuss the threats for fear of retribution. But in Syria, where thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled, tales abound of families that were killed or driven from their homes because they either refused or couldn't afford to pay the jizya, a tax usually levied on non-Muslim men of military age that's been part of Islam for more than 1,000 years.

Of course, things weren't always this way in Iraq:
Iraq long had been home to thriving Christian communities, primarily Assyrians and Chaldean Catholics, who trace their roots to ancient Mesopotamia. Some of Saddam Hussein's closest confidants were Christian, including his foreign minister, Tarik Aziz. Christian communities were prominent in many major Iraqi cities, including Mosul in the north and Basra in the south.

Baghdad had major Christian enclaves in the central neighborhood of Karada, the eastern mostly Shiite neighborhood of New Baghdad and nearby al-Ghadir and the notorious Sunni-dominated Doura in the capital's south.

As Iraq has descended into chaos, however, many Christians have fled, joining an estimated 2.2 million exiles, including 1.4 million Iraqis now estimated to be living in Syria. At least 19,000 Iraqi Christians have registered in Damascus with the United Nations refugee agency, and thousands more are thought to have sought shelter there, but have yet to register.

A Christian Iraqi legislator estimated Tuesday that a half-million Christians have fled Iraq since 2004.

"What is happening today in Iraq against Christians is shameful," Ablahad Afram Sawa said in an impassioned statement read to Iraq's parliament by its speaker. He said Christians hadn't faced such oppression in nearly 2,000 years. "Most of the churches in Baghdad have closed their doors," he added.

Let us pray that the freedom to worship God as He intended through His Son will can flourish in Iraq.

Friday, June 08, 2007


Back in March Theosebes predicted that General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wouldn't be long for the job after his comments condemning homosexuality in the armed forces. Three months later Pace is retiring. Now whether or not the remarks were directly tied to him being forced out is unclear, but it's unlikely that someone who holds such sensible views can stay in a position of power for long.

Monday, June 04, 2007

JEFF BARNES at Truth-In-Love has some good thoughts on consistency and foolish consistency.

Things are heating up on the abortion front, but the battle is internecine:
In a highly visible rift in the anti-abortion movement, a coalition of evangelical Protestant and Roman Catholic groups is attacking a longtime ally, Focus on the Family founder James C. Dobson.

Using rhetoric that they have reserved in the past for abortion clinics, some of the coalition's leaders accuse Dobson and other national antiabortion leaders of building an "industry" around relentless fundraising and misleading information.

At the center of the dispute is the Supreme Court's April 18 decision upholding the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, a federal law against a procedure in which a doctor partially delivers a late-term fetus before crushing its skull.

While I would love to see abortion outlawed and Roe v. Wade overturned (in part because it's simply a horrible decision constitutionally), I don't believe that abortion will ever be universally outlawed in the US. The best we can hope for are incremental changes that limit abortion, and perhaps outlaw it in some states.

Lest we forget what all this is about, the article tells us plainly what we're dealing with here:
...a procedure in which a doctor partially delivers a late-term fetus before crushing its skull...

Minnery added. "The old procedure, which is still legal, involves using forceps to pull the baby apart in utero..."

Lord, forgive us for doing this to our nation's children.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

PREACHING THIS MORNING...'What Is "The Secret"?', a look at the latest self-empowerment fad 'discovered' by Rhonda Byrne and promoted by Oprah. We must find our empowerment from above, not from within.

Friday, June 01, 2007

ENGLAND'S CATHOLIC CARDINAL is turning up the heat on Catholic MPs on the abortion issue:
:The leader of England's Roman Catholics has warned MPs that they cannot tolerate abortion and keep their faith.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor's intervention places unprecedented pressure on Catholic politicians for reforms to abortion law.

His warning means nearly 70 MPs are faced with a crisis of conscience if they fail to rally behind a fresh push for the abolition of legal abortion.

It also comes as anti-abortion campaigners prepare for a summer of protest ahead of the 40th anniversary this autumn of the 1967 legislation that legalised terminations.

The spotlight was first thrown on MP by the leader of Scotland's Catholics, Cardinal Keith O'Brien.

In a sermon he said that politicians should avoid "cooperating in the unspeakable crime of abortion and the barrier such co-operation erects to receiving Holy Communion".

"I urge politicians to have no truck with the evil trade of abortion. For those at Westminster this means findings means of overthrowing the legislation which makes the killing possible," he added.

Liberal Catholic politicians here and abroad have long sought to have their cake and eat it, too (exhibit one: Ted Kennedy), on issues like abortion. All too often the Catholic Church has turned a blind eye. If the politicians want the electoral benefits of being Catholic one would think they might follow Catholic moral dictates, too.
STILL NO BREAKTHROUGH in solving the Hyderabad Mecca Masjid bombings. Apparently last week's arrests was simply a rounding up of the usual suspects.